Wednesday Wonderment – pt 19

Winter wonderland

As regular readers may be aware, there is one season of the year that really stands out for me: Winter.  I’ll grant you that in New England, Autumn is considered by many to be the most beautiful, if not their favorite season.  I agree that the colors and smells of Autumn are fantastic, but the silent beauty of Winter, when there is snow on the ground dampening all sounds and the air is crisp, it’s not to be denied.

The other aspect of Winter that I really enjoy is to go out and explore during a cold day, traversing the solitary landscape and taking in its beauty for moments, such as in this image:

2015-03-29 12.51.18 HDR-1 copy
Winter’s Beauty

Ecological Reckoning and Activity

Ecological reckoning of winter differs from calendar-based by avoiding the use of fixed dates. It is one of six seasons recognized by most ecologists who customarily use the term hibernal for this period of the year (the other ecological seasons being prevernal, vernal, estival, serotinal, and autumnal).   The hibernal season coincides with the main period of biological dormancy each year whose dates vary according to local and regional climates in temperate zones of the Earth. The appearance of flowering plants like the crocus can mark the change from ecological winter to the prevernal season as early as late January in mild temperate climates.

To survive the harshness of winter, many animals have developed different behavioral and morphological adaptations for overwintering:

  • Migration is a common effect of winter upon animals, notably birds. However, the majority of birds do not migrate—the cardinal and European robin, for example. Some butterflies also migrate seasonally.
  • Hibernation is a state of reduced metabolic activity during the winter. Some animals “sleep” during winter and only come out when the warm weather returns; e.g., gophers, frogs, snakes, and bats.
  • Some animals store food for the winter and live on it instead of hibernating completely. This is the case for squirrels, beavers, skunks, badgers, and raccoons.
  • Resistance is observed when an animal endures winter but changes in ways such as color and musculature. The color of the fur or plumage changes to white (in order to be confused with snow) and thus retains its cryptic coloration year-round. Examples are the rock ptarmigan, Arctic fox, weasel, white-tailed jackrabbit, and mountain hare.
  • Some fur-coated mammals grow a heavier coat during the winter; this improves the heat-retention qualities of the fur. The coat is then shed following the winter season to allow better cooling. The heavier coat in winter made it a favorite season for trappers, who sought more profitable skins.
  • Snow also affects the ways animals behave; many take advantage of the insulating properties of snow by burrowing in it. Mice and voles typically live under the snow layer.

Some annual plants never survive the winter. Other annual plants require winter cold to complete their life cycle, this is known as vernalization. As for perennials, many small ones profit from the insulating effects of snow by being buried in it. Larger plants, particularly deciduous trees, usually let their upper part go dormant, but their roots are still protected by the snow layer. Few plants bloom in the winter, one exception being the flowering plum, which flowers in time for Chinese New Year. The process by which plants become acclimated to cold weather is called hardening.

Technical Details

This image was captured with an iPhone 5S using the standard Camera app.

Author: jansenphoto

A Fresh Perspective Photography is more than just a vehicle for capturing the world around me; it provides me with a palette and a set of brushes, with which I paint not only what I see, but also look to express the emotions that are evoked by the scene in front of me in that moment. Growing up in the Netherlands exposed me to a wide cross-section of visual arts that laid the foundation of my photographic view of all that surrounds me. Early influences were the Dutch Masters of the 17th century, to whom I was introduced by my grandfather during museum explorations; favorites among them are the scenes of quotidian life depicted by Jan Steen and Frans Hals and the vivid landscapes of Jacob van Ruisdael. My classical high school education was supplemented by the Boijmans Van Beuningen museum, where I spent many a lunch hour exploring its great collection. Here I was introduced to surrealism with a particular love for the approach taken by Salvador Dali; Dali also rekindled my appreciation for the work of Hieronymus Bosch, who often showed the folly of us mortals. Universal Connections My approach to any photographic subject is to look for understanding first; in this I look to establish either a connection between the viewer and the subject or capture the connection of the subject with its surroundings. The captured image then aims to portray this connection from a perspective that is part of my personal interpretation. This interpretation is often a form of externalized introspection, which may alternately display the connection of isolated beings and items with their environment or highlight the whimsy of the profound world, in which we find ourselves. The universe is full of connections, many of which are waiting to be discovered; part of my journey as a photographer is to document these connections. Any assignment, be it an event, a product shoot or a portrait session is always approached through communication with the client; this is where the first connection is established. Ideas are exchanged and a collaborative plan of action forms, ultimately resulting in a set of images that aim to exceed the expectations of each client. And, lest we forget, it is important to have fun while practicing the serious business of photography!

11 thoughts on “Wednesday Wonderment – pt 19”

    1. Thank you, Miriam. In particular, when it’s hot here, I really miss Winter 🙂

      Good week thus far, as last night’s guitar workshop was really good and inspiring! This weekend, I have a photography workshop to attend, so things are awesome!

      Hope you’re having a great week too.

      1. It’s progressing nicely; this 6 week workshop has been great, as I’m now working on fingerstyle, a topic which my guitar instructor hadn’t broached at all. Learning the picking patterns and the rhythms has been eye-opening and allowed for a lot of quick progress.

      2. Sounds great. I love the finger style method, it lends itself beautifully to classical and Spanish/Flamenco music which I love playing. Enjoy. 🙂

  1. This is a great post, thanks Frank! Your photo is beautiful, and I used the info to do my best and like winter a bit more. ❤ Cooperation is key. (and it's nice to be summer)

  2. Pingback: GOOD LUCK

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