Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Magic Hedge - 1.11.11, Post 4

Back in July (post: The Magic Hedge - 7.20.10 (1/2)) I posted this picture of one of the very few conifers at the Hedge.  Even then the needles were a bit yellow.

Conifer in Winter
This is that same tree in winter.  The pinecones are hanging on, the needles are becoming the frame for nests of snow.  The needles are more yellow in the face of the much colder weather and lack of circulation in them.
Parallel Pinecones

When there's not much color at all, you spend a good amount of time examining the bit of color you can find.  In this case the needles of the tree.  One thing I noticed since I was spending so much time studying these trees was the fantastic texture of the bough.  It's scaled like the pedals of the pinecones before they unfold.
Pinecone Protrusions

This cluster caught my eye because even thought I'm looking at the same kind of pinecone, they look pretty different depending on if you're looking 'up' or 'down' each one.

Snow Cap
Here you can see the way the snowflakes fall.  (Macro lenses are awesome!)  You can also see how the snow settled into petals of the pinecone where it could, but that it's facing down too much on an angle for the snow to stick on all sides.
Snow in the Needles

It looks almost alien.

Snow as Fashion Statement

I showed you the shots of the geese taking off in the last post or two.  Here's a couple before they left (obviously.)  Let me tell you something.  Chicago geese are completely confident that they could take you out.  They don't fly off when humans approach and are as likely to come at you and yell and honk because you're in *their* space as they are to walk away (casually, like they're just out for a stroll.  They don't *flee* humans.)  So you can just walk up to them and get some nice close shots.  Like I mentioned before, the bait shop keeper was out there feeding them bread before I got over there, so apparently this one went snow-diving to get at his.  And the snow won. ;)  But apparently geese don't feel cold - at least at the levels were were getting.  This guy had no interest in wiping the snow off his beak or his feet.  Others were sitting in the snow, very comfortably preening their feathers.

Camouflage Critter
 I posted a rabbit in the first post.  As I went down the line it was stems, stems, stems, rabbit, stems, stems, rabbit, stems... you get the idea.  3 rabbits in a row.  Bunnies get big and fat over the fall.  In the summer and all the bunnies were much more svelt.

Clearly the Airline Made a Mistake
 I have no idea why this sparrow thought it was a good idea for him to hang out in Chicago for the winter.  I know most of the Southern U.S. states are below average for them, but it has to be better than what we have here in Chicago.

Watch for Falling Ice Squirrels

I don't know what's eating the bark off the trees, especially this high up.  (This squirrel was above my not-quite-five-foot-high head.)  I can't imagine a squirrel doing that much damage, but I don't know what else would get up there and do it.  Anyway, he's kind of adorable up there, no?

Flakes Falling on Wall
One last shot for tonight.  This is a wall between the path you're allowed on and the prairie flower protection area between the Hedge and the Lake.  Blow this one up to full size if you get a chance.  It's very cool how you can see the snowflakes falling onto the accumulated snow on the wall.  I also like how you can see how the snowcap was creeping down the wall a flake at a time.

And now a word from your sponsor... who is, you know, also your photographer. Now that I know how this works, I'm going to be closing out at least one post each day I blog with my Etsy link.  Etsy, for those who don't know, is an on-line art and handcraft shop.  I not only sell my photography there but ceramic work, crochet pieces, fabric-crafts and other things.  Please take a look if you have a chance.

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