SMBO 2015 – 4

Hello and welcome to this week’s issue of Stalking Mike Blair Outdoors. We hope you all are managing to stay warm, and if you’re not, we hope it’s because you’re out experiencing the wonderful outdoors. As a resident of the midwest, Mike has experienced a few winters and ice storms. However, faithful Mike doesn’t huddle down in his house, he is out catching beautiful images of winter landscapes and treating us all to experiences we don’t encounter while curled up under our blankets. snow16

Such is the timelapse video mentioned in the last newsletter, Snow Coming In. It’s a video that shows a meadow, as the snow begins to fall and the changes it undergoes as it is covered with the thick blanket of winter precipitation. Many of us know what it looks like before and after we hide in our homes, but we don’t know the process that takes place in between. Now, thanks to Mike, we are able to experience that as well. icytree

For many, snow is a fact of winter. It happens and it’s inevitable. This particular stalker migrated to Florida from Kansas several years ago, so I watch winter from a distance. I may have escaped the cold but I still revel in the beautiful scenery. snow4

 

 

Have you ever opened up a search engine and typed ‘snow?’ You get a variety of results. I got a current weather report (which includes zero snow), an update on the recent snowstorm “Juno” (who knew snowstorms had names?). There’s snow.com, which happens to be a Colorado ski resort, a few wikipedia results and the National Snow and Ice Data Center’s website. This website has a handy page called “All About Snow,” I highly encourage anyone who’s mildly curious to give it a look, it’s pretty interesting. It has different information on how snow is formed, its characteristics, snow ecology and other resources. Basically, snow is described as a “precipitation in the form of ice crystals.” However, here is a fascinating fact that I never knew – snow can be classified as a mineral. Show of hands, who knew that? snow1

December Snowstorm is a nice video of different scenes during a snowstorm. It features backdrops undergoing the effects of the falling snow, as well as various animals reacting to Earth’s new coat.

coatssignIce is another fact of winter. Ice isn’t as clear when you put it into a search engine. I received results that varied from pubs with ice in the name, to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ice cream shops, wikipedia results and a couple diamond retailers. Ice is snow’s counterpart and can prove to be much more dangerous. Being heavier than snow it can accumulate and bring down trees and powerlines. It’s weight can also break it causing it to fall. Ice is the reason roads get so slippery and dangerous during the winter season. However, as it often is with Mother Nature, some of the most dangerous things are the most beautiful. snow10

Ice can form in some amazing shapes and in some interesting places. Mike was able to catch an ice phenomena for us. Ice Songs is a video you have to listen to. It’s a video but it’s the background noise you want to listen to. Make sure your speakers are turned up and your ears are focused. It is not uncommon for large areas of water to freeze, but it’s what happens when these large areas of ice are fluctuated by temperature changes. You know how when you’re driving over a bridge and you get the bumps from the spaces that were built in? Those lines of space are put there to accommodate the expansion and compression of the materials when the temperature fluctuates. In case you’re unaware, materials expand with heat and contract when cooled. Water is no exception to this rule. That’s why you’re mother always told you not to put completely full containers in the freezer; they’ll explode because the material has no where to expand to. When lakes and other large bodies of water freeze over you have yards and miles of ice. When the temperature fluctuates (often at night) the ice and water have to accommodate the changes. When this happens you can sometimes hear the ice crack and groan as it expands and contracts – ice songs. Listen to it; it’s kind of haunting.

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Mike has been able to capture one other winter phenomena for us, and this one is truly rare. Hoarfrost, also known as white frost. According to the Britannica Encyclopedia, hoarfrost occurs when water vapor in the air condensates and is cooled to the frost point. This results in white, spike-like frost that appears on objects exposed to free air, such as trees, fences and grass. Mike explores this occurrence in his video Hoarfrost which includes video and snapshots of two different times this has happened.

The fact is winter may be harsh and cold but it is undeniably beautiful.icestorm1

Are you keeping up with Mike Blair Outdoors? Have you let him know what your thoughts of his work are? Be sure to give his Facebook page a “like” and “share,” and don’t forget to join us on Google Plus!! We’re going to have some new products released soon and will have a contest or two coming up, so make sure you are tuned in and participating!

As always if you enjoy Blair’s work, be a good stalker and give him a like, comment, share, plus one or retweet. I know we all like to see them! Until next time. . .

Be sure to check out the Winter Photo Gallery