Crystal stars

Star-shaped crystals form on stream ice when it gets very cold – in the single digits F. The smaller shapes are stars or crosses, but some forms are masses of pointed crystals. The snow at the edge of a stream can form dense mats of these crystals, and the icy surface can have clusters of starry crystals. Here are a few crystal islands on dark stream ice:


Crystal shapes

Frost crystals grow in different shapes, depending in part on the temperature. On one morning, I found the snowflake-like hexagonal plates you see in one of these images. All of the leaves around this one were covered with them. On another morning, I found rod-like frost crystals. When you get close enough, you can see that the rods are pipes of ice, hollow inside. Click an image to see it in a larger size:

This sort of image – frost on leaves scattered in the ground – is the sort of thing I take in late fall. In early January when I took these, the ground was still bare, and the leaf litter was still visible. Hard to imagine that now, with three or four feet of snow on the ground.

Plectranthus ‘Mona Lavender’

A closeup of a flower from a recent visit to a local greenhouse:


Field tree

An isolated oak in a foggy California field – there’s a bit of sun shining on a few of the rows of whatever was coming up:

_MG_4770-2-tree From a visit in California a couple weeks back. I like the look of this field better than the 30 inches of snow on the ground here in Massachusetts…

For Maryrose.

Black and blue

Stream ice patterns, geometric ones in color (blue) or swirling and monochrome (black).

Crystals and a leaf

Frost crystals that formed under a leaf on frozen stream:


Taken on a really cold (0 degrees F) morning. The fern-like crystals on the right side of the leaf only form when it gets very cold, down in the single digits. I’ve seen crystals around a leaf like this, but the holes in the leaf and the profusion of crystals give this an unusual look.



A greenhouse I visit in winter has an ancient bougainvillea vine I’ve enjoyed for years. This year they cut it back, but kept a few flowering cuttings. Easier to photograph than the old vine but I miss the huge cascade of flowers.


Twelve from 2014

This post sums up a year of photography and a year of encounters with nature:

The photography tour I co-lead with Greg Basco in Costa Rica was my event of the year – it was an unforgettable experience. Three of the images are from Costa Rica. I’ve also added to ongoing image projects – ice crystals, trees, flower centers, waterfalls, milkweed, and insect photography.

Thanks to everyone who has stopped in to view images, commented, or noted that they’ve liked images.  Happy new year!


Camellia anthers

A closeup of a crowd of anthers at the center of a greenhouse camellia:



A frozen drop on a leaf:


I love ice crystals for the sharp edges and repeating patterns – drops have a different appeal. I have no idea how the drop ended up in this irregular form, with the streaming bubbles inside. Perhaps the drop melted partially and refroze. The drop is shown at approximately 3x magnification.


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