In Frost…

This being the last week of the year and still no snow where I am in the Pacific Northwest, frost is the next best thing. Photographing it can be a real pain in the rear, especially when it requires an up-close view and a lens that can focus almost to within macro range, if not closer. Where I am, hoar & advection are perhaps the best, and trickiest, types of frost to shot properly because of its shape, form & texture. Interestingly enough, because of the challenge, they are also some of my favorites to shoot because of the patterns they form on the leaves & other plants.


In the above photograph, frost takes on a kind of outline quality and helps with the shallower depth of field (f8). The shutter, a little lower than recommended hand-held operation, was low enough to help with the blur if there was motion, but, thankfully, the cold weather wasn’t making me shiver; dress warm & beware when shooting at freezing temperatures, not just because you might get sick, but because the filters can tighten to the lens and be hard to take off and the lens can fog up easily when going from warm to cold or vice versa. With this shot, I was aiming for the brownish-red leaf and placing it in the left third of the frame, leaving the rest of what is a bush rimmed with the frost to make up the rest of the composition.

The thing is, when dealing with frost, it can be a real pain, especially when directly focusing on the frost itself. Patience, as well as trial & error, are definitely things to have when trying out these kind of shots (three things that I don’t necessarily have anywhere near enough of), but so is stubbornness; stubbornness in that there’s no will to give up & proverbially hang up the towel when it comes to the shot. So think about these the next time you’re out taking frost photographs, I sure will be, and have a Happy New Year’s!



The process of taking photographs has been detailed over and over, in books & in other media, so I won’t focus on that here…Don’t want to add too much to the noise out there. But I do want to add something to the discussion: vision. Taking the photograph is more than just pressing buttons, it’s about trying to relay what we ourselves see in a scene that we either want to record, show others, or both. So here’s the question: does metadata tagging have an affect on the vision in the image?

Grass & Frost

Take into consideration the above photograph from two posts ago…There are four metadata tags: Autumn, Frost, Grass, & Outdoor. So, for this photograph at least, how do the four tags affect the vision/thought? It shows that there were two time & place thoughts (autumn & outdoor) and two scene thoughts (frost & grass) that went into making it & ‘cataloguing’ it for later revisions & revisits. So, not only does color correction/editing affect the vision of the image, but the metadata tagging does as well.

Thinking about this can then lead to putting more focus on taking the photograph as opposed to purely just going with the flow and not making any conscious decisions at all. While going with the flow should be an option, it should never be the key & sole way you shoot; there should always be an open mind when taking photographs. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it again: this photography thing of mine is definitely through no talent I’ve made of my own, but one I believe I’ve been given…I’ll make plenty of mistakes, make the wrong exposure, fuss & fume about how the photograph sucks, wine & groan about how I’ve failed yet again, and be as stubborn as humanly possible, but, in the end, I’ll hope that it will at least half decent and I’ll have used it for good and nothing else.

Frost & Dew

Grass & Frost

Now here’s a topic that directly relates to the title of this blog: frost! Defining it in the most basic terms for the sake of brevity and keeping readers from falling asleep: frost is the crystallization of water that takes the form of ice deposits. Now that it has been said, frost takes on many forms in the late fall months as well as in the winter, most often as a kind of sugar-like coating; in the photograph above, it especially looks like a sugar coating on the grass. Capturing it isn’t as tricky as snow is, not requiring overexposing by a full stop or two, but, because of it’s size & detail, it does require using either a macro lens/filter or finding a way of magnifying it later (something not easily done).

Frost & dew, both made of water share many of the same characteristics when photographing them because exposure can be tricky because of light refraction and/or deflection. Mentioned many a time in the Bible (see Judges 6:37-40 for one such example), dew is basically melted frost after the air has warmed up or water droplets that haven’t frozen because the weather isn’t cold enough. Photographing dew is about the same as frost despite the smooth surface and how light doesn’t scatter like the multi-faceted frost; for the sake of arguing, dew-covered spiderwebs often shine better compared to frost-covered spiderwebs, even though frost, looked at closely, has more elaborate forms. Dew comes out transparent while frost is solid & white.

Both give off a certain feeling; frost feels cold & brittle while dew gives of a feeling of freshness in the morning. While frost hardens the ground, dew softens the ground somewhat; both form overnight and manifest themselves in the morning. Photographing both can be rewarding, requiring a steady hand (more so for frost) because of size, and sometimes, because of stabilization, a tripod; for me, this often means getting down low, using my elbows & knees to brace myself & stabilize the camera. While this can be tricky, especially on wet ground, it can yield some surprisingly good photographs, especially close up. If you don’t mind getting wet or getting down on frozen ground, then frost/dew photography is definitely worth it because of the way light reacts…Among other things.