Tag Archives: Spring

Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflection

Yesterday, I took my first walk this Spring (as opposed to my last walk of winter last week) along the Greenway Trail near my home.  It still looks a lot like winter, but everywhere you go, there are the tiniest hints of Spring’s arrival.   The first shot I took — one that I won’t be able to take in a few months as the growth along the creekbanks will obscure this particular view — was of the creek and the beautiful reflections of the trees.   Perfect for this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge.


Late Afternoon Reflection

Fall Creek is bigger than most “creeks” around here, but it isn’t as big as a river, at least during parts of the year.  When the snow began to melt a few weeks ago, you couldn’t even walk on the paved trail, which is several yards away from the creek.  The water has receded now, but there are plentiful signs that the area was recently flooded.

Creek, water, Fall Creek Greenway

After The Water Receded

But, I didn’t have to walk very far before I saw the first buds on trees:

Silver Maple Awakening

Silver Maple Awakening

Just beginning

Just beginning

On the walk back home, I snapped a quick shot of the roadway, and then a few in my yard.  Again, from a distance it still looks dreary, but slowly, imperceptibly, Spring is awakening.

Roadside Slumber

Roadside Slumber

The first daffodils peaking their heads above the ground.

The first daffodils peaking their heads above the ground.

Snowdrop & Leaf:  Old &  New

Snowdrop & Leaf: Old & New

As Thoreau wrote in Walden, They were pleasant spring days, in which the winter of man’s discontent was thawing as well as the earth, and the life that had lain torpid began to stretch itself.”

Look carefully:  don’t miss Spring’s early stretches.

One small sign of Spring

Goldfinches live here year-round but when their feathers start to turn yellow, you know that Spring is coming soon.   On days like today — when it is snowing, even though it was 68F yesterday — the small patches of  yellow are a nice reminder that sunny days will slowly replace the winter greys.  Goldfinches

Sunday Quote, 2013, Week 15, Pablo Neruda

You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming.
~Pablo Neruda


Travel Theme: Pale

Ailsa’s theme this week is “Pale“.  While it is very easy to think of Spring as being colorful, some of its most beautiful aspects are the slow display of color as the flowers begin to bloom. Two days ago, there were only a few stray daffodils in bloom.  Today, they’re everywhere, the vinca is blooming, and the trees are starting to bud.   There will be bright colors — maybe as early as tomorrow — but today, it was subtle.

Subtle Spring

Want to join in the fun?   Check out Ailsa’s blog:  Where’s My Backpack.   Here are just a few of the participants:

Techy info:
Canon EF-S 60mm f2.8 Macro lens, ISO1600, f/7.1, 1/1000 (it’s been a windy day!)
Edited in ACR and PS Elements 8, Textures from Kim Klassen: PlasterSquared; Clarity.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Color

We’ve had a long winter, so there is hardly any Spring color around yet.  But the signs are there that in a few days, color will POP!   Already a few daffodils have opened their buds and in four or five days, the hillside will be covered with many shades of yellow.   But, for now, the most colorful sign in my yard is this small garden sign.  A Mother’s Day gift to my mom years ago, this cute little sign recently made its way back to my own garden, where it brings a bit of color and rhyme to the subtle browns and moss greens of the woods .  Soon those colors  will give way to a rainbow burst of other hues.  We were served ramps at our favorite restaurant this evening:  a sure sign that winter has ended!

Soon the garden will be a-buzz!

Soon the garden will be a-buzz!

This is my contribution to this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge:  Color.   Why don’t you join in the fun and leave a link to the Daily Post page (here) for a photo that says “COLOR” to you.  Be sure to check out what others have posted while you’re there.  Here are just a few:

I’m Solar-Powered …. and need a bit of Spring

9.25 was the number yesterday.   9.25 inches of snow, a 100-year-record in my area of the country for this late in March.   It was a year ago that I went to a friend’s home to photograph her garden because she thought she would miss it before she returned from her winter home in the South.  I went hiking one day in mid-March without sunscreen and paid the price.   All the Spring wildflowers had faded by the first of April.

But this year?  9.25 inches of heavy wet snow.  It started Sunday, dumping a few inches on the ground but not sticking to the roads.  By noon it had stopped and everything on the trees and lawns had melted.   I thought we had dodged a bullet.   Around dinner time it started up again with a fury, covering the ground within minutes.   Because Daylight Savings Time is earlier now than in past years, this may have been the first time I experienced a heavy snowstorm in the daylight — at 8 pm!

Monday morning everything was covered.  It was cold and the winds had picked up.  At times it was difficult to tell if it was snowing again — and often it was — or whether it was merely snow being shaken off the trees.  Every once and awhile I would see a robin.   This weather isn’t for the birds!   I bet that bird wondered why he had booked his return flight north so early.

I wandered outside later in the day, accompanied by my camera and my iPhone.  Since the iPhone is new, I thought I’d take a few setups with both.  Having a phone that was so old my family liked to tease me that it was “so last century” (hyperbole runs rampant in my household, but they were almost correct), I have been amazed at the quality of the photos this little wonder that fits in my pocket can take.

But you know what?  I’m bored with pictures of the trees in the woods covered with snow.   I’m fatigued by ice crystals slowly melting off the picnic table.  I’m no longer fascinated by the frost patterns on the windows and sidewalks.   I’ve seen enough of footprints left by woodland critters on the driveway.  I’m fed-up with the constant grey haze that permeates the midwestern winter.   I’m solar-powered and I need the sun!

And yet, in the midst of the white fluffy snow, there are hints that this Second Winter, Winter 2.0, or The Winter That Never Ends — call it what you want — will in fact melt away and soon there will be flowers and trees in bloom.

The flowers will bloom tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow.  Can it please only be a day away?

The flowers will bloom tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow. Can it please only be a day away?

I didn’t like any of the photos that I shot, but this one, with just a hint of yellow and green against the rocks reminds me to keep looking forward a few weeks to more enjoyable weather.  The photos weren’t as clear as I liked, nor were they exposed correctly (dark afternoon shadows and bright-grey light — ugh!).  So this seemed a perfect candidate for adding some artistic, painterly effects and some overlays.   I liked adding a texture (Kim Klassen’s Grunged Up 2) to the snow.   I’m over it looking pretty in its pristine condition. Don’t beguile me with your whiteness, ye blanket of snow!  When it doesn’t melt around here, it gets very grungy looking and so I thought this image deserved the same.    Pow!  Take that snow!   

Linking up for Kim Klassen’s Texture Tuesday.  This week’s theme:  Flowers.   New green growth with a few buds hinting at blossoms is about as close as you can get to flowers in the wild here and I wasn’t about to head out to the store in the snow!  🙂

A Wee Bit of Spring

It’s been a hectic week and despite good intentions to post time didn’t seem to allow it.  Fridays usually mean that I participate in one or another photo challenge.   Never have all of them converged so easily into one post.  In addition to that, the challenge from my Beyond Beyond class easily fit too.  That’s a convergence that don’t expect to see again soon!

Photo Friday — a wonderful challenge that I haven’t participated in for many months but occasionally wander by to check out the excellent photography — had “Springtime” as this week’s challenge.

The Daily Post hosts a Weekly Photo Challenge.  This month has had a focus on iPhonography.   Today’s challenge:  Lunchtime.   Springtime = lunchtime?   Absolutely if I my lunch had included ramps, but it is a bit too early in the season to find fresh ramps where I live.   I’m already thinking about them though.   Instead, my mid-day break was spent wandering through the woods adjoining my house, looking for signs of Spring with my iPhone.  It was a little chilly today, but with the ground wet from the recent snow but starting to warm, it smelled had that loamy Spring scent.

Ailsa, the awesome Irish lass who hosts the weekly Travel Theme, has a theme of Green in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.  It has been several years since I’ve visited Ireland.   I only had to step off the plane and look across the runway to the horizon to understand why Eire is called the “Emerald Isle”.   During the gloomy grey days of winter here in the Midwest, I long for all of the varied shades of green that begin to appear in late March.  There are a few here now, but I can’t wait until green is everywhere!

Lastly, Kim Klassen’s Beyond Beyond class this week discussed a technique for creating a chalk board effect.   I’m not entirely happy with what I did, but it was more fun than just using a “chalk” font.

Green/Spring/Lunch Convergence

Green/Spring/Lunch Convergence

There may have been snow on the ground yesterday, but it is gone today.   While there are plenty of fallen limbs and dead wood to be removed from the woods at some point, for now it waits on the still-cold ground, providing a nice place from green fungal growth.  The ground cover, which turned a crimson color in the late fall is beginning to turn green again.  On warm spring nights in late April or May you can hear it grow,pushing aside the crunchy, crumbling leaves.  The daffodils are starting to poke through and will soon burst open.   My hellebores, which I checked just yesterday and wondered if I would see any flowers this year, have developed buds overnight.  Soon their pale yell0w-green flowers will open.  The timing is later than last year when we had an unseasonably warm February, but they are true to their other name:  Lenten Roses.  They’ll be in bloom before Easter.

Be sure to check out the work of other participants in any of these challenges.   You’ll find great photography that is sure to be an inspiration.  What about you?  Have you found a bit o’ green nearby, a hint of Spring for those in the northern hemisphere?  If not make it a point to step outside on your next lunch break and take a look.   You don’t even have to wait until lunch!


This week’s Photo Friday’s challenge is “Fleeting”.   It seems a perfect time to showcase a project I’ve been working on:  a near-daily shot taken from my front porch for the last month.    Winter is fleeing fleetingly.   Spring is here.

You’ll notice some tropical looking plants appearing, then disappearing, as the slides progress.   These “houseplants” which take over my living room each year, made an early departure for the porch.  A predicted frost brought them back into the house, but they’ve been kicked outside again.

A Little Rain Must Fall

This week’s Photo Friday challenge is “RAIN”. “How appropriate!” I thought as I read the prompt yesterday morning during a torrential downpour. But, rain is not that easy to capture. Most of the shots that I took throughout the day were rather bland. Many didn’t even look like rain. When the rain stopped, I went outside with my camera to capture the aftereffects. Those shots, too, while perhaps a bit better in terms of exposure, didn’t seem to capture much. Many, while nice looking shots, seemed rather cliché. And, that, was the lesson of the day: sometimes the best photograph is one that suggests something, that portrays a subject or theme in a different light. When trying to document the immediate thing, the photographer ends up with the expected, capturing only that which is neither creative nor enticing to the viewer.

I thought about how the rain makes me feel. When I was a child, I loved to look out the window during downpours to observe the raindrops dancing on the street. If there was a slight wind, the drops would appear to skate along the asphalt, looking like jacks spinning around. Or, they looked like ballerinas, the sprays of water as they hit the ground their tutus fluttering during a pirouette.

A conversation overheard years ago, one adult to another: You mean you think the rain has a smell too? Rain on the grass; rain on window screens; rain on dirt; rain on the highway: it isn’t just one smell. The smell just before the rain begins, when the birds start chirping a different, more frantic song. The rain afterwards when the birds return and the flowers shake off the droplets.

During this early Spring, the rain brings a color too. The cloudy gray skies can’t mask the green of the rapidly unfurling leaves springing forth from the early buds. My immediate world seemed far more green and growing after the rains yesterday, even though it washed many petals off of the trees.

Here are some of my shots from yesterday, none of which I consider evocative; just merely adequate for expressing “Rain”.

During the rain:

Battered plants: yesterday eager to be outdoors, later wishing to be sheltered.

Viburnum bud on patio

Petals on a wet black bough

Rain drops slowly off tree trunk out my window

Rain dance on driveway

Weathering the storm

And after the rain:

Rain drops slowly from the leaves


Bedraggled daffodils

Narcissus bowing his head, but no reflection

Weighed down by water

Spring Marvel

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous ~ Aristotle


When the warm weather hits, those of us who live in colder climates suddenly think that 60 degrees is a heatwave. Over the cold, snowy months, our skins have forgotten that we felt a chill in the air in late September when the mercury dipped to 60. Usually we know that it is only for a few, carefree days and that we cannot put away our scarfs and coats and boots.

Sometimes, though, we are lulled by continuous days of warmth. Even the trees this year may end up being fooled. Typically, I see the yellows of the daffodils beginning in mid to late March. April brings the purple hyacinths, followed by the white budding trees — fruit trees that have been hybridized so that all their energy goes into a lush bloom, with nothing left for a fruit; dogwoods, ash and elders. The magnolias and red buds soon follow, creating horizons of pink, purple and white. And then, just as the magnificent rainbow of colors is ending, all shades of green pop as the leaves unfurl.

It has been so warm that this year, everything is bursting into bloom at the same time. The viburnum’s pink buds will be here before the jonquils have faded. The blue bells will add to an Easter basket look across the yards. The tulips in all their glory will be fighting for attention with the other colorful flowers that are usually here and gone by May. The tulips don’t look like they will wait that long though.

Everybody, after a winter cooped up inside — even a mild winter — can’t wait to be outside. Kids from a basketball team gathered at an ice cream shop yesterday. How odd to see them come from their game in their uniforms in the middle of March. flip-flops, short shorts, and tank tops were the uniform of the day in the parks. Nobody is going to want to go back to heavy coats now. While we can go back, even if reluctantly, what will the plants do if there is yet another freeze?

I love this time of year because of the incremental changes in nature that happen so quickly. It seems simple: brown, to buds, to colorful blooms, to green. It all happens within a few weeks for any individual plant or tree. When it gets so warm — into the 70’s and even the 80’s already this month — everything seems to happen at the same time. There is hardly time to notice how marvelously each stanza of the Spring song is played.

Just as easy to overlook is the mass of white on a tree.  What makes up that white cloud? What looks so beautiful in its simplicity is really a marvel of complexity.  Einstein said that everything should be made as simply as possible, but not simpler.  There is nothing simple about a bloom or a tree or Spring.  Take a moment.  Look.  Marvel.