Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Holiday Season at "Ketelsen East"!

A few years back I used to give a year-end review of the highlights and lowlights of the preceding year.  My blog output has been so low the last couple years that I saw no point in doing a review. Last year only produced 27 posts, about half of my 2017 output, which was about half of my 2016 output! But on the optimistic side, though I only had one post in July and another in August, the year ended strong with 6 in December! So with today's start, I'm hoping the surge continues into the New Year!

I've been at "Ketelsen East" for almost 3 weeks, and as I posted a few days ago, got in a Carolina road trip early-on. It was quiet holiday with only a couple family gatherings, otherwise have been working on a couple projects at home and mostly hanging out watching the cold weather outside! Got in a single bike ride when it hit 50F one of my first days here, otherwise have been a slug!

But I'm always looking for photo ops, and while the winter scenes are pretty monochromatic, found a couple of interest just the last few days. Temps have hovered within a handful of degrees around freezing, so snow one day, then rain, then snow again! At least it hasn't made driving difficult, and the fresh snow a couple days ago, plus the clear skies made some interesting shadows on the boat dock a few yards from my house.

It seems strange to have a river without boats on it! Has been a weird year - high water and some minor flooding through the spring and summer has restricted boat traffic much of the warm season, and now these hidden rules I know little about, evidently restrict watercraft from even being in the water, so the river looks naked without something running it! This shot down the river was taken a bit before sunset shortly after the shadow pics above were taken...

Then yesterday, New Year's eve, the rain came and we got a goodly amount, melting most all traces of the snow we had on the ground. I had to make a trip into the city (more about that in a future post), and drove in moderate showers over the course of the hour-long trip in and back out again. Didn't slow down the crazy drivers much here - everyone still drove 5mph over the speed limit with showers, mist and fog, so no traffic delays! When I got home I saw the berries from this bush adjacent to my parking area (unidentified), with their bright color and rain drops abundantly apparent! This is a 6-frame focus stack (combines exposures with slightly different focus settings to extend range of focus). with the 100mm macro when rain paused momentarily.

After a quiet night, woke up to no snow, but soon noticed a little accumulation this morning. Taking note, the snow was barely visible - tiny little flakes hardly seen, but enough to accumulate. I got the "big" macro (Canon MP-E 65mm) out to look for crystal structure, but none was seen. Shown here is a "still life" I found atop the AC cover where an acorn cap had fallen. The macro makes it much more interesting as it started filling with snow pellets - no other word for them - they look like little snowballs with no crystal structure... About 90 minutes later I went out again, and in the further accumulation it looked noticeably different - at right! These were taken at the lowest magnification (about 1X) and used a ring flash in front of the lens for shadow-free illumination.

Finally I cranked up the magnification to 3X or so (max is 5X!), and shot the snow pellets on my car windshield. Nice structure is noted, but little of the crystal variety... Of course, now that I've got the right equipment on hand, snowflakes will be rare!

Here for a while yet and am still looking for objects of interest!


Anonymous said...

yeah... the snow is in southern az. go figure. noticed something interesting on drive home from work on the i10 last thursday. It was starting to snow again up on catalinas and flakes were coming down on my windshield. very small flakes that immediately melted but what was interesting is there were these lacy small actually tiny droplets with hexagonal formed shapes. windshield was totally dry and flakes were not clumped so there were these momentary lacy patterns that were dropping all over the windshield. never have seen that before. likely because rain did not precede it and windshield was dry and cold but not cold enough to keep snow crystals from melting. it was very interesting.

Anonymous said...

ps the NOVA presentation of Pluto and Beyond this evening on PBS was just awesome. and nice to see so many women scientists on the new horizons team in key operational positions.