Saturday, 7 January 2017

The winter sublime

This is the zenith of cold; my ideal Polish winter - a sharp frost (down to -17C overnight), crisp, crunchy snow underfoot and a clear blue sky.

Yesterday I too a train out to Czachówek, and walked in a wide arc from Czachówek Południowy to Ustanówek, from where I took a train back to W-wa Dawidy for a walk back home across the frozen ponds. Today I focused entirely on the ponds. And I have some great photos!

Below: setting ofp from Czachówek Południowy, following the south-to-east spur in the direction of Czachówek Wschodni station. Work on the modernisation of the Warsaw-Radom railway line is not as advanced as it is in Jeziorki; a long way to go here before 'up' and 'down' tracks are both operational.

Below: a wayside shrine on the road out of Czachówek, low sun streaming through the trees. It's late morning.

Below: the road between Bronisławów and Czarny Las, where an unofficial pedestrian path leads up the embankment and over all four railway tracks.

Below: looking south from the east-to-north spur. Sadly, no freight trains running.

Back to W-wa Dawidy, then homewards along ul. Dumki. The ice was already thick enough to walk on. A half-moon was already rising, and I caught this LOT Polish Airlines Bombardier Dash-8 coming into land against it. I have waited years for this shot.

I said the ponds had iced over, but on Friday (a public holiday in Poland) there was still a small patch of water, below. I stayed a sensible distance from the edge...

Today, after overnight temperatures that had tumbled from a mere -9C to -17C, the last bit of open water had turned to solid ice. I was wearing a pair of slip-on rubber soles with steel spikes on them, strapped onto my winter walking boots. Total non-slip confidence (I picked them up at Lidl at the end of last winter for a mere 13zł - less than three quid.)

The icy conditions meant I could conduct my annual exploration of the deepest recesses of the wetlands, where humans don't step foot. The water beneath may not be deep, but the bottom of the pond is very muddy.

A marvellous sunny afternoon. I was looking for the swans' nest, but could not find it. Round here somewhere.

Below: ul. Kórnicka, the far end, leading up to the railway tracks. The rays of the setting sun catch the tracks of hares.

The sun set today 19 minutes later than at its earliest in mid-December; the day is noticeably longer. Two contrails are visible in the dusk sky. I trace the larger (four-engined) one as it crosses Jeziorki at 11,000 metres.

With that half-moon rising, the plane passes close... before it had travelled too far, the moon had risen above the contrail and was above it before the vapour had condensed.

Bonus photo below: a pair of male pheasants compete for territory. Photo taken from my bedroom window. The one on the right, the incumbent, saw off the challenger.

This time six years ago:
Long train running

This time seven years ago:
Most Poniatowskiego

This time nine years ago:
Warsaw well prepare for winter


DC said...

Nice! That Dash 8 shot belongs on

Anonymous said...

Great picture of the Q400 Michal, really nice