Witch Hazel

Ozark witch hazel (Hamamelis vernalis) is one of old Pa Pitt’s favorite plantings. It blooms in the dead of winter; it keeps its petals closed until a warmer day comes along, and then it unfurls its little red flowers and floods its surroundings with perfume. But if you bring in a few twigs and put them in a vase, you don’t have to wait for a warm day. The flowers will unfurl within hours, and then in a day or two the perfume will start filling your house. You can have a fresh bouquet from the garden in the middle of January.

The twiggy bouquets make an interesting display, and for some reason it occurred to Father Pitt that he should attempt to photograph one in the manner of the 1930s.

Snow

Snow on coneflower seedheads

Above: Snow on seedheads of Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea).

Below: Snow on seedheads of Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum).

Snow on garlic chives seedheads

Sweetgum Fruits

Sweetgum fruits

The unmistakable dried seedpods of Liquidambar styriciflua on the ground in the West Park arboretum. Sweetgum is not native to our area—its range ends a little south of us—but it is so widely planted that it is one of our more common trees.

Snow on a Fence

A wooden fence with snow accumulating on it, rendered as a nineteenth-century engraving. Several steps went into this rendition—compensating for lens distortion, adjusting perspective, converting the picture to black-and-white, enhancing details two different ways, and finally the Colored Engraving filter by Lyle Kroll and David Tschumperlé, which is one of (at last count) 574 different filters and effects available in the G’MIC image-processing framework.