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Minus Nine and the Hoar Frost Bloom

When I learned the temperature in Kansas City was going to plunge well below zero I couldn’t wait to get out early in the morning to sample -9F! Naturally, I felt obliged to document the experience using my ever present iPhone camera. A small lake near home would likely present photo opportunities, so leaning into a brutal north wind, I hiked my way up there.  My iPhone goes to sleep in subzero weather so it was necessary to protect it in a warm spot on my person, pulling it out ever so briefly to quickly compose an image.

This was the highlight of my arctic trek. Hoar frost! Hoar is unusual in Kansas City, requiring special conditions to take form. It fancies a perfect combination of air circulation, temperature and water vapor. In this case it was site specific, occurring only on new black lake ice near open water.

Abstract snow drifts are an endless source of fascination.

Geese accumulate on an ever diminishing spot of open water. As the patch becomes constricted they surely must be evaluating a flight further south! Meanwhile, they harbor in an ephemeral field of blooming hoar frost.

Fern like structures… so delicate.

I’m hoping for more arctic weather and perhaps another chance to work with hoar frost! Did you experience the cold?

As always, please leave comments below!

john serpa - January 9, 2014 - 12:01 am

This was the most intriguing polar express jaunt I’ve seen 🙂 I enjoy the things you capture, things often missed. Well done!

Jill Green - January 9, 2014 - 12:23 am

Such beauty in sub zero temps….thank you for bravely sharing!!

Beth Ann Daye - January 9, 2014 - 1:16 am

Stephen! These photos are awesome!! You have so many talents. thank you for sharing them with us.

Joan Locke - January 15, 2014 - 3:13 am

The – cold- Few are open to it’s delights

Linda Wineteer Eckhardt - January 31, 2014 - 6:38 am

I love your work. I too, take pictures of the sun, rises, and sets. Land scapes, winter, moon, and even the stars. I fun with my star photos and the moon. I love this snow flake, may I ask what type of camera do you shoot with? I have not been real successful capturing a snowflake such as this one, but have tried. For some reason I can’t seem to zoom in that close to capture the beauty that I see, in these. The same as with water droplets. Thank you for sharing, again, you have some really nice photos.

Beth Mcclain - February 2, 2014 - 3:06 am

Love the pics and love the cold weather!

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