Tag Archives: snow

An Unexpected Blizzard

Yesterday it snowed in State College, to my surprise. I expected a few flurries and no accumulation. We got 10 inches.

I like snow. In fact, I might even go so far as to say I love snow. In December and January. Most definitely not in March.

Trees and snow.

This morning I decided to try to appreciate the snow. It went well. As I walked to campus I was cheered by the appearance of the wooded area behind my apartment complex. The path had more than a foot of snow on it, all the trees and bushes were coated. A peaceful beauty blanketed the forest. I stood there for a bit, just taking in the scene.

A cool snowscape.

My walk continued on the bike trail, then down the street. Many people were out clearing off cars, shoveling driveways, and putting out recycle bins. I’ve been walking this street for four years now (that sounds bad, yes I’m a street walker–but not that kind), so I know many of the people who live along it on a very casual basis. This morning everyone was cheerful. I stopped several times for brief discussions about the weather. By the time I got to campus I decided I could handle the snow, so long as it did not tarry long before melting.

So that’s my verdict. I can appreciate this snow if it chooses to depart soon. The forecast indicates warmer temperatures and some rain, so it seems probable.

A snow covered tree.


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A Snowstorm and a Basketball Game

Last night snow began to fall in State College. Thanks to insomnia I was awake to witness the accumulation until 5:30 this morning. At that time we had a bit more than a foot on the ground. Today I heard totals between 14″ and 16″ for the snowfall in State College. It is a tough snow to measure because it is light and tends to drift.

Soon after noon I grabbed my camera and walked to campus. It was brisk and bright. Only a  few brave souls had walked the bike trail before me along with several cross country skiers.

The bike trail under snow.

On campus snow removal was in full swing. From outside the Bryce Jordan Center I could see Tussey Mountain and Mount Nittany. I’m sure today was a great day at Tussey.

Tussey Mountain on a snowy February day.

The Penn State Nittany Lions played the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The Lions came into the game with a ten game losing streak, still looking for their first conference win. Combine a struggling team with inclement weather and you have the recipe for an empty building. The official box score lists the attendance at 10,291. This is like Danny DeVito listing his height at six feet. This number must have come from tickets sold, for there were closer to 2,000 people there than 10,000.

The Bryce Jordan Center during the game.

When the game started I was sitting in the first row in the second level and I had eight sections to myself. I hoped to get some pictures through the backboard from that vantage point, or at least some shots with the shooter lining up with the basket. In the second half I moved down beside the Blue Band.

Talor Battle at the free throw line.

Three minutes and nine seconds into the game Penn State lost the small lead they had been flirting with. From that point on they would never lead again. The team struggled all game long to get clean looks at the basket. Battle went 3-7 from the free throw line and 7-19 from the field. The Gophers dominated the inside.

The Lions wore throwback uniforms. I thought they looked good, especially the blue keystone on the shorts that contained an S.

Battle attempts a three-point shot.

While I was sitting by the Blue Band in the second half the Nittany Lion kept running close by. I’m very impressed by the gymnastic feats the Lion is able to pull off. The moves are solid, not to mention the fact that the guy is wearing a bulky mascot suit.

Run, Lion, run!

Ralph Sampson III played for the Gophers. He played a solid game and finished with a double-double.

Ralph Sampson III on the court.

Instant replay was needed twice during the game. The first time was to determine how much time was left on the shot clock after a messy sequence in which Penn State lost control of the ball. As the referees crouched down to look at the tiny little monitor I couldn’t help but wonder why they do not have a better screen.

The referees review a shot clock decision (on a tiny screen).

This game featured a few firsts for me. In the second half Chris Babb hit a three-point shot while being fouled. I was very excited; I thought I was about to witness the first four point play I have ever seen in person. And Babb bricked the foul shot like Shaq. It wasn’t even close.

Another first was seeing Tubby Smith draw a technical foul. Technically the technical was called on the Minnesota bench, but it was Smith’s actions that were primarily responsible for the call. I’ve never in person seen a foul called on a player not on the court.

The final first was seeing a legitimate buzzer beater. Lawrence Westbrook had the ball in his hands with just a few seconds left and a tie game. He stepped to his left and shot a 19 foot jumper, his release occurring with less than one second left. The buzzer sounded as the ball floated home. The most dramatic of finishes. Replay was used to confirm the shot was released in time.

The Gophers celebrate the victory.

Westbrook (#20) is congratulated by teammates.

The picture above captures a lot. The Gophers celebrate. Ed DeChellis and Tubby Smith are both staring at the referees (located just off the frame) as they review the shot. A Penn State player squats dejectedly on the court in the upper right corner.

Now Penn State is 0-11 in the Big Ten. That is a bad year.

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A December Hike

Last year the weekend before Christmas snow descended upon eastern Pennsylvania. I drove back to Montgomery County just ahead of the storm. On Sunday morning (December 20) most church services were cancelled or delayed. I decided to take a hike along the Perkiomen Creek to take in the winter wonderland (in September of 2008 I briefly wrote a post about a similar hike, minus the snow) . I took many photos that morning, recently I was sorting them out and I thought I’d post a few of them.

On my way down to the creek I decided to head east to see if some of the farmland that used to be located in that area was developed. I was surprised to find a couple of fields still in use. There was about eight inches of snow on the ground, though it was so light it readily drifted and blew around. The clouds seemed very low on that morning, and in the distance the snow and clouds met almost seamlessly. I tried to capture this with my camera, but all the reflected light resulted in contrast between the sky and ground.

A field on a snowy December day.

I really felt like I could reach up and grab a cloud.

Caution, low clouds.

Evidence of all sorts of wildlife was printed in the snow. Deer and small rodents were the most common. I managed to get within about ten feet of a whitetail deer before it exploded out of the brush and snow it had been bedded down in, I will admit I jumped. I took a half dozen pictures before it vanished from sight.

A retreating whitetail deer.

Birds were also out in force. I saw hawks, cardinals, ducks, a blue heron, and numerous small birds I could not identify. I was disappointed that I did not manage to get a picture of the heron, he was camera shy. The ducks I stalked for about half a mile to photograph.

Ducks in the distance.

The picture above is shot with a 300mm lens, so I am not very close to them. I would try to sneak closer and they would spot me and fly about 100 yards downstream. This happened over and over, until I finally crawled along a berm and managed to pop up behind a tree without being detected.

Mallard ducks socializing.

My camera must have moved a bit, for after taking just a few pictures I was spotted. The ducks took to the sky, flying upstream this time.

Mallard ducks take flight.

A fresh snowfall is quite beautiful. It is even more beautiful in a natural setting with plants, rocks, streams, and animals.

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A Bike Trail Update

Yesterday I felt there was a 17% chance the snow would be cleared off the bike trail I traverse to campus. It seems Ferguson Township, like the Eagles, enjoys beating the odds. The bike trail was plowed, though residual snow remains. As of 12:57pm this afternoon it looked something like this:


The bike trail has been plowed

I wonder how the township will deal with ice? That is a far bigger problem than the snow.

I am very happy that it is being plowed. If the snow had been left on the trail it would have turned into a three or four inch layer of packed snow and ice that would have lasted for days (or even weeks). Since most of the snow was removed I’m optimistic the rest might melt when the temperature soars to 36 degrees tomorrow. After that  the temperature shouldn’t get above 18 for the rest of the week. We have a high of 9 on Friday and a low of my hero 0 (0 is also expected to visit on Thursday).

So it’s going to be cold.

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A Snowy November Saturday

Yesterday and today snow has been falling in State College. It’s a winter wonderland out there. So far only an inch or so has accumulated. This afternoon I built a small snowman on my balcony. It seemed like the right thing to do. 


A snowman named Jeeves

I built him a top hat out of part of a Pringles can and black cardstock. I used part of a glossy black magazine page to put a band on his hat. Then I cut a strip of red silk from an old tie to make him a scarf.

What’s with the snow in November? Sure, I like snow . . . in December and January. Having snow from November through March is not cool.

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