Posts in Category: Nature

The science of icicles

When droplets of melted snow drip down an icicle, they release small amounts of heat as they freeze. Heated air travels upwards and helps slow down the growth of the icicle’s top, while the tip is growing rapidly. Icicles can be dangerous and deadly, yet they can create some of the most amazing winter scenes. And for scientists, those winter scenes are playgrounds for discovery. We all know icicles form when melting snow begins dripping down a surface. But what scientists didn’t know is how their shape is formed. What makes each icicle different?

Icicles have a certain mathematical shape, and this mathematical shape is universal among icicles. So what is the math behind an icicle? The height is proportional to the radius to the four-thirds. What does the formula have to do with an icicle’s shape? It kind of looks like a carrot, it starts out flat and then goes up as you go.

As water drips onto an icicle and freezes, it releases heat. The warm air rises up the sides of the icicle. That warm air layer acts like a blanket that’s an insulator, and so the blanket is very thin near the tip and thick at the top. That allows the top to grow very slowly and the tip to grow rapidly — creating a long, thin icicle.

Winter Robin

Another extreme cold wintry day in Ohio. It is not unusual to see the American Robin stay throughout the Winter these days. Although, after this Winter season, more may make the decision to fly South next year. Shot handheld with the Tamron 500mm lens in 2007.

Cold sunrise

Isabella woke up early this morning, which means I woke up early. The only benefit was that it was early enough to catch this beautiful sunrise out our back door. Weather is still very cold in the morning, so just a quick pop outside to shoot some photos and then back in to have breakfast. On a side note, I am now using WordPress for the photoblog. This will allow me more flexibility in doing more with it than using the old PixelPost software.

Golden Autumn

The leaves are changing quickly here in Ohio. This was taken at Slate Run Farm and Park outside of Columbus.

Wooly Isabella

Using wooly worms (Pyrrharctia isabella) to predict Winter is old American folklore that traces its history back to early Americana. Supposedly, Native Americans taught the pioneers to read wooly worms to predict Winter weather. Wooly worm is the common name for the larval stage of the Isabella Tiger Moth. They are also called wooly bears.

Wooly worm forecasters say that the size of the brown band of color will tell you what kind of Winter is coming. Legend says that the thinner the brownish red bands, the harsher the Winter will be. If the wooly worm is mostly brownish red in the middle, Winter will be mild.

Based on the wooly worm above, I am predicting a mild to normal snowfall this Winter. And no, I did not name my daughter after this wooly worm!

Young girl fishing on Caesar Creek Lake

Back in 2006, when Emilia and I were first dating, we put our relationship to the test by going camping at Caesar Creek State Park. Spending so many days together in close company with each other can either strengthen or derail a relationship. Fortunately, we found ourselves to be very compatible with each other. In a few days we will be celebrating our second wedding anniversary along with Isabella turning five months old. If it wasn’t for that long weekend back in 2006, we may never have reached this point in our lives.

This photo was taken with Emilia’s point and shoot Nikon she had with her. I can’t remember if she or I took the photo, but it was shot after I gave her some pointers and changed the settings on her camera. It is also one of the most popular photos on

Dawes Arboretum

We took Isabella over to Dawes Arboretum last Friday. It is located near Newark, Ohio and is a wonderful day trip to experience some nature. This Monarch Butterfly was enjoying the flowers.

Grasshopper molting

Grasshopper shedding its exoskeleton during the molting process on a Scots Pine tree. The process of molting is complicated and can take several hours. During this time, the insect is very vulnerable as it cannot escape from predators and therefore it tries to hide during the molting process. Some insects change colors to more closely blend in with the background during molting.

Spiderweb Arch

Taken in 2006 while staying on the Navajo Tribal Park, this is Spiderweb Arch. You must have a Navajo guide with you to visit this arch. It is located in a box canyon in the Southern part of the Tribal Park.

Hole in the clouds

While heading back from Hana, Maui in Hawaii, a hole in the storm clouds provided a surreal look at the sky with the sun setting.