Think Spring

As Austin Powers would say…I’m spent. That’s right, this is my last frost (okay, Rime Ice) photo. I might have more left in the “unedited” category, but they’re going to have to remain in limbo for the foreseeable future.

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for Spring. Since I pretty much worked straight through 2020, I’m really hoping 2021 will make up for it. I’ve accrued a ton of vacation time, I’ve worked hard to get myself in the best physical condition I’ve seen in a long time, and I have big plans along with some re-evaluated priorities. So bring it on!

Right down to the wire

I have to admit: my go-to when it comes to frost (or Rime Ice) is barbed wire. It’s a no-brainer; it frosts up frequently, has its own wild geometry, and there’s plenty of it in North Dakota.

See what I mean? Spikes on spikes. I got a lot of cool photos over that stretch of frosty/icy days, but I started with the barbed wire.


I did do some of that “colored matte” thing in cases where I just couldn’t get the kind of separation I needed to highlight the spikes. I hope it isn’t distracting, but it was simply necessary in some cases.


One of the cool things about barbed wire is that you can twist it, loop it, and otherwise manipulate it in ways which become pretty cool once ice spikes start growing on it.


Twisted, ain’t it? And with spikes! Kinda reminds me of the 1990s.


Barbed wire is more than just strands of wire stretched between posts. It’s got plenty of variety, and thankfully the ice didn’t discrimate.

Beautiful, isn’t it? I froze my butt off over the course of four days, taking hundreds of photos in the process…but I have to admit: I don’t get tired of this stuff. It’s just so pretty – and so rare.

Then there’s stuff like this. I don’t even feel the need to compose any words about it. It’s simply marvelous, regardless of what I might try to say about it.


Gotta put some other metal in here. My iTunes just shuffled into Def Leppard’s “Rock Brigade” as an inspiration.


A post about barbed wire featuring a post wrapped in barbed wire. I couldn’t resist pointing that out.


This is the shot I had in mind when I first left the house that Saturday morning, having successfully predicted this phenomenon. I had no idea what nature had in store for me, though.


Talk about cooperative geometry! Opportunities like this come around so infrequently, and I was finally able to take advantage of one.


Nailed it again. See what I mean? I just watched Top Gun, so let me declare this a target-rich environment.


Intersection would be a good way to describe the serendipity of the weather conditions which brought about this spiky phenomenon occurring at a time when I could finally dig my camera out of the bag and go for it! I’m thankful for the ability to go out and appreciate this example of God’s handiwork.

Think I’m done with frost photos? Not yet…

Another post featuring posts

I’m not trying to see how meta I can get with these posts about posts, but I love a good pun (or dad joke) as much as the next guy – if not more. I spent a ridiculous amount of time around that last post, but it wasn’t the only one which caught my freezing eye.


Here’s an example of the “white frost on a white background” challenge brought by the conditions that day. But I had plenty of photogenic subject matter!


The background may be artificial, but the subject matter certainly stands out better… would you agree?


In some cases – but seldom, on this day – going in closer works out pretty well for catching enough of a dark patch in the background to get the necessary separation. This one worked well.


Never let ’em see you crack, or they’ll ice you, man. It seemed every hard edge available was spiked with some of this ice that day.


This photo is pretty edgy, wouldn’t you say? The entire edge of this post was coated with a uniform row of icy spikes.


You might say these two are inseparable. Without a wire cutter, that is.


Some might point out that not all posts are metal. Fair enough. Others might claim that it’s fair to give metal its due. Out of context, but it’ll work in this case.

Fear not! I’ve got even more frost (Rime Ice) photos on the way…stay tuned.

Frosty miscellany

I took a lot of other photos of the Rime Ice (affectionately referred to here as “frost”) stuck to various other things besides trees and fences. Oh, yes.


These were out in a ditch, and managed to barely hold still despite the breeze which was attempting to freeze my face off.


There’s so much going on right here. You can’t even tell whether I was able to feel my fingers at this point! But the spikes are grand.


When the Lord gives you this kind of stuff to point your camera at, you take the opportunity for the blessing that it is. You can always grip about the cold later, when you’re in your home office next to a space heater.


I’m not a betting man, but once again I’d be willing to lay odds on which direction the wind was coming from that night when these spikes formed.


Normally, these things are ridiculously annoying when you have to clean them up around your property. But not so much when they’ve got spikes of ice over an inch long protruding from them.


Suddenly, at least for a few days, they became beautiful. It’s amazing what a little touch of winter can do for something’s public image.


I wanna rock! Well, okay. Here’s one. I threw this in just to show you that even the rocks couldn’t hide from this wintry occurrence.


Don’t worry…I have even more frost (yes, Rime Ice) photos coming in future themed posts. Like I said, this was a very productive few days.

Meanwhile, out in the open…

So I’ve shown you a lot of close-up, tight shots of the frost (yeah…Rime Ice) of a week or so ago…but what else was going on out there? Plenty.


Hey, it’s me…so you know there’s gonna be an old windmill in there somewhere. This one was frosted along with everything else left out overnight.


Naturally, on a day like today one is going to go after some trees or other large objects which will show off their crusty coating.


Of course, it’s up to me to give it my own personal touch. I don’t know if I have a style or not…I just take photos, process them a bit, and stick them online. If I have developed a “look” unique to my work…well, cool.


Trees and a windmill? Say it ain’t so! I didn’t have to venture far from my place to find a target-rich environment last week.

I haven’t even begun to run out of frost (yeah, Rime Ice) photos, though. There are even more coming. I have to say that, especially in light of 2020, the “year that wasn’t” for me in many ways, the four days I spent chasing this icy phenomenon have been among the most productive I’ve ever had since I bought my first digital camera. And I’ll continue to share.

Loopy for frost photos

I’ll warn you now: this post is entirely about…well, this post. Period. I spent a lot of time here on two separate days: first to get the really fine, spiky ice formations on the post and barbed wire, second to get the blasted ice of the following round of foggy cold.


First off, some color. Remember, it was a white, foggy day when I went out to this part of the fence. That doesn’t work well when you’re trying to capture the detail in the little spikes of frost (yes, Rime Ice) on the wire. In fact, the first photo in this post is the only one where I had a dark enough background to be able to discern the tips of the frost by way of contrast. So I chose to improvise in the interest of getting more definition.


The fine detail on Day One was absolutely stunning. Why wouldn’t I want to do everything in my power to be able to capture it?


Almost has a “crown of thorns” thing going on…doesn’t it? This is a blend of natural texture (the post) and matte in the background, so you can get a feel for how spiky this ice really is. It was like little white needles – or thorns.


Same shot, matte held closer. I love the contrast. I’ve always been one for a healthy dose of contrast, and I believe I owe that to my background in broadcasting. High definition – and now HDR – video doesn’t suffer from the same high-contrast characteristics of old standard definition, analog video like the stuff I grew up with. So my eye tends to prefer more contrast, since that is what I was accustomed to working with video since the eighties.


Perhaps it looks almost marine in nature. Whale’s teeth…the fronds of a denizen from the ocean’s floor, or some deep coral reef…these spikes take on a life of their own.


Maybe a beard? As if this post has gone full-blown Hezekiah on us?


The second time around, however, this post had been absolutely blasted with ice overnight.


I was getting really cold, so I decided to shoot against a warmer backdrop. That way I could imagine I was able to feel my fingers at this point.


For the record, this is what the photos look like without a matte to separate the white ice spikes from the white background on a white day with a white sky. Get the picture? So not only did I get the chance to experiment with my little matte board technique, I was able to get photos under some really hostile conditions, while still coming away with some detail in the spikes which lured me out there in the first place. Not that I feel I need to defend this technique, but it bears explaining.

So that’s it for this post. About this post. I have many, many more photos to share, so hang in there…more are coming soon!

It’s easy being green

I don’t care what Kermit the Frog says: I find being green delightfully easy, as a former Kawasaki roadracer and general fan of the color. I’ve already done a Christmas lights post, but I had another nice green bulb photo to kick us off this morning.


My beautiful bride painted one of the wicker patio chairs on our deck a wonderful shade of green. That made for a really nice contrast against the white of the frost (Rime Ice) which developed upon it.


These chairs are parked upside-down beneath our deck for the winter, which allowed this leg to become adorned with spikes of white.


It should be apparent by now that I’m a fan of geometry, and this simple little chair was more than happy to oblige. And in my favorite color, too!


Of course, the texture under that green paint was really fantastic, too. The way the weave influenced the texture of the spikes that morning was almost mesmerizing!


I’m glad I got to work that glorious Kawasaki Green into this post. I’m actually pretty eager for Spring to arrive, so I can get out and do some riding! 2020 was supposed to be the year I got back into motorcycling, but I ended up working straight through the year without much riding to show for it at all. But I did get some new riding gear with some of the extra money I brought in, so I’m really hoping 2021 will be my year. With the photographic bonanza we were given last weekend, I’d say this year is off to an excellent start!

Nailed it this time

Yes, it’s U-shaped, but to the best of my knowledge it’s still a nail. This one is sticking out of the top of a horizontal fence post out by my property, and I’m glad it is. The frost (yes, Rime Ice) on this one is blasting its way eastward.


It looks like a blast, doesn’t it? I mean, literally? Well, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. This was on Day One: the Saturday when we first woke up to spikes of ice and frost attached to everything. Those tended to be more fine, needle-like structures attached to everything. But that was only the beginning.


Fast forward a few days, and we had an entirely different type of ice develop out here. First, it seemed windier. Second, the temperature was different. And the way the ice and frost developed…well, that was entirely different as well.


How would I even describe this? Feather? Sure. Explosive? Definitely. It was something I’ve never experienced before with my camera, and I was absolutely delighted.


Here’s one that’s more natural. If you’ve paid close attention to my frost (Rime Ice) photos so far, you may have noticed the clean backgrounds on most of the shot. That’s no accident. Because the background was typically white, there’s no way I would have achieved the definition I wanted by just pointing my camera and clicking away. Or maybe something else was in the background which would act as a distraction. So how did I solve this problem? I improvised, and made a little experiment out of it.

I have a number of pieces of colored matte board from when I used to frame my own photo prints. I won some art show awards, and I even sold some prints (not enough for that new camera I’ve wanted for six years), but I gave up on that sort of thing long ago. Well, I cut down some various matte boards in a variety of colors and took them with, holding them in the background while I clicked away with a remote shutter release. I like how they turned out, especially considering the alternative. There’s no way I could have captured the detail if I didn’t have a contrasting background to work with. I hope it doesn’t look artificial…but even if it does, in this case I think the detail is worth it.

I still have plenty more frost photos, and I hope to put them out in a themed fashion as well. See you soon!

Pining for more frost photos

Not for the fjords, mind you. I ventured about, searching for a variety of pines, and boy, did I succeed.


I found a variety of pine needle shapes, in a variety of orientations, with a variety of ice formations attached to them. And here we go…


I love the funnel-like cone of some of these. I hadn’t paid such close attention to the pine trees near my place, but I found out rather quickly that they’ve got some really interesting features!


Even among similarly shaped pine branches, I found an assortment of icy spikes on them.


These were so breathtaking, I didn’t even notice how cold it was outside…or how long I’d been standing out in that cold. Didn’t matter.


The orientation of the ice spikes tends to convey a sense of motion, or at least an indication of some bitter wind as they formed overnight.


What I found interesting was how some of the needles were coated in ice, while others were completely unscathed.


Others were barren on one side, but blasted with ice on the other. That makes a wonderful photo like this one possible.


Any guesses which direction the wind was blowing the night before? I’m gonna say from the right side of this photo. Call it a hunch.


Naturally the long-needled pines wanted to get into the game, as well. We can’t let the short-needled guys have all the fun.


There’s something star-shaped about this one which caught my eye. The direction of the spikes seems to convey a rotation of sorts, despite their haphazard directions.


Plastered. It’s hard to tell just exactly what is under all that ice, but trust me: it’s a pine branch.


It’s almost like a hairdo when it’s on one side, isn’t it? This one could be in a punk band, or maybe an eighties New Wave group.


And, with this glorious specimen, I’m spent. At least on the pine photos. I have plenty more frost (yes, Rime Ice) photos yet to come in future posts, but I’m trying to theme each of them. Stay tuned…

Cherry, baby

Never pass up the opportunity to make a Neil Diamond reference. Ever. I’m happy to say that plenty of trees around my place still have these red delights hanging from their branches, and I took advantage of it.


Here’s a big bunch of cherries for y’all – how about those spikes? They’re absolutely glorious. They were so voluminous that they actually lasted for a couple of days on some of the trees.


For instance, this duo. I took this shot a couple of days after the initial frost (yes, Rime Ice) had appeared. You can tell it was wearing thin, but it still remained.


But back to the initial spikes. They look like thorns, they’re so long and sharp! I can’t help but sound like a broken record: these are the finest examples of this phenomenon I’ve ever witnessed.


The geometry of the tree branches, the red of the berries, and the unique nature of the frozen spikes made for days’ worth of photographic fun.


To quote the first Captain America movie: I could do this all day. There was so much going on out there, it was impossible to capture each unique and breathtaking example of such a rare occurrence.


She got the way to move me, as the song says. I couldn’t get enough.


Here, the ice almost obscures the fruit! Even better: it helps illustrate just how incredibly fortunate we were to get a blast of weather like this.


Do your eyes start at the bottom, and follow the geometry of the branch upward, or do they start at the top and work their way to the tip of the branch? I always do the latter…although the branch starting in the upper left may play a factor.


I call this one the Glen Plake Berry. It reminds me of my mohawk. Yes, I had a nineteen inch mohawk back in my 20s. It was part of that decade and a half long “extreme sports” phase which did so much for my psyche and my orthopedic history.

That’s it for now – I’ll have more themed posts coming up for…well, for a while. I worked this occurrence like a rented mule, and I have plenty to show for it. I can’t wait to share more of them!