Nuh uh, you are!

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Sunday slides 14

snow blowing from branches against blue sky
Winter, 2008. Heavy snows tend to be rare events in North Carolina, and unlike the northern states we virtually never see a long period of them. This one was heavier than expected, thick and wet, and liberally covered everything, but the following day dawned bright and, not warm, but at least it got a start on clearing the snow from the asphalt surfaces of the road. Relieved from work by the conditions, I wandered out through the woods behind my place looking for something photogenic that wouldn’t require me risking my light sports car on questionable roads. I did that shit in New York and it’s one of the principle reasons why I left

The gusting wind would occasionally shift significant patches of snow from the branches, creating new mini-storms that would dump it across my hat and camera bag, and at one point I aimed the camera skyward to capture the clusters of flakes in motion. It was a rare set of conditions, since it’s not often that you have the bright light and blue sky to capture moving snow against, as you might imagine. An aperture of f22 on the Sigma 24-135mm allowed the motion to be seen without producing noticeable blur from camera shake – I would estimate the shutter speed around 1/15 to 1/30 second. Had I not captured a couple of distinctive individual clumps that provided short streaks against the sky, they might have been mistaken for thin cirrus clouds, so I got kinda lucky with the composition.

thick-piled snow on dense forest
The nature of the thick wet flakes falling with no breeze at all (during the storm at least) meant the snow piled high on the branches, picturesque but able to be dislodged easily, and I had to routinely stow the camera away that day to keep it dry from the snow constantly falling from the trees, sweeping it away every time I found a scene that I liked. After an hour, I looked like I’d been caught in a blizzard with snow even collected on my shoulders, much less the hat brim, and I’d had to clean the camera off multiple times. But that was little hardship for a collection of interesting photos. And I didn’t even have to travel for them.

March abstract is here, and it brought a friend

pine pollen eddy on Jordan Lake
I pretty much knew this was going to be the month-end abstract as soon as I took it – with the caveat, of course, that I might find something better afterward, but here it is, so you have a tiny insight into my photography outings. I don’t suppose this is too hard to figure out, but it’s pine season here and the fucking pollen gets all over everything, and it floats. So lakes and puddles and even stream edges get decorated with the stuff for a few weeks, and in the case here, it gives a good indication of how water is shifting even when no currents or even breezes are evident.

More abstract, perhaps, is the scale, since there’s nothing to provide a reference. If I’d brought a toy boat with me I could have had a lot of fun with you, but somehow I forgot to pack one in the bag (I know, I know, after all my admonishments to be prepared.) Suffice to say this is at my feet at 26mm focal length, and my foot might have just spanned the gap between the shore and the rock.

partially-submerged pine branches on waterAs I was preparing this post, I was trying to remember what I’d posted for February, and eventually came to the conclusion that I had never done a month-end abstract for February – don’t know how that one got past. Though I have some idea, because I shot almost nothing in February, and so as I was attempting to rectify my oversight, I was finding very little to use that was taken within the month. I found a couple that weren’t bad in my folders, but they were taken in either January or March, and I was determined, for no particular reason, to stay within February. So here we are, continuing a theme of sorts, since this is a pine branch replete with cones, partially submerged in the pond. It’s not a pretty picture, it’s just a little stark and confusing, but the sky color came out well.

A couple of small notes about the silhouette and exposure. Had I wanted to bring out the detail of the branches instead of making them this dark, I could always have rejected what the camera considered a good exposure and brightened it up with exposure compensation – but that would have bleached out the sky, weakening the colors which are the strong point of the image; the cloud would have lost all texture on its own. So the other option is fill-flash, firing off the flash even though the exposure was fine. It would have had absolutely no effect on the water reflections and the color therein, but it would have illuminated this side of the branches and brought out their detail. In such cases, it can help to have a camera and flash unit that can do flash-exposure compensation. Left to its own devices (heh!) a camera using any variation of TTL flash exposure will try to match flash power output to the ambient light, to make it look “natural,” but in this case that exposure could be up for grabs, since the meter is going to read the bright sky overall, and might not even register the branches. It might not fire at all, “believing” that no flash is needed, or it might pour out a lot of power to try and spark a reaction from the exposure meter and end up over-illuminating them. With flash-exposure compensation, you can tell the camera to put out more or less light than it “thinks” it needs. Without such an option, you can usually force the flash to fire anyway, and reduce the light as needed by partially covering the flash head with your fingers, or tilting the head up away from a direct line to provide only partial lighting. It might take a few attempts to get the right result, but in some cases (something more interesting than these branches, at least,) it can be worth the effort.

One more thing: don’t trust the LCD on the back of the camera to show you how well the exposure worked. They’re notoriously unreliable for judging exposure, able to make the image seem brighter or darker than it really is, partially from the brightness settings, partially from ambient light, and mostly because their initial gamma setting is both unknown and unalterable (at least in every case I’ve seen.) So, bracket, even when it looks good in the LCD.

Sunday slide 13

The Indeterminate Mr Bugg, who hasn’t been posting jack the past several weeks, actually said he was thinking of stealing my Sunday slide topic for his own blog, an entertaining idea since he shoots only digital and doesn’t even have a film camera. I don’t think he has the guts to go through with it, to be honest with you…

For this one we go back just a few years, to a Florida trip that occurred in the early days of the blog. With that as the only clue, I present the image to allow you to try and figure it out.

West Indian manatee Trichechus manatus Florida manatee closeup
So, The Girlfriend and I had a couple of goals for this particular trip and I, as the experienced yet brief Florida resident, was the one who was supposed to try and bring them about. The first day we’d spent driving down and crashed in Gainesville, so the following day we cut across near the gulf coast and started working our way down through the warm springs area, because that’s where you find one of our goals most often (though all of my own experiences with it took place on the opposite side of the state.) Choosing a likely spot, I did indeed manage to point out a real, wild appearance of the species, but it was a fairly typical distant peek, which is unremarkable to say the least. Navigating a short distance away to another inlet produced not the faintest sign. It was time for lunch at this point, so we grabbed something quickly and started heading further south.

Almost immediately, we happened across the Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, appearing incongruously alongside Rt 41 in a rather urbanized area. Figuring it was worth a quick look, we popped in and opted to take the short riverboat tour, heading out in the shadow of a neighboring motel and the bathers by the pool, not exactly what you’d expect. But Florida is like that, too touristy in many areas yet immediately leading into something exotic that, by all rights, should not exist so close to the interstates and snow cone stands. The boat ride netted no small number of waterfowl and at times appeared like a jungle cruise, but shortly we were dropped off at the other end of the channel and the main part of the park, which consisted of a small zoo-like section and the springs themselves.

Northern Florida sits atop a huge area of subterranean caverns, which serve as the drainage of the Okefenokee Swamp on the border of Georgia. In countless locations, these caverns open up to the surface as springs, which maintain a perpetual temperature of roughly 22°c (72°f.) They eventually carry out as rivers to the Gulf of Mexico, but the steady temperature attracts West Indian manatees (Trichechus manatus,) which will often follow the river to its spring source and hang out there when the weather and gulf waters have turned cold. In the case of Homosassa, one particular spring had been cordoned off and turned into a rehabilitation center for injured manatees, with a viewing area both above and below the water, and a small grandstand where people could view the periodic feedings.

We found ourselves at the side of this area as one specimen drifted up to the edge of the water, anticipating the introduction of herbage (mostly different kinds of lettuce and freshwater plants) that serve as their food. From a distance of no more than three meters, we watched and photographed the huge blob as it languished in the shallows, which led to a memorable exchange that we still relate to anyone rash enough to let us.

The Girlfriend was standing at the railing, hovering directly over the manatee with camera raised, motionless, waiting. After a bit, I finally inquired what she was anticipating from the somnolent and near-motionless mammal.

“I’m waiting for it to open its eyes,” she told me.

“They are open,” I pointed out, not without amusement. And they’re open in this pic, as abstract as it is – that’s one eye showing just right of center frame, the dark dimple in that textured skin. The manatee is just beneath the surface of the water with its nostrils projecting above, since they’re air-breathers like dolphins and sea lions, and the water level can just barely be discerned by the color difference in the skin. Manatees don’t need big eyes – they barely need eyes at all – but they’re certainly proportionally much smaller for the head and body size than most mammals. It was an honest misimpression, but a funny one.

I’m back baby!

sunset glow behind bare treeYou should read that title in Bender’s voice, and if I have to explain that, well… let’s just say I’m disappointed in you.

Regardless, what it means is, after a long dry spell where photography was almost nonexistent and even meaningless philosophical posts just weren’t happening, I finally started to get back into the swing of things yesterday, with nice weather and something to shoot. Even a student outing the other day didn’t net anything remarkable (even by my standards,) but I might be starting to make up for it now. We’d had some early warm weather that provoked some of the trees to bud out, then a cold snap that made them regret it, actually causing some of the leaves to wilt a bit – call it an Indian winter if you will. Now, perhaps, spring proper is starting.

You couldn’t tell it from the tree I used for this sunset shot, but that’s okay with me – I think it works better with the bare branches. I thought we might get some serious colors as the sun went down, but this is about the extent of it; you just can’t predict things like that, or at least I can’t. The sky might look promising, then peter out right before the sun goes down, or maybe the sun will get blocked by distant clouds which prevents it from illuminating the high-altitude clouds. The best you can do is be prepared and hope.

However, while I was over at the pond ready to take advantage of the conditions if they panned out, I found my second snake of the year; the first was a little worm snake in the driveway, but this one was a bit more impressive.

Northern water snake Nerodia sipedon basking at edge of pond
This northern water snake (Nerodia sipedon) never even twitched as I drew close, and I suspect it was fast asleep; without eyelids, there’s no solid indication, but the behavior is often a clue. Coiled where it could catch the late afternoon sun, it was likely warming itself up in preparation for the evening hunt, even though it seems like it’s been doing just fine in the food department. At the widest part of the body it was perhaps 6cm across – not quite the thickness of a wrist, but close enough to give that impression, while overall length was likely less than a meter. They don’t have ears but are good about picking up vibrations from the ground, though I’ve long been in the habit of walking softly when I’m out shooting, so it remained undisturbed as I knelt down just inside striking distance. I wasn’t concerned; should it feel threatened, it was far more likely to hurtle into the pond immediately behind it than take a shot at me, but I’ve been bitten by them before anyway.

During the day while working in the yard, I had spotted some portential subjects and vowed to come back at nightfall when I could tackle them with dedication. One of which, another magnolia green jumping spider, had wandered off and couldn’t be found, but in its place I present this unidentified wasp just chillin’ on the gardenia bush.

unidentified wasp on gardenia leaf with pine pollen
It is that season, the time when the pollen from the longneedle pines gets all over everything, visible here at greater magnification than normal; most times it appears as dust at best. Even though we’d gotten rid of a couple of the pines in the yard last year, there are still way too many in the immediate area to even see a reduction in the chartreuse patina so typical of North Carolina for a couple of weeks. More indications of this will be along shortly.

In the afternoon I had also found two green treefrogs lurking in the downspout stubs left in place when the flow had been diverted into the rain barrels, and knew they would venture out in the evening. One of them had disappeared entirely, but another had shown up nearby, so I had two to work with.

green treefrog Hyla cinerea perched on downspout
I’d achieved similar photos last year, which might be the last time I’d seen them (it’s likely these are a couple of the same frogs from that post,) and I’d remarked then that I was pleased to see them making their homes in the yard. Last spring had been heralded, at least as far as I was concerned, by the reappearance of the Copes grey treefrogs, but this year it’s the green treefrogs (Hyla cinerea) that serve as the indication. Well, a combination, actually, but I get ahead of myself.

green treefrog Hyla cinerea posed on rain barrel
As I was just leaning in and locking focus, this one had lifted a foreleg and swiped something from its eye (probably pollen,) and I just missed getting that shot, which would have been more dynamic than I usually see and photograph them. The pose is still nice, but there’s only so many times you can shoot it, you know? And it would have been better, from a nature photographer’s perspective, to have it on something more natural-looking than the brilliant blue barrel…

Going around the front of the house, the black rainbarrel also sported a frog, this time a Copes grey treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis.) Crouching low in the residual water on the top gave it a distorted, flattened appearance, and unlike the green treefrogs (who didn’t seem to care,) this one was well aware of my presence and crouched even lower to try and escape attention.

Copes grey treefrog Hyla chrysoscelis trying to be unobtrusive atop rain barrel
Returning some twenty minutes later, this one had scampered off, perhaps into the neighboring bush where there was plenty of cover. As I type this early the next morning, it’s still 14°c (57°f) out there, so perhaps these frogs are still able to stir up something to eat.

unidentified small purple flower
I probably should know what this is – it was likely planted by us, and I might even have featured pics of the same species previously here, but right now I can’t remember and am not going to bother looking for it. Suffice to say that a handful of flowers have peeked out this season, but these had almost escaped my attention. As I went in to do some detail shots (this is still at night, by the way, though the flash gave it a daylight appearance,) I noticed something subtle on one of the blooms, which is the final indication that things are now going Al’s way, because we’re not only talking bugs, but icky predatory behavior.

unidentified crab spider with hoverfly prey atop purple blossom
This crab spider knew what it was doing, finding a choice flower as it came into bloom and lying in wait. The unlucky hoverfly was only about 6mm in length, so you know I’m going in close for this, which gave a curious impression of a loving embrace, an illicit and forbidden interspecies romance taking place in the still of the night. Okay, I probably need to get out more.

And I should be now, because these are my signs of spring, and I can finally start posting more pics. Whether I will or not shall remain to be seen…

Sunday slide 12

Bathers at Looking Glass Falls
So, there are a couple of common facets of scenic photography which can be a little (or very) discouraging. The first is that, with any truly dramatic bit of landscape, chances are it’s been done many times over – it’s probably why you even know to go there in the first place. So not only is it somewhat trite to shoot yet again, chances are some other photographer has done a much better job of it than you will; there’s even a bit of photographer’s slang about the idea: ‘tripod holes,’ meaning shooting from the exact same position as so many others that you’re wearing holes into the ground from the tripods. And if you have to travel to get there, you might have a limited amount of time to visit the site and do your stuff; the light might be bad, or water flow is less than ideal, or foliage conditions not up to snuff [what the hell does that even mean, anyway?] Most of the best photos aren’t about the landscape itself, the geography and vistas and all that, but dependent on the conditions and timing, and if you’re not there when they’re optimal, it’s much harder to produce something exciting.

And then there’s the popularity, especially if it’s easy to get to or particularly well known. In such cases, you then have to contend with what someone else might be doing, including being in your shot, or with the amount of trash that’s been left behind, or just the necessities of tourist attractions that really don’t add to the impact, like fences and signs and souvenir shops. When you see the empty and serene images of places like Stonehenge, such things were taken in extremely specific conditions, sometimes even with assistance from local authorities to keep everyone else out of the frame long enough to get the ‘lonely’ shot.

Looking Glass Falls in Brevard is one of the most popular waterfalls in North Carolina, featured in countless publications about the state. Moreover, you can practically drive right up to it – it’s actually visible from the road, and it’s a short walk down from the parking area to the overlook, which was only a dozen meters behind me and to the left when I took this image. I was standing in the river downstream, purposefully out away from the other tourists – but there wasn’t a whole lot I could do about the teenagers cavorting in the shallow pool at the base of the falls. The further back I got, the more people would be coming into the image. And yes, I imagine that they felt the same way about me, despite my efforts to stay off to the side and out of the way.

And the light wasn’t really what I wanted, being a bit too flat, but I also suspect this batch of film wasn’t up to spec. It happens sometimes. Another pair of things that can’t easily be corrected when you are making one stop during a weekend trip.

The curious thing about this one is the very narrow range of settings that I must have used – remember, it’s a slide so I don’t have the luxury of referring to the EXIF info, and wasn’t taking notes. The shutter speed was slow enough to blur the water and even produce a bit of motion from the foreground leaves in the breeze coming off the falls themselves, but not so slow that the bathers are obviously moving. I can’t recall if I timed the shot for a moment of inactivity from them, or just happened to catch it, but it’s a curious juxtaposition if you stop to think about it.

The Girlfriend was with me on this trip, and stayed up on the overlook while I was working the stream below, which gave her the opportunity to hear what others were saying behind my back. A few gossiping tourists were betting that I was going to slip and dunk myself and my gear in the water, taking obvious delight in the prospect, but she kept quiet and didn’t bother to challenge their assumptions, and I was happy to disappoint them.

Not everything

Benjamin Franklin is widely considered to have been a pretty smart guy, credited with numerous innovative and useful ideas. The unfortunate thing about humans is, we tend to take shortcuts in thinking, and believe that someone is so smart that they don’t have bad ideas, failing to recognize that no one is capable of that, or at the very least lending more weight to any given idea than it merits. Isaac Newton, for instance, hashed out some pretty damn slick calculations regarding motion itself, including planetary motion, but refused to relinquish the idea that a god was responsible for it all, as well as the thought that an orbit must be circular. Pierre-Simon Laplace was the first (known) scientist to disabuse us of those notions.

We could use another Laplace right now, especially one able to produce pithy quotes, because we need to finally, once and for all, get the fuck rid of Daylight Saving Time. This was Franklin’s idea, supposedly to “make better use of daylight” as the amount of it changed throughout the year due to our planet’s axial tilt.

Now, in and of itself, it makes sense to take advantage of daylight for all those things that benefit most from it, and this does include being more active when the sun is up and thus not having to spend as much money on heating a cold house, or lighting a dark one. Yet, this level of saving is trivial at best, for numerous reasons. The first is, few people have manually controlled thermostats (much less have to stoke the Franklin stove to warm up the place,) and have to bump the heat up when they get up in the morning. But even those that do won’t drop the thermostat when it gets dark in the early evening in the winter months – they’ll still be up until midnight bingeing Netflix without the chill. And a programmable thermostat negates all advantages from shifting the clocks and is a much wiser investment overall (which would also be a benefit if implemented by the millions of people who keep their thermostat set at one temperature regardless.) Notably, too, in all of the warmer states, the shift actually increases the energy use and spending, except it’s not for heat, it’s for air-conditioning, which tends to be more expensive. There’s another hit to energy in the form of lighting and general activity (coffee makers, TVs, etc.) but, again, it’s trivial, usually not topping five percent of overall energy usage, and easily offset by a smidgen more efficiency just about anywhere – for instance, using better city lighting that doesn’t throw light up into the sky where it accomplishes nothing, not using TVs as ambient noise both publicly and privately, and not dicking around with electronic devices because we’re bored or can’t handle, like, books.

And of course, there’s the argument that I heard my entire life, which is preventing kids from having to wait outside in the dark for the school bus. I’m not sure how it’s escaped everyone’s attention that this never actually applied, since it’s the shift itself that provokes this often enough in the first place, but also the very simple fact that the daylight is less in the winter, period – we don’t gain any by doing this. Not to mention that very few people even let their kids wait out for the bus anymore, but feel the need to personally deliver them to the school’s doorstep, because of the enormous energy saving that this entails.

Which brings us to the very special brand of stupid that we somehow engage in. Start school and work later, as in, eight o’clock rather than seven? Preposterous! How will people ever get used to that? So, instead of picking a different arbitrary number to make an ‘official’ start time, we’ll actually change the period of the daylight when we go to work or school but try to call it the same thing. We shift everything twice a year, but pretend it hasn’t shifted because we have to change the fucking clocks nationwide. The millions of people who don’t have kids in school, or have to be at work at a given time regardless, or have to work with daylight hours regardless – those that derive not the faintest benefit from this shift – still have to undergo it to stay in sync with this asinine practice.

Worse, this shift actually increases the injuries and fatalities nationwide, as people abruptly change their sleep schedules and, once again, begin driving to work in the dark while their bodies are adjusted for a later activity period. Somehow we try to ignore that, and insist that the school bus and heating bill thing is more important.

Hell, I’m strongly in favor of one worldwide time, call it Greenwich Mean or Universal Time Coordinated or Zulu Time, and having done with it. This is far less confusing than it sounds. Sunrise is at a different time every morning – the shift is constant (you know, orbital mechanics and axial tilt) – and it doesn’t matter what number we want to apply to it. Everyone that has to do any integration whatsoever across a ‘time zone’ has to calculate the variation anyway, even when the business they’re trying to call opens at 8 AM, just like their own – in fact, they usually have to do additional figuring because of this: “Shit, they’re in Japan, how many hours ahead is that? Or is it behind?” Isn’t it far simpler to just say they open for business at 3 AM, period? It’s a bit like adopting the metric system: if you’re trying to translate, it can be taxing, but if you start off learning it, it works as well as any other number – better, in fact, because the fractional nonsense of SAE measurements in non-intuitive and easily confusing.

[I feel obligated to point out here that I have a watch with dual time and the second is set to Zulu, mostly because astronomical events are pinned to that and it thus negates having to translate into ‘local’ time.]

I’m waiting to businesses to get fed up and simply switch their hours in the opposite direction when DST takes place. “Oh, the clocks jumped ahead an hour? Funny, we now open an hour later. See you at the exact same time as yesterday.” Once enough places do this, maybe we’ll get rid of this ridiculous convention of fucking with the clocks twice a year for nearly pointless reasons…

What are you planning?

six-spotted fishing spider Dolomedes triton on flooded lawn
Just in case you’ve been, you know, living under a rock or in some heathen country, Saturday March 18th is National Fishing Spider Day, the Dolomedes of March, as it were. Traditionally, this is celebrated with Oysters Rockefeller and Tahitian Treat, but go with whatever you feel is appropriate – on our end, it’ll probably be Three Musketeers bars and grilled cheese sandwiches (not together, you idiot.) We’ll start off, trite as it sounds, with a recital of “Inky Dinky Spider,” but then go a little more progressive and play a round or two of thumb wrestling and, later in the evening, tell all our favorite arachnid stories from years past. Low key, I know, but there’s such a thing as getting too wrapped up in a minor holiday.

Prepared as ever, I have a nice image to illustrate the holiday, but this one deserves an even closer look [you should see a doctor about that cough.] Seen above is a six-spotted fishing spider (Dolomedes triton) which was foraging on an expanse of flooded lawn when the pond nearby had overflowed with heavy rains, and no small specimen at that; if memory serves, it was probably a little less than 20mm in body length alone, which would put its full leg span at about the size of your palm. It was not, however, the only one to be seen that evening, or even the only one in the frame.

six-spotted fishing spider Dolomedes triton inset showing another captured fishing spider
Zooming in on the same image, we can see that the main subject is working on a meal, part of the reason I could get in so close without spooking it off, and that meal is almost certainly another fishing spider, judging from the shape of the abdomen and the other leg visible beneath. Spiders do not hesitate to consume other spiders, including their own species – the name of the game is survival, and competition, ready food sources, and genetic heritage are all factors in the game. The other spider being so much smaller would mean not only that it was not a sibling, but also not of potential as a mate, and thus a rival for both food and genetic line. So it goes.

But don’t let me hog the whole post. Tell us all in the comments what you’re planning for National Fishing Spider Day – traditional, or something new? Having friends over? Doing some barbecue? We’d love to hear the variety of ways people will be spending this day!

Sunday slide 11

N4356V Horace Williams wreckage
Kind of a bizarre one this week, an image I’ve had kicking around since the very early days of slide shooting – in fact, I held off on this one because I suspected that it was from a negative instead, the scan having been in my image folders for years. But since I recently confirmed that it’s from a slide, we’ll proceed.

In 1998, the pilot of a Cessna 195 making a night landing at Horace Williams airport in Chapel Hill, just after touching down, realized he was in a poor position to complete the landing and attempted to climb out again, commonly called a “go-around.” Apparently losing sight of the runway lights and unsure of the attitude of the aircraft, a series of maneuvers ended with the plane contacting the ground with one wing, disastrously.

Horace Williams is a small municipal airport owned by the University of North Carolina, and generally at night there is no regular staffing. Pilots flying in can automatically activate the runway lights by clicking their radio mic several times on the right frequency, and ‘clearance’ is obtained by routinely announcing their presence and approach; all other pilots in the area know to maintain vigilance for aircraft that may be in their vicinity. Otherwise, pilots are expected to be familiar with the airport, which has only runway edge lights and no further approach assistance, much less air traffic control (or even radar.) At night, once the nose of the place goes up, all visual references disappear, and without diligence to the instruments it becomes difficult to accurately ‘place’ the aircraft in a knowable position. This is apparently what led to the accident.

The three passengers were all seriously injured in the crash, and no one actually knew they were there. According to the story I was told, their calls for help were heard by someone who lived near the edge of the airport – otherwise they could have been there for a long time, perhaps even until another pilot flew out in the morning, which might have been too late.

The wreckage seen here was photographed several weeks after the crash, when the accident had been investigated by the NTSB and the pieces relocated behind one of the airport buildings. At that time, I was occasionally riding out of Horace Williams on short excursions with a private pilot friend, who took me back to see the fragments. In the bottom of the photo sits the floor pan of the cabin, with the rudder pedals clearly visible; just ahead of that point would have been the firewall that separated the cabin from the engine compartment, now clearly detached. It illustrates the savage nature of the accident fairly well, I think, even though this is not the accident scene itself but the deposited fragments after clearing the area; it’s safe to say that the wreckage wasn’t torn up to this extent by the accident investigation or the shifting of the aircraft. To me, the image has always been a bit poignant, which is why it’s been sitting in my folders waiting for an opportunity to share it.

Friday color revisited

I could have posted these earlier this week, but that would have ruined a theme I have going.

blue lungwort Pulmonaria officinalis blossoms
I featured these last year, taken in the same location too – while blue lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis) are considered native, I’ve only ever seen them in the NC Botanical Garden. But they’re quite small and appear to have a very brief blooming season, so it’s possible I’ve just never been around them in the wild at the right time.

It’s still not quite spring season yet, even though a few select things have come into bloom (and the almond tree is leafing out like a champ,) but I figure I’ll throw down some springlike pics right before the snow storm rolls in on Sunday – it’s not supposed to be a serious one, but it’s poorly timed.

small patch of bloodroot Sanguinaria canadensis blossoms
Okay, granted, there’s not a lot of color here, but the white makes the rest stand out, so I’m counting it anyway. Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) blooms early like the lungwort, yet still a bit later than daffodils. They’re much bigger than the lungwort while still being small flowers.

weeping cherry blossom against blue sky
And back home, of course I had to do some shots of the weeping cherry tree, letting the sky provide most of the color this time. I just missed an opportunity today to photograph a honeybee visiting these flowers, which is the first actual pollinator I’ve found visiting them, but since the tree produces an abundance of little cherries each year, something’s doing the trick.

Stay tuned; if the snowstorm produces anything scenic, I’ll make the attempt to do something with it. But right now I have six minutes to post this before it’s inaccurate, and I’d have to rename this, “Saturday color.”