Saturday, February 11, 2012

Hoar frost and forecasters

click photo to enlarge
After the cold winter of 2009-2010 people expected that the winter of 2010-2011 would be milder. When those hopes were dashed and the January proved to be every bit as cold, the expectation then became that, after two successive harsh winters, the winter of 2011-2012 was almost bound to be better. And, for a while it looked as though it might be. However, late January and February have put paid to that theory, with last night being the coldest of the year, and Lincolnshire recording the lowest temperature (-16 Celsius) anywhere in the country.

In fact, there is no rational reason to suppose that a bad winter presages the next being milder, nor that a succession of cold winters increases the likelihood of the subsequent one being more equable. What we can expect, however, is that if the weather forecasters suggest that the minimum overnight temperature will be -5 Celsius, then we have no reason to suppose it will be anywhere near -16 Celsius. Last night the Meteorological Office got their predictions drastically wrong. For many that can be a major problem because they wouldn't necessarily have taken the precautions that they otherwise might. From my perspective as a photographer it was O.K. Why? Because we had a wonderful, unexpected hoar frost on top of the previous night's fall of snow!

We had a few of these frosts in the cold weather at the end of December 2010 and in early January 2011. I was thrilled to see another one this year and made a couple of morning forays with the camera to gather a few shots of the dramatic trees. Today's photograph was taken in the village cemetery. The white covering of the hoar frost combined with a shot against the light made a rather banal subject into something a little more interesting.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 17mm
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 1/500
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: N/A