A week ago today, on Saturday February 23, 2013, after what seemed to be several gray and dreary weekends here in Austin, TX, we finally had a nice day on a weekend. I noticed out our back window that our Bradford pear tree was looking kind of fuzzy out on the ends of it limb, so I grabbed my Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera and headed outside to have a better look.
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I had the Olympus 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 lens on, and since it was a cloudless sky, I put on a circular polarizer, just to cut down the glare of the mid-day sun. That lens is considered a “kit lens”, but even so I still use it more than all three of my prime lenses combined. And since it also has a macro mode, and I went in for a closer look.
Yes, even though it was still in late February, our Bradford pear tree was starting to produce buds that will soon turn into leaves and brilliant white blossoms! That might be a little early, but since our average last frost in Austin is before mid-March, it’s not that unusual.
This was exciting to me, and even though it was just after 1:00 PM on a basically cloudless day (supposedly the worst possible time to be outdoors to make pleasing photographs), I decided right then and there that I was going to walk around my neighborhood with my camera, on a mission to be “Searching for Signs of Springtime”.
I saw these cat tails, and thought it might be fun to capture them with the sun coming from behind them.
I was looking to see if ANY flowers were out yet, and yes there were a few small ones that people had planted in various locations of their yard.
The flowers that I did find were all pretty small in size. This reminded me that the last flowers that I saw in the late fall were also all small in size. Maybe the small flowers are the ones that can tolerate the dozen or so freezes that we get here during the winter.
I stumbled across this pink dogwood tree, which was just starting to blossom.
I was glad that I could tilt the rear LCD on the camera down, as I was holding the camera well above my head as I took this next photo of the dogwood tree.
By now it was 1:30 PM, and the sun was directly above, and I was wondering if any of the photos that I was taking would be “good enough” to put on my blog.
Well, they will not win any awards in a competition, as the sunlight was very harsh and direct. But hey, I was having a great time just being outside and playing with my camera! Robin Wong calls this sort of activity “Shutter Therapy”. I decided to keep going…
Pretty soon, I stumbled upon this strange little flying insect. I assume it is a bee, but I have never seen a bee that looks like this before.
And just a couple of blocks later, I spotted this spotted butterfly!
There were flowers out, but they were few and far between. They were rarely in the shade, and I didn’t have my portable diffuser, so I just photographed them in the direct sunlight.
The variety of flowers was good, and I wasn’t just finding the same type of flower everywhere.
This was the ONLY garden that I came across that looked like it had been freshly planted with new plants. That’s the same bunny that was in the overgrown garden last summer that I photographed just for Libby of ohnostudio. (Libby often photographs the little yard and garden ornaments at her house in New York.)
I walked another half mile and didn’t see any flowers or other signs of springtime worth photographing, so I turned to doing some “Street Photography”. 🙂
I spotted another butterfly, but it would not stay still. It took me six tries before I caught it with its wings spread open.
This photo shows the relative scale of the size of the flowers that I was seeing.
In the same place as the photo above, I used my own shadow to block the sun, and got in close to snap this photo.
I was getting close to home now. I spotted this unusual little flower wagging wildly in the breeze. I took 9 photos of this little red-violet flower, and ended up deleting all but this one – it was just moving too quickly to not be blurry.
OK, so I live just around the corner to the left in this next photo. You can see that even though I was able to find some early signs of springtime, the general vegetation in northwest Austin is still very much in its dormant winter state. The greenery that you do see is green year round.
This is the same street sign that was in the center of the previous photo. Even though the circular polarizer has darkened the sky pretty dramatically, I like the way that it contrasts with the yellow portion of this sign.
In the week since I took these photos and today, the Arizona ash trees have fully put out their vibrant light green leaves. Our Bradford pear tree is just about to “pop”, but the buds are still brown in color. That should change dramatically in the next few days, and I’ll try to capture a “nice” photo of it when it is full of its brilliant white blossoms.
Thank you for visiting my blog!
2 thoughts on “Searching for Signs of Springtime”
Bing Cherry Lane – only in Texas 😉 I always wanted to live on the Bluebonnet Parkway LOL.
I used to have a small flowering tree in the yard (a storm took it in 2006) and one year I marked a branch with a piece of flagging tape. I shot the same blossom group every day over the period of three weeks. It was interesting. When we had the very cold nights, little progress, but when things warmed up – Wow!
The backyard ornaments – I don’t think I have a bunny so now I will have to go shopping. Thanks for the mention!
This was a nice trip for me today as I sit under a fresh cover of snow with a mild flu I picked up somewhere. I won’t be going out today, but soon, soon!
Libby, yes the house builders in Texas use all sorts of “imaginative names” for the streets in their developments. You are a lucky resident if you don’t always have to actually spell the name of your street right after you say it.
I once heard about some photographer that photographed the same tree, from the same angle, every day for a year. Supposedly it not only documented the change of the seasons and the growth of the tree, but somehow this also improved his photographic technique. (Not sure how, and I doubt that I will duplicate his work to allow me to find out if it would also help me.)
Time to go shopping for some new yard ornaments, so we can watch this year’s vegetation grow up around them!
I hope that you have a relatively speedy recovery from your bout with the flu. The people around here who have had it, say it takes a couple of weeks to get over it. Stay warm, stay dry, and stay safe.
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