Friday, January 11, 2013

Needle Work

24 inches of snow has fallen in the past 24 hours.
Winter wonderland...
as in:
 I wonder how many I times I  am going to have to shovel the driveway before this storm ends?


I know we keep saying we don't have room in the garage for a snow blower but seriously at this point I am ready to give up my second refrigerator out there to make room.

Usually shoveling isn't that big of a deal for us.
It is good exercise, and usually Bernie can handle the job by himself.
Sometimes I pitch in and sometimes our neighbors who are out blowing their own driveways will wheel their blowers over and do the job for us.
This storm...Bernie is really sick with the flu that is going around.
He is fevered,  shaking with cold, then burning up and aches all over all the time.
No fun, and not fair... especially since his knee was really almost better.
(The above picture with the car passing by gives you an idea of just how much snow I have been shoveling. Tate sits in the window carefully snoopervising my snow relocating efforts)

The storm continues and the birds are not even trying to feed yet.
Not that they could if they wanted too.

I am getting a big kick out of our lamp post.
Doesn't it look like the post is wearing a white version of the hat that the guards at Buckingham Palace wear?

I have been eagerly awaiting the chance to do some more snowflake photography.
For now there is a lot of grauple, which is a tiny fuzzy ball form of snow, and there is enough wind is blowing that any flake designs are shattering upon landing.
The one above survived its landing somehow.

If you look closely, it is the flake directly below the clump on the edge of the lens, not quite dead center in the photo.  There is a tiny peach colored dot at the tip of the flake.

Given that the cool stellar dendrite snowflake forms are scarce right now I decided to see what I could do about photographing snow needle flakes.
Look closely at this photo and you will see a few tiny lines mixed in with the shattered flakes.

Here's another shot...much closer up.

I had noticed the needle shapes before but frankly didn't find them all that interesting.
Then I read up on them at THIS site:

Needles are slender, columnar ice crystals that grow when the temperature is around -5 C (23 F). On your sleeve these snowflakes look like small bits of white hair.
One of the amazing things about snow crystals is that their growth changes from thin, flat plates to long, slender needles when the temperature changes by just a few degrees. Why this happens remains something of a scientific mystery.

So this rather simple looking snowflake form is a scientific mystery!
(The mini snowball looking things are grauple btw.)

They do seem to come as twinned form quite frequently.
The needles are rarely more than 1/3 of an inch long, and usually much shorter than that.
They are about as thick as most adults hair.

It was warmer than the article's suggested 23 degrees when I took these photos, it was closer to 28 degrees out on my deck actually.

They lack a fancy shape, but I have to wonder what they do by being their shape?

Like the old expression: God don't make no junk.
I believe He has a reason for everything He creates.
Interesting that science, (which has broken down other snowflake shape development to the degree that they can grow them in labs) can not figure how these seemingly simple structures come into being.
(Note the dangling twin needle shape on the left?) 

I have obtained a 60mm camera lens now, (Thanks Mom and Dad for the Christmas money!)
I got it this afternoon and haven't had an opportunity to attempt to photograph needles with the better lens yet.

Will I be able to see the air bubble inside the needles with the new lens?

Can't wait to find out.
(The link to the snow web page has me feeling like a bird watcher; I am eager to attempt to photograph all 40 something categorized snow flake forms.
An interesting winter project for me to tackle I hope.
In between shoveling the driveway snow that is!


Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

You have your work cut out for you...shoveling and photographing the 'needlework'! Enjoy. :)

ellen b. said...

40 something!? Wow. I did take some photos of more crystally snow today. I haven't uploaded them yet. You really do have so much snow. I'm sorry for Bernie getting the flu. I'm bracing myself for the possibility...oye!

Pondside said...

Poor Bernie - as if the knee wasn't enough for one year! So far we have escaped the flu - is it the shots we had or our relative un-sociability right now? Who knows?
Your photos are gorgeous. I like your response to all that snow - finding the mystery and beauty in the minutia.

Vee said...

Fascinating, Jill! Forty? Incredible. I am wondering if my little experiment last winter actually shows some of these needles you

Vee said...

Oops that's the iPad for you! Hope that Bernie feels better very soon.
Poor guy...
Go get a snowblower . They are on sale here.

Rosella said...

Beautiful shots of snow again! I'm not surprised that you would see "hats" in the snow too! It's fascinating how the snow crystals form and they truly do resemble fancy needle work! So beautiful. As much as I'm not a fan of winter - I do wish we had more snow and colder temps. right now. It's dreary and muddy these days when usually January is bright and frozen. Hope the flu is overwith quickly and the shovelling slows down for you.

Anonymous said...

Please do not send your snow to CT! The photos remind me of the winter of 2011!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

My husband and I both have enjoyed looking at your posts about snowflakes! You learn something new every day! (I live in Florida!)