Monday, January 07, 2013

Lots of lovely texture

I had a strong urge to go to Antelope Island and Farmington Bay today, but Salt Lake City is in the midst of a two-week long inversion.  The air is nasty and the red flag warnings are out, essentially asking you not to inhale unless you have to. As much as I wanted to get out and take some pictures, that was just going to be miserable.

Instead, Jasper and I wandered over into the beautiful Heber valley to see what we could see.
If you drive across Midway, almost to Soldier Hollow, you get into a low area along the river.  When the days are cold, the steam off the river freezes on all the trees, bushes, and grasses.  As the sun warms, it all melts off, clearing a spot to start again the next cold morning.
It really is like being in a fairytale.  Every surface around you is sparkling white.
Everywhere I looked the world was full of interesting and intricate textures, so I made capturing them my project for the day.
This is a piece of ice right by the river.  It looked like a jigsaw puzzle made of broken glass.
One stray bush had broken off and blown into the river. It was going to get a layer of frost wherever it stopped.
Even the big trees were iced over. 
The oddest thing I saw was an almost perfectly round mat of seaweed.  I'm not sure if it is really called seaweed if it is in a river, but that's what it looked like.  It was caught in an eddy so it moved in ten foot circles, over and over again.  Like everything else, it was covered in its own unique pattern of frost.
When I'm talking about frost, this isn't the boring coat of white you see on a lawn or a roof top.  This is a rich, three dimensional, fragile piece of art.
The tops of a tall tree were covered in little frost wisps.  They made the tree look like a Willow.
Even the river banks had "beards" clinging too roots, pieces of grass and anything else that could hold the weight.
Sometimes you would find places where different frost patterns met.  Looking at the terrain and ground materials, I couldn't figure out why they would form so differently only inches apart.
As the sun reached more and more frozen areas, it would provide just enough energy to make the frost lose its grip on whatever it had formed on.  Even without a cloud in the sky, it would occasionally start snowing frost.
On my way home from my Texture Fest, I found a farm field that must have been loaded with rodents. There were at least a half dozen Harriers scattered around on trees and telephone poles. This Rough Legged Hawk was done the road a few hundred yards.
I think I will go back to this farm and see if I can get permission to wander the fields.  For the most part, I'm quite harmless.
Driving past the reservoir, I just couldn't help but notice all the ice fishermen.  As often as I question my sanity for wandering around in near zero temperatures photographing frost,  I think these people are even worse off. Sitting by themselves, out in a desolate nowhere, hoping that some half frozen fish graces them with a visit.  Just wow.....
I got lucky today.  I enjoyed some beautiful scenery, all while breathing fresh clean air.  The inversion is supposed to clear on Thursday.  Perhaps after some skiing, I will make an effort at Farmington Bay.
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