November 29, 2014

Winter Radiance

The loveliest of winter weather phenomena is hoarfrost, which turns the early morning landscape into a sparkling vision, with icy crystals coating the finest of surfaces. It doesn't occur often, and when it does it's magical; this morning it invited me to bundle up for the 6ºF weather, grab my camera, and go outdoors to photograph.

A single stem of a grass is bristling with ice crystals, each of the angled surfaces catching light.

Instead of the usual golden weeds and grasses, there are shards of light against the darks of distant hillsides.

Weeds in a ditch become glorious....

....and grasses are transformed into a symphony of light.

Ordinary weeds, festooned in sparkling white, are briefly among the most beautiful things on earth.

Perennials are also decked out in brilliant winter whites, the flowers of ice rivaling those of summer. The stems of loosestrife, bent under the weight of crystals.....

.....and the rounded seed heads of bee balm, topped with a tall white cap, join the weeds in celebrating this brief moment filled with crystalline light, the gift of an early winter.


  1. You make me long for a snow storm. Haven't had an encounter with hoarfrost yet this year. These feel enchanted.

    1. I believe that hoarfrost can happen without snow; what it needs is cold moist air. At any rate it is rare enough to seem especially prized.

  2. This is a marvelous phenom to see. I have only seen it two or three times in my whole life. It is even pretty in your photos.

    1. Lisa, I feel lucky to see this, I hope at least once each winter. I hope that my photos captured a bit of the beauty.