The self-described botanic artist Makoto Azuma is trying to change the way we look at flowers. He’s used water and the stratosphere as backdrops for his exotic flower arrangements but now he’s experimenting with ice. In his latest exhibition “Iced Flowers,” Azuma locks floral bouquets in large blocks of ice and displays them like pillars. Placed in an inorganic chamber, the “flowers will show unique expressions that they do not display in everyday life,” says Azuma. The installation, held last week in Japan, was temporary by nature but the artist made sure to preserve the images. (syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)
While on an expedition to Antarctica last month, photographer Alex Cornell witnessed a massive iceberg flip, revealing a strangely translucent blue underside that’s completely free of snow and debris. According to Science World, almost 90% of any given iceberg is below the surface, making iceberg flips extremely rare. Much larger iceberg flips are even capable of causing tsunamis that can overtake nearby ships. You can see more photos from Cornells trip on his website. (via Colossal Submissions)
After a long period of pummeling wind, snow, and ice, weather photographer Marko Korosec sensed an opportunity to climb Mount Javornik, part of a mountain range in eastern Slovenia and the location of a popular ski center. What he discovered can only be described as otherworldly. Trees and lookout towers fully encased in hard layers of rime ice, formed by high winds and freezing fog. Korosec says some of the ice spikes growing off the tower reached well over 3-feet (100cm) long. To see more of his weather photography and additional images from this shoot, head over to his 500px page. All photos courtesy the photographer.
We’ve seen all matter of snow and ice photography here on Colossal, as well as time-lapses of melting snow and snowdrawings, but this is the first video individual snowflakes forming I’ve ever come across. Created by filmmaker Vyacheslav Ivanov this microscopic short shows the intimate details of fragile snowflakes as they form in their miraculous hexagonal forms. Robert Gonzalez writing for iO9 gives us an idea of what we’re looking at:
The ice crystal(s) in snowflakes owe their six-fold rotational symmetry to the hydrogen bonds in water molecules. As water freezes, water molecules bound to other water molecules crystallize into a hexagonal structure, where each point on the hexagon is an oxygen atom and each side of the hexagon is a hydrogen bonded to an oxygen. As freezing continues, more water molecules are added to this microscopic six-sided structure, causing it to grow in size into the six-sided macroscopic structure that we recognize as snowflakes.
We have a line into Ivanov to see how he filmed this and will update as soon as we hear something. Music by Aphex Twin.
For the first time since 2009 Lake Superior has frozen thick enough to safely permit access to the ice caves at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in northern Wisconsin. An estimated 1,000 people are arriving daily to trek out to the islands for a glimpse of frozen caves which are covered in a cascade of icicles formed from water runoff and waves that splashed against the caves before the surface solidified. If the weather holds out, officials estimate the caves could remain open for another month. A huge thanks to Kelly Marquardt, Andy Rathbun and the Wisconsin Department of National Resources for sharing photos of the caves. (thnx, Amy!)
Update: Journalist Andy Rathbun who provided many of the photos above, now has his own article about the ice caves over on the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
A quick local news segue, the wintry assault here in Chicago as a result of the Polar Vortex has been bitterly cold and dangerous as temperatures plunged to historic lows over the last 48 hours. Despite the life threatening temperatures, it’s also been strangely beautiful. The landscape, especially along the Lake Michigan shore, has been transformed into an Arctic wonderland the locals are calling CHIBERIA. Here’s a collection of some of the best photos I’ve seen from Chicago’s most intrepid photogs who braved the absurd weather to snap a few amazing photographs. Am I missing any great shots? Get in touch. A huge thanks to all of the photographers for providing images for this post.