February 20th pictures: a semi-rainy walk in the woods

What strange weather today. When I went for a mid-afternoon walk, it was overcast, about 42 degrees, and crazy windy. It’s windy out here a lot of the time, often unpleasantly so, but today the wind actually felt kind of warm. Not exactly a tropical breeze warm, but a warmth more on the side of spring than winter, anyway. What’s nice out here is the wooded, protected areas that block breeze; the ravine behind our house feels even more sheltered.

I spent a good deal of the walk alongside a little seasonal stream that carries water away from the road up at the top of the ravine. It’s been freezing and unfreezing the last couple of weeks — see some pictures I took here, when it was frozen — but today, the shallowest stretches, pretty much puddles, were thawed. Water started dripping down from the trees, and then it started dripping more, and then it started…RAINING! But it was barely dripping, so I stayed outside for another hour or so.

By the time I got back to the house the rain was coming down a little harder, and now it has turned into snow, as if to defy my expectations of what mid-February weather should look like. Point taken, weather gods.


1. My favorite new juxtaposition, new growth against old. It's been four or five days since my last walk down in the woods and there's about twice as many new little plants pushing their way up off the forest floor.




3. A depression filling with water just to the side of the stream; it seems to have the same beer-colored effect going on as what happens in the driveway….you can see pictures of that little phenomenon here.


4. As beerish as it may be, the color makes a nice backdrop to reflections of tree silhouettes, I think.


5. I believe these are Canadian nettle leaves, but I don't know what the stem belongs to. I like the reddish pink tinge and the lenticels.


6. Fungus!


7. Toothy poplar?


8. Tree reflections in the temporary stream.


9. One of the frozen parts of the stream's surface.




11. Whee, a little berry!


12. It's always fun to find an old dead leaf that has retained some of its green color.


13. Pin oak leaf in the stream.




15. The world's tiniest whirlpool?


16. Hopefully you see my message in the bubbles.


17. Black walnut shells


18. Sad/funky old Dr. Pepper can


19. Underside of can.


20. Prominent mid rib of leaf.








24. Favorite juxtaposition part 2


25. Little clump of moss with both sporophyte and gametophyte!


26. Ouch.




28. That's new green growth you see at the base of this stem. It's one of perhaps half a dozen plants I've noticed that are already producing new growth. Unfortunately I'm not sure what this is.






31. Some odd little fungal growth that I've been noticing on the undersides of many a branch. They seem to be getting larger and whiter.


32. Virginia creeper?


33. Interestingly-colored strip of bark.


34. Partially-eaten leaf.


35. Sweet cicely seeds.


36. These little growths are utterly mysterious to me...they're these masses of what look like unfurled leaves or seed capsules or something, glommed together with this silky, fluffy stuff. I saw them on several different trees but never before this walk.


37. Part of the above-mentioned structure. These look like the underside of a flower's sepals or something.


38. Lovely lichen.


39. Bear floss?


40. Closeup of one of the logs that comprises the fort my niece, nephew, and friends built down in the woods.


260 thoughts on “February 20th pictures: a semi-rainy walk in the woods

    • Absolutely, it is a big challenge, but it’s been a lot of fun too. Some plants there’s almost nothing to go off of, but if you do a little digging they eventually reveal themselves. Thanks for stopping by! πŸ™‚

    • I looove taking pictures of different kinds of fungi…there’s such interesting variety down here and they’re such unique life forms. Thank you very much for stopping by!

  1. Great post and I’m also a fellow blogger from Minnesota! I live in SW Minneapolis and also love to take pictures and write about this great city. Your photos are fabulous! Thanks for letting other readers know about our great state and congrats on the FP!

    • Hello, fellow Minnesotan! πŸ™‚ Always fun to see another one. Thank you so much for the kind words and I am really excited to be Freshly Pressed on a post celebrating a little bit of what Minnesota has to offer.

      (Just checked out your blog and “About” — so cool that you’ve been able to travel so extensively! And I was a French major too. πŸ™‚ )

      • Thanks for the response! I just subscribed to your blog so I can get updates on your fabulous photography. Where do you live? Do you use your French anymore? I rarely do expect on travels. I’m now trying to learn some Spanish and someday I would LOVE to learn photography! I just use my little point and click digital on all my trips.

        • I’m down around Mankato right now. Unfortunately I don’t really use my French at all these days, but I try to stream French radio from time to time in the hopes that when that call comes to be swept away to France, I will be ready.
          I use a point and shoot too right now, but I still have a ton of fun with it. There’s still a lot you can learn that way! I’m going to get a dslr later this year, though.

    • Thank you so much, I’m glad you liked them! I thought that stream was a photographic goldmine even at a trickle now, and will be excited to document it as spring arrives. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you very much! It’s really exciting to see all the little changes that occur day by day — hour by hour, even in the changing light, but thinking primarily of the season’s progression here — in such a small area.

  2. Really like 4, 8 and the close detail in the water of 13-16, especially that one when your camera’s reflection is in the bubble. Isn’t it amazing how simple bits of nature are actually great art?

  3. I loved this set of photos, and would like to ask what camera/lens you were using? Thank you for the enjoyment. πŸ˜€

    • Thank you very much, so glad you liked this set. I don’t have a dslr (yet) so no special lens; my camera is a Canon Ixus (or Canon Elph), which is a very nice little point and shoot.

  4. love all your photos and it captured the details vividly.. envious that you take beautiful pictures.. i wish i have the same talent but i’m just a newbie.. thanks for sharing and congrats for being FP.

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    • Thank you very much! It’s been nice to see you and other Minnesotans rolling in to express a little love for the greatest place on earth such a nice state.

  6. Wonderful photos! Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

    You’ve given an ex-botany student some fun things to look at. The fungal growth in #31 looks like a slime mold called Diachea leucopeda. #32 does look like Virginia Creeper, what with the circular leaf scars. I’m not sure about #27 and #28, but the square stem and opposite leaves suggest it might be a type of nettle, or possible a member of the mint family. I have no idea what species the seed pods are from…

    Thanks again for posting this. πŸ˜€

    • I’m so happy you stopped by and knew what some of this stuff was! I have enough problems figuring out what the plants are sometimes (remembering the proper terminology when I’m sending Google searches out into the void, for instance) and some of the keys I’d like to use kind of don’t exist. πŸ™‚ I’m even more out to sea when it comes to fungi. I’m reasonably certain now the pictures in 27 and 28 are in fact a nettle like you suggested — I knew there was a lot of nettle down here but I didn’t think what I was looking at was the same thing, because it had different flowers from the plant I was familiar with. Then I looked it up and saw it was the same plant and the male and female flowers were different.

      Thanks again for stopping by!

  7. Hah, my name’s Sarah and i love taking photos too ❀ (And my mom's from MN!) Anyway, these are great photos, I especially love the lichen! Very, very good πŸ˜‰

  8. My God what an attention to detail you have! And your use of color is striking. Thank you for showing me that great photography is not dead in this digital age.

      • Thank you! I used to take some photographs back before the digital revolution killed my spirit, and before digital cameras attained the ability to actually take nice photographs. Even though I see a common sense of adventure and exploration in our techniques, I don’t think I was ever quite as good as you. You seem to capture not only a perfect subject each time, but perfectly lit and balanced in color and texture.

  9. The lack of snow is so strange! At least yesterday we got a little bit here in the burbs of Minneapolis. Great pictures!

  10. Lovely photos, Sarah. The “beer” colour in your puddles comes from humic and fulvic acids, released as organic material breaks down. It is what gives some water in the Highlands of Scotland the same dark amber colour. Good for photos though πŸ™‚

    Looking forward to more pics!

    All the best,


    • Thank you so much, David! I’m glad you enjoy my pictures and I’m so happy someone was able to tell me what is responsible for the color of the water. I’ve been curious about that for a couple of years now. Thanks again!

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  12. Mmmmm . . . . looks very similar to southern Michigan . . . . . I’m really glad to see this post, because though I discover and photograph things in nature very similar to this, I had no idea anyone be interested in my musings and microscopic views . . . perhaps I’ll have to publish those photos someday! Very nice work. : )

    • I think you should definitely publish those photos! I for one am always interested to see other people’s finds in nature. Thanks so much for stopping by, Joanna!

  13. Isn’t it amazing what you can find in the woods when you take the time to look closely enough and have some imagination? Most people just trod along and never see the hidden beauty.

  14. Thank you for sharing your poetic images, water logged leaves, reflections, winter decay, and signs of spring approaching. Walt Whitman would have enjoyed your images, I’m certain.

  15. Such amazing images! I love the way you captured the various textures of your many subjects. The one of the Dr. Pepper can where you can the label side of it is my favorite!
    What camera settings did you use for this set of photos? Thank you for sharing! πŸ™‚


  16. Oh, a walk in the woods! I’ve always wanted to do that with a girl lol.

    Love your writing style, pictures, and the information you shared. You sound like someone with lots of insight. Thank you for sharing:)

  17. gorgeous photos, I love the attention to texture. I especially like the closeup of the rust colored water and the silhouettes of the trees. may I ask what type of lens you use to take these photos?

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  19. Wow, love everyone one of those images!!!! It’s so funny to see another person photograph the same things I love to photograph as well. When people see my photography in my store, they look it for such a long time and then turn around and tell me:
    Wow, I step over these things all the time and you just have shown me to see the beauty they have! Yup, that’s what we do, we show the world a different way to see the beautiful things, that may not be beautiful at times….Beautiful work…

    ps: If you have a chance, check out my post called ” Get Back To Zenerity” …

    • Thank you so much for visiting! I do love the idea of giving little hidden elements in nature some exposure (pun not intended). I checked out that entry you mentioned and it was fun to see the photos of someone who clearly enjoys many of the same things I do. Nice work!

  20. You are very good with texture. I have family in northern Minnesota, just lost my grandfather actually, so I was just up there, and my breath is always taken away by the natural beauty up there. Thanks for sharing!

    • Minnesota is a lovely place and I’m glad you enjoy it as well (I’m so sorry to hear about the circumstances that brought you here, though). Thanks for visiting.

      • I see your work and I see myself in it, It’s just great to see someone that likes photographing these simple things of nature, yet they are just stunning.. It’s funny cause I have notice people look at me with these crazy stare look when I’m photographing things like this! ” We” bring that beauty out for others to see! Wonderful work…Laz

  21. beautiful photos! I live the small world you have captured. There is so much wonder we can discover just within a few inches or a few feet. And every season has its beauty as well-winter is definitely in its starkness, in its neutral tones, in it’s preparation and hibernation, readying itself for spring in all its decomposing goodness πŸ™‚ thanks for the photos!

  22. Pingback: February Forest Walk – Trees I « Through A Lay(wo)man's Lens

  23. Nothing like a walk and seeing all the unseen that just sits there and waits until spring to come “alive” again, yet the life in those things considered dead is amazing. The picture of the berry especially is most intriguing.

    • Thank you very much! I think there’s so much that’s inherently interesting and beautiful to be found in places like our woods, even with few signs of (active) life. Especially when this is the reality of life for a good half of the year, although the really deep winter part doesn’t last so long.

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