Tag Archives: ice

Wind, water, ice, and FIRE

This place is all about colour. Dusk and dawn, the rocks burn in Bryce Canyon, Utah

 

Bryce Canyon at dusk

Bryce Canyon at dusk

 

 

Wind, and constant freeze/thaw weathering have created the amazing rock formations at Bryce. All is jagged teeth and hoodoos. But it’s the minerals in the rocks that create the colour. And when the sun gets low, everything just glows.

 

Dawn at Natural Bridge, Bryce Canyon

Dawn at Natural Bridge, Bryce Canyon

 

Hoodoo and dead tree

Hoodoo and dead tree

 

This is the US, so nothing is impossible. Even the trees seem to believe that. Take the fir tree below. It’s grown up out of the canyon to a height of 200 feet before it gets anywhere near open sky. That’s an I-can-do-anything attitude. Unbelievable.

How did this tree grow here?

How did this tree grow here?

 

Those are the actual colours of the rock...

Those are the actual colours of the rock…

 

Lust for life

Lust for life

 

A remarkable place. Can’t wait to return – I want to see it in the snow!

 

Bryce amphitheatre - amazing.

Sunset Point – amazing.

 


Jewels too huge to lift…, must be Iceland!

I may have mentioned in an earlier post that Iceland is a pretty wild place. As a result I may have suggested that Mrs P, who is a city girl and likes her creature comforts, would not be hugely amused by cold rain-soaked beaches at dawn. I may even have sighed that “there is nothing for my wife here…” But I would have been wrong. I mean – look at the size of these crystals… diamonds the size of bricks!!!

beach bergs

beach bergs

ice diamond

ice diamond

Now what girl isn’t going to get excited by a such a glittering rock! Isn’t this what girls’ dreams are made of…?

Swarovski jewel

abandoned jewel

just lying there, waiting to bee found...

just lying there, waiting to be found…

Ok, ok, ok. I know that by the time Mrs P had got a jewel like this on her finger it would have melted away into watery nothingness. Let’s say these icy crystals are simply inspiration. They make me think of Swarovski. The size, the colour, the drama – yes, Swarovski!

definitely Swarovski inspiration

definitely Swarovski inspiration

If I were a jeweller, I would get myself out here straight away to have a look at these wild and wacky crystals. Form, texture, colour. All on a black beach, stunning….

icy blue glow

icy blue glow

crystallised water

crystallised water

Come on Mrs Swarovski! get out to Iceland and check out the jewels. Even better, why don’t you send me to take a whole series of photos for you of wonderful multicoloured ice, smashed by the waves, smoothed by the sun, gleaming and glittering on a beach. I promise you inspiration, and your resulting jewellery would make Mrs P a very happy woman indeed!

beached ice fish

beached ice fish

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Icelife in Iceland

Hunting the Aurora


Icelife in Iceland

Modern life vanishes. Two and half hours flying north from London, and the city seems a million miles away. All that ‘stuff’, it’s gone. I’m spending a week living in the land of ice, literally…. Iceland.

Mighty glacier, all powerful

Mighty glacier, all powerful

Take a closer look to spot the photographer front right on the spit of land – that’s how awesomely massive this landscape view is – there are two of them:

Dwarfed

Dwarfed

Ice, glaciers. mountains, rocks, everything is solid & permanent. Time moves at a different pace – glacially you might say… The slowness of time is echoed by sound – at first it seems there isn’t any. But as ears tune in to the tempo, you hear the cracks of the shifting ice. There may be very little sign of human or animal life, but the ice itself is alive. It’s moving, shifting, living and dying.

Crevasse - highly photogenic, highly dangerous

Crevasse – highly photogenic, highly dangerous

Ice life starts high up in the mountains. The snow falls again and again, compacts and becomes ice. The weight is so heavy the air is forced out and it turns blue. The mighty glacier moves imperceptibly, sometimes is covered in ash, dirt, rocks. Changes colour. Now the ice is brown, red. Crevasses open up. This is not a place for a Sunday afternoon stroll. Fall in, you’re gone.

Boulder trapped in the black ice

Boulder trapped in the black ice

The ice is imperious. Nothing can stand in its way. Rocks! Pah! Picked up to be dumped miles away on the plain. At the face of glacier are ice caves. The ice here is striated and contorted, run through with absorbed dirt. It has become multicoloured.

The cave's maw

The cave’s maw

Our guide allows us in. And here, in this most awesome of caves, we see the first signs of ice vulnerability. This cave is not permanent. It will not last the year. The stream hints at the ice’s fate.

That stream began to trickle whilst we stood there...

That stream began to trickle whilst we stood there…

The life of ice is speeding up. Suddenly, imperceptible movement accelerates. Ice carves into the glacial lagoons.

Icebergs in the lake

Icebergs in the lake

Ice transforms from awesome majesty into vulnerable beauty. The colours are more transparent and ephemeral.

The glacier is still defiant here

The glacier is still defiant here

But it is disintegrating

But it is disintegrating

The more it dies, the more beautiful it becomes

The more it dies, the more beautiful it becomes

Ice being consumed by snow

Ice being consumed by snow

Pushed out of the lagoon into the ocean, the ice is now pitilessly attacked by the Atlantic waves. Time is short. Once it swept all before it, now it is small and vulnerable, tossed up on the beach, broken and discarded.

Ice washed ashore

Ice washed ashore

How ironic that ice is at its most beautiful now. It becomes exquisite, jewel-like, Swarowski-esque crystals. One last glisten and sparkle on a black beach before it dies and vanishes for good.

Transient jewelry

Transient jewelry

And then death

And then death

But of course, the ice hasn’t died, it has simply mutated. In the fullness of time it will return as snow, and the cycle will begin again, refreshed.

ice to water to ....

ice to water to ….


The trouble with skiing…, part 2

View onto Col de Fresse

The view onto the Col de Fresse

Having had a jolly good moan in part 1 about the amount of gear you need for skiing (scroll down below this blog page and have a look if you haven’t already seen it), there is of course another problem about skiing that I have to mention. And that is, that just occasionally, quite by accident, you fall over. In this respect I feel slightly jealous of the kids. Lower centre of gravity, younger bones, less sense of anxiety, they just bounce back up and carry on. When I fall it’s either embarrassing or it hurts. And I managed to cram in both sensations this week….

Immy takes a well earned rest (fell over...)

The first occasion was the more excruciating. I had just got off the ski lift, gently skied down to the map billboard to discuss with wife, brother- and sister-in-law which route to take; I was coming to a halt, maybe doing all of 1 mph, when I slid into 3 stranger skiers who were also standing by the board. I swear everything then happens in slow-mo: I realise I’m going over, grab onto the woman who’s next to me, which means she’s coming down with me; she clatters into the next person who also topples. Embarrassment supreme as this English nitwit manages to cause carnage whilst moving at a snail’s pace (do snails ski?). I remember I was apologising profusely in French as I went down. She’s replying ‘it’s ok’ but her look says: ‘plonker’. Skis & poles everywhere as we try to get up again…. What’s worse – no help from the rest of the family, who have turned their heads away as they crease up in laughter and don’t want to embarrass the other skiers. The humiliation!

Boarders

My second tumble was not as embarrassing, but was potentially a lot more dangerous. I was piling down the giant slalom course, going as fast as I possibly could, when I lost control. Thump! went my head on the ice floor, off come the skis, and I’m sliding down the steep hill backwards at about 30 mph. I distinctly remember whacking my head (luckily wearing helmet – SO important) and thinking: ‘Ouch! that hurt, I’ve survived but I’m completely out of control, never mind, just go with it, enjoy the backwards arse slide’. By which time I’d come to a stop. Some nice French skier picked up my skis up the hill, brought them to me, enquired if I was ok, and skied off wishing me ‘have a nice day’ (?!?!?) For me, this was a lucky escape…

A tumble

Charles, on the very last moment of the very last ski, manages to fall down whilst taking his skis off. Thank God I’m not the only one…! Also I enjoyed my wife taking out my bro-in-law getting off a ski lift, highly amusing…. And below, the intrepid kids at ski school.

Ski skool!!!

So my last photo from Tignes is a pic of me practising my board jumps. Big squadgy balloon to make sure you don’t hurt yourself. Love it!

YeeeeeHaaaaa!