Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Ice is nice, part 4

with 34 comments

Here’s what you learned in part 1: In a shaded part of Great Hills Park on January 12th I discovered that thin sheets of ice had formed close to the ground. Most importantly for my purposes, I found that I could slowly lift up a small section of ice and it would come away in shapes that were irregular yet didn’t break apart. Over and over I did my light lifting, each time facing toward the sun and holding the little panel erect against a background of shaded trees so that backlighting would reveal details in the ice.

In addition to that, I held some of the pieces up higher, against the sky, to make portraits of a different sort, one of which you’re seeing here. Admittedly this is a combination you probably wouldn’t ever find in nature, but the urge to experiment came over me and I yielded.

And here’s a humorous quotation for today: “When a man gits perfektly kontented, he and a clam are fust couzins.” [When a man gets perfectly contented, he and a clam are first cousins.”] — Josh Billings, the pen name for Henry Wheeler Shaw. Wikipedia notes that “Shaw attended Hamilton College, but was expelled in his second year for removing the clapper of the campus bell.”

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 4, 2021 at 4:28 AM

34 Responses

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  1. I really like your thought to use the sky as a background. This sky ice is beautiful!


    February 4, 2021 at 8:29 AM

  2. With its many veins, the sheet looks like a leaf of ice. I am still waiting for colder weather so I can try out your technique, Steve

    Peter Klopp

    February 4, 2021 at 8:38 AM

    • There’s the look of a leaf about it, isn’t there. The “veins” were actually the impressions of bare stalks of plants and dead or dormant grasses low to the ground in the place where puddled water froze to form the thin sheets of ice I’ve been showing.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 4, 2021 at 9:10 AM

  3. Absolutely beautiful. And your remark about Shaw reminded me of this.

    Michael Scandling

    February 4, 2021 at 10:12 AM

    • Having taken the picture, I was taken with how well it came out.

      That’s a great comedy routine with Jack Webb and Johnny Carson. I see Jack Webb died in 1982, so the clip is pretty old—and has held up well.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 4, 2021 at 10:28 AM

  4. Lovely photograph.


    February 4, 2021 at 12:24 PM

  5. A real peace of art !


    February 4, 2021 at 1:14 PM

  6. Expelled for such a tiny transgression? Goodness!

    Ms. Liz

    February 4, 2021 at 2:38 PM

  7. …”the urge to experiment came over me and I yielded.” Creativity is a gift from God. 🙂 Well done, Steve!

    Eliza Waters

    February 4, 2021 at 7:18 PM

  8. Skice–a whole new world.


    February 5, 2021 at 3:07 AM

  9. The impressions left by the plants reminded me of a ‘leaf shadow’ I found on some wooden steps at the Mississippi Palisades. That leaf shadow’s no doubt gone, just as these impressions have melted away, but natural phenomena aren’t the only ephemera. When I went to look for the photo of the leaf, I found I’d completely forgotten the Etheree it elicited. It might be time to gather those verses while I may — old time is still a-flying.


    February 5, 2021 at 7:21 AM

    • I looked back to revive the memory of that leaf shadow in 2014. Your picture there reminds me more of the beetle galleries I recently showed than of this ice, no doubt because of the wood. Aye, gather thou thine etherees while thou may’st.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 5, 2021 at 8:16 AM

  10. These days Shaw’s parents would sue the college for being mean to their son.

    Steve Gingold

    February 7, 2021 at 2:42 AM

  11. All of your ice studies (1-4) are very interesting. They and especially this one look like fossils … ‘ice fossils’.


    February 8, 2021 at 9:28 AM

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