Snow Grains

After a week of summer weather, spring returned, along with winter up in the higher elevations surrounding us.

At this vantage point, just a hundred or so feet in elevation above us it was snowing like gangbusters.  Just a few dozen feet below us it was raining pretty hard.  But we were standing in that perfect zone where the snow flakes are melting and have become snow grains.  Melting, but not wet enough to make one miserable, if getting soaking wet in temperatures just above freezing would lead you to be miserable.

If so, get better clothing.

It just so happened that this transition zone happened at one of my favorite viewpoints.

There’s something about the way the late afternoon sun lights that clearing across the way that makes me smile.

Regardless of the season, regardless of the weather.

Snow Grains


I love the colors and textures of this view of the Panamint Valley and distant Panamint Range from the Father Crowley Vista.

But the coolest part about it was that it was only 85F (29C), some 30 degrees cooler than the floor of Death Valley, some 30 miles distant as the crow flies and 4,300′ feet lower in elevation.


The Panamint Range is the northwestern mountain boundary of Death Valley.

And before anyone thinks I need to straighten the picture, trust me, I don’t.  The Panamint Valley slopes steeply south in this view of the north end of the valley.

Wintertime Gloom

Winter hasn’t even started and folks are already complaining, whether it be too cold, too dark (we get only 8 hours between sunrise and sunset here right now), or too depressing.

Honestly, it’s a viewpoint I have never understood. You can’t control it, so it’s better to adapt to it.

But that doesn’t mean that I can’t try to understand.

Goddess and I enjoyed a Weinachtsmarkt today.  A wonderful classic German town called Bad Wimpfen, with history going back to the Neolithic times, although it’s been settled since the first century AD (yeah, I know about BCE.  Get over it).

The temperature was hovering just above freezing, which is perfectly fine.  That’s what they make clothes for.  But just as we had completed the rounds of the entire market, we felt the first raindrops.  Which increased in intensity.

So that’s the one weather situation that I will agree is the worst – just above freezing and raining.  Because once you get wet in that situation, it’s pert near impossible to warm up.  Luckily we were done, so we didn’t have to think hard about heading to the car.

On the way back to the car, we stopped in a small park which happened to be the old cemetery.  The park overlooked the Neckar River and the river valley below.  It would be a beautiful view, except it’s dominated by a very large industrial complex, complete with large steam stack.

With the snow on the ground, the rain falling, the bare trees and the factory in the background, I began to see.  I may not agree, but I saw.

And understood.

And had to capture the mood with my camera.

Exactly as visualized.

Five second exposure, hand held.