Maple Sap Icicle

Maple Sapcicle

The extended winter continues. It has been a great year for maple sap. The temperatures have been very conducive to sap runs these past few weeks. When the maple tree freezes at night, it supercharges with sap. When temperatures rise above freezing, the sap flows in tremendous amounts in maple trees. This sugar maple icicle is evidence of that. There is an injury of some sort to this branch or a branch above it; perhaps a crack brought on by the recent strong winds we have experienced. The sap flowed out of the injury like a cut to skin. Last night’s cold temperatures (including a dusting of snow this morning) froze the sap flow into an icicle. Shortly before this picture was taken, a chickadee hovered at the drip on the end, looking for a sip. I tapped the first tree about three weeks ago: Liquid Sunlight Sunflare. Little did I suspect I’d still be staring at sap icicles almost a month later; most years the sap flow is done by now. The forecast says we’ll likely have similar conditions for the next week at least. This image was taken with a Nikon D90. Nikon still sells this camera new, despite its officially being discontinued last year. I consider it the best cheap nikon DSLR right now. Everything you need, less that you don’t, and it will auto-focus just about any auto-focus lens Nikon has made in the last twenty years, unlike many consumer-priced Nikon DLSR’s. Today I used the Nikon 70-300mm AF-S ED VR Nikkor telephoto; the icicle was up in the tree out of range of the shorter lenses I had with me.  ISO 800, f/5.6, 1/500 sec, 122mm focal length. Post-processing was some straightening and cropping, plus some boost to the saturation and vibrancy to cut through the flat gray lighting of the day. I also cranked up the Recovery and Highlights sliders to keep details in the icicle itself.