The forecast called for today’s morning temperatures to be around 30 degrees Fahrenheit, which triggered two things to happen. First, we picked a bunch of produce from the garden last night. Second, I set my alarm to make sure I could get to our family prairie in time for sunrise.
I arrived before the sun appeared and wandered around the frosty prairie, scouting for potential photo opportunities. I knew that once the sun appeared, I’d have to work quickly because frost doesn’t last long once the light (and heat) hits it – especially when the air temperature is barely below freezing.
The first frost of autumn is always a special occurrence, but it’s even better when it comes with nearly calm winds and sunlight (as opposed to overcast skies and/or a stiff breeze that make photography difficult). The glittering prairie offered plenty of subject matter for my camera. In fact, it felt a little like the prairie was throwing me handfuls of popcorn to catch and eat. There were way too many options and not enough time to capture them all before the frost melted.
False boneset was one of the more charismatic subjects this morning. Its fluffy white seed heads caught and held frost very attractively, and the sun filtered through those heads in a magical way. I kept switching between my wide-angle lens and my macro lens, trying to figure out the best way to capture what I was seeing.
I was a little surprised not to see more insects than I did, but I was also a little distracted by the sparkling prairie and might have missed some. I’ll be curious to see if the abundance of grasshoppers, katydids, flies, and other little creatures in the coming days is similar to what I saw last week. I’m optimistic, especially since our garden seems to have managed the frost very well. If our tomatoes survived, I’m guessing lots of insects did too.
This wasn’t a hard freeze, just a frost, so in addition to insect survival, I’m guessing some flowers will continue to bloom and cool-season grasses will certainly keep growing for a while yet. That first hard freeze will come soon enough. In the meantime, I’ll be glad to enjoy the autumn prairie – with or without frosty accents.