March...winter departs and spring approaches. The snow recedes and uncovers detritus and trash as it shrinks into dirty little piles. Trees stand bare. Fallen leaves lay sodden and lifeless on the ground, weighted down and muddy.
November is somewhat like March, but November has its great scorpionic charm - the triumph of darkness that heralds the difficult months ahead - the advance of winter that one can love as one can love an enemy that forces you to draw upon your strength to meet them.
But March brings no challenges - spring is coming .. but it's not yet here. Winter lingers on as mere dingy inconvenience...
What to photograph in March's flat light? Dead leaves? Dead leaves swirling in icy cold water? Dead leaves covered with drying mud? Yes, yes and yes...
Its a foolish undertaking but I try to understand March - the nascent spring, the life potential not quite realized but inevitable, the feeble remnant of winter. A mystery.
This morning brought dense fog a warm air descended onto the snow covered landscape. Winter is end and spring is coming! Here are a few picture of trees from this foggy morning (click on the images for a much larger file):
Cabin fever is getting to me... I grabbed my film bag and paid the Allegan Forest a visit. I always do this around this time of year, and I always come back disappointed. The twisty scrappy forest never really shines in the late winter....
So here's my best photo (so far) of the trip - a pine cone, in the road. I was stomping around in the 15 degree Fahrenheit weather chasing ephemeral light that was dancing on the edges of the tree branches... This photo was almost an afterthought, but seeing as how I never actually captured any of that dancing light, it's a good thing I looked down at this pinecone on the snowy road. Here's a snapshot of the road itself - it was nicely plowed, easy driving and walking.
The seasonal roads are impassable for most vehicles still, though they get a lot of snowmobile traffic and those with really solid 4x4's may venture down them. Both images were made on Arista Edu Ultra 200 film, using a Pentax Mz-S, FA 28-105 f4-5.6 zoom. Film developed in Rodinal 1:50.
I caught the spider in a plastic 35mm film canister and put it in the freezer overnight. Taking it out this morning and inverting the canister, it dangled a bit from a filament of webbing. Looking at this photo, it seems to have webbing stuck to its body - I guess a spider and its web are pretty inseparable.
This is a 123 image stack, taken with a Pentax K-3, D-FA 50mm macro lens reverse mounted on about 140 mm of extension, with dual manual flashes for illumination. The images were combined in Zerene Stacker.
This leaf footed bug - possibly Acanthocephala terminalis - showed up in my house recently, so I arranged for a macro portrait session. This is 69 stacked images taken at approximately 2.5x lifesized. Click on the image for a much larger file.
February is coming to a close and with it the 2014/15 snowflake photography season starts to wind down. Ironically I've had few opportunities to photograph snowflakes in the past few weeks not because winter is fading and things are warming up, but rather because it is so cold that Lake Michigan has almost completely frozen over. As the ice cover grows on the lake there is less lake effect snow.
Here's a handful of snowflake photos, most from today but with two from last week. All were exceedingly small and were photographed using a 50mm lens reverse mounted on over 350mm of extension - one very gangly set up! Click on the images for larger files.
Two more snowflake photos from last week's storm. These both look like they were forming into sectored plates but show some rime, wear and other irregularities. Both were quite small and I had the reverse mounted 50mm lens on close to 200mm of extension for these. click on the images for larger files: