Outside it was minus 5 degrees with crystal clear skies and a feathery frost forming on my windowpane. It stopped snowing during the night but there was still enough moisture in the air to freeze and form tiny crystal patterns.
I had been checking this window for frost almost every morning throughout the winter. Most of the time there’s nothing interesting. There were usually just small streaks of grey granular frost with no real graphic pattern or distinctive texture.
But, once in awhile the elements seem to line up and it’s a race to capture the scene before it melts away with the warmth of the direct light of sunrise. Crystalline frost is formed directly from the water vapor in the air. As the vapor runs along the contours of the glass it goes right from being a gas to a frozen solid, without transforming from a liquid state first. These are the intriguing textures and designs that can be worked into surreal compositions.
I quickly set up my camera and used only ambient outside light to backlight the delicate structure of the hoar frost. I wanted to hold the viewer’s attention within the frame of composition so I focused just on the crystal formations looking for patterns.
Using a shallow depth of field gave me the separation I wanted to keep the distracting vertical lines of a backyard shed out of the background.
I had about ten minutes to check out several compositions and prepare visually before the light would begin to melt the intricate designs. It was some of the most delicate hoar frost I’ve seen. In this image I liked how the crystals have just caught the first light of day creating dimension and texture within the scene.
The sparkle within the ice crystals changed quickly and within seconds all the little lines dividing the dynamic crystal structures filled in and pooled and like an ancestry tree forked into branches before running down the glass.
All photographs used in this entry are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography, 2011, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction of any kind is prohibited. If you wish reproduction rights please contact: email@example.com