Fun with windshield ice

January 11th, 2012
In my last post, I pointed out that you can determine the crystal orientation in a film of ice by looking at hoar-frost that sprouts from its surface. Here's another way, but it only works if the ice is on glass. For example, here's ice on my… more »

Choppy waves

January 11th, 2012
I thought this hoar frost pattern looked like rough seas. I see choppy, cusp-like waves down there. Not having any pictures of rough seas, I hopped in our bathtub and kicked my legs around to make waves. Perhaps you can see a little resemblance.… more »

The Six-fold Nature of Snow

March 15th, 2011
Some people have asked me why snow crystals have six corners. The answers I’ve seen in books and the Internet are incomplete at best. Here’s a more complete answer. (A pdf copy of this article is here.) How the crystal got its “six” It’s a cold winter’s… more »

What We Sometimes Miss

March 8th, 2011
For the first few years in which I would excitedly go out on frosty mornings to photograph ice formations, I never paid any attention to frost on car bodies. Sometimes I would notice something on our car window, but that was basically it – I was… more »

An Ice Vase Sprouts From a Bathtub

February 6th, 2011
Someone recently sent me a beautiful image of an ice structure in the shape of a vase. The vase in that case had somehow sprouted out of a frozen birdbath. The thing reminded me of an ice vase I once found on an old plugged-up bathtub in a farmer’s… more »

Ice Forms on Slow-moving Water II: Pancakes and Frozen Foam

January 16th, 2011
An acquaintance of mine recently discovered these odd discs of ice. The discs floated freely in an eddy behind some fallen logs on the Nooksack River’s south fork. See other photos and a short video at… more »

Ice Forms on Slow-moving Water I: Caterpillars and Cellular Dendrites

January 15th, 2011
During my last winter in Japan (2009-2010), I would walk around a neighborhood park on frosty mornings, looking for interesting ice forms. It was in this park that I found one rock (only one!) that on some mornings would sprout hair-like ice, arising… more »

Hoared Hail and Coraline Cups

December 31st, 2010
As far as I could tell, nobody had predicted hail last night, yet there it was on the ground, the largest hail I’ve ever seen here in the northwest. It fell on wet ground, freezing to the surface and then growing hoar columns, making the ground white… more »

More Tales of Mystery and Observation

December 1st, 2010
When I stepped out early Saturday morning, the air seemed relatively warm, particularly compared to the cold snap we had last week. Indeed, it was much warmer, and yet the parking lot in our apartment complex had a glaze that was much more dangerous… more »

The Window of Many Cacti

February 14th, 2010
It’s been two weeks since our last frost, and judging from my first dozen shots, it seemed like my photography skills dropped from mediocre to downright pathetic. But then I got a few good shots of frost on windows. The fact that I shoot windows on cars… more »