The new fall styles are in

Here we are…another autumn season! I have had a gut feeling for a while that this season will be short and sweet. So far we’ve got the sweet! The colors of the leaves have become spectacular.

I’m incredibly busy – still – so I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to get out with my camera to capture some fall colors before the leave are gone, but I’m going to give it my best shot! I already took an unscheduled day off to bolt to Pembina Gorge with my sweetie, and I hope to post those photos soon. So even if I’m tied up for much of this season, I won’t end up empty-handed!

Wild clouds yesterday

So I understand we had some weather on Thursday. Well, I was roaming the back roads of Morton County but was able to see from a distance that there was some significant action going on in the skies northeast of our location.

Once I zoomed in on the tail end of the massive cloud formation I saw some pretty striking features.

Here’s a slightly closer crop. What really caught my eye was the ring around the top of the cloud, but once I grabbed a telephoto shot I also noticed some serious convection going on back there. Pretty wild!

On the way back into town we did pass a stretch – about a mile long – during which there were hailstones piled up on the east side of the road. Otherwise, I stayed dry all the way back to town, but for a few sprinkles after we passed St. Anthony. I was pleased to find out that there wasn’t any damage on my property once I got home. But I heard it was quite a show!

Sign of the season

I drove past this sign south of Mandan and had to do a double-take. First off, the water in the ditch is pretty deep (and solid). Second, the sign itself is rather photogenic. Third, the patterns in the ice caught my eye.

See the cool shape of the cracks in the ice? It had started to get nice enough to warm the ice and crack it, too.

In places where the ice was thin enough I could see the vegetation below. It was still solid enough to walk on, though, and it was probably frozen all the way through.

The adjacent fence posts weren’t quite as photogenic, but the ice around them was close.

Taken from above, those looked pretty cool, too. This also shows how I could see through the ice and the nice, sunny day.

A week later I came back and found that the neatest features of the ice were gone. The warmer weather had smoothed out all the cool jagged edges, and the idea of walking out on this ice wasn’t too appealing anymore.

Oddly enough, I had to come by again for other business, so I stopped in to see that the ice had really melted around the sign. I wasn’t able to get out on it any more, even though I spend extra for the waterproof version of my shoes.

Finally, I stopped by on my way back from Fort Lincoln to check on the progress of the ice melt. Well underway, as you can see. Now we’re into telephoto lens territory…even with waders I don’t think I’d have wanted to venture any closer.

I’m so excited for Spring! Now that I’ve chronicled the seasonal changes of this location, I’m ready to start snapping photos of warmer subjects.

Rime Ice Redux

Remember when I flooded the ol’ Blog with a ton of frost (okay, Rime Ice) photos? Well, I also shot a little bit of video to accompany those photos. I threw together a simple video containing a few clips with some music to share. I hope you enjoy!

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!