Some January Ice and Snow
January 23, 2022
You know what they say about the best camera being the one you have with you. The one I had with me January 11 was my cell phone (an iPhone SE). If I’d had my Nikon and time, I would have hung around this ditch a lot longer than I did. The ice was glorious, doing all kinds of things I’d never seen ice do before. I never did get back to that spot with the big camera. The neighborhood woke up to five or so inches of snow January 17, and that morning I did spend a little time with the Nikon. I have realized why I have so few photographs of snow in my vast collection. It’s not that it snows so little in northern Ohio, although in some winters we receive almost none. Rather it’s that when there is beautiful snow to be had, it’s also cold and often windy. I thought I’d be braver this past week following my brief stint the seventeenth, but I wasn’t. Maybe this coming week. Maybe. As I write this post, snow is falling profusely.
1 Solid ice puddles atop clear ice is something I’d never seen before. I asked my neighbor, a retired physics professor, if he knew what caused them. His reply: “The white opaque ice islands are thick enough that the moisture that made them probably came from the water in the ditch rather than from the air above. Opaque white ice is usually that color when it contains dense microscopic air bubbles. But I don’t know how this came to be.”
2 I can’t blow this up enough to be able to tell if all the tiny white dots are bubbles. I think they are.
3 My friend’s explanation may be illustrated in this photograph, which seems to show some bubbles frozen beneath the surface of the ice along with some small ice islands on top.
4 I have a guess about the origin of all the bubbles.
5 I think it may be gases released by decaying matter in the ditch.
6 No mystery here. Poking up from the snow, these are cast-off twigs from a nearby river birch outside my front door.
7 Our ring road was plowed soon after the snow arrived. Another neighbor, a retired professor of French, wrote upon seeing this photograph:
8 Surrounding dried vegetation stood out in contrast to snow-covered Rock Pond.
9 This snow-laden pine is what induced me to grab my camera last week.