Blowing Snow

(Samaria, MI) A drive through a winter storm can be harrowing in any environment, but there is something especially frightening about driving in the country during whiteout conditions. We only received about five inches of snow in Northwest Ohio today, a bit more in Southeastern Michigan, but when the winds kicked up visibility fell to a matter of feet.

I only spent a minute taking pictures in the 25-30 mph gales that accompanied this Alberta clipper, as the wind chills probably dropped to zero during the highest blasts.

A good day to stay home and read, this was.


Wild Pekin Duck

(Toledo, OH)The Pekin duck on your left is part of a wild flock that inhabits a park near my house. I found the stark contrast between the green-and-brown Mallards and this snow-white duck to be intriguing, though I cropped out the other ducks in this image.

The clear blue skies above also reflected in the creek, offering an aesthetically pleasing blend of bluish hues against the white feathers of the duck.


Sign of the Economic Times

(Toledo, OH) The man standing at Secor and the I-475 exit ramp was reluctant for me to take his picture.

"I'm embarrassed about where I am and how I got here," he admitted. "If you don't mind, I'd rather not be in your picture."

Of course, it was the sign that intrigued me more than the middle-aged man in the Dallas Cowboys jacket. There is nothing new about panhandlers and beggars, especially in a Rust Belt city like Toledo, but I am seeing so many more folks than I used to.

And in such cold weather, too.

"I'm thinking about moving someplace warm, and where there are actually a few jobs," he told me. "I don't know how much more of this city I can take."

I gave him all the money I had on me, which was about 90 cents. Normally I don't make a habit of tossing cash to guys with hopeful signs, but this man was... different. He didn't strike me as the typical panhandler, and his embarrassment seemed legitimate, like someone wholly unused to asking for charity.

If he is there tomorrow, I'll probably help him out again. It's the least I can do to make up for the carload of teenaged idiots who yelled: "Get a job!"

Sad, that.


Fiery Cloud

(Toledo, OH) I am admittedly a sucker for brilliant-colored sunsets, and I frequently post images of orange-and-purple dusk skies, but this particular cloud stood out the other night as I engaged in my occasional pastime of sunset-watching.

Unfortunately, the image on the left does not quite capture the magical swirling of orange, violet, and gray hues from the warm southwest winds that melted much of the region's 30 inches of accumulated January snowfall.

Yet I enjoyed the moment just the same. You shoulda been there.


Cattail and Snow

(Ida, MI) The cold winter winds and blanket of snow did not seem to matter to this cattail, which withstood the onslaught of this harsh winter. Its seeds have already begun to disperse, carrying the essence of life hundreds - maybe thousands - of yards away.

I reminded myself that spring is not that far off, and that if cattails can manage to survive a brutal winter, certainly human beings like me can make it, too.