This is what froth below a local waterfall looks like when it freezes.
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 200 mm
1/40 sec, f/11.0, ISO 200
“Whenever there is stillness there is the still small voice, God’s speaking from the whirlwind, nature’s old song, and dance…”
― Annie Dillard
Chilly water flows beneath icicles formed by the spray of the creek below. I found this to be an odd sight. April in my area has been ‘confusing’. We had beautiful sunshine and mild temperatures, followed by a deep freeze, snow, freezing rain, and strong winds, all within a few days. This has made it difficult to get out and enjoy the outdoors.
This small chute is located just below the Whitevale dam, north of Pickering, Ontario. It has become a fairly regular destination for me over the past few years. Primarily because I’m drawn to moving water and the serenity I find there, even as the water surges and churns over the rocks below the dam. It’s here that I make many of my winter photos of water flowing beneath the ice, or frozen in great icicles at the dam itself.
In this case, I found a lovely composition created by the tight combination of mist and air temperature. The moderately cold night had created conditions whereby spray from the water had splashed onto an overhanging branch and slowly frozen into these delicate icicle. There was no wind, which provided me an opportunity to do a long exposure, which showed off the icicles and allowed me to put the water in the background into motion, as contrast between stillness and movement. Very much how I feel when I’m at the waterside.
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 135 mm
1/10 sec, f/20.0, ISO 200
“What is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?”
― Kahlil Gibran
This year, I left a few dried hydrangea blooms in my garden. My usual ritual is to trim them all down in the fall. I’m glad I left them, they added some interest in this past, dull, nearly snowless winter, and created a nice franewirk for our recent freezing rain event.
For those who have never experienced freezing rain, I’ll include a brief description here:
Freezing rain occurs when the ground temperature is below freezing while the air layers above are warmer. The precipitation falls as rain and freezes on contact with the ground. The end effect is that everything is coated with an ever increasing layer of clear ice. If conditions are right, this accumulation can be over an inch thick and cause major damage to trees and powerlines. Because it is a gradual accumulation, delicate plants, which would collapse in snow, are held rigid by the ice that encases them.
This was the case with the hydrangeas pictured above. A thin coating of clear ice built up over a period of a few hours, making them look like the are coated in clear glass.
It’s a beautiful effect, unless you are driving and have to chisel the ice from your car, or try to walk, since the ice is usually covered in a thin layer of semi-frozen water, making it extremely slippery. This is not a good feature when you are trying to walk around with your camera. The other thing with freezing rain is that it tends to be a very brief, beautiful event, which generally melts away within a few hours, as the temperatures rise.
I find it to be a challenging time photographically, since everything is beautiful and it’s difficult to isolate a particular composition within all that beauty.
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 130 mm
1/250 sec, f/8.0 -0.33, ISO 200
“How strange that the nature of life is change, yet the nature of human beings is to resist change. And how ironic that the difficult times we fear might ruin us are the very ones that can break us open and help us blossom into who we were meant to be.”
― Elizabeth Lesser
I was considering numerous titles for this images. There is a lot happening here. I was considering “Transitions”, “Undercurrent”, and “Headlong”, but the title that stuck was “Junction”. In this image, there is a junction of two clear and distinct parts of the same creek. To the left, brownish water, tinted from sediment from the creek bed, and to the right, cool, blue-white melt-water, flowing quickly over sheets of ice on the still frozen bottom.
As I reflect back to the quote, there is an inevitable change: the water must flow forward, from one zone to the next. The creek is meant to flow, and not be locked in ice forever. It must flow, or it’s a sheet of ice and not a creek.
It’s interesting also, to note, that this junction is not smooth, it’s jagged, because of the nature of the ice, the creekbed, and the overall flow of the water. A straight line transition would seem unnatural and would certainly not have gotten my attention like this intricate “zigzag” zone.
The change of seasons creates some interesting times, all of which I look forward to, knowing that everything in nature is temporary and will eventually repeat the cycle. No two scenes are quite the same twice and I can be there to bear witness that small moment in time where things are just as they are, before the next junction.
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 98 mm
1/8 sec, f/32.0, ISO 250
“We gaze continually at the world and it grows dull in our perceptions. Yet seen from another’s vantage point, as if new, it may still take the breath away.”
― Alan Moore
Winter wears on, some days are bright and clear and others dark and dreary. Yet, through it all, nature lives on and builds crystal sculptures on frames of wood, grass, and stone. At the right time of day, the sun shines through, lighting them from within.
The image above is a lilac tree next to my house. With the rapid melt, the eavestroughs overflowed, splashing water on the cold lilacs in the shade. That slight difference in temperature was enough to re-freeze the water, encasing the slender branches and seed heads with a thick coat of ice. Water running over this base formed ripples which froze as subsequent layers. The effects of a slight breeze are also visible in the slightly bent ‘fingers’ of ice.
As a side note, though it was warm enough to melt the ice, the temperatures were cool enough to give me frozen fingers of my own.
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 120mm
1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 250
Elegant in it’s simplicity?
Apparently, someone had been throwing rocks onto the ice, hoping for a breakthrough? I returned a few days later to find dozens of rocks littering the ice surface. It turns out that the frost pushed them from an adjacent cliff and the rolled across the ice, coming to rest some distance from their source. Things are not always as they seem. Perhaps this situation is a combination of both potential reasons?
I came across several of these larger rocks frozen to the surface of Duffins Creek a few days ago. The simplicity of the rock isolated on the ice made for a nice composition and the light that day was wonderful. You can see all the detail in the rock and a bit of blue sky reflected in the ice. If you look carefully, you can see some of the riverbed through the somewhat milky ice as well.
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm
1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 250