Frozen Snow Crystals | Look for Winter’s Hidden Beauty

Frozen Snow Crystals | Look for Winter’s Hidden Beauty

Have you ever taken the time to really look at frozen snow crystals?

Winter is definitely not my favorite time of the year, but it is full of hidden beauty if we know where to look. Frozen snow and ice crystals can be amazingly beautiful if we just slow down, take the time to not only look for them, but look at them. When you come across what looks like “just chunks of frozen snow”, look closely and you will see some very intricate and amazing details, almost magical. Take the time to look around and appreciate the things you see- you’ll be happier for it.

 

Ice crystals along the Niagara River (Photo- Karen Hance)
Ice crystals along the Niagara River (Photo- Karen Hance)

 

This past weekend, I was out searching for birds but came up empty-handed. However, I found some really cool ice and snow crystals that required further investigating. This also gave me a chance to practice using the macro settings on my camera; I still have so much to learn about how to use this thing. I have a Lumix FZ80, by Panasonic; if anyone has one or has used one and you have tips and tricks you’d like to share, I’d love to hear them.

 

Interesting chunks of frozen snow formations along the Niagara River. (Photo- Karen Hance)
Interesting chunks of frozen snow formations along the Niagara River. (Photo- Karen Hance)

 

Some of the snow crystals I found were so pretty, that when viewed up close, they could almost be mistaken for real quartz crystals. There were so many different shapes and sizes- some of them had such beautiful iridescent qualities. I felt like a little child, slowly inspecting and studying each gem, in utter amazement of its charm and uniqueness.

 

Beautiful ice crystal formation along the Niagara River. (Photo- Karen Hance)
Beautiful ice crystal formation along the Niagara River. (Photo- Karen Hance)

 

Just as no two snowflakes are the same, all of the ice crystals I found were different from one another and had their own interesting characteristics. Each one was formed as the snow and ice melted and re-froze again. Some had beautiful streaks running through them while others contained frozen ice bubbles. They sparkled and shimmered in the afternoon sun.

 

Mini iceberg on the shore of the Niagara River. (Photo- Karen Hance)
Mini iceberg on the shore of the Niagara River. (Photo- Karen Hance)

 

January is almost over- according to the calendar we only have about two months left of winter. Here in the northeast, we know that the calendar sometimes lies. Where we live in Buffalo, we won’t see really nice spring weather until sometime in May. We’ve seen snow flurries as late as Mother’s Day in past years and we have a yearly St. Patrick’s Day snowstorm yet to contend with as well. My favorite snow and ice crystals are the ones I see when the spring Crocuses start popping through the frozen winter ground. Until then, I will try to appreciate the beauty of winter and patiently wait for it to end.

 

Crocuses popping through the snow in the Spring. (Photo- Karen Hance)
Crocuses popping through the snow in the Spring. (Photo- Karen Hance)

For without winter and the frozen tundra we call home, there would be no spring as we know it in this part of the country. We would not get to watch as the flowers gently emerge from the frozen ground, bringing beauty and color to an otherwise bleak landscape. We could not marvel at the trees awakening from dormancy and watch as the leaves grow from tiny buds into tiny leaves, growing bigger and bigger, until the whole tree is covered in shades of green. There would be no burst of returning birds to look forward to- being the one to see the first American Robin, knowing that spring was just around the corner.

 

Unique ice chunk I found along the Niagara River. (Photo- Karen Hance)
Unique ice chunk I found along the Niagara River. (Photo- Karen Hance)

 

How are you waiting out your last weeks of winter? What are you most looking forward to as winter comes to an end?

Hopefully, this post gave you a new perspective on winter’s snow and ice and I’d be most grateful if you’d share it with your nature-loving friends, family and co-workers. Be sure to check out my new “Links” page where you’ll find links to some of my favorite websites and YouTube channels that I think you will enjoy. As we wait for winter to come to an end, remember to keep those bird feeders filled, and Happy Birding! ~Karen

 

 

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