… those emerging reptiles, just two weeks ago?


snow on birdhouse on March 12
Despite such optimistic indications, on Monday afternoon the snow returned – not a lot, and nothing to improve the appearance of the landscape in the area, but certainly a kibosh on the concept of an early spring. Whoever might’ve gotten that impression. It was, in fact, snowing hard enough when I got this photo that the blurs from at least four falling snowflakes are visible in the tiny portion of the frame that shows any depth, off to the right. I’m glad I didn’t do any early plantings.

melted snowflakes (so, water drops) on weeping cherry blossomsThe air was cold enough, especially at altitude, to produce snowflakes, but at ground level the temperature largely remained warm enough to prevent it from sticking. The Girlfriend’s weeping cherry tree, enthusiastically pushing out blossoms for the past two weeks or so, refused to cradle any flakes artistically and instead melted them on contact, though the pale background indicates it was accumulating on the grasses. I had time only for a brief photo session, trying to find something that spoke of the conditions and not doing terribly well – the birdhouse up there did better than anything. I also didn’t affix the flash, wanting the natural light conditions, but it was dim enough that decent shutter speeds (at an ISO that wouldn’t look shitty, from the Canon 30D) just weren’t happening. One subject merited a return in the evening when I had a few more minutes, so this time I did it right and used the macro flash rig.

unidentified spider completely ignoring the freezing weather
I’ve remarked before how quickly the spiders seem to reappear as soon as the weather turns the slightest bit warm, but this is the first I’ve seen active during freezing conditions, and not very sluggishly at that. It’s curious, because it seems a waste of time to me – prey insects aren’t likely to be found anywhere, even though a small handful are cold-hardy and can even be found in arctic conditions. But I don’t see them around here, and generally the temperatures have to be up in the 10s (that’s celsius, or 50s fahrenheit) to start seeing insect activity. Perhaps this guy knew something I didn’t. Or maybe it’s just one of those evolutionary freaks that likes the snow – every species has a few.

While out there with the flash, I returned to the cherry tree to do another version, this time going low to capture more of the interior detail of the blossoms. It’s a shame I didn’t have snowflakes to work with, just to enhance the apparent clash of seasons.

more weeping cherry blossoms melting snow
The next day dawned bright and sunny, but I still had to clear the snow from my car at mid-morning, though it had never stuck to the roads and was quickly eradicated from lawns and such. I’d like to believe it was the last of the season, but the nights are still predicted to drop below freezing for a few more days at least, so it’s not time to plant anything yet. I have better plans this year than ever before, so here’s hoping at least some of them pan out into something interesting to post.

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