A morning coat of hoarfrost

I awoke last weekend to an amazing winter wonderland.  The air was cold and still and everything was coated with white hoarfrost.  The tree branches were outlined in frost, each individual leaf was outlined, and everything was shining white.  I wandered the nearby roads and saw pine trees and shrubs, oak trees and weather vanes, all outlined in white.  Even though our snow pack had gotten old and not-so-white, the hoarfrost brightened the entire landscape and gave it a magical look.

Frost and ice

Last weekend was especially cold.  Temperatures dropped and the wind blew.  The snow that had fallen remained, and the lake was frozen.  Walking along the shoreline, I saw this leaf resting on the ice.  As the time went by I saw frost forming all along its edges, outlining it carefully as if Mother Nature was painting each crystal in its place –  so delicate, and yet so very temporary too.

Blue window frost

Blue window frost_StaatsWhen the temperature is -26 degrees, the places that I will point my camera for interesting photographs becomes much more limited.  As our multiple days of subzero temperatures bottomed out, I found myself inside looking out, through the beautiful patterns of frost on one of the windows.  Intricate and fascinating, it was back-lit by a neighbor’s light in the distance.  I found myself going from one side of the window to the next looking for patterns that would show the detail.  And when I stepped back to see the pattern in full, it reminded me of the delicateness of a green fern.  Within a few days our temperatures moderated and the winter beauty on this window evaporated by the welcome sun.

Frost and ice in the morning

Sunrise over frost & ice 3920_StaatsOur temperatures have been dropping at night causing the sloughs and lakes to begin their ice-over.  It isn’t thick by any means, but it is the start of our shift from fall to winter.  I’ve always enjoyed the reflections of trees and horizons in water, and the change over to ice gives these same reflections a much different look.  The lines are softer and more muted, and until our lakes are snow-covered the reflections can sometimes be almost mirror-like.  On this morning two days ago, the sun was burning through the cold temperatures and the heavy frost causing the landscape to glow in the early light.