In the field, I become especially attentive to temperature. Is it too cold to catch birds? Are my hands warm enough to not chill a bird when I hold it? Recently, a friend very kindly let me take his FLIR ONE to the field: this is a device that fits over your phone and lets you take photos of heat. (Normal photos are of visible light.) Warmer objects show up as yellows and whites; colder objects are blue and black. The photos it takes aren’t of absolute temperature—that is, 40 degrees F isn’t always the exact same color—but rather of relative temperature: within the same photo, you can use the colors to compare temperatures, but you can’t compare across photos.
This was a lot of fun to use in the field, especially since the weather so generously gave us lots of temperatures to observe by snowing on us. Did you know that snow is cold, and humans are warmer than snow?
We had several opportunities to observe the coldness of snow.
In a rather eerie effect, the coldness of snow makes trees appear warm.
When the air is cold, the river is warm.
A mushroom is colder than the ground.
Animals are warm. In the chilly morning air, a Steller’s Jay is a blazing spot of heat.
Humans are also warm, and we use tricks to stay that way.
And what about… fire?
Back home, my cat decided to help me refold my tent.
Not surprisingly, she is hot too.
And her heat-ghost lingers even after she leaves!
Many thanks to Taylor for letting me borrow his FLIR ONE!