Tired of White – Let’s Try Green

Green Frog

White.  My entire world seems to have turned to white.  And I’m told to expect another 3 or 4 inches of white tonight, followed by lots of ice and rain. The weekly winter storm is arriving right on schedule.  In some ways (and if the forecast holds true), this storm won’t be a bad as it could have been, except for maybe the ice part.  If the ice hold off, this storm is supposed to bring almost an inch of rainfall – a little colder and that would have meant about 12-14 inches of snow.  The downside – if it really comes as ice – trees, powerlines, and telephone towers will be coming down all over the state. One weather report is calling for a “catastrophic ice storm”.  Catastrophic!  What’s that like – a descent into the seventh level of winter hell?

Enough of white – I’m going to start thinking about green.  Green grass, green leaves, and green frogs.  I snapped this photo on a wonderfully warm day last July while in the Delaware Water Gap.   My wife and I were walking along a large pond and green frogs were jumping about – it seemed from every corner.  This frog patiently waited for me to set up my camera and take several shots before sinking below the surface.   I love the textures and colors of the pond’s surface, all covered in small aquatic plants. 

The frog is cool too, if you happen to like frogs.  Green frogs are pretty common in New Jersey.   I enjoy listening to them as they call, especially when I’m out birding early in the morning or late in the evening while I’m hiking through the pine barrens.  It won’t be long before they’re singing again.  Just a few more weeks of white and then – green.


Another December Storm

Looking Down My Street

Here’s the scene, looking down my street, I was greeted to yesterday morning at around 7 A.M.  The first nor’easter of Winter (and hopefully the last) brought over two feet of snow to my part of New Jersey.  Because I live so near the ocean (only about 10 miles as the crow flies) this storm was very intense as it passed by, with 50 mph winds, bizzard white-out conditions, and about 14 hours of snow.   Some parts of the state were reporting 80 mph wind gusts, so this was essentially a snow hurricane.  During a news conference yesterday afternoon, New York City’s mayor said this was the 5th worst storm in the city’s history.  I can believe it.  We had 5 foot high drifts and the wind was still blowing hard most of the day.  We share a driveway with our neighbors and it took us almost 5 hours to shovel out the cars.  Last year we had three storms, all of them nearly this large, within a two week period.  Here’s hoping that we don’t get a repeat this season!!

Wow – What a Response

The title says it all.  The response to my lunar eclipse photos took me by surprise, with thousands of hits and hundreds of comments and questions.  I am still reading my way through and, to be sure, I appreciate each and every one of them.  In my haste, I have accepted and posted many of the responses but I promise that I am reading my way through and will answer questions as quickly as time (and holiday commitments) allows!

Unfortuantely, I did give an inaccurate response to some questions, mostly because my camera equipment is new (well, new to me) and I didn’t take time to confirm my answers.  So, for everyone who asked for technical data behind the shots, here goes.

I took the lunar eclipse photos with a Canon Rebel Xsi and Canon 100-400 mm lens.  I had the camera mounted on a tripod, equipped with a cable release, set to ISO 1600, the lens f-stop at f/5.6, and exposed the images for about 1.3 seconds (with lots of bracketing).  Focusing was an enormous challenge, as the moon was very dark and about the size of a pencil eraser in my camera’s viewfinder.  So I used an old trick, learned during my amateur astronomer days, of glancing through the corner of my eye (to get the brightest view) and looking for sharpness between the brighter and darker areas.  A few shots came out great; many did not.  But, overall, I am very happy with the results and enourmously happy that I had fought against my first instinct to shut my alarm and pull the blankets  back over my head. 

A couple bloggers have asked to use my image for posting on their blogs and you can see them here and here.   Thank you both for taking the time to send a request and the patience in waiting for my response.  For others, if you linked to my blog page, please let me know and I’ll check out your blog.  And if you want to use the image on your blog, please send me a request describing your idea and we’ll talk it through. 

Responses to the photos have come from across the USA and around the world, from people who saw the eclipse, who were clouded out, or who were located on the daytime side of the planet at the time of the event.  It is thrilling to read responses, knowing that so many of you live in places that I could only hope to visit some day.  I do have the great fortune of traveling to South Africa soon, so one blogger’s comments caught my eye.  Slowvelder, I promise that I’ll drop by your game reserve if I am anywhere near Hoedspruit during my trip.

Once again, to all my “old” and “new” blogging friends, thank you!  This has been an incredible experience for me, one that I won’t soon (or ever) forget.