Clear autumn nights bring freezing temperatures to the high country, which adorns tarns and mountain streams with fanciful shapes sculpted in ice. In this series of photographs, taken in Canada’s Yoho National Park, I photographed these ice patterns and sculptures, many showing a touch of autumn color.
In recent years there has been a creative explosion of glass sculpture by Seattle’s Dale Chihuly and other artists. With vivid colors and decorative surface textures, these human creations have a clear precedent in the ice sculptures found in nature.
The following photographs show plants encased in ice along a mountain stream. The tumbling stream sends up a fine spray of clear water that coats the plants in an ever-thickening blanket during the night–until the sun melts the ice as the morning progresses.
These photographs were taken of a mountain tarn (small pond), which had frozen over the night before. The patterns of ice crystals on the surface were projected by the sun onto the shallow bed of the pond, creating some unexpected textures and patterns on the rocky bottom.
The next group shows the surface of a tiny pool that had frozen over, with large crystal splinters of ice covering most of the pond’s five foot long surface. Several of the photographs show tiny autumn leaves trapped under the ice.
Finally, the following photograph is of snow surrounding a rock. Sunlight had warmed the rock, melting the snow immediately around it, revealing a fringe of exquisite and tiny autumn leaves.
For information about Yoho National Park, go to Yoho.
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