Thursday, February 18, 2010

Snow as a Visual Aid

It's usually very difficult to photograph a woods so that you can see individual plants clearly. The result tends to be a green blob, whether the woods is degraded or healthy. Snow can change all that. Look in the middle of this photo, and you can see how snow highlights and makes visible hundreds of invasive winged euonymus shrubs that have sprouted from seed on a slope between Mountain Lakes and Coventry Farm.

Meanwhile, the blackened snow lining city streets helps reveal what in other seasons is rarely noticed: all the soot and crud left behind by auto exhaust, oil drippings, and the gradual wearing down of tires and brake linings. All of this gets swept into the local creek, which in this photo is Harry's Brook, flowing under the road where it dips down in the distance.

Given enough time, the snow will turn completely black with soot. This crud is what we are feeding to all the aquatic life in the local streams.

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