Winter Ice, or Why I Love Electricity

Recently, we had a 3-round ice storm come through our area. For the first two days, we did not have any problems. But then our power went out on the third day. More about that farther down in this post.

For much of the time, I stayed inside and resisted the urge to go out with my camera. But once the ice was over and the sky cleared up, I decided I better layer up and get some photos, knowing that it would all melt soon. So here are probably more photos than you might want to see.

Winter ice down the driveway

One of my favorite photo spots is looking down our driveway. This view, as is true for almost all of these photos, is from early in the morning just before the sun came up and started melting the ice.

Winter ice in the front yard

For this photo, I was standing in the same spot as the previous photo, but I turned to my right to look out across our front yard. The colors in the sky matched the ice-covered trees and grass well that morning.

Icicles from the roof

We had a good crop of icicles at the edge of every roof line. The typical pattern each day would be that we would get some sleet and freezing rain. It would then begin to melt on the roof and then refreeze, along with another round of precipitation. Perfect conditions for icicles!

Ice on the bushes

When the water would drip off the roof icicles, it would freeze again on the bushes down below. Everything always looks cool (or even cold) when it is covered in ice.

A crape myrtle covered in ice

One of our many ice-covered crape myrtle trees. You can see that the extra weight of all the ice is bending some of the branches downward. Don’t worry though, they bounced right back up after the ice melted.

Ice on a crape myrtle branch

Here is a closer look at ice at the end of one of those crape myrtle branches. As you can tell, the ice had covered everything completely.

Icy grass

On the ground, the ice mainly covered the taller blades of grass (or actually, weeds). I may be in my 50s, but I still get pleasure out of kicking the grass and watching the ice fly.

Icy front yard

Ice might not be quite as beautiful as snow, but it can still be interesting to look at, especially in the way that it makes trees glisten in the light.

Icy front yard (again)

How many front yard views are too many? This is the last one for this post, I promise.

Ice on the trees in the horse pasture

But don’t forget about the back yard and the horse pasture. The tall pine tree just to the right of center in this photo took the hardest hit from this storm, losing several limbs. And the horses were just fine through it all. After all, even at the coldest point, it was more than 20 degrees warmer than the temperatures we had right before Christmas.

Sunlight on an ice-covered tree

Just as I was finishing taking these photos, the sun was starting to hit the tops of the trees, making the ice glisten even more. Just more of the beauty of God’s creation, even on a cold day.

Why I Love Electricity

As I mentioned earlier, we made it just fine through the first two days. I did end up having to go to a meeting on that first day, and sliding - er, I mean driving - back home was a fun adventure, but it turned out okay. But then on the third day, things took a slightly different turn.

Our power went out and came back on a few times during the night. But then just a little after 4:00 AM, the power went out and stayed out. Like parents of a driving teenager before the days of Find My Friends, we kept waiting for the power to come back without knowing when it might return. If you do not know, ice weighs down tree limbs, which then fall on power lines and power poles, knocking out electricity. And it is not usually just one line here or there. The ice usually affects a wide area, meaning lots of power outages. Meaning they won’t get fixed quickly.

One problem of rural living is that not having power means that we do not have running water, because our well pump is powered by electricity. And of course, there were the other obvious problems of no heat, no light, and no television, too. So we lit candles for light and a slight bit of heat. We dressed in layers and sat under blankets. We tried to stay off of our phones as much as possible, just in case the outage lasted a really long time. And we worked on a puzzle for some entertainment. Also, I did use my phone from time to time to check the local power company’s outage map to see what progress was being made with all of the outages.

Fortunately, our power came back on around 2:00 PM that day, meaning that it was only out for about 10 hours. It had gotten down to around 55 degrees in the house. That feels colder than you might think. For some reason, 55 inside feels much colder than 55 outside. Maybe that is because you expect to feel warmer inside. But we rejoiced when the heat came back on. We were happy to have running water again. And we fixed us a nice, warm lunch to eat while we watched television, too.

I really can’t complain about being without electricity for 10 hours. Even though our power was back on, I kept checking that outage map. Some people in our area, not too far from our house, were without power for around 36 hours. That makes 10 hours seem like a breeze. I know the power company was working as hard as they could, and I appreciate their efforts.

Anytime we are without electricity for a while, I am reminded to appreciate the blessing of electricity when we do have it. And I try not to take for granted the fact that the lights usually do come on when I flip a switch, remembering the times when they did not come on.

Isn’t it great to live in this time where we have all of these modern conveniences? I love electricity.

Then Jesus spoke out again, “I am the light of the world! The one who follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” - John 8:12

About the Photos

As you might guess, these photos were all taken in a short amount of time. I was moving quickly, because I was cold. I can’t properly work a camera while wearing thick gloves. Heavy gloves work for feeding horses but not for changing camera settings. So I snapped these photos quickly and got back inside, once again thankful for the heat to warm my fingers.

I processed these photos in Raw Therapee (a free program for editing Raw files), mainly to bring out the sky colors just a bit. Once I came up with the settings for the first photo, I saved them as a preset and then applied that preset to all of the other photos. That keeps the look consistent, and it also makes processing the remaining photos easy.

And I probably could have titled this post something other than “Winter Ice”, because you only have summer ice from a freezer or ice maker. Sorry for the redundancy there.

Photo: Each photo is a single JPG exposure, processed in Raw Therapee. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Sony Alpha A7 II
Lens: Rokinon 35mm f/1.8
Date: February 3, 2023
Location: 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.