Living in Your Own Private Cryosphere

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Living in Your Own Private Cryosphere

2020-02-20T00:06:29+00:00December 12th, 2013|Blog, Popular Posts|9 Comments

Albedo is the reflectivity of the earth’s surface. Ice, white and bright, has a high albedo, reflecting back the sun on itself, whereas water draws the solar radiation deep into its hues.

Water is always in flux, mutable — liquid, vaporous, frozen — evaporating, condensing and expanding. This fluidity of form and purpose fuels life with its hydrological rhythms. And, it stores life, even as deep as 4000 meters below the East Antarctic ice sheet in Lake Vostok. This year, the machines of man shattered the frosty sleep of this buried lake. They forced her to give up her DNA. And that DNA revealed, quite possibly, a water flea and a mollusk … some microscopic water bears and even tinier rotifers. 1

I find my own personal cryosphere on a 23-degree day in Seattle. Instead of water bears, though, in this ice I see the planetary and the galactic  …

Formations in Ice

the x-ray anatomic …

Formations in Ice

the amebic, swimming in fissures …

Macro of Ice

the folkloric, the fantastical Lions of Winter …

Lion Fountain Frozen with Ice

the geologic …

Ice blocks at Lake Union Seattle

and the aesthetic of solid, liquid and reflection combined in a frame.

Trees Reflected in Ice on Pond

Ice builds its matrix upon the matrix of others, fusing crystals together in frozen cairns.

Ice Crystals on Leaves

Dripping downward, tubular into hanging lanterns …

Icicles Macro


Refracting light through its crystal faces …

Macro of Ice

Then finally, dripping into water again as kinetic energy breaks the ice lattice into a disarray of liquid — these visions of cryosphere and hydrosphere on my window panes, ponds and fountains.

Lattice of Ice

1Science News, Sept 7, 2013


  1. Maria F, December 12, 2013 at 7:20 am - Reply

    Ingrid: I really like the title of this post, because I can relate to it well. This for me is a combination of images and a journey into the inner soul. I also feel like I’m living in my own ‘cryosphere’ of reflections and absorptions of light, newly aquired associations but divergences, in this ‘albedo’ of the soul. Is this shot with the Lumix kit lens that came with the OM-D E-M1?

    • ingrid December 12, 2013 at 3:44 pm - Reply

      Maria, I like that analogy very much. Thank you for bringing in this poignant idea of reflection, rumination and renewal.

      These images were shot with the earlier OM-D model, the E-M5 + m.zuiko 12-50mm in macro mode, mostly. The macro mode isn’t exactly what I’d want in dedicated macro lens, but the lens has versatility. I’m very intrigued by the 12-40mm f/2.8. I’d love to get it.

  2. Bea Elliott December 12, 2013 at 6:46 pm - Reply

    Incredible! Just like your detailed explosion of autumn colors did, these cool, frozen yet vibrantly racing images are just stunning! You just captured ice and frost in all it’s complexity and beauty. I can almost mist the wintry scenes viewed first hand. In Florida the closest we come to this kind of imagery is when the threat of a freeze comes. Lots of people turn on the sprinklers in their yards to insulate tender trees and plants. What a sight to see the frozen limbs in full sun the next day… I’m sure you’d do wonders skillfully capturing those images behind your camera lens!

    Thanks for sharing these spectacular photos – They are wondrous! <3

    • ingrid December 13, 2013 at 3:43 am - Reply

      Bea, thank you! As deep as the temperature dipped, as numb and painful as my fingers and ears became on my walks, I miss the near permafrost conditions of those days. What I don’t miss is the hummingbird feeder stress. Several nights dropped to the 18-degree mark which had me rushing home and back to keep the hummingbird nectar thawed for our winter holdovers. Anna’s Hummingbirds, some of them, stay in the Northwest now during the cold months. I devised insulated cozies which kept the nectar liquid into the mid-20s. But, below that, they froze solid so next time, I need to devise a feeder heater. There aren’t too many commercial options for this niche product.

      I’ve always been enthralled with snowy and icy landscapes, a sentiment which probably has its genesis in my childhood reading of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I still hope to spend a winter somewhere where things don’t thaw, so I can once and for all, eradicate these winter longings that are never requited in temperate climates. On that note, I’d like to see the scene you describe. I’ll have to seek out some photos!

  3. CQ December 12, 2013 at 11:08 pm - Reply

    Ditto what Bea said: Wondrous!!!!!

  4. Mia McPherson December 17, 2013 at 1:57 pm - Reply

    I love these images Ingrid!!

    • ingrid December 17, 2013 at 4:35 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Mia. I admit that when I look at your wintery landscapes I have such pangs about being somewhere in the winter (even just one winter) where there’s ice and snow consistently enough to make photographs day after day. Your wildlife snow shots and icy trees are so lovely to view and contemplate.

  5. Ron Dudley December 21, 2013 at 6:28 am - Reply

    Loved your icy photos and your commentary, Ingrid. And I learned a useful new word – “albedo” (though my eye first read it as “libido” and my mind went elsewhere…) Yesterday I knocked icicles off the north side of my house. One was huge (probably several hundred pounds) and it almost got me as it came down at an awkward angle. We’re in an icy world at the moment, as you are.

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