Thursday, January 29, 2009

Frosty Morning

Every so often, you learn a life lesson that sticks with you, even years later.

I can remember the first time I really encountered the term, "Hoar Frost." I was a fresh-faced young photographer, just out of J-School, in my first job on a daily newspaper in northeast Iowa. I was out one morning and made a photograph of a horse, playing in a paddock. It had been foggy that wintry morning and, of course, frost had collected on everything.

The wire fence surrounding the paddock, the trees and bushes in the background, I mean everything. It was an amazingly beautiful scene, made no less so by the fact I was shooting black-and-white film. The image ran big on the front page of the next day's paper and, admittedly, I kind of forgot about it as I moved on to the next assignment and the one after that.

Fast forward a couple of days: I receive a letter at the newspaper from a reader. He started off, telling me he liked the image of the horse in the paddock that had ran on such-and-such a day's front page. He then went on to tell me (and I'll remember this line for the rest of my life) that, quoting the cutline I'd written, a "fine coating of frost is called 'hoar frost.'"

See, you learn something every day.

Regarding today's images, it was again a foggy morning in southeast Kansas and, of course, that long-ago reader's words came back to my mind, as they do every time I'm out photographing in similar conditions. I'd stopped at the local outlet of a Seattle-based coffee purveyor and picked up my morning brew.

After securing my cuppa, I took a closer look at these dried grasses in planters in the parking lot and decided to capture a few images. I made several, but these were my favorites, with the vehicles out of focus in the background and the narrow depth of field working with the light from the recently-risen sun to highlight the textures of the grasses, each tiny fold and stem decorated with frost.

No comments: