Moonlight sparkles across a field of diamonds. Trees shine in glittered finery. A garden of crystals has grown in calm valleys and hollows where the low-slung winter sun does not reach.
At night the scene is opulent. Gemstones everywhere, coating the ground, trees, and bushes. With each step taken the moonlight reflects from different facets, giving twinkling life to the cold, quiet landscape.
A close look in the daytime reveals wonderlands! Fans, feathers, spikes, and fireworks blossom from the ground and from frozen plant life. Branches grow fat with crystalline petals.
Brushing past a bush shatters thousands of delicate frost crystals. They tumble down through the branches, tinkling off of their own kind and creating an almost addictive music. Visual beauty transformed into auditory art; captivating enough to disregard potential frostbite.
Hoarfrost grows in cold, calm weather as the moisture drops out of the air. After more than a week of that weather, a few of the complex crystals were three inches across here in the Wrangell area!
The spiky grass below was photographed in the afternoon when the light in shadowed places is flat. The crystal above was a nighttime shot. Both were illuminated with a simple flashlight.
The surprise of such a great variety of crystal forms kept me wandering around in road ditches for hours. Thank you Katrina, for teaching me appreciation of road-ditch photography!
I'm not into winter sports. My older sister's "come on up the big, advanced ski lift on your first day ever" method of instruction was a long-term cure. I don't bounce well enough for ice skating any more (which indicates that I was never great at it). And despite living in Alaska, I am not that into cold weather.
The quiet beauty of calm winter days makes it worth heading out, though. Bundled in layers, thrilled by the good work that the Frost Fairies do, the cold melts away.
If you live in an area that the Frost Fairies play in then I hope you get to enjoy their paintings and sculptures. If not, then maybe these photos have been a bit of fun in your day.
Wishing you a beautiful February,
More frosty and icy images: