|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
After a frightening fall into the cave opening, landing among granite boulders and giant icicles, and then struggling upward to within sight of the beautiful blue sky...
...the mouse would have gotten this view.
How can I introduce such an odd image and its unusual perspective? Please excuse my warped humor and bear with me.
This is an ice cave, but barely large enough for my hand and camera, which I stuck into the "cave" to capture this image. Most DSLRs would not have fit. The "granite boulders" at the bottom are perhaps 30 cm away. The "giant icicles" in front of the rocks are no more than 2 cm wide, which is also about the length of the two smaller icicles in the center. The rim of the "cave" opening where it meets the sunlight is less than 15 cm away from the lens. It was a difficult situation, requiring a small camera, a flip-out viewscreen, some dexterity, and a willingness to get wet.
This was the second morning of our recent cold spell and not as cold as the day before, only -19°C. More interesting than the sea smoke was a small waterfall and its attached ice sculptures. A storm drain pipe in Fort Williams Park empties at the top of a small rock face 6 m or so high. Because the collector pipe is buried, water seeps from the surrounding ground into the pipe in all types of weather. It splatters 5 m down the rock face and creates some lovely forms on the vertical rock and at the base when the weather is cold.
As I approached the base of the waterfall I could see some unusual ice formations on the rock face. These had all my attention until I looked down and realized there was another world under the ice cone at the base of the fall. When I looked in, the quality of the light struck me as extraordinary, and that was what I tried to capture in this image. The sun was hitting the top side directly and penetrating 10 to 20 cm of very solid ice, creating one of the more unusual backlighting situations I've ever seen.
So I decided to let my camera make the dangerous cave descent and report back to me about what it saw. While shooting, the spray from the waterfall was landing on my hand and the back side of my camera, including a rainbow array of pixel sized droplets on my LCD viewscreen.
The spray did not reach all of the ice in the cave. The division into three vertical domains is clearly visible in the image. The surface of the ice in the bottom half is smooth from accumulated droplets splashing off the rocks where the waterfall hits. There is a smooth zone around the opening which is above the spray, but within reach of the sun's heat. In between, out of reach of both sun and spray is the rough middle zone, which seemed to have continuous crystal growth from the moist environment.
tech note- significant contrast added, slight sharpening and total saturation
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