Not all frost is the same

While I’m posting a bunch of frost photos, let me hearken back to 2009, when the frost took on a decidedly different form.  These long spikes grew along a fence a few miles east of Bismarck.


Don’t get me wrong, I like the thick hoarfrost we had last Monday and Tuesday, but this stuff is unreal.  Of course, the weather conditions were different, and it takes quite a unique set of conditions for frost like this to occur.


Since it’s never exactly the same twice, I’ll never run out of opportunities to chase the weather with my cameras!


Continuing the frost theme for this week – over the lunch hour Monday I was able to find a nice frosty fence to photograph.


The barbed wire collected a thick coat of chunky hoarfrost Sunday night, and it was a welcome sight.  This is one of the more photogenic winter phenomena.


Fuzzy like a caterpillar.  This was some really thick stuff!  It’s hard to even spot the barbs.


Twistin’.  The patterns of the frost are really keen (I was looking for a way to use that word).


There are some of those barbs I was talking about.  I had to be careful not to lean against any of them when I tried to get some of the other shots.


Cool, huh?  The pattern inside the corner of this post is almost organic looking.


Bonus: Here’s the post from a stop sign near our property.  One set of holes ringed with frost, another set completely plugged.

In case you think I’ve exhausted my Monday frost photos, you’re mistaken.  Oh, and there was another batch of hoarfrost on Tuesday as well, but with beautiful, sunny blue skies as a backdrop!  I’ve got an entire lunch hour full of those coming as well.

Critters of a sort

I didn’t get a chance to see these in their most frosty glory, as I was taking lunchtime photos out of town.  I did, however, come up just before sundown to grab some shots.  That actually worked out well; I was able to use some fill flash to separate these wrought-iron beasts from their darkening and blueing backgrounds.


Roll, Bison!  Well, maybe not this guy.  Funny story behind this one.  My kids dubbed it Steve.  When we’d be out driving in my truck we’d make a point to drive by and stop.  Even though we wouldn’t get out, the kids would yell, “Hi, Steve!  Bye, Steve!”  And on we’d roll.  Well, Steve got his picture took Monday night.

Wednesday night sunset

I used to do a LOT of sunsets before becoming a dad.  Now I get the opportunity to run around with my cameras a bit more sparingly, as I prefer to be a loving husband and father.  But tonight I had the opportunity to bolt after leaving my studio, and I caught this wonderful sunset.


Lately the skies haven’t really been great for sunsets…either no clouds at all, or too many for the sun to peek out much.  That, or a long, thick row of clouds along the horizon to choke off any chance the sun had at illuminating the sky.  Well, that wasn’t tonight.

Oh, by the way…I also got out over lunch and got even more frost photos.  Tune in tomorrow…

Three for Tuesday

Last night was foggy again, so I was hoping that Tuesday morning would bring a repeat of Monday’s awesome frost.  Sadly, the sun came out (how often do I say that?) and burned off all the frost.  But that’s okay – I got plenty of shots Monday to share.


I got plenty of close-up shots, but was really looking for something more like this.  Ah, I feel relaxed just looking at this tree out in the hazy field.


Who says winter isn’t photogenic?  And I got all this on my lunch hour!  Well, I went in early and was able to take a ninety minute lunch, but you get the point.  More to come…

The frost comes on little cat feet

Since the Carl Sandburg poem “The Fog” is one of my all-time favorites, my reappropriation of the line of this title for frost is an intentional homage and not a misquote.  The frost which blanketed the Bismarck-Mandan area this morning was a result of the fog rolling in anyway.  I saw the thick haze in the air Sunday night and knew Monday morning would be a treat.


I had an early meeting which prevented me from running around with my cameras in the morning, but I took a long lunch to grab a variety of frosty photos.  Here are two of my favorites, but I have many, many more to share over the next few days.

Oh, and those little cat feet have sauntered into town again tonight, meaning we’ve got more of the same for Tuesday…

Double Ditch Ice

I ventured out to Double Ditch tonight for a number of reasons, but one of them was to see if it was still blocked off for construction purposes.  Thankfully one can now drive in on the north road, although the walking path heading south to the stone hut is still marked as closed due to construction.

The ice was melted in spots, and definitely had its share of dirt blown into it.  In fact, it was pretty breezy tonight, too.  But I got some cool shots, satisfied my curiosity, and headed home to thaw my fingers.


Oh yeah – one of the other reasons I was out there was to check on my favorite post.  It’s still hanging in there, I’m glad to report, despite the continuous bank erosion.  I remember being able to walk around this post on the left side, although the land to the north of the fence is posted.  That part of the bank has been down below for a long time.  That’s some sturdy barbed wire holding this thing in place!

One thing I didn’t notice in the first photo is the developing clouds on the horizon.  For a better view of those you’ll have to check out the header on my blog’s Facebook page.

Foggy memory

There was one perfectly foggy morning this summer where I was roaming northeast of Bismarck and got plenty of really cool shots.  As the sun came up and began to burn of the fog, this was one spot where it was still clinging to anything that could be loosely construed as a valley.

Fall colors, part troix

Still more fall colors.  I’m actually astonished at how many nice autumn photos I have…in fact, this is my best year ever!


The river valley has been breathtaking this year.  I have had friends comment that the cottonwoods haven’t given this kind of color in years, perhaps due to fungus or other issues, possibly even going back to the flood.


Fall in North Dakota is always a gamble; some years we get an early frost and the leaves drop while still green.  Other years we get nice fall colors…for a day.  This year, despite a couple of days of punishing wind, things have held on and provided lots of enjoyment.


An instructor once told me, while demonstrating part of the parachute rig on the standard issue Army F-4 pilot flight suit, that “if you eject and land in a tree in North Dakota, you deserve to die.”  We don’t have the expansive forests some states enjoy, but the trees we do have sure put on a show this year.  The skies helped, too.


Am I done with fall photos?  I think I still have a few.  I’ll share them here, and then I’ll work backwards.  I’m pleased to report that, in addition to a plentiful autumn photo harvest, this has been a very fruitful summer for me in that regard as well!  I’ve spent my time taking them, and will have all winter this year to steadily post new ones as I find time to process them.

Smoke from a Distant Fire

I had to run several errands today, and being out in the smoke from wildfires in Canada, Montana, and other points west caused me to begin developing a headache pretty quickly.  I decided to knock off a little early and lie down at home to ditch my discomfort, but on the way I drove to the capitol for a few minutes to grab some shots for posterity’s sake.  For the title of this post I couldn’t help but take you back to 1977 and a little Sanford & Townsend.  Here are the resulting images:


Let’s start off with a shot straight south over the mall.  The horizon fades off pretty quickly.


Looking west over the DOT building, same deal.  I can’t see past the east hill of Bismarck.


Looking north is pretty much the same.  The big tower next to Dakota Carrier Network is obscured.


Looking out over the legislative wing, even “Harvard on the Hill” (my affectionate name for Bismarck Junior State College) is fading away in the haze of smoke.


For a while the sun seemed to blaze, so it may have emerged from behind a cloud up above all the smoke below.  So these shots have a far different tone to them.  Here’s looking northwest toward MDU’s corporate campus.


Normally you’d be able to see Bismarck Airport looking southeast like this.  Not today.


See the Missouri River?  Just barely, past the cathedral.  This view got more obscured as time passed.


Looking over toward the no longer functional water tower near Tower Avenue.  It isn’t actually on Tower Avenue; it’s on the south side of that block, technically on Avenue F.


The Energy Center of Excellence building, one of Bismarck’s finest, is the last thing you’ll see before the horizon goes white.


Just a fleeting glimpse of the river as we zoom in past the water tower.  The smoke really seemed to pack in between the trees.


Looking south, one could barely make out Kirkwood Plaza, Kirkwood Mall, whatever you prefer.  Even the Kirkwood Tower was only slightly visible.

Hopefully the people fighting these fires, and who have been fighting them for a long time, get victory with a little help from some precipitation in the next few days.  We’ll be beneficiaries as well – this smoke is a health hazard as well as an eyesore.  No, really, it does make your eyes sore.  Here’s the song reference for the post title: