Bare Trees


It’s been a long winter here in Austin. We haven’t had any snow or ice, but we have had several mornings where the temperature has dipped well below the freezing mark. I guess what makes it seem so long to me is that I rarely get outside between mid-December and early February.

It’s not because we have cold winter temperatures here, but it is because of what the local Austinites know as “cedar fever“. It is during this time of year that some of our trees pollinate, and it causes many Austinites to suffer.

This is actually a misnamed phenomenon. It is not really a fever, and the trees that pollinate are not actually cedar trees, but rather a type of juniper tree. They are the trees that appear green year-round, and you can see they come right up to our backyard.

20130203_Bare_Trees_001When I first moved to Austin in 1972, I was 17 years old. When I first heard about “cedar fever” I simply thought that these Texans were just a bunch of genetically deficient bunch of wimps. I arrogantly probably continued to think that for the next 14 or 15 years – until I also began to suffer from this allergy.

This year hasn’t been a particularly bad year for cedar fever, but I’m not one to go out and taunt Mother Nature.

Even though my blog post activities have dropped considerably, I have managed to stay pretty active with my photography. Last Thursday I took the day off of work to attend a Lightroom 4 seminar, where the presenter was Matt Kloskowski (one of Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Guys). Except for the January 9th rain, all of my photography has been indoors…

20130201_Evening_at_Home_002Now that the juniper trees are at the tail end of their pollinating season, it’s time to crawl out from the winter cave and enjoy the warm temperatures that have been prevailing here in Austin for the past month or so. It seems like every weekend in January, while the temperatures might have been very favorable, the constant gray clouds have pretty much killed any desires that I might have had to take a walk with my camera. It seems like all of the “pretty days” have been for me to observe from my office window, while I’ve been at work.

This is another view off of our patio. The bare tree on the right is a Bradford Pear tree. That is a fruitless variety, with magnificent white blossoms in the spring, and vibrant red leaves in the fall. As you can see, right now it is in “winter mode”, just like our yard grass.

20130203_Bare_Trees_003-2From a photography compositional perspective, I like this next view looking to the northeast the best.

20130203_Bare_Trees_005Here’s a view looking due north.

20130203_Bare_Trees_004That giant willow tree in my neighbor’s back yard doesn’t seem to ever shed its dead leaves until the week right before it puts out the new ones in the spring. The photo above made the giant willow tree the center of attention, but I thought it had too much of the pretty blue sky, so I took this next one aimed a bit lower.

20130203_Bare_Trees_006That photo seems to summarize the state of the trees in Austin right now. The trees are all bare, except for the green cedar (juniper) trees. At least those cedar trees are no longer heavily laden with their rust colored pollen!

The Super Bowl is going to start in about 3 hours. We haven’t turned our TV on yet, and we don’t want to until 30 minutes before the kick-off. There is only so much pre-game hype that I can tolerate. No, instead, I’m going to head outside and take my 3 mile fitness walk and enjoy the beautiful day that we have today in Austin. To hell with the cedar fever!

Thank you for visiting my blog.

4 thoughts on “Bare Trees”

  1. I like your version of winter much better than mine. I have a foot if snow in the yard.

    Hey you got to get a seminar with Matt. Good for you – he’s excellent. Time well spent. Do you ever watch Kelby tv – The Grid? He is on there quite often. I try and catch the show every now and then.

    Ok, you go take another fitness walk and I’ll go round up my snow shovel 😉

    1. Libby, yes our winter weather is not too bad here in Austin. It “looks like” winter, but we just don’t get the really cold temperatures. If you are not affected by cedar fever, then it is a great place to spend your winters!

      Yes, I occassionally watch The Grid. It almost always lasts more than the hour that it’s supposed to. I rarely catch it live, though. When I do see it, it’s usually a “slow day” at the office, where I put it up on one monitor and listen with my headphones while I read email and work on my other monitor.

      Matt was very personable. I sat in the front row, and during the breaks I watched him patiently answer the questions from the parade of people that lined up to talk to him. I brought my lunch with me (as I’ve learned over the years that all of the restaurants near these seminars are flooded with people). After he finished with all of the people that lined up at the beginning of the longer lunch break, as I was sitting there eating my lunch by myself, as Matt gathered up hs laptop and camera, he noticed me just watching him (hey there wasn’t anything else to be watching right then and there!), and I told him to “enjoy your lunch”! He must not have gone very far, as I saw him again 10 or 15 minutes later sitting in a big chair just outside of our large room, and he was working on a big burger and some fries…

      I have a couple of Matt’s books, too. One is on Layers and one is on advanced Compositing. Admittedly, I have never read either book entirely. I do refer to them occassionally during those infrequent times when I actually do something challenging inside of Photoshop.

  2. We live in an oak woods. It’s scenic. It’s also allergenic from March through November. Short of moving, well … c’est la pollen.

    I am bemused by your version of winter. We hardy New Englanders scoff at calling such mild weather “winter.” On the other hand, my husband’s brother lives in Northfield, Minnesota and he scoffs at OUR version of winter, so I guess it’s all relative.

    Love your kitty 🙂 Love the idea of not being buried under 3 feet of snow, too. Sigh.

    1. Marilyn, thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment! Yes, I’ve seen a few photos of the snow in the woods near your home. It is very pretty, but I’m very glad that I don’t have to deal with that anymore. I grew up in Illinois, and had a morning paper route, so I had to get out in the cold and the snow well before dawn or any snow plows ever got near our neighborhood. It was a great place to grow up, but I’m glad that I no longer have to deal with it.

      Yes, winter in Austin is actually pretty pleasant, and we all just develop our methods of dealing with the allergies.

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