Today is the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice.  After this dark night our days will become longer and filled with more light.

Wishing you all a bright and wonderful Christmas, and a new year filled with light and wonder.

Last weekend was especially cold.  Temperatures dropped and the wind blew.  The snow that had fallen remained, and the lake was frozen.  Walking along the shoreline, I saw this leaf resting on the ice.  As the time went by I saw frost forming all along its edges, outlining it carefully as if Mother Nature was painting each crystal in its place –  so delicate, and yet so very temporary too.

Blue window frost_StaatsWhen the temperature is -26 degrees, the places that I will point my camera for interesting photographs becomes much more limited.  As our multiple days of subzero temperatures bottomed out, I found myself inside looking out, through the beautiful patterns of frost on one of the windows.  Intricate and fascinating, it was back-lit by a neighbor’s light in the distance.  I found myself going from one side of the window to the next looking for patterns that would show the detail.  And when I stepped back to see the pattern in full, it reminded me of the delicateness of a green fern.  Within a few days our temperatures moderated and the winter beauty on this window evaporated by the welcome sun.

Sunrise over frost & ice 3920_StaatsOur temperatures have been dropping at night causing the sloughs and lakes to begin their ice-over.  It isn’t thick by any means, but it is the start of our shift from fall to winter.  I’ve always enjoyed the reflections of trees and horizons in water, and the change over to ice gives these same reflections a much different look.  The lines are softer and more muted, and until our lakes are snow-covered the reflections can sometimes be almost mirror-like.  On this morning two days ago, the sun was burning through the cold temperatures and the heavy frost causing the landscape to glow in the early light.

Morning frost PS2341_StaatsI looked out the window this morning and saw crystal-like snowflakes dancing in the sunlight.  They sparkled and glistened as they drifted to the ground.  It reminded me of this image from the past week.  Our nights have been cold, and the other morning I went out to my car to go to work; insert key, start engine, and wait for the car to warm up.  But as I sat in the driver’s seat I looked out the front windshield and “saw” the most beautiful sight.  The morning’s frost had settled on the glass, and as the light of the day (and the street lamp) shined through the window it was all refracted through the crystals of frost.  The trees became abstract and a beautiful mosaic was created with the light and the early morning colors of the sky.