It’s been an interesting week. One of the reasons is that my two-year-old parody Roadside Wildflower Guide (full of blurry wildflower photos) has caught people’s attention on social media again. Somebody on Twitter came across it and their tweet got picked up on Instagram and Facebook and shared many times. As a result, I’ve been fielding questions all week from people asking whether I’m planning to make the guide into a physical book (no), but also telling me how much they enjoy it (thank you!).
That one goofy project has gotten way more attention than anything else I’ve ever done. I’ve joked with people this week that when I’m dead and gone all my thoughtful conservation work and crisp close-up photography will be forgotten – I’ll just be remembered as ‘that guy with the blurry flower pictures’. I guess as long as I’m remembered, I should be happy?
Anyway, today’s post… At the very end of 2021, Kim and I spent a few quiet and blissfully isolated days at the Niobrara Valley Preserve. While there, I ventured out multiple times with my camera, mostly along the edges of the Niobrara River and some small tributary streams. Before I could share photos from that trip, I got excited about ice bubbles on the restored wetland at the Platte River Prairies and shared photos of those instead. As a result, today’s post has photos from several weeks ago. It’s a hodge podge of ice and frost images. I’m sorry they’re not more blurry. I hope you enjoy them anyway.
The Norden Chute is a well-known local landmark on the Niobrara River, located just upstream of the Norden Bridge in the middle of the Niobrara Valley Preserve. The chute is gorgeous, but I’ve always struggled a little with photos of it. Compositionally, if you’re standing down by the chute, it’s hard for me to find a way to avoid the water flowing out of the edge of the frame, rather than into the frame. That tends to make the resulting photos seem a little out of balance. Here, above and below, are two examples of that. I still like the images, but maybe you can see what I mean. It would be ideal to stand on the other (south) side of the river, but there isn’t a great place to stand there and all the action (shallow flowing water and patterns) is on the north side. Oh well.
Here’s a very short video clip of the water going over the falls at the Chute. The cascading water, with rafts of ice in it, was really mesmerizing to watch. The video captures some of that feeling, but I spent a long time just staring at it in real life.
I took lots of photos of the little ‘Christmas trees’ of frost (above) on emergent vegetation along the edge of a small stream. The stream was strongly groundwater fed, and so wasn’t frozen over, but that warmer water and the cold air combined to make some pretty fantastic frost on plants in and along its banks.