Frost Queen, Saskatchewan, Canada by Scott Aspinall

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Winter in Saskatchewan can be harsh but also creates some of the most beautiful sights in the province. This photograph is of hoar frost, a phenomenon that frequents Saskatchewan. Hoar frost occurs when soft ice crystals form on an object that is cooled below the freezing mark. Once water vapour in the below-freezing air condenses, it turns directly to ice when cooled on contact with these cooled surfaces. Hoar frost makes brutal Saskatchewan winters very beautiful, at least from a photography standpoint.

The winter of 2019/2020 was no different. Having experienced a couple of bouts with hoar frost already, I had this spot pegged for a future photograph. It wasn't until a November morning that I was able to capture this scene. Having witnessed this scene in all types of light and conditions, I had the idea that it would work best in morning light or foggy conditions. That morning, the morning light hit a light fog in the scene, creating a pinkish glow. Hoar frost, like snow, absorbs whatever light is hitting it. So, the red/pink light from the sun, combined with reflected blue light from the sky, creating a nice, soft colour palette.

I photographed this scene with a few different approaches that morning. Normally, if I have a lonely subject like this, I like to center it in my photo. In this case, I enjoyed the delicate curve of the tree trunk as it curved back towards the center of the frame. I felt it worked nicely with the negative space on the left-hand side.

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