I was up with the baby at 5am…As I was rocking him back to sleep, I saw the temperature was hovering around freezing and the sky was clear. I knew the temp would fall a couple more degrees at or near sunrise, often the coldest time of day. Frost forms when the air temp around the leaf is below the dew point; moisture condenses out of the air onto the leaf and then crystallizes into ice. Conditions in early autumn are often ideal for frost formation; Cold, calm, clear nights in an atmosphere loaded with moisture. Winter is often too dry.

I headed over to the Wrenshall WMA where I knew a field of goldenrods and dogwoods would be a good place to find frosty subjects. A red dogwood leaf rimmed in frost first caught my eye. I intentionally chose a shaded background to contrast with the white fringe of ice.

My real goal, though, was to find an orbweaver spider web that had frosted over. I have a running “battle” with my friend and fellow author Larry Weber about finding and photograph a frosted orbweaver web. He technically won last year when he found an old tattered web that had frosted. But the one I found today was 80% perfect. Larry is in the Adirondacks so I’ll have to rub it in when he gets back!

Yes, mine is on a barbed wire fence but I kind of like the juxtaposition of permanent hard and cold metal with the impermanent delicate fragility of a spider web. Ironically, both are meant to capture and contain…One insect prey and the other cows!

Dogwood Leaf: Canon 7D, Canon 70-200mm f4 lens with Canon 500D close-up lens, f13 at 1/125, ISO 400, tripod

Orbweaver web & barbed wire: Canon 7D, Canon 70-200mm f4 lens with Canon 500D close-up lens, f6.7 at 1/1500, ISO 200, tripod

Shaded goldenrod: Canon 7D, Canon 70-200mm f4 lens, f5.6 at 1/180, ISO 200, tripod

Orbweaver web close-up: Canon 7D, Canon 70-200mm f4 lens with Canon 500D close-up lens, f16 at 1/125, ISO 200, tripod

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