Photo of the Week – November 3, 2017

While at the Niobrara Valley Preserve last week, I hiked around in the former pine savanna on the bluffs north of the river.  I’ve always enjoyed the patterns found in the bark of ponderosa pine trees, especially after a fire.  Because of the big 2012 wildfire that swept across the Niobrara Valley Preserve, we have thousands of dead ponderosa pines, and (among other things) that means lots of great bark patterns.

Ponderosa Pine Bark pattern. Niobrara Valley Preserve

Not only are pine bark patterns interesting to look at, it’s also fun to try to find images of familiar objects in them.  It’s a little like cloud watching, but instead of gazing dreamily into the sky, you stare at dead burned trees.  It’s probably not for everyone, but one perk is that you don’t get a crick in your neck while doing it.

I didn’t see any particular picture in the first photo shown here, but I did in the next two.  I’m curious to know if any of you see what I see, or if you see something completely different.

So far, people have seen a giraffe, a scorpion, and a happy turkey in this one…


This one brings to mind a couple different Looney Tunes cartoons for me.

It’s probably a good thing I don’t live at the Niobrara Valley Preserve.  Among all the other things that would distract me from getting work done, I might spend too much time just wandering around looking for pictures in tree bark…

Photo of the Week – February 23, 2017

The weather has been extraordinarily warm for the last couple weeks, but it’s finally getting colder.  While I’ve enjoyed getting outside to play soccer and other outdoor recreation activities, I’m also looking forward to seeing some ice again.  A little snow wouldn’t hurt my feelings either.  It’s been a pretty brown winter so far.

In the meantime, here are a few ice photos from a couple weeks ago, just as the last vestiges of ice were disappearing from the edge of a Platte River wetland.  Let’s hope they aren’t the last ice photos of the winter…

Frozen wetland plants and bubbles near the edge of a frozen, but melting wetland.

Frozen wetland plants and bubbles near the edge of a frozen, but melting wetland.

A frozen rush embedded in ice.

A frozen rush embedded in ice.

Ice and wetland rushes/grasses on the edge of a wetland. The Nature Conservancy's Platte River Prairies, Nebraska.

Patterns of ice bubbles and wetland plants.

And before you say it, yes, I recognize the delicious irony of yearning for more winter in this post exactly a week after a post in which I yearned for spring so I could photograph flowers.  What I can I say?  I like flowers, but I also like ice…