Photographing hard rime

Learn how photographing hard rime works. Find the right photo spots to shoot stunning hoar frost images.

How to find hoarfrost for photos!

If it gets foggy and cold in winter, hoarfrost can form when temperatures drop below freezing. If you want to photograph hoarfrost, you have to go into the fog. But hoarfrost does not always form everywhere in the same way. With VIEWFINDR you can predict hoarfrost and photograph it.

You have to take the following for photographing hard rime:
  • Locate fog
  • Check the temperature
  • Determine the duration of the fog at subzero temperatures
  • Determine when the fog will dissipate
  • Consider the terrain
  • Find the fog height
  • Find photo motifs
  • Plan for light
photographing hard rime

Photographing hard rime: Locating the fog

For hoarfrost to form at all, the air must be very humid. At best, there is fog so that a lot of frozen water can be deposited on the vegetation. In VIEWFINDR we offer the weather parameter “fog”, which was especially developed for landscape photographers. This shows you where fog will be and how long it will stay there.

The higher the probability, the higher the chance of fog on location and the higher the humidity. Select the parameter “Fog” in VIEWFINDR to find fog fields for photographing hoarfrost.

photographing hoar frost

Photographing hard rime: Check the temperature

Actually, to photograph the hoarfrost you should now check the air temperature at the location of the fog and whether this is below 0°C. In VIEWFINDR we have developed an algorithm that simultaneously checks the temperature at the location of the fog. If it is below 0°C, we do not mark this area in yellow, but in red. This way you can immediately recognise in which areas hoarfrost and icing are formed by the fog.

hard rime with fog

Photographing hard rime: Duration of the fog

Now the question is whether enough ice forms on the vegetation to be able to photograph hoarfrost. The duration of the fog on site at sub-zero temperatures is crucial. To do this, you must click through the forecast hours in VIEWFINDR and estimate how many hours a location will remain in fog with hoarfrost. The following guideline values can be used to estimate whether you should go out and photograph hoarfrost:

  • After 12h: Hoarfrost clearly visible adhering to vegetation
  • After 24h: Hoarfrost covers all vegetation
  • After 48h: Extraordinary, white hoarfrost landscape
hard rime after 72h
photographing hard rime with our app (2)

Determine dissolution of the fog

The best time to photograph hoarfrost is when the fog lifts. Only then will you be able to get light to photograph the subjects. While you are looking at the different forecast hours in VIEWFINDR, pay close attention to determine when the fog lifts. You can see this by the fact that the probability decreases rapidly. This is synonymous with a clearing of the fog. Note the appropriate time so that you know when to photograph hoarfrost.

time of the hard rime

Consider terrain

The temperature is not the same in every place. The tendency is for it to get colder at the top of the atmosphere. In winter, hoarfrost therefore forms particularly frequently higher up in the mountains. The fog, however, often remains in the valley. In such situations, it can happen that only certain areas on the slope of the mountain are wetted with hoarfrost.

In this case, VIEWFINDR shows only very isolated red pixels on the mountain slopes. For this reason you should pay close attention to the terrain. To do this, use the background map Outdoor in VIEWFINDR and compare it with the “Fog” parameter. With the help of the “Eye” tool you can show and hide the weather data overlay.

height of the fog for hard rime

Find fog boundary

In order to have good light during your photo tour of the hoarfrost, you need to go to the fog line. The upper side of the fog also has the lowest temperature that occurs within the fog. This is due to the so-called inversion layer. In order for the fog to form at all on the ground, a temperature inversion must occur.

The air temperature above the fog is significantly higher than the temperature inside the fog. The cold air therefore remains trapped in the valley with the fog. You can find the top of the fog with the VIEWFINDR weather parameter “Fog height”. This shows you the location and height of particularly dense fog. This tells you how high you have to go in the mountains to get above the fog.

find the height of the fog

Photo motifs for photographing hard rime

Simply setting out and hoping for motifs is one method, but VIEWFINDR offers the possibility of finding possible photo spots at home and targeting them specifically. For hoarfrost, it is particularly important that these photo spots have as much vegetation as possible, as the hoarfrost sticks much better to the fine structures of the plants than, for example, smooth walls of buildings. To do this, simply select “All” at the top right of the views and search for views in the region with the hoarfrost.

find photo spots for photographing hard rime

Plan the light

Of course, it is not worthwhile to photograph hoarfrost in a pure permanent grey. In VIEWFINDR you will therefore find various possibilities to predict the light in the landscape. The weather parameters “Blue hour”, “Red sky” and “Sunrise and sunset” serve this purpose. With these you can predict the light conditions in which you can photograph the hoarfrost.

evening red prediction

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