The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

Winter snow and ice

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According to the weather forecast, this is the longest cold snap in Scotland for 50 years. Not only is it much colder than usual, but it's gone on for much longer than usual too.

Roads are not being cleared, and cars are skidding off them and into each other.

Pavements are not being salted, and there have been record numbers of people taken to hospital with broken legs.

I drove home (carefully) from a folk session the other night and it was -14C. This may be nothing to some of you in Canada and Mid-West USA, but buildings, transport links and pipes and drains were just not designed for these kinds of temperatures here in the UK.

However, if you have an interest in photography, it's been a winter wonderland extravaganza. Although it's also been a bit scary trying to reach some of the more interesting places.

Here are a few images from earler in the week - click on any of them for larger versions.

Frozen Waterfall

Waterfalls just don't freeze in the UK. Moving water requires far lower temperatures to freeze than standing water, and the mild climate of this country doesn't usually allow for it. However, there are small streams tumbling over rocks that have now created the most amazing ice shapes and patterns. This image is defintely worth clicking on for the larger version.

Summoning the Snow Genie

Standing several yards out on Loch Ken, on ice several inches thick, Rogan scooped up a handful of very powdery snow and flung it in the air. This kind of snow is useless for snowballs or snowmen, but ideal for creating ghost-like patterns in the air.

Winter and Summer on Loch Ken

I had the idea to merge 2 photos of Loch Ken - one from earlier this week, and the other from a sunset over the loch I took about 18 months ago (see Sunset. Loch. Midges). It's a strange effect, but I quite like it.

Air Bubbles in the Ice 1

As the loch slowly froze, air bubbles became trapped in the ice, forming at different sizes and different depths. Clearing some of the snow off the ice, this image as taken looking straight down.

Air Bubbles in the Ice 2

These patterns are created by the same kinds of air bubbles, only the image is taken from a cross section of a large piece of broken off ice

Snow Maiden

This is what you call bowing to public pressure. My ratings go up when ever I publish a photo of my daughter, Meg
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56 comments

asmita said...

Awesome snaps! U don't get to see snowfall in India unless you up to the Himalayas and that too during the winters. Enjoy it till it lasts!

Maggie May said...

What wonderful images. I looked closely at each lovely picture. Your daughter is charming :)

Jacqui said...

I never knew waterfalls could freeze mid-flow. Wow, it must be cold!

savannah said...

incredible shots! we, too, have been experiencing unusual cold here. i've decided that the photos in the newspaper are enough for me! i am staying inside! xooxoxox

St Jude said...

Your ratings go up because we love Meg, she is so beautiful. I love the waterfall and the bubbles in the ice, and Rogan and the snow genie... oh ok I just loved all the photos. I've been pulling double shifts this week due to the weather and many of my colleagues who couldn't get into work. Otherwise I would have been out and about in this wonderful snow. Sometimes owning a 4x4 has its down sides.

Restaurant Gal said...

Beautiful photos. I really love the Winter/Summer shot. Yes, we too are in the longest and coldest weather snap in decades. In fact, we broke a 131-year-old record for a low temp a few days ago. Today is miserable with rain and temps in the low 50s. While that may sound "okay" to those in below-freezing areas of the world, here in a town geared toward outdoor eating and drinking and water sports, it's miserable and not a little depressing.

Coralee said...

it's fascinating that this winter has hit so many of us globally. . .I'm hearing "it's so cold. .." from Florida, Minnesota and Europe. ..wonderful photos Kim. Do be careful on those slipperly slopes in search of the perfect snap. Throw another log on the fire and stay indoors today.

hope said...

It's Meg's eyes...they seem kind and sweet and wise, all at once. ;)

Okay, the Winter/Summer picture was wonderful!

It's not as cold here as there,[I've got a conversion chart now so I know how to properly sympathize]but we're experiencing the same DURATION of cold! Right now it's 3:20 p.m. and 2C outside...that's unheard of in the sunny south!

Stay warm...but keep taking these beautiful shots.

Pat said...

I was hoping you'd post some winter wonderland photos. I can't help wondering what happens to the flow above when a waterfall freezes.
Here am I worrying about my grandson keeping warm at UNI and Rogan is on the loch!!!!I know I know you wouldn't take risks but as my boys always tease me 'the tide's rushing in.'
Lovely pensive photo of Meg. Wonder what she was thinking?

Titus said...

Fabulous set of images, and I like the merged one very much.

Stella said...

Kim, they are beautiful, I love the merged one too and of course, Meg is a beauty as always.

We have the same weather over here and also the government/local authorities are unable to cope. I am now sick of it and looks like another week of the same.

I always thought I'd love to see Canada in the winter - I have now changed my mind!

Fay's Too said...

I am awed and humbled. Beautiful images. Just beautiful. And your daughter is gorgeous.

bonequinhoda bic said...

Great photos, but I´ve just heard over here on Portuguese TV about the weather in Scotland.Frozen waterfalls...Godamn !!!
Kim, could this be the beguinning of a new ice age ?
kEEP SAFE !

 ALH said...

Great pictures! I loved the air bubbles. We have had some dangerous road conditions in ATL, GA the past two days as well. I live on a hill and we could barely get out of our neighborhood today because no one had salted. Luckily we found some sand and got out without hitting any other cars haha. Be careful out there in those arctic temperatures!

starrlife said...

Meg- sigh.... A natural wonder. The landscapes- incredible- love the Loch combo, stunning. Please be careful. It is much like this in the US- florida is 28 degrees! Snow in Alabama- geesh.

Brenda Grolle said...

Beautiful pics! We're rather used to snow and ice in Ohio, but we still tire of it easily.

It's about 18 degrees F here right now, but that's balmy compared to your temp.

Helen said...

Hey Bearded One - beautiful photos as always. Meg is just so yummy!It must be at times like this, that you are grateful for changing your life and having the time to capture such beauty.

Library girl said...

Beautiful photos Kim (and because you're so modest, I don't mind telling you that LOL)
And there is never anything wrong with giving your public what they want! She simply has that rare beauty mixed with innocence plus a dash of sparkle.

Fat Lazy Guy said...

Freaking awesome photographs. I especially love that winter/summer loch one. The contrast in colours is so stunning. How were you able to so precisely match the photographs? I assume you didn't take GPS co-ordinates and angles and such? But if you did, a tip of my hat to you, mate.

Oh, and re: your comment on my post. Come over and shoot my headshots! ;)

Cindy said...

Your girl looks sweet! I played Meg (Brockie?) in our High School production of Brigadoon. Good name! We're having a winter for the record books here in Nebraska too. I posted about it today! My dear friend is a Scot, she has lived here in Nebraska for a year. I just shared your post from today with her. Maybe she won't be so home sick if she sees the conditions there....nah! She's always going to be home sick regardless.

mapstew said...

Beautiful photies, but then that's what I've come to expect of you!

You are a talented and lucky man to be able to capture your children so!

Wonderful!

:¬)

angryparsnip said...

Wonderful photos again ! I am very intrigued by the air bubbles in the ice.
Your children are lovely and great subjects
Fabulous post !

Jimmy P said...

quite beautiful. but at least your in the country for my favorite...Balvenie double wood....that warms the bones, rubbish on the pipes though.

Jimmy Bastard said...

We had that much snow and ice on NYD, that my barn roof collapsed, and the rubble refroze covering the gap during the -16 temperature.

At least the beer is nicely chilled.

GAMZu said...

This post alone deserves an award! The summer/winter blend is A+

Kim Ayres said...

Asmita - I've enjoyed being out taking the photos and having a warm flask of coffee in the car afterwards, but I'm looking forward to Spring and warmer weather :)

Maggie - thank you :)

Jacqui - you get it in the Alps and The Rockies, but very rarely in Scotland

Savannah - Central heating - one of the great inventions of mankind!

St Jude - I was on a road yesterday with no salt or grit, and I consider myself extremely lucky not to have ended up in a ditch or a tree. I don't thin I've every craved a 4x4 so much!

Restaurant Gal - you'll struggle to get much sympathy outside of Florida with that one :) Still, it jsut means everyone will appreciate that superb climate all the more when it returns!

Coralee - I should have taken that advice yesterday - I went out exploring the countryside and ended up on an extremely dodgy snow-covered road. Fortunately we got back safely, but it wasn't without its scares.

Hope - I think it's risen above freezing here today for the first time in a while

Pat - if you can find your way back onto Facebook, I have a larger album of recent photos on there. And don't worry, we were extremely careful about being out on the loch :)

Titus - thank you :)

Stella - Canada in the winter is beautiful for a week, and then you start craving colour

Fay - thank you :)

Bonequinhoda Bic - well it is said that if the arctic ice cap melts too much, the flood of cold water into the upper North Atlantic will disrupt the gulf stream, thereby plunging the UK and Northern Europe into a much cooler climate

ALH - all over the country I think kids' sand boxes are being raided from the sheds

Starrlife - I take it you mean 28F, not 28C

Brenda - we've risen above freezing today, although I think it's going to drop back down again tonight, thereby creating a sheet of ice on all the meltwater

Helen - there's never a time I'm not glad we made the changes we did 5 years ago :)

Library Girl - in most realms I'm known as Meg's father more than she's known as my daughter...

FLG - I would love to come over and take your photograph. Any idea how we can find the money to get a family of 4 over to New Zealand? If you can find a sponsor, I'll photograph them too :)

Cindy - Just help her get hold of a haggis in time for Burns Night on the 25th of January

Mapstew - I'm still up for taking some photos of your band if you can figure out a way of getting me over there :)

AngryParsnip - the air bubbles are amazing, aren't they? Quite otherworldly :)

Jimmy P - Never tried a Balvennie, though I am partial to a Glenmorangie

Jimmy Bastard - but did you get any good photos of it?

GAMZu - thank you :)

Katie Roberts said...

One of my most magical memories - I saw a frozen waterfall in Norway at the age if 6, it was minus 30c. I can hardly believe the whole of the UK has nearly reached those temperatures! Hope you have a warm home... glad your kids got to experience the magic of being in it though. Thanks for showing us those great shots, love the genie and bubbles.

Tiffin said...

Lovely photos, Kim. I know many of your homes don't have protection against this kind of cold, however, so I am sorry for those who are finding this a real hardship. Plus, you won't have the experience driving on roads like this so a lot of accidents are bound to happen. Hope the snap breaks soon for you.

When waterfalls freeze like that all the water upstream is freezing too, along the shore and over the top of the stream. A trickle might still be going through underneath but as it gets exposed to the air at the waterfall point, it too will freeze, adding to the giant icicles. Even Niagara Falls froze once (google it online - pretty impressive).

We love the pics of Meg because she is a real beauty and you always catch that so well.
Tui

Stark said...

It's been frigid in the Baltimore metro area as well, and we don't have anything like that beautiful scenery to make up for it! I love the picture of the cross-section of ice especially. and your daughter is gorgeous.

Lisa Page Rosenberg said...

Gorgeous! All of them.

Love the half winter half summer photo and of course sweet Meg.

Jayne Martin said...

I love the Snow Genie, and the look of joy on Rogan's face. Beautiful photos.

Kim Ayres said...

Katie - we've not got as low as -30C here. -15 is about the worst, although in the highlands of Scotland it did get down to -23 one night

Tiffin - these temperatures are rare here. Fortunately we've not had any major problems in our house.

Stark - snow in cities is beautiful when it is completely fresh. Unfortunately later when it's grey, it's not so beautiful and a pain to walk in

Lisa - thank you :)

Jayne - it's great to see him not looking like a sullen teenager :)

corvedacosta said...

It is a mess everywhere
I am in Jamaica - tropical heat all year round

it is way too cold here now

asmita said...

I just finished watching Ang Lee directed film "The Ice Storm" and beside the plot and the story and what happens to the character, throughout the film Ang Lee seems to be paying homage to nature's such beautiful creation. Every minute detail has been captured... when the frozen wheels of the train start to move and the ice cones (or something else I don't know exactly what) crack and splinters apart....

Katie Roberts said...

Thank Kim, I just came back here to imagine the coolness, wish we could swap some of this heat for your cold... It is sweltering here!

I heard Bristol was -20 one night too. My concern is for the isolated or homeless in those conditions...

Lee said...

Hi Kim, took the advice from your other blog and ventured over to check out your pictures, they are all excellent, really enjoyed looking at them. Now I have another blog to follow!!

Tara Marie said...

Ah, just what this Momma needed tonight, incredible work Kim.......

Sayre said...

We've been having record cold here in Florida! My pool iced over and we had a pipe burst. There's a video of my son trying to break the ice on my blog. We were quite shocked!

Love the photos... Those air bubbles are really interesting! And your Snow Maiden looks like she's thinking about a hot cup of tea.

Falak said...

COOL pictures!All of your photographs are lovely and breath taking. Wish it was atleast cold here in Mumbai if not freezing cold. Can't remember the last time I wore a sweater.

Kim Ayres said...

Corvedacosta - how cold has it got in Jamaica?

Asmita - that is a beautifully filmed movie!

Katie - I would happily take some of your heat!

Lee - thank you, and welcome :)

Tara Marie - you should be posting more of your wonderful photography!

Sayre - an iced pool in Florida? Wonder how the aligators are coping...

Falak - stop, you're making me jealous!

Jasmine said...

Beautiful photography. Especially the merging of the lakes between the two seasons. Brilliant. Hoping for warmer weather there soon. Stay warm, and safe!

Danielle said...

I just LOVE the summer/winter photo of the lake ... it never occurred to me to merge photos. I feel inspired!! :)

Kim Ayres said...

Jasmine - thank you :) We had more snow today, although it was wet, slushy snow. I think the rain will wahs it away in the next day or so

Danielle - the biggest problem is trying to remember where you were standing, and how much zoom you were using when you took the earlier photo...

Mary Witzl said...

Those photos are INCREDIBLE!

Waterfalls in Japan freeze, so I know they can do it. But I'm still sick with envy that you're there, experiencing it and we're not.

And our pipes have probably frozen solid.

Phooey.

Kim Ayres said...

Mary - the last 3 days have been wet, cold, wet, miserable, wet, windy, wet, grey and wet. The snow and ice are all gone. It's your mediterranean sunshine I envy!

Hindsfeet said...

LOVE the Loch Ken mix. Amazing visual effect.

Can I share a little thought I had while enjoying this picture of yours? I feel like I'm tip-toeing a bit telling you this, and I mean it with the utmost respect and sensitivity...You've shared before about struggling with depression...Don't know if this counts for anything, but for someone who struggles with depression, you've brought so many meaningful moments, and moments of joy into others' lives through these posts.

Hope knowing that throws a moment of joy back your way...

...and hope that came out right...Hard to hear a person's heart through the written word sometimes.

Happy weekend to you and your sweet family...

Kim Ayres said...

Hindsfeet - it's always good to know people might feel better beause of something I have done, so thank you :)

When in the heart of Depression, however, it's neither a cure, nor a sustainable thought. One of the insidious aspects of Depression is it doesn't allow you to feel the joy of good deeds or achievement for more than the most fleeting moment.

Don't feel you have to tip-toe around the subject. I'm open about the whole thing. Just so long as you don't imply it's something I either choose or should "just pull myself together" :)

Hindsfeet said...

I hear you....really....and just know that I was Definitely not implying that it was something one chooses or should just get over...People who imply that, while well-meaning, have never been there.

..That was the "tip-toeing" and "sensitivity" I was talking about; Partly because it's personal, and partly because I was concerned that I would come across sounding trite about something that is anything but.

It's a strange paradox, isn't it.....That one feeling such darkness as you've described can offer so much light to others...

In my experience, it's not been the people whose lives are 'hunky dory' that are able to offer - maybe not necessarily joy and happiness, "fluff and rainbows", as it were, but something more meaningful - depth of understanding and comraderie to their fellow man, which, at the end of the day, get you a lot farther than fluff and rainbows.

So, again, thank you.....

Kim Ayres said...

Hindsfeet - thank you for your warm words.

By it's nature, when things aren't right, we don't always know what is wrong, let alone all the nuances or how to deal with it.

All I can ever do is share my experiences, understanding and insights of what I feel is happening. And sometimes, some people will gain a new perspective or understanding on what is happening to them.

And of course, knowledge is power. If we don't know what it wrong, then we can end up accepting the well-meaning, but bad advice from those who know no differently. And that can make things worse rather than better.

The more we can understand, the more chance there is of us being able to affect real and long term change

Hindsfeet said...

Hi Kim....

I just now read your response here, sorry so long in responding myself....

...I'm thankful that you Do choose to share your experiences, Kim...funny how our perspective can be so helpful to another even when - or perhaps Especially when - we feel we don't see the way clearly ourselves....Again with the uncanny paradox here....

...I wrote something a while back, thought I might share it with you, as I think you'll understand...It came out of a place not dissimilar to the place you seem to write out of at times...

...I hope it conveys even more clearly the value and gift I find in your writing and your transparency....

http://hindsfeet-birdseyeview.blogspot.com/2009/10/communion.html

Kim Ayres said...

Hindsfeet - a few years back I attended a group thereapy session once a week, where others with their problems became mirrors held up to my own. The struggles they were going through, threw fresh light upon my own.

We all have blind spots - parts of ourselves we cannot see clearly, directly. But hold up a mirror and angle it right, and things we could not see before now become clear.

Hindsfeet said...

hmmmm, your words resonate with an exerpt from a book I wrote a few years back...from the end of the last chapter, actually.....

"My sight is so one dimensional, so when I try to go it alone, the lack of perspective becomes a real challenge. And while it’s a risk to let others in (this from a confirmed hermit), the vision it gives is so enriching, so revealing (for better or worse), and I’m much more likely to “Climb on”, to “Stay the Course”, and, in general, to make it through life with my arse somewhat in tact, such as it is.


Of course, there are still parts of me I’d prefer not to see from certain angles, and like the girl in the dressing room in front of the three way mirror under the fluorescent lights, I tend to stand just so and strike this or that pose in order to look my best and to avoid seeing any flaws (which has definitely resulted in some unfortunate fashion decisions). Guess you‘ll have to wait for the biography if you want to see the whole picture. But until then, my version will have to do.

Mr. Biographer, I hurl myself on your mercy!"

obviously there was more to it, Kim...But, you get the gist...

The thought occurred to me once, that, our eyes, they only see out, not in; ergo, we see others so clearly, and not so much ourselves sometimes...Thus the "blindspots" you mentioned here...thus our need for others' eyes...thus our need for humility and openness to others' perspectives/"mirrors".....(not throwing the barn door wide open to "whosoever will" mind you, but, you know, an element of openness).....

Someone once said "We see through a looking glass darkly"......

.....well then, let there be light...

my hope and wish for the both of us this night......

peace, Kim.....

Hindsfeet said...

p.s. I guess in the last analysis, the trick is to surround yourself with these "mirrors"....not only people/mirrors who kiss our asses, but perhaps a few that bust our chops as well....there's the rub...

; )

nighty night over there, Kim...

Kim Ayres said...

Firstly we have to be aware that we have blind spots, then we need to find ways around our natural tendency not to see them.

I remember once looking at all the people in the office I was working in and being so aware of how each of them created their own problems by certain characteristics they had. These were as clear as day to me, and yet each of them was blind to their own character-causal effects. Indeed, some of them even thought of them as strengths.

I wondered why everyone else seemed to have such glaring blind spots except me... ;)

Hindsfeet said...

I love it :) haha...I hear ya and, unfortunately, I can relate...I was the asshole who had everyone's "number" so to speak, at a glance, so I thought, and had very little patience for the dimwittedness I perceived all around me...

...what is it that Anais Nin said? Ah yes, "We do not see things as they are, we see them as WE are."

And there, once again, is the rub.

; )

well, for what it's worth, I'm glad I found your "mirror"...

Kim Ayres said...

A very wise quote :)

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