December 9, 2011 Iowa Flats Moon-lit Fog and Hoar Frost Scenes

This night I was just thinking moon-lit sea out fog from Murray Hill over in western Iowa(which never ever can freaking happen). Tekamah NE hit -6/-5(temp/dewpoint) quite early, like 7 or 8pm. Others to the sw warmer and even more of a spread but reporting fog. So I left. I near Cargil and can see the steam plumes leaning over east quite a bit(wind/breeze). It was clear as it gets, even crossing the river at first. I almost went back home without crossing, figured it was not close to happening. Not far on highway 30 over there I thought I could see something way ahead on the road. Then all the sudden the car tail lights up there vanish! Clear and crisp as it can be, then voila, red tail lights ahead completely disappear from sight. I hit it, dense but shallow fog. It was flowing everywhere already over there. I get out on a gravel road in it and damn was it freaking cold. It's the optimal location for temps to bottom out over there. Big flat low area between the bluffs on either side of the river. And of course now it has a snow pack too. In the above shot you can see it flowing over the field as I look back towards Cargil. You can see much further in things without your headlights on. Turn them on on this road and you can't see too far.

Looking east from there. Cold cold cold. Probably nearing -10F in this area. I need to get a real thermometer for this stuff, to see just how cold it gets there. The air was actually pretty dry here, with dews plummeting with weak north winds earlier. So it had to get damn cold to squeeze out the fog. The sky up high was jet black and crystal clear. You could see tons of stars even with the full moon. By the way, night sky is blue just like the day sky when it is illuminated. Our eyes just don't pick up on it as well. The only area that seemed to stay black was actually up high around the light. You'll see some black to blue transitions on these. Like you are on the edge of space sorta look in a way.

I drove up to Murray Hill for nothing, as the fog thinned down past Mondamin like it loves to do. You can tell it must get a hair higher. You can seriously over and over find thick fog just south of the highway through Mondamin off the interstate, but then cross it and right away find far less fog. This is highly reliable with ground fog situations, until the stuff can deepen some. I began to think it would not really deepen, so I left Murray Hill area and drove back south. The highway kinda sucked at times. It'd be super damn dense and at the same time the road sucked in spots. At least the road wasn't completely snow covered. I couldn't help but imagine trying to drive in that, would be hell. We've all had that in snow, where it's hard to distinguish what is road and what isn't. Has to be a blast in near zero visibility fog.

I was pretty much in just go home mode when I passed a favorite road to use and a barn we've all shot before here. This road is nice because hardly anyone uses it. Just not much use for it. And the plus side it has a cool little barn. It's another area that usually won't have fog until the fog deepens. I know because I'll want to shoot it with fog, when the fog is just real shallow stuff, but I will go here and there won't be fog. This time though some was flowing through the area, about 5 feet deep. It looked pretty cool so I had to stop.

Other side looking back west. I bet the view was cool from the top of it looking down on the moon-lit fog.

Had to do a 20 minute trail. 15 second shots at 400 ISO stacked.

I turned it vertical to do one more, but figures, frost jumped on it right when I did so. I didn't know till I stopped it 20 minutes later. And now I was ready to go home.

Then the west winds die off and the fog deepens some. It changed fast. I cloned road crap out of the left side of this shot fwiw lol. I should have just moved the tripod further into the tracks deal so the left side stuff wouldn't be in the shot. Half ass clone job as I care that much lol.

This fog soon is about 5 feet off the ground everywhere and you could see clearly under it. I then left to go home(again), but was stopped by a train not moving. I half noticed it from this barn the whole time, it's that close by. Do this long enough, shooting weather stuff and whatnot, and it can be so crazy what one little deal, such a stopped train forcing you to change course, can mean. It happens and right away you wonder what you are about to see because of it. It's almost like you know you are about to see something cool, because you are being stopped and redirected. It's strange, but soon as I came to a stop there and it wasn't moving, I began thinking ok I'm about to see something cool. I've always seen how you can do this by simply not going home on your own. Pretty straight forward concept, can't see cool stuff if you go home. Without that train sitting there, you could chop off the hoar frost scenes below. I'd have went west and maybe shot the river scene. I'd for sure not have wound up in the hoar frost stuff.

So I had to go back to Modale then over to the interstate. As I hit Modale again, the trees there are covered in hoar frost. I saw some earlier around Little Sioux but wasn't sure it wasn't just snow, because they didn't have any fog then and would have had to accumulate it really fast. But south of that town on the road it was clearly hoar frost on powerlines. Anyway, this time back through Modale the change was freaking night and day from having just came through there. Every tree in town maybe 1 hour earlier had no frost and now they were all thickly covered white.

The problem in Modale was all lights and no just moon-light areas. I went east out of town looking for scenes and not having much luck. Then I hit this area. Problem was I figured there was a house here somewhere and so I wasn't about to go roaming down there. I so wanted to go shoot this from down there away from this tall crap on the highway.

It looked freaking magical. I should have at least walked onto the other side of this crap on the highway. But yeah it's not like anyone that would see you out of your car, middle of the night walking around, would think you are taking pictures. I'm fine doing it from near my car in these circumstances. Screw pushing luck around rural farm houses at night though. So I just shot a couple quickly here and moved on, not finding much else and exiting the fog zone quickly. Eventually wound my way down through Missouri Valley which I had hoped would be frost covered, but no. None.

I drive west out of Missouri Valley back into where I knew was foggy and frosty. I've always wanted to shoot this barn at night. Problem is it is right on highway 30 with nowhere to pull over. Plus you'd be in clear sight of tons of cars going by. I should find out whose land this is and if they care if I shoot it from down there some night. With the snow I'd need a 4x4 to park here though. It'd be worth borrowing my parent's Blazer for. Too bad it's not on some gravel road somewhere. You could park there and shoot it from the field and I know no one would care. Here though it sucks, mostly because there's nowhere to park your car. It was late enough now that I could at least use half the shoulder until I could see the next car coming on the highway. So that is what I did. I flipped around to come back here but went past to the gravel road 1/4 mile away. I then waited there until no cars were see on the highway either direction. Then I zoomed back here, pulled over and took a couple real quickly. Without going down there, one is this limited on composition. Sigh, if only a place to park the damn car. I'm not going to mess with trying to leave it parked on the shoulder. I couldn't even get completely off the highway if I wanted to anyway. Well maybe but would be way too close to it to leave it there as any cars came. Soon as I saw the first car to the west I took off.

Another area without a good place to get your car off the road. This one in the fog too obviously. Least it wasn't the highway. But again I couldn't stick around here long either. I was tired and ready to go home. I was also pretty frustrated and not optimistic in locating good places for this moon-lit hoar frost stuff. 4 of the last 7 nights had been out in the cold shooting for many hours. Makes you tired and sick of being cold too. I'm kicking myself now though. The other part of it is wondering how long till you get yourself stuck somewhere. I was only so interested in many of the gravel road options. I almost took the Wilson Island road, but figured I'd find a way to get myself stuck. That and I just missed it in the fog. I was like, I could back up and go down there but being tired and stuck fears, as well as just missing it, it was easy to say screw it and keep going. Actually I think that was right before finding this above one. After this I went west and back out of the fog pretty quickly. That was the other thing, the fog was letting up rather than becoming more common. And this was the highly flaky stuff that falls off damn easy. Anyway, wish I'd done more and better with it. I don't think it will be terribly easy to get with the moon again. Small chance Monday night I think, but not counting on it. Maybe be rime ice that time too.

Hey, what's this, another impossible place to shoot from. Sigh. I had to at least try a couple.