It was the light that first caught my eye.

But after quickly stopping on a field entrance not far from Scott State Lake to photograph a crumbling stone building, I noticed something else.

Hoar frost, those fabulous ice crystals that sometimes form on cold, clear nights.

It was a cold, clear morning to be sure.

Hoar frost refers to ice crystals loosely deposited on the ground or exposed objects, in this case strands of barbed wire and the stem of a long-dead plant.

It's not simply frost, but rather crystals that build when an object becomes colder than the surrounding air.

Hoarfrost is a sort of wintertime cousin to summer's dew and develops by similar processes, according to the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska.

The name itself is a bit odd, hailing from an adjective for showing signs of old age. It's the frost that makes trees and bushes look like they have white hair.