During the blazing hot summer days here in Texas, just shy of tying the record for consecutive days of triple-digit heat (over 100ºF/38ºC) in the DFW area, I cannot help but yearn for cooler temps. That record of 42 days was set back in 1980. This year we capped off at 40 days straight due to thunderstorms from the Texas panhandle and Oklahoma that rolled in last week. Although breaking a record can be exciting, I openly welcomed the slight drop in temperature—and most-of-all the rain. Summer ain’t over yet, so plenty more days for triple-digit temps and keeping to my nicely air-conditioned house longing for the autumn season to come rolling in.
Such overly hot summers makes it hard to believe that we do get snow in northeast Texas. Usually it is for a single day in February and pretty much gone by late afternoon. Not so much the case these past couple of years. The “first” snow-day for 2011 was a few hours of constant snowfall from late morning to mid-afternoon to lightly coat the ground in early January. Practically disappeared by sundown, but there were still patches that kept overnight only to disappear the next day. And, this turned out to be only a teaser compared to the several days this past winter there was snow on the ground.
When snow is rare, it is a welcomed treat—the unexpected curve-ball that spices up life. At least there was enough excitement there to entice me personally into stepping outdoors—as soon as the downfall came to an end—and take some pictures in the front yard. Certainly no need to venture far.
The autumn season was still lingering and the trees were still dumping leaves by the masses. Clearly my lawn was a bit overdue of being raked. My excuse—it was only a week after returning from winter holidays spent elsewhere, and I was waiting for that last leaf to drop before putting in the effort. In a way, I am glad I didn’t. It was this mix of seasons that compelled me to click the shutter button while finding compositions of what others may see as a complete mess. Two leaves of different color sticking up so was what grabbed my attention.
With the 85mm f/3.5 Micro NIKKOR lens, naturally I started up close and recomposed while stepping backward. ISO was set a little high at 400 to accommodate for low light and being hand-held. Even relatively quick shutter speeds with a macro lens can easily be ruined by camera shake, so the faster the better while not introducing too much noise. In hindsight, use of a flash unit and tripod would be ideal. Perhaps something I will force myself to do this next year to improve results—because there is no doubt I will have the lawn completely raked before the first snowfall of 2012.
Location and date taken: At home somewhere in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, TX USA on 9-Jan-2011.