Every month or two I sort through my images and choose out the ones I like best. In this gallery are the ice crystal pictures I feel are the best since last I sorted photos. And while I’ve taken some good crystal photos in the past, I honestly think that some of the ones in this album are some of the best I’ve ever taken. The conditions for crystal growth this winter has been good; consistently cold temperatures, and a good snow cover. The cold temperatures allows long slow crystal development. The snow cover slows the escape of moist air through cracks in the ice where they crystals grow. The slower escape also allows for greater crystal growth.
Most of these photos were taken in the Chatanika valley North of Fairbanks Alaska on my almost weekly excursions into the woods on snowshoes. I’ve enjoyed getting out this winter, but it has also been an exceptionally cold winter. Since the start of December, the average temperature has been -10 F. Over the last three months it has rarely gotten above zero and never above freezing, and the Chatanika valley is consistently 10-20 degrees colder than Fairbanks. I’ve headed out on several occasions only to find the temperature dropping to -40 in the Chatanika valley. At those very cold temperatures, it takes some planning to stay safe, and even dressed warmly I am very careful and do not stray more than a mile from the truck.
This winter I’ve experimented with composition and many of these shots have a black background. For those that do, the crystals were sturdy enough to lift out of the areas I found them and photograph them against my black gloves or black pants. The contrast of the white crystals against the black background has made some amazing shots and I’ve been really happy with the results. I still feel that every time I go out I learn a bit more about how to capture these amazing formations.