Green Blue Ice, photo by Charles Bonham
Apparently Charles is my go-to photographer for ice colors as his picture was used for my post about what makes ice blue or green a couple years ago on Michigan in Pictures. Then as now, I went to The Causes of Color to answer the question: What causes the blue color that sometimes appears in snow and ice?
As with water, this color is caused by the absorption of both red and yellow light (leaving light at the blue end of the visible light spectrum). The absorption spectrum of ice is similar to that of water, except that hydrogen bonding causes all peaks to shift to lower energy – making the color greener. This effect is augmented by scattering within snow, which causes the light to travel an indirect path, providing more opportunity for absorption. From the surface, snow and ice present a uniformly white face. This is because almost all of the visible light striking the snow or ice surface is reflected back, without any preference for a single color within the visible spectrum.
The situation is different for light that is not reflected, but penetrates or is transmitted into the snow. As this light travels into the snow or ice, the ice grains scatter a large amount of light. If the light is to travel over any distance it must survive many such scattering events. In other words, it must keep scattering and not be absorbed. We usually see the light coming back from the near surface layers (less than 1 cm) after it has been scattered or bounced off other snow grains only a few times, and it still appears white.
In simplest of terms, think of the ice or snow layer as a filter. If it is only a centimeter thick, all the light makes it through; if it is a meter thick, mostly blue light makes it through. This is similar to the way coffee often appears light when poured, but much darker when it is in a cup.
Click through for lots more about light & color!
Charles took this photo last week on Sand Point near Munising. Check it out bigger and head over to his Flickr page for a bunch more great shots of winter in the Upper Peninsula!
More winter wallpaper and more amazing ice on Michigan in Pictures.
Approaching Storm by Charles Bonham
Charles caught this shot of another photographer shooting the famous 1225 Polar Express, The 1225 is housed at the Steam Railroading Institute in Owosso where every year it takes folks on North Pole Express rides during the holiday season. Wikipedia has the story of how the Pere Marquette 1225 locomotive became the Polar Express:
Retired from service in 1951, 1225 was sent to scrap, in New Buffalo, Michigan. In 1955, Michigan State University Trustee, Forest Akers was asked by C&O Chairman Cyrus Eaton if the University would be interested in having a steam locomotive (Eaton did not want to scrap the engines but was having a hard time finding places that would accept them) so that engineering students would have a piece of real equipment to study. Forest Akers thought it a good idea and proposed the idea to University President John Hannah. John Hannah accepted the gift of the locomotive.
When he told the Dean of the College of Engineering about the gift, the Dean said that Engineering was not interested in an obsolete locomotive. John Hannah then called up Dr. Rollin Baker, director of the MSU Museum and told him that he was getting a locomotive. The C&O then instructed the yardmaster at New Buffalo to send an engine to the Wyoming Shops for a cosmetic restoration and repainting with the name Chesapeake and Ohio on the side. The 1225 was the last engine in the line, i.e. easiest to get out. It had nothing to do with the number representing Christmas Day. Baker received the gift of the locomotive in 1957 when it was brought to campus. The locomotive remained on static display near Spartan Stadium on the Michigan State campus in East Lansing, Michigan for a decade.
While on display, a child by the name of Chris Van Allsburg used to stop by the locomotive on football weekends, on his way to the game with his father. He later stated that the engine was the inspiration for the story, Polar Express.
Lots more information about riding the train and the rest of their collection at the Steam Railroading Institute and more about the book right here!
View Charles’ photo bigger on Flickr and see more in his Steam Engine, Railroad Photos album.
Spring Storm on Superior, photo by Greg Kretovic
Here’s a great Throwback Thursday of big waves on Lake Superior back on Friday, April 19 of 2013 at the Black Rocks in Marquette’s Presque Isle Park.
Lots more of Greg’s Lake Superior photos right here and more Lake Superior pics on Michigan in Pictures too!
Icy Sunset, photo by Chris S
This is the time of year when I should be sharing pics of bold crocuses, baby birds & other springish things. This being Michigan, we are back to full-on winter!
Chris took this Sunday at the Mackinac Bridge. Head over to his Flickr for more photos of the Mighty Mac and stay warm!!
Yesterday my photos and videos of an odd phenomenon on the Lake Michigan shore in Leelanau County got featured by Tanda Gimter on mLive who writes in part:
…some of the ice-crystal creations that suddenly appeared on a Leelanau County beach last weekend had photographers excited about their find – and a little baffled. The large, column-like crystals spread out on the ground like blooming flowers.
When you touched the hand-high columns, they broke apart easily.
“It was just kind of a weird day,” said Andrew McFarlane of Leland, who works in web development and marketing. He took pictures and a couple videos of the phenomenon while he was at Van’s Beach in Leland on Sunday. “I’ve never seen it before that I can remember.”
As regular readers know, I’m not one to let a Michigan mystery alone, and after some research I’m pretty confident that this is called “candle ice”. The American Meteorological Society defines it as: A form of rotten ice; disintegrating sea ice (or lake ice) consisting of ice prisms or cylinders oriented perpendicular to the original ice surface; these “ice fingers” may be equal in length to the thickness of the original ice before its disintegration.
Here’s a video of it!
Sante River, April 2017-19, photo by Invinci_bull
Paul’s Falls on the Sante River at Waterfalls of the Keweenaw begins:
Finding a sizeable river that flows east from Toivola/Twin Lakes is tough – finding a waterfall along one is even harder. Paul’s Falls on Sante River fulfills both of those criteria with an impressive drop down into a sandstone bowl. While much of the river is a meandering flow along a gentle rocky bed, here the water plunges over a lip of sandstone and pours down onto a steep slope of mossy rock. The river banks steepen to dangerous levels below the falls and create a descent cave on the north side.
Read on for directions, map, and more!
Nathan took this photo in April and writes “I decided to check out the remote and topographically intriguing Sante River gorge, deep in the heart of the Keweenaw Peninsula. I wasn’t expecting to find Paul’s Falls at the end of it!”
View it bigger and see more inNathan’s Sante River Exploration – April 2017 slideshow.
More Michigan waterfalls on Michigan in Pictures!
Fellow Sun Gazer, photo by Footsore Fotography
While lots of people are looking at their gardens and thinking about April showers & May flowers, here’s a reminder from Sunday in Grand Marais that for some in Michigan, winter is still very much in play!
View the photo bigger on Facebook and follow Gary at Footsore Fotography on Facebook for lots more from Grand Marais and the surrounding area.