Happy and I stopped by the Stone Arch Bridge on our way back thru town today.
I wanted to see the river now that the water levels returned to normal after the drawdown event of last week. It was again flowing beautifully over the falls of St. Anthony. During last weeks event it was a strange sensation to see the river after all the water had been let out of it, there really was nothing to reference it to, especially with the extreme cold temperatures causing icing on everything and with such a bright contrasty day. The scale of the picture was gone. I wished I had taken those same images last summer to have a graphic example of how much things can change.
Love it or loathe it, it's the new Guthrie Theater. The walkout thing to me looks a little weird from the road, and I always sped up a little when biking under it while it was in construction, but the views from the 4th floor open air balcony are monumental. It salutes the river in a very unique way.
The work continues on the 35W bridge project, 24/7 as they say. Large pylons for the new bridge are in place already and the bridge design shown on the kiosk in the Mill City Museum is a definite improvement for pedestrians compared to the old style. I know those workers are looking forward to spring and warmer temps.
And thru theoretical physics we, um, "know", that Gravity Slows Time*, so Happy the Dog here, in his leap away from Earth, is actually growing older slower than he would on the Earth's surface, hence why he looks so young and Happy! So this leap year thing is actually a good thing in more than one dimension! Now I just have to find my Quantum Leap (tm) watch, so I can reset it. Okay, if two trains with twin Happys are leaving Newark at 3PM...
*Awesome that our whole reality is based on something so bizarre
Thanks to Nikola Tesla for dropping by to help celebrate.
And for inventing alternating current.
I never noticed he has no pinkie until now. Hunh.
Striated by snowflurries
A young house finch preparing to call home.
Confucius says, "You do not know the thickness of the ice until it cracks."
In this case, on the creek it's about 14 inches.
Nicely lit ducks.
Several dozen ducks seemed to be repeatedly flying large orbits around our neighborhood after I got home from work.
Maybe they were used to hanging out at the airport.
Red-tail, sans crow.
Don't do it young Mr. Robin! It looks tasty but it's buckthorn!
Your pooper will not be happy!
Hey look, I see somethin' stinky to roll in! Bonus.
So it adds another level of challenge to the photographic disipline, you have to set up your tripod, line up the shot, press the shutter, wait for the shutter, and grab the tripod and camera in one swoop just before the dog reaches you and attempts either the flying body tackle, the behind the knees clip and roll (now outlawed in semi-pro), or the pull up short, graze you slightly, circle back and try to lick your lens while you turn in circles at an ever-increasing speed trying to pull your gloves on.
Anikin is speechless, well even more than usual. In the last two days two white blossoms appeared on the smaller set of plants, and popped open in the morning sun today. I grew something! I grew something!
I thought this was a unique exposure. No, Happy the Dog isn't caught in a raging forest fire on an Arctic lake. It was shot using my camera's "Night Mode" which opens the shutter for 3 seconds (in this case) then fires off the off-camera flash using rear-curtain sync. The net result is the parkway bridge in the background, street lights, and vehicle lights are captured during the long part of the exposure and the dog and snow are captured by the flash as the shutter closes. Seems a bit surreal to me as the time lapse part of the image suggests motion and passage of time while the camera flash part of the image freezes that particular moment. Somehow they fit together in the same time-space continuum. As Einstein would say, "It's all relative."
Are cattails grain?
The Full Moon Snowshoe Hike (well, almost - it was full yesterday) at Wood Lake Nature Center, Richfield, MN set the stage for some long exposures this evening. The squiggles and lines are airplanes that had moved across the sky while the shutter was open (it was a 30 second exposure), streetlights and car traffic sporadically light the trees. The pink tones are from the reflected city lights. On the big version you can see tons of stars, fox tracks, and our snowshoe trails. Nice night.
It's interesting because my friends at Friends of the Mississippi River decided to offer a tour of the event guided by National Parks Historians, and 75 people signed up in the few hours of the news release. After adding two more tours, which both filled up the same day, they ended up with three tours of 45 people each, plus 200 on the waiting list. And all to go out on a day that started out at -12 F, with a -24 F wind chill to look at a river with no water in it. Hey, we love our river. And we want to see what it looks like without much water in it. Who wouldn't?
In the above photo, the normal water level is up to the lighter colored stone on the bases of the arches. None of the snow & ice covered earth is visible under the bridge. The water level has been lowered around 13 ft. It doesn't sound like much, but that's 13 ft. across the entire span of the river for miles.The morning found the Muddy Miss not so muddy, but steamy in the cold temps. Ice covered the exposed rock, and big sheets and cups of it caved in around the edges where the water had receeded.Mini-marshmallows of ice developed in the spillways. With the wind at our backs, the hiking was fine, but after the turn-around and heading back into the wind, the moisture from the dam and wind-chill was really punishing. Successful clothing combinations were the "hot-topic" of the day.
I think some birds like this Red-tailed Hawk welcomed the lack of deep water to provide more hunting grounds, while the geese and ducks were looking a bit perplexed about having to share their pools with relatives and squawked their grievances as the tours filed by.
I guess between the Muskrat Safari and Cross-country Ski instruction for preschool - 6th grade, I didn't get enough wind-chill today so I had to take the pup out for a walk when I got home. Nice sunset down at the Lagoon.
I think folks are getting a bit testy about the long run of cold weather we're into tho. The drying effects are taking their toll on hands, lips, eyes and throats. It's a chore to take your nineteen layers on and off all day, and part of you is inevitably sweating when another part is getting frostbite. It's always a crapshoot when you insert that car key into the ignition with your biggest mittens on and play the "Will it Start Lottery." If it does start it usually grumbles about it for the first few blocks while your tires gradually get round again and that molasses mixture you call 5W-30 warms up enough to reach all parts of your engine. Soon you are scraping frost off of the INSIDE of your windshield (at the stoplight of course, why bother until you need it) and your heater fan (misnomer) is blowing it into a continuous loop so that you feel like you are in a life-sized snowglobe.
This is the kind of weather that induces previously sane, well-adjusted people to zip-tye large pieces of cardboard over their radiators to get that last bit of heat into the cockpit (hey, it's -20 and you're worried about it over-heating!?) and as long as you're out there you might as well strap something onto the grille to enshrine as a mascot, say an old Christmas wreath, your kid's favorite stuffed animal, a duck decoy, maybe some deer antlers, you know, something to bring a little "class" to a 15 year old Buick. When the weather preaches, you must heed. Desperate times, require desperate measures. Kind of like Richard Dreyfuss building a Devils Tower out of mashed potatoes at the dinner table. Things must be done, gods appeased, ids quelled. Spring is just around the corner. Just around the corner. Just around the corner...
So much smarter than some presidents.
So much more charisma than some presidents.
So much more personality than some presidents.
So much higher up the food chain than some presidents.
Able to breathe thru their butt, much like some presidents!
The similarities are astounding!
In the few days since we last checked in with Anikin the Manikin, it seems there has been a drastic turn of events. After nearly getting thrown thru the window in a fit of crocus-wrassling, it looks as tho Anikin has reversed his political affiliations and turned tree-hugger. He told me in an exclusive off-camera interview that after banging his head on the windowsill, he realized in an epiphany that he and the crocus essentially "came from the same stuff", and that he hoped "we all could just get along."
"Peace out," added the crocus.
Time exposure+an off-camera flash at the sloughs. All that orange light-pollution insidiously collects on your CCD chip as the seconds tick by. When you look at the scene at the start, it's barely perceptible, but after a 30 second exposure it looks like everything is preserved in a block of amber. Even my +2 EV pre-flash couldn't kill it.
We saw at least one owl, a Barred, not wanting to give up his hunting area to a bunch of low-life stinky humans that can barely see in the dark. So it hung out for awhile, allowing itself to be photographed from multiple angles. Later we saw another, or maybe the same owl blast out of the cedars farther upland, but this time he wasn't up for hanging around for idle chatter.
It is said that if you were to stick a newspaper to the goalpost of a standard football field, an owl could read the newsprint from the other goalpost. What is not known however, is if they normally skip straight to the comics.
Regressing back to this morning, here we have some of the major players from the Sierra Club Wetlands Stewards cleaning out, counting hatched / unhatched eggs, logging and putting in the new cedar bedding for our wood duck friends. The results were far better than anticipated. Only one house out of 8 had no signs of inhabitation. The other houses all having eggs, duck down, or fragments to clue together last year's lovely Minnesota timeshare getaway. Okay Mark, tell us who our lucky winner is....Not these guys, unfortunately. They are kinda pretty tho. Well, better luck next season!
Hey, I think that lady about a mile and a half away is taking treats out of her pocket! I had better get over there!
The brown dog jumps over the lazy um, snow.
I pull my little sled full of milk carton luminaries around the track, trying to spread them out so the skiers will be able to follow the course direction, and still have enough to get right to the trail's end with the last one. Last week was perfect. I set the last one and was right by the door. That will probably never happen again. This week I had four left over.
Lunar eclipse next week. Something to remind us we're on a spinning wet rock somewhere in space, whatever that is, and that we don't hold all the cards.