Those of you who have known me for a while will surely know that “sparkling” is not a word that typically gets anywhere near the word “morning” in my world. (Certainly it is not a word that has ever been used to describe me in the morning.) However, there was one morning this January when I was bedazzled by the sparkle of own backyard.
After bustling the kids out to the bus, I walked down the driveway to be greeted by a display of glittering light. The sprinkling of freezing rain the night before had left droplets of ice and water decorating the tangled vines and thorns of our overgrown garden.
The winter sun was low in the sky, gradually burning off the cold mist.
The low rays lit up the ice and water drops all around.
In many places, there were water droplets, lined up along the horizontal branches like dangling crystal beads.
Little balls of ice had been caught in the winding twists of wild grape vines, looking like jewels wrapped in wire.
I was charmed by the twists and coils, the quirky designs of some mildly deranged jeweler.
(This one reminded me of a dangling lightbulb.)
I first tried to snap photos with my iPhone (not shown), but the phone came nowhere close to capturing what I was seeing. I went inside and got my real camera with telephoto lens.
Even with the good camera and good lens, focusing was a challenge. These little beauties were only a couple of centimeters across, with the ice drops probably measuring 6 or 8 millimeters. (I find it funny that the jewelry-like shape of these forms inspires me to use the metric system. When I buy beads, they are always measured in millimeters.)
Using my long lens also meant that I had to be several feet from my target. (See? Feet. I am an American.) It was often tricky to even find what I was trying to focus on in my screen, and any little sway of my body would often throw the focus off. (Really, a tripod would have helped, but I’m not sure how it would have worked the way I had to contort myself to get the different angles to capture the sparkle.) I went back inside to get my pancake lens (200 mm fixed length lens), and had better luck.
Clearly, I was bedazzled, as I see from my photo metadata that I spent about 2 hours taking photos. (Not counting breaks to come in to change lenses, and to look at the photos on my laptop.)
My fingers were numb in my fingerless gloves when I finally tore myself away. It was, after all, an icy January morning.
It was totally worth it.