Saturday, December 18, 2010

Puddle ice compositions

click photos to enlarge
We've had a couple of days of thaw and now the thermometers are back to showing sub-zero temperatures day and night. But, as they say, "it is an ill wind that blows nobody any good", and the return of the cold has at least been accompanied by bright skies. So, a walk with the camera over a few well-trodden paths seemed in order.

I don't know about you, but I have come to realise that I can walk the same routes on many days over many years, and still come up with something new to photograph. Familiarity doesn't always breed contempt (to quote another old saying), it can just as easily reveal new possibilities. If, that is, we care to look for them. The puddles on our path, that had been frozen for the best part of two and a half weeks, had more or less returned to liquid, but on this walk were ice once again. But what ice! I'd love to know the physics that created the two main pattern types that most of them exhibited on one of the tracks. I mentally gave them the names "Feiningers" and "Arps" after the names of the painters whose works they brought to mind.

The Feiningers were the compositions with straight, thrusting, and angular lines. The Arps, by way of contrast, had soft curves and concentric loops. No one else seemed to have walked the path since the latest freeze so all the puddles were intact. I took several shots, all of which I found fascinating, and here I present a fairly random foursome that shows two of each type. However, though my photograph choice is random, the recurring details of these ice patterns shows that their creation wasn't entirely down to chance, but was influenced by some common processes that were repeated across the ground the night the puddles froze over. Someone will be able to explain them. I can't.

photographs and text (c) T. Boughen

Photo 1
Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 73mm
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/80
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On