I mentioned in the last post that it’s been uncommonly cold here in Michigan. In fact – this Easter is colder that last Christmas or Thanksgiving. And unlike last Christmas, one of the handful of Michigan Christmases I’ve lived through were there was no snow on the ground – this Easter is finds us with an inch or so of the white stuff sticking and staying on the ground.
So much for predictable weather…
Last night delivered the real surprise, though. While its been snowing, it’s been just a sleety, pellet-like snow. Not real snow flakes or crystals.
Until last night, that is…
Around 11:30 I looked out side and saw that it was snowing fairly heavily. That has not been unusual – all day long lake effect snow bands passed over the state, bringing a half an hour of heavy precipitation and then clearing and moving along.
But what was unusual was that the snow falling now was clearly in the form of individual crystals. After years of photographing snowflakes, I’ve gotten pretty good at spotting the tell tale signs of a good snow – smallish flakes that ‘twinkle’ when the light catches them are usually individual crystals, with flat sides (which allows them to reflect back the light and ‘twinkle’.)
I commented yesterday about motivation, and how sometimes it can be a challenge to get motivated to take shots, especially if they require a little extra effort. I have to admit to a certain lack of motivation as I looked at the thermometer and saw the temperature hovering around 20 F. After all – it was the night before Easter, spring should be in full bloom, and after several abnormally warm weeks we’ve fallen into a period of sub freezing, dark, and snowy weather.
But then – this will probably be the last chance I’d get to go out and shoot snow crystals – at least until next winter. Though, you never know when the last time will be…
My snow crystal setup was still in place – granted, I had started some gardening and yard word, so I have to move the lawn mower and some storm windows out of the way. The glass plates that I use to catch the crystals were a bit dirty, and while I wiped them off some of the shots from this session have a blurred, soft effect from that.
The snow didn’t last long. Maybe half an hour. Even though temperatures have been at freezing or 10 degrees below for the last four or five days, the inside of the garage was still warm. As a result I lost a fair number of shots – some of the best – because after a few second inside the crystals could start to melt. The heat from my hands, especially, was enough to melt the crystals that were close to where I held the plates.
The individual snow crystals were not very well formed. Some were beautiful, some interesting, others seemed worn, half formed, broken or tired. Within half and hour the crystals has turned to a fine sleet again, and after a few minutes that also faded away.
The shots from this session are OK, but not great. But it was still a first to shoot snow crystals in April – given that in the past I’ve had only a handful of productive sessions after February.