Pine Needles and Ice Crystals

Cold But Cool

Pine needles and ice crystals

Ice crystals cover the pine needles in our horse pasture during some really cold weather.

Just over a week ago, we got some more snow. And believe it or not, I actually did not take any snow photos this time around. That was because they would look just about exactly like the photo of the snow from the week before, except with a little more snow on the driveway than before. This time around, it was enough snow to cancel our Sunday morning church service, but we were able to go to the store the next day.

For the next several days after this most recent snow, we had some really cold temperatures. How cold? On one morning when it had been 12 degrees overnight, Laura pointed out that the pine needles had ice crystals on them. That was definitely something different from the earlier snow we had received! I went inside and grabbed my camera to take a few photos since that is something we don’t see all that often.

Pine needles and ice crystals

The ice crystals almost looked like something you would see on an alien planet. If there are alien planets that have cold weather like this, I suppose. I haven’t been to one. Yet.

Anyway, it is difficult to tell from these photos, and I did not get out my handy pocket ruler, but I would guess that some of these crystals were over a quarter of an inch long. That is some serious ice! But then for what our pine needles are used to, that was some serious cold, too.

Pine needles and ice crystals

Also, the ice crystals looked rather sharp. However, I would guess that they would have just fallen off if I were to pick up one of the pine needles. But I had taken off my gloves to be able to operate the camera, so I did not try touching them. That way, I could keep my fingers from getting any colder than they already were.

A few hours after I took these photos, the sun had melted all of these ice crystals. So I was glad that we had the opportunity to see them!


Sometimes you have to act fast because opportunities don’t stay around for long. Just like these ice crystals, opportunities can often vanish before you know it.

Some of us like to take our time and think things through. Evaluate all the options. Weigh the pros and cons. And some people examine things so closely that instead of weighing pros and cons, it is almost like they are weighing the protons and neutrons.

Do not let opportunities pass you by. Especially if those opportunities involve people. I have already been to one funeral this week, and there is another one coming up in a few days. Nothing lasts forever. People are not around forever. Don’t miss an opportunity to say something to someone or do something for someone if you have the chance to take it.

Because just like ice on a sunny day, nothing lasts forever.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” - James 4:13-15

About the Photos

You might think that I used the 50mm prime lens to get the tight focus of these photos, but I did not. Instead, I zoomed in with my zoom lens and crouched down so that I was shooting at an angle. With the aperture opened as wide as it would go, that produced the same effect without the use of the prime lens. I wanted that tight focus and depth of field, but I also wanted to be able to zoom in on the needles. And that is what I got.

Photos: Each photo is a single Raw exposure, processed in Luminar AI. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Sony Alpha A7 II
Lens: Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS lens
Date: January 22, 2022
Location: Home, WillistonTennessee

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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.