November in Tofino is pretty chilly. There were plenty of surfers out in the water in their wetsuits. However, it seemed to be a bit too cold for swimming. A couple obviously had a different view of things. The girl initially came running down to get in the water in her swimsuit. She soon headed back but returned before too long with the guy and they both jumped into the surf. I’m not sure this was terribly smart but they seemed to have fun.
Buildings designed for snowy environments have pitched roofs to stop too much snow accumulating. It can gradually shear off the building, sometimes in the form of snow sheets and sometimes, courtesy of some melting, as giant icicles. Wandering around the buildings in Jackson and Yellowstone, I was taken by the large sheets of snow and ice. The visitors’ center at Yellowstone had a particularly large amount of snow drifting off the roof and obscuring the view out of some of the windows. Other icicles looked rather precarious and, if you should find yourself beneath them when they fall, it could be detrimental to your health!
Our ride through the refuge was covered in this post. Scattered throughout the herd were a large number of bull elk. At this time of year they are not competing for anything other than food so there was little tension between them. Instead, they seemed focused on feeding. However, they still had antlers so they made an imposing sight when they looked the right way.
For my birthday, Nancy took me on a trip to Jackson Hole. Part of the trip was a journey in to Yellowstone National park in a snowcoach. The snowcoaches are modified vehicles to handle to snowy terrain. They come in two main forms. One is the tracked vehicle and the other is based on monster truck tires. The one we took was tracked. It was a pretty standard van design with four wheel drive but the wheels had been removed and replaced with triangular track arrangements called Mattracks. These can deal with pretty much any snow. The only downside is that they are a bit noisy, not too fast and boy do they guzzle fuel. One our trip we stopped for fuel twice and were pretty low by the time we got back.
We also saw some of the other vehicles out and about. The monster truck tired vehicles can attain better speeds and efficiency (plus the maintenance is so much lower) but they are not as reliable in dealing with the worst of the conditions. However, they do seem to be the way that everyone is going. Our guide told us the tracked vehicles are gradually being replaced. It should be noted that, after the winter, the tracks are taken off and they revert to normal road use.
I had a long layover at Salt Lake City when connecting on a Delta flight. The sun was out and the mountains in the background were covered in snow so it made for a rather pretty backdrop for the airport operations. It was a bit Delta-centric given that they hub at the airport and we were in one of their terminals but it did make for some nice light and scenery for aviation shots.
Winter frosts can produce some great patterns of ice on objects. This shot was taken of a wing mirror of a car that had grown some lovely looking ice crystals. RAW can be your friend in situations like this because the reflectivity of ice can glare detail out and RAW gives you the latitude to pull back some of the details. This was taken on the phone, but the detail survived quite well.
One of the things I thought I knew about the Seattle area was that it didn’t snow very much. In our first winter here, we had one snowy day and it thawed very rapidly. This winter has been a bit different. We have had a couple of large storms come through. The area is not well prepared for snow and the steep grades are not good when things get slippery. Here are some shots from around our area during and after the snows.
Christmas morning in Kirkland had us waking up to some snow. It had started to snow a little on Christmas Eve but plenty more had dropped overnight. This was not snow that was going to last long. It was rather heavy and damp and, having built up on the branches of the trees, it was pretty precarious. When some of it slipped off, it would take whatever was below it too resulting in some significant dumps on the ground below or you if you were unlucky. Paying attention to what was above you was a good idea.
I went out first thing. Since it was Christmas morning, not much traffic had been out so the roads were reasonably untouched. The light from the street lamps was still a factor in some places. I wandered around the neighborhood checking out the view before it all went away. The temperatures were not too low so I didn’t have to wrap up much and I knew things would soon melt. However, it was a scenic place to be for a while and added a certain atmosphere to Christmas Day.
We spent a few days in Whistler having a break. The town hosted many of the Winter Olympic events when Vancouver was the host city. There is an Olympic Park in the middle of the town and the Olympic rings are on display. No surprise that everyone is taking a picture of them. I was surprised that they were the only really obvious sign of the Olympics having been here. The weather changed a lot while we were there and the rings looked very different in the different lighting conditions.
Walking back from Navy Pier, I came back along the river towards home. Since it was getting late in the afternoon, I was effectively heading into the sun. Not ideal for taking pictures but the reflective nature of the Trump Tower ahead of me seemed to be picking up light from all sorts of directions. It seemed like a good shot to take. Shooting the Trump is something that requires some thought. It is rather tall and fitting it in the frame without making it distort too much means being quite far away. I also played with a little HDR to see if that helped and it turns out it did!