One morning during our visit to Tofino, when I headed outside, there was a heavy frost on the seats around the fire pit. The armrest of the seat had some beautiful ice crystals formed upon its surface. They looked so intricate and crisp. When looking through the viewfinder, you could find yourself unaware of what you were looking at. I liked both the wide “carpet” of crystals as well as looking close in at the details.
Previous posts have included some of the frosty scenes from the beach at Tofino during our visit there last year. Aside from the logs, the strands of kelp that had become washed up on the beach were also frosted. The kelp itself seemed to have maintained its moisture without being damaged by freezing but the surface had accumulated a layer of frost that looked really pretty in the early morning light. As the sun got high enough to warm the kelp up, the frost was soon gone.
Early morning walks after a cold night mean frost everywhere. I guess I am accustomed to frost on hard surfaces but softer items, for some reason, didn’t seem like things that would have frost on them. Plants are not warm blooded so why wouldn’t the frost gather on the leaves too. This is probably obvious to everyone but me but I was quite taken with the frost crystals on the leaves.
Aside from the mere presence of frost, I was also impressed by the shapes that the frost crystals had developed in to. They were quite exaggerated and a decent size compared to the leaves themselves. Since it had been a cold and calm morning, getting shots of the leaves was easier than normal since usually the gentlest of breezes will cause motion in the leaves making a sharp shot hard to achieve. The stillness was my friend (and also made for a more comfortable walk since, without wind, the low air temperatures were not uncomfortable).
Walking along Long Beach in Tofino early in the morning, it was still pretty cold. The lack of wind meant it was perfectly comfortable in the sun but the air temps were low. The result was lots of frost on the tree stumps that were scattered along the beach. The texture of the cross section of the wood was already accentuated by weathering but the addition of the frost provided a bit more emphasis to the surface.
Winter frosts can produce some great patterns of ice on objects. This shot was taken of a wing mirror of a car that had grown some lovely looking ice crystals. RAW can be your friend in situations like this because the reflectivity of ice can glare detail out and RAW gives you the latitude to pull back some of the details. This was taken on the phone, but the detail survived quite well.
An Aeroflot Airbus A330 landed at LAX while I was shooting there. On plenty of occasions, I have seen ice on the underside of the wings of landing aircraft where the cold fuel remaining in the tanks has caused condensation and freezing in the warmer damp air lower down. However, I haven’t ever noticed it on the fuselage structure. On this jet, though, I could see ice on the surface and the patterns of ice reflected the underlying fuselage structure. Maybe this is there more often and it was just the paint finish that made it show up this time.
From Hurricane Ridge, you get a great view of the surrounding mountains of the Olympics. September obviously is not the time to see the snow on most of the mountains but there are some glaciers on some of the peaks. However, it appears like they are in retreat. Photos on the display boards near the visitors’ center show the extent of the glaciers in previous decades and they have retreated a long way. If they don’t slow down (and usually this accelerates), they will be gone before too long. We saw them but it seems plenty won’t get the chance.
One element of shooting at Coyote Point that I particularly like is the way you can get a good view of the undersides of the jets as they come in. The long haul flights often have an added feature. The wing fuel is mostly burnt down by the time they land but there are reserves still in the tanks to cover unforeseen events. Many hours at altitude has chilled the fuel down nicely so, as the plane descends into the moist air over the bay, a nice frost forms on the underside of the wings where the fuel is still sitting.
I have seen this on various jets over the years so this post is a compilation. Some of these shots are recent and some are from older shoots. Rather than show the whole plane, these are focused on the areas where the frost forms. They give you a good idea of the internal structure of the various types involved.
One of the nice things about winter in Chicago is enjoying the days when it is cold but clear and sunny. The combination of clear skies and the gentle light of winter is very attractive and when it happens during the weekend, it is a good idea to get out and have a walk around. Navy Pier is a very popular tourist destination so it is a place I rarely go. Winter, though, is a quieter time and it is worth wandering out since you won’t be fighting the crowds. You can also see how much ice has built up in the lake.
The pier has a lot of touristy stuff to attract people. This isn’t really my thing. However, the Ferris wheel is something that makes me look for a little longer. Also, the end of the pier is the location for a large hall. I’m not sure what the hall is used for. It was locked up while I was there. However, it is a nice looking structure. It is also a nice spot to look out into the lake. The water culverts our outside the harbor wall and there is a lighthouse on the wall itself. A few things to take a look at while enjoying a good stroll.
As has been the case a few times recently, I was down in Millennium Park recently at night. I was there to see something else but, while I was there, I took some time to watch the ice skaters. There is an ice rink beside Millennium Park that is free to the public to use. If you don’t have skates, they are available for hire. However, if you come equipped, you are free to skate!
The rink stays open relatively late each evening and I spent some time from above watching everyone having fun. Of course, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to take some pictures (and also some video – I figure that all of these clips will one day be part of a larger montage of Chicago footage). Since it is dark, it is time to try other techniques.
I was surprised how well lit the rink was. I could get some quite fast shutter speeds if I wanted to. However, that wasn’t really the point. I can come during the day if that is what I want. Instead, the slow shutter speeds were actually what I was looking for. The question then becomes how slow.
I was mounting the camera to the railings with a flexible arm and clamp so my motion wasn’t a problem. If the shutter speeds got too long, the blur of the skaters became so vague, it was hard to see whether they were there or not. A slightly faster speed meant they became a bit more distinct. This was what I was after. You still needed to get the larger groups of skaters to make it show up noticeably though. The perfect combination was when someone would stay totally still (or close to it) during the shot. Then you had the juxtaposition of the movement and the lack of movement. That was my favorite.