Tag Archives: ancient

Iceland Journal – “Svínafelsjökull” – South Iceland

“Svínafelsjökull” - South Iceland

Ice, massive ancient glacial ice, sagging and flowing under its own weight;
A great white beast, carving and devouring the mountains which contain it,
creeping forward, unstoppable;

It’s only foe, sunlight and warmth.
I stand humbled by its patient and persistent force.
– Ed Lehming

Svínafelsjökull glacier, or rather, the “glacier of Svínafels”, since jökull is Icelandic for glacier is actually one of the smaller glacial outflows associated with Hvannadalshnúkur, mentioned in a prior post.

I saw this glacier ahead of us as we continued to travel east along Iceland’s Ring Road. The sheer size of this incredible mass of snow and ice, piled high between the rugged peaks is humbling. The photo hardly does justice to the scale. At the far right foreground, a few vehicles sit parked along the road in front of a terminal moraine of this glacier. Basically, a pile of rock created by the front of the glacier plowing up the ground in front of it. The moraine itself is over 50 meters high and hides the lead edge of the glacier and the glacial pond formed by the meltwater trapped behind the moraine. More on that in a future post.

As we drove, ever closer, I hoped the road would bring me closer to this magnificent sight. I was not disappointed, the road came to within two kilometers of the glacier itself and we had opportunity to get even closer via a horribly potholed dirt road that led us to paths along side of the glacier and around the pond below.

As I said, the experience of walking along precipitous trails next to this massive and ancient ice is humbling, as we gazed across the deep crevasses of the slowly melting glacier and witnessing, close up, the unbelievable colours and patterns of the ice within meters of us. Then, looking upwards and seeing ice on ice, wedged between unyielding rock, piled ever higher and disappearing into the clouds above us.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 172mm
1/320 sec, f/9.0, ISO 200

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“Ancient Bubbles” – Bay Lake, Bancroft

“Ancient Bubbles” - Bay Lake, Bancroft

“These rocks are too heavy, can’t carry them any more,
don’t know why I ever picked them up before,
going to have to put them down where they don’t belong,
’cause I can’t get them back to where they came from.

These rocks belong to no one, except history.
Somewhere between the desert and the rolling sea,
or maybe up in the mountains blue and tall,
I picked them but now I’m going to let them fall.”
― Jay Woodman

Today’s image is a bit unusual for me but I could not resist the interesting texture of these bubble sin ancient Canadian Shield basalt. This means that the bubbles are in rock that is billions of years old, some of the oldest rock on earth is found in this area.

I came across them by chance when I walked down to the shores of Bay Lake, looking for a place to swim. Along this shore, the entire rock shelf is filled with these bubbles, most of them several inches across. The rock itself is gray and the pink colour is caused by algae which grows in the bubbles when they fill with rain water.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
 @ 200 mm
1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200

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“Ancient Oak” – Niagara Lakeshore Cemetery

“Ancient Oak” - Niagara Lakeshore Cemetary

“The strongest oak of the forest is not the one that is protected from the storm and hidden from the sun. It’s the one that stands in the open where it is compelled to struggle for its existence against the winds and rains and the scorching sun.”
― Napoleon Hill

Though I saw no markers, my map showed this to be a cemetery, further investigation, this was actually the Old Lakeshore Road and it was lined by some of the most incredible old white oak trees I have seen. It was late afternoon and the light was a soft gold, lighting up the few dried leaves still clinging to the branches and showing the detail of the bark.

In the Niagara Region, winter had been mild till April as well, then they experienced the same deep freeze as the rest of the province. So, I found everything delayed. Trees were just beginning to bud and only a few hearty daffodils added colour to the landscape. But, it sure looked beautiful and I enjoyed the magnificent old growth trees in this roadside grove, especially this giant, as it spread its branches far and wide, greeting the spring sunlight and warmer days ahead.

Nikon D300
Tamron 17-50 mm f/2.8 @ 17 mm
1/125 sec, f/8.0 ISO 200

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“Study in Wood #5” – Bryant Park, New York

Study in Wood #5

“Every tree in the forest has a story to tell. Some of them were burnt but they endured the fire and got revived; some of them were cut, their barks injured, some people pick up their leaves to make medicines for their sicknesses, birds used their leaves to make their nests, etc. Upon all these, the tree is still tree!”
― Israelmore Ayivor

This ancient sycamore, in New York City’s Bryant Park, certainly would have stories to tell. I have no idea how old it might be, but someone planted it behind the New York Public library many years ago and it has borne silent witness to a multitude events and changes in its long life. This old wood has weathered time and endured, its bark rough and creased with age, unlike its younger companions with their smooth, mottled bark, so typical of the fast growing sycamores, planted in neat rows in this urban park.

Pieces of bark have fallen off, been broken off, revealing the bright layers below, or clung tight to the tree, growing dark and gray with the patina of time.

As the quote above says, every forest has its story to tell. I look on these gnarled old trees and decaying stumps, thinking back to when they were young saplings. These are the survivors, having outlived other lesser trees, every year marked in their rough and ragged bark.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 125 mm
1/320 sec, f/9.0 -1.0, ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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