It was a crisp clear sunny morning. The sun providing a back light to the beautiful ice clad branches of the trees against a clear blue sky. It’s Christmas Eve morning. Looks like we will indeed have a white Christmas.
Today was another beautiful day. I just love it when the sun shines on the freshly fallen snow. Because of the snowstorm yesterday, the schools were all closed. It came down very quickly during the early morning, but when it was all said and done, we only had about 4 inches here in Frankenmuth. The weatherman on the news said it was only 2 inches, but I measured in my yard, and it was 4 inches. Today, the sun was shining and the sky was a beautiful blue with white puffy clouds. I spent the morning cleaning off the driveway and used the snow blower for the first time this year. Afterwards, I journeyed down to the Gugel Bridge, yes the same bridge from Day 14. This time I focused on the Cass River, as it shimmered in the sun. This is another HDR photo, I set my camera for 7 shots, you can tell by looking at the clouds, they are a little fuzzy, due to the wind. There aren’t too many days of winter, but in Michigan, we usually will have one or two big snows in March. It has been a mild winter with less than average snow fall. I don’t really mind this year, our heating bills have been a lot lower. Now I’m ready for spring, the Tigers players reported for Spring Training this week, so we know Spring is on the way. I also saw a Robin yesterday; another sign that Spring is near. I’m ready!
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I was experimenting with depth of field this morning. We had a light dusting of snow and it looked as though it came down when the temperature was above freezing, started to melt and then froze again. The small branches on the trees had ice crystals, mixed with a thin layer of icy snow. Over on the clothes line there were clothes pins which also had the snow and ice coating. I liked the way the snow and ice crystals looked on these weather worn clothes pins. I shot this at f5.6 at 1/50th. The resulting depth of field was shallower than I expected and I really like the effect.
I’ve driven past this field many times without thinking twice about it. The other day when I drove past, I thought, “that would look great with snow in the field, too bad there isn’t any snow. Well this morning when I drove past, I pulled out my iPhone to capture the scene. I love the vines and the old windmill standing by itself in the field.
The tree in the field looks so lonely, yet somewhat majestic with it’s outreaching branches. I like to see the lone tree out in the middle of a farm field. It’s like the tree has earned the respect of the farmer. Kind of brings that saying to mind, “only the strong survive”. The surrounding colors, or lack there of, make for a melancholy message, winter still has a grip on Michigan. Winter in Michigan is pretty dull and gray when there is no snow. Rarely are we treated to a sunny day in February. This is a typical winter day, gray sky, brown dirt or mud, and hardly any green. Today we had temperatures in the 40’s again. We have had minimal snow this winter and most of us Michiganders feel that “the big one” is still lurking. Just when you think you are out of winter and heading for spring; bam, a blizzard hits and we get buried when we least expect it. I enjoy the big snow storms that catch us by surprise. They help to brighten the gray days of winter.
I love rural America. I especially like to see old barns, barns made of wood, of all shapes and sizes. The wood barns have much more character than the new pole barns. I know these old barns will become a rare sight with each passing year. Our farmlands are giving way to new homes and subdivisions, rural America is becoming citified. This barn is on the edge of Frankenmuth, just before you get into town. I love the red against the sky and the white snow. The word bucolic, describes a rural, country setting. I like bucolic. It has a nice comforting sound to it.
Here in Michigan, we are experiencing a very mild winter. We’ve had very little snow and some unseasonable mild temperatures. While the temperatures have helped us all save some money on heating bills, the skiers and snow mobilers have not been able to enjoy the outdoors. Now we find ourselves hoping for snow, maybe not a ton of snow, but at least a little. No, those are not porta jons in the parking lot of the Bavarian Inn, in Frankenmuth, Michigan. Those are blocks of snow covered and ready to be carved for the 2012 Snowfest. Each year in January visitors come from all over Michigan and other parts of the country to visit Frankenmuth and enjoy Snowfest. If you have never been, you need to come and check it out. Although we are currently experiencing snow melting temperatures, it was in the 50’s today, cold weather is on the way for the start of Snowfest which begins Wednesday, January 25th and runs through the 30th. There is plenty to see and do, and as always lots and lots of great food. If and when the temperatures drop, you can always hang out in the warming tent and enjoy refreshments and music. There are snow and ice carving competitions with sculptures viewable throughout the entire downtown area. This is one time for sure that we all wish for cold temperatures and yes, snow. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. The warming tent is up and ready!
I was out running a couple of errands this morning and on the way home, I decided to stop by one of my favorite places in Frankenmuth, the Gugel Bridge. Note the spelling , it’s different from the search engine website. The bridge crosses the Cass River and is a foot / bike bridge. This is the first time I’ve visited the bridge in the winter. I love the combination of wood and steel, along with the woods and water of the Cass. Today was especially nice with the beautiful blue sky and puffy white clouds as a back drop. My only regret was the tracks in the snow, I really love seeing fresh snow. These were tracks from an animal, and as I looked over the bridge, I warmed to the idea that a man made object could be helpful for one of God’s creatures. We hear so much about how much damage man does to the environment and wildlife, it’s refreshing to think that this bridge opens new territory for the little creature that used it to cross over to the other side of the frigid Cass river. Man and nature in harmony! I love it.
Now this is what we’ve come to expect during January in Michigan, snow and lots of it. Up until today, it has been a very mild winter, we had a light dusting of snow in December and earlier this week we saw temperatures climb into the fifties! I love the way the snow clings to the branches of the trees. I love to see the new fallen snow without a track in it. Everywhere we look it has that fresh and clean look. This is why we live in Michigan; to enjoy each of the seasons. Welcome Winter, stay with us awhile, we enjoy your company, but please try not to wear out your welcome.