When my wife and I moved to Oklahoma several years ago we were told a couple things about the weather that we were cautioned to keep in mind. The first, regarding tornados, was obvious and we soon followed through on getting an underground storm shelter installed on our property. The second was something we didn’t expect, which was that Oklahoma, apparently, doesn’t get a lot of snow in the winter but can get a lot of ice. I don’t know if we objectively get more or less ice than, say, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, or Kansas, but I certainly can confirm we get far less snow. Nonetheless, when we do get ice storms here they tend to be pretty bad and such was the case, or so we thought, on a chilly weekend in January when Winter Storm Jupiter made its way slowly across the midwestern plains.

Though the weather conditions didn’t quite materialize how meteorologists were predicting, we did get a fair amount of ice here in town and when my kids and I woke up on Saturday morning (I like to let my wife sleep in on the weekends) we saw that the whole world outside was covered in a thin sheet of frozen water that glistened in the morning sunlight. I quickly grabbed my camera and walked around the yard for about five minutes attempting to take a few shots before things started to melt, and came back with a few dozen pictures of branches, leaves, icicles dangling from fences, and crepe myrtle buds like what you see in this week’s picture above. I shot most of the pictures with my +4 filter at f/4 or smaller in order to get things as sharp as they could be, and this one was my favorite of the bunch.

This picture could also be seen as some kind of tangible evidence of my own progression as a photographer. The last time I remember having the opportunity to take pictures on the morning after an ice storm I made an image called Winter Berries that I posted to Weekly Fifty. I like the colors of that photo but looking back on it I think it’s far too cluttered, with a depth of field that is way too shallow given the foreground elements, and generally leaves the viewer with a sense of relative confusion. This week’s image, by comparison, is much more focused with a cleaner overall composition, and the viewer’s eye is specifically directed to just one or two elements. Now of course all this is a matter of personal taste and some might prefer the original over this one, but in my opinion this week’s image shows how my approach to photography has changed over the years and is, to be honest, much better than it used to be. And I’m sure a couple years from now I’ll look back at this picture and shake my head, wondering just what in the world I was thinking. But that’s good! And if it weren’t for the early steps we would never have the later ones.

Incidentally, this post comes almost exactly four years after I started Weekly Fifty. It sure has been a fun ride, and I want all of you to know how much I appreciate you taking time out of your days to read these posts, listen to the commentary, and even leave feedback. You are all part of why this blog is so special to me, and I hope it has helped you learn and grow as photographers too. Thank you, and I’m excited for what the next four years (and many more) have in store.

Here’s to the journey, folks :)


  1. Cheers! Here’s to the photographic journey.

    We did not get the ice that you received. We were on the warmer side of that storm, with only a frost warning. I went out the day before and took photos of the early bloomers in my garden. My neighbors caught me, elbows on the ground, butt up in the air, trying for a better angle of the evening sun on the low blooms. I did catch a shot of my Hellebore that was worthy of the cover on my Facebook page.

    I have recommended your blog and your Facebook page to quite a few members of my own Facebook group. Last night we were discussing the success we are having by setting a limit on auto ISO and using Aperture or Shutter priority. One of my friends is catching some fantastic shots of Bald Eagles with a 150-600mm lens. She says your method made a big difference.

    Thank you for 4 years of explaining your thinking in such a way as we learn from you.

    I’m looking forward to more years of learning photography!!

    • Thank you Rebecca! It sure has been a fun four years, mostly thanks to you and others who take time out of your day to post comments here on the blog :) And you made me smile real big on this Thursday morning as I’m picturing you caught like that by your neighbors as you take photos of those early bloomers. I’ve been there too!

      I’m thrilled that you would share this blog with others, and I’m glad some of the tricks I’ve learned over the years are coming in handy for you and your friends. I’d sure like to get my hands on a 150-600mm lens and try out some real bird photography someday!

  2. Dr.Albert says

    LIKE THE MACRO SHOT. three in focus, 50 mm is quite sharp?

  3. Here in Utah, we have had more snow than we have had in several years. The temperature goes up and down. I think we are finally getting into spring, but would not be surprised to have another snow storm before it is over.

    Congratulations on the four years. I am get inspiration from your blogs and I have become more aware of possible photo opportunities because of your insight.

    I constantly try to improve my skills. I often take the best pictures and use them as the background to my home desktop computer. That way I am always looking at them and finding things that I could do better.

    Thanks again for your effort and consistency in providing this help.

    • I like your idea of using the pictures you take as your desktop wallpaper, Dennis. I do that on my phone but often go for months without changing it, but I think your idea could be a better way of helping me to back and see some of my favorite photos more often. I like that you are constantly trying to improve your skills too! I’m always happy to see when people are actively learning new things instead of just resting on their laurels and getting complacent, and photography is a great way to always stretch yourself and try something new!

  4. I love this image. The simplicity, focus, soft color tones against the ice bubbles. BEAUTIFUL! Splendid capture Simon. In health. Yes! “Here’s to the journey” and capturing moments along the way. :)

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