“If you don’t like the weather, wait ten minutes” – unknown
The quote above has applied so many times and seems to be universal in regions with complex weather patterns. My area, in south-central Ontario, is no exception. Despite the best planning and preparation, April can throw some surprises at you.
For those who follow my posts regularly, you will have seen a progression of warming days and an abundance of fresh wildflowers. Back in late March I posted about hiking on ice while wearing a tee shirt, photographing owls in bright spring valleys. The days have been particularly mild here and the feeling that winter had departed early pervaded everyone’s thoughts. But, it is still April and we tend to experience one last shot of winter as a matter of course. It tends to be short lived but usually means snowfall of some sort before we move on.
I thought that snowfall had happened on Wednesday, when five centimeters, about 2 inches, of wet snow blanketed the region and buried all the wildflowers I have been documenting recently. I checked the forecast in the morning, which is my regular habit as an outdoor photographer. It was forecast to be cool, with a mix of sun and cloud, typical for this time of year. Outside, some remnants of the week’s snowfall remained in sheltered areas plus a light dusting that had fallen unexpectedly the night before. This was all beginning to melt as temperatures climbed above freezing and the sun shone through. I honestly was not expecting much in the way of wildflowers, so had my camera fixed with my 70-300 mm lens, hoping to see some wildlife, my 90 mm macro lens was in my bag, just in case (I have learned to prepare for eventualities to arise).
As I got on the trails puffy clouds floated above and the morning sun melted remaining snow in much of the forest. It made for some interesting photos of spring wildflowers surrounded by snowy patches, some still carrying a burden of snow form the previous day. The light was beautiful and I was able to find and identify some new species of flora as the day continued to drift between sun and cloud, the occasional flurry still floating in the air or falling from the canopy of budding trees.
Quite satisfied with the conditions, I decided to extend my hike and check out the plant life on trails a bit further on. Without warning, a snow squall descended on me and turned the spring forest into snowglobe-like environment, pictured above. I checked my weather radar app on my phone and noticed a squall had developed far to the north-west of me, over Lake Huron, and the winds had extended it all the way to my location. The squall lasted for a good fifteen minutes, enough to bury any future photography subjects, so I carried on, resolved to my opportunity being pretty much done. But again, in typical fashion, within another fifteen minutes, clouds had cleared and the sun shone as it had earlier on and melted off the recent snowfall. All was back as it was when I started off.
I’m hoping this is the last snowfall I see this year, though I still expect some frosty nights.
Nikon D800, Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom @ 80 mm
1/125 sec, f/14, ISO 800
Nikon D800, Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom @ 220 mm
1/1000 sec, f/14.0, ISO 800