During the summer months, water tumbles from the clifftops in Eidfjord, Norway. But come winter, this majestic landscape is transformed as the waters are suspended mid-flow — creating frozen waterfalls, or icefalls. These stunning structures are popular with ice climbers who frequently scale the 500-meter tall structures during daylight hours. But never has their delicate beauty been captured in such a colorful way at night.
In January 2013, a team assembled by Swiss mountaineering apparel and equipment company Mammut traveled to the area, which lies three hours east of the city of Bergen. Climbers led by Swiss mountaineer Dani Arnold prepared the frozen ground by fixing spotlights and flares in the ice before extreme sports photographer Thomas Senf set to work capturing the amazing effects on film. “Photography and filming at night is a big challenge,” Senf said in a statement. “The right lighting determines whether you succeed or fail. The ways to play with the factors of light, time and environment are boundless and fascinating in equal measure.” Arnold and his team used a network of ropes and cables to suspend the lamps on the icefalls. The lights created by Swiss artist David Hediger cast an otherworldly glow over the frozen Nordic landscape. Click here to watch footage of the expedition.
Arnold is one of the world’s most accomplished climbers and holds the speed record for climbing the north face of the Eiger. The 29-year-old completed the climb, in the Swiss Bernese Alps, in a time of two hours 28 minutes in April 2011. The expedition to Norway was his first. “It was a special trip, something really different. I was really impressed by the light,” he said. “We lowered all the material down from the top of the falls and often had to improvise because of the crazy ice formations; it required complete concentration.”
Temperatures during the expedition ranged between -5 to -10 degrees Celsius, says Arnold — who is happy climbing whatever the time of day. “When it gets dark, I just turn on my headlamp and keep going,” he says.
German-born Senf moved to Switzerland in 2002 at the age of 21. His love for photography started when he was training to be a mountain guide. “I had considered for a long time how to work with artificial light, which is normally only possible in a photo studio, in major mountains. The transparency and reflective properties of ice in the sun had often caught my eye. With its virtually unlimited number of icefalls, Norway seemed like the perfect place to put our ideas into practice,” Senf said in a statement. (via CNN)
Winter can be as beautiful as it is frigid – the snow and ice that covers much of the hemisphere in the winter is a informativeness force like no other. We invite you to cuddle up with a cup of tea and your warmest blanket and enjoy some of the most beautiful winter photos out there.
In reality the change of the seasons from winter to summer is one of the best direct indications of the earth’s cosmic movement that we can personally experience. Winter occurs in the Northern hemisphere when the Earth’s northern axis tilts away from the sun. The minute change in distance from, and angle to the sun, creates the drop in general temperature that we experience in the winter. This angle is also the reason why it’s colder the farther up north you go. As the seasons change, you can imagine our beautiful planet slowly rocking back and forth on its axis.
Although some may hate the cold, don’t forget that the winter is a necessary part of our life cycles – these winter landscapes will soon be full of life. Most plants and animals have adapted to the change of seasons in one way or another, and the cold grip of winter allows plants and animals to hibernate or migrate. Some tree seeds, like acorns, will only germinate after they’ve spent the winter on the cold ground.
(via Bored Panda)
Two Feet of Snow in New York City
World’s First 3D Images of Snowflakes Falling
Curious History recently posted about the world’s first pictures of snowflakes ever taken in 1885 by William Bentley. We know have another first, the world’s first 3D images of snowflakes caught as they are falling.
Researchers at the University of Utah have teamed up with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to better understand just how fast and in what form snowflakes truly fall. To accomplish this, they used a high-speed Multi-Angle Snowflake Cam (aka “MASC”) to capture real-time 3D images of snowflakes in freefall at Utah’s Alta Ski Area.
The study is reportedly the first of its kind, and it’s already turning up some really interesting results.
Writes John Bohannon for Science NOW:
The classic image of a snowflake is a fluke. That flat, six-sided crystal with delicate filigree patterns of sharp branches occurs in only about one in every 1000 flakes. And a snowflake seen in 3D is another beast entirely. Researchers have developed a camera system that shoots untouched flakes “in the wild” as they fall from the sky. By grabbing a series of images of the tumbling crystals—its exposure time is one-40,000th of a second, compared with about one-200th in normal photography—the camera is revealing the true shape diversity of snowflakes.
Above is a tiny cross section of the variety of snowflakes MASC has photographed in free-fall so far. Check out tons more at the Snowflake Stereography and Fallspeed home page, or – when it’s snowing – at Alta Ski Area’s Snowflake Showcase, where you can watch a live feed of snowflakes falling in real time.
The World’s First Pictures of Snowflakes
What you see above are not drawings. They are the first pictures of snowflakes ever taken. An ambitious young man with a camera and microscope wanted to show the world just how unique snowflakes are, and he did. He became to be known as “The Snowflake Man”.
In 1885 at the age of 20, Wilson Bentley was a farmer and a self-taught photographer who lived his entire life in the small town of Jericho in Vermont. He gave the world its first ever photograph of a snowflake. Bentley captured over 5,000 snowflakes, or more correctly snow crystals, on film. Despite the fact that he rarely left Jericho, thousands of Americans knew him as “The Snowflake Man” or simply “Snowflake Bentley”. Our belief that no two snowflakes are alike is true and was proved by Bentley’s work. The expression stems from a line in a 1925 report in which he remarked, “Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated. When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost.”
It started with a microscope his mother gave him at the age 15 which opened up the world of the very small to young Wilson. A lover of winter, he made plans to use his microscope to view snowflakes. His initial investigations proved both fascinating and frustrating as he tried to observe the short-lived flakes. Wanting to share his discoveries, he began by sketching what he saw, accumulating several hundred sketches by his 17th birthday. When his father purchased a camera for his son, Wilson combined it with his microscope, and he went on to make his first successful photo micrograph of a snow crystal on January 15, 1885.
Amazing Views of Antarctic Wildlife
Wildlife photographer Justin Hofman is a lover of nature, and invites us to discover his incredible series of photographs
titled Antarctic Wildlife which discovers the beauty and life of the Antarctic Peninsula — up close and very personal in their native habitat.
These astonishing photographs provide an incredible glimpse of the lives of penguins, dolphins, whales and the particularly fascinating creature, the majestic elephant seal.
Hofman captured these amazing images at Gold Harbour on South Georgia in the Antarctic, braving the powerful and ferocious elephant seal’s wrath to get the close-up shots.
Several of the photographs capture a massive elephant seal seemingly laughing and smug at his fortune in the surf after managing to get a harem of 30 females for mating - all to himself.
Elephant seals can hold their breath longer than any other cetacean animal, staying underwater without air for up to two hours. They spend most of their lives at sea and only return to land to mate. The big beasts can grow to be 16 feet long and weigh over 6,000 pounds; the smaller females are normally about 10 feet long and weigh in at around 2,000 pounds.
Hofman states: “When they’re not fighting, you can pretty much stand within arm’s length of them, just sitting there watching them breathe, looking at their scars and being awed by their size,’ he said. ‘But when they get up and start to bellow, you know it’s time to step back.”
They were almost hunted to extinction in the 19th and 20th centuries but since then the population is estimated to have recovered to about 700,000 members.
Lighted Fairy Woodhouses
Boston-based freelance artist Daniel Barreto combined houses with trees in a series of lovely photo manipulations titled Woodhouses. Barreto photographed parts of houses around Boston, and superimposed them onto images of tree trunks that he had taken in New Hampshire. The charming Woodhouses were even animated for effect, and resemble fairy’s houses in an enchanted forest.