Winter is a seasoned sculptor who creates fresh works every year using her preferred mediums of ice and snow. From flipped over icebergs to frozen waterfalls, the intricacy and majesty of these natural works of beauty are enough to give the viewer chills of awe. Although most are temporary and site-specific, we can continue to enjoy their frigid beauty even in the hottest of summers through the work of the expert photographers and amateurs alike who are lucky enough to stumble upon them. Below, we’ve collected an entourage of accidental ice art, untouched by human hands, to last us all winter long and beyond:
If an iceberg flips over and no one sees it, is it really upside-down? Not really, because snow and debris typically lays a white blanket over it in an instant. Luckily, photographer Alex Cornell was on hand to witness a freshly-flipped one that revealed a chiseled teal underside that sparkled like sea glass. Cornell told Smithsonian: "It’s like if you see a double rainbow over a whale breaching… you’re just lucky that you’re there. Anybody could have been there and captured it, so I am happy that I was the one for this one.”
Twisted 'Icy Dragons'
Ice is no stranger to Slovenia's Mount Javornik, but after frozen fog battered the peak for ten days, new windswept structures were left behind in its wake. Stormchasing photographer Marco Korosec named the images of the spikes that branched up to three feet outwards from a main frosty watchtower structure, "Icy Dragon," and "Frozen Creature."
Frozen Sand Castles
When snow isn't on hand, the wind will make do with sand. On the Lake Michigan shoreline in Silver Beach County Park, photographer Joshua Nowicki found himself in the land of strange sand sculptures, some standing over a foot tall. Like Utahn rock spires that were created by erosion, the structures Nowicki found were created over time by harsh winds blasting away at layers of frozen sand.
One way New Yorkers are coping with the #Freezepocalypse is by taking selfies in front of the glacier that was once the Bryant Park Fountain. But although it's pretty to look at, it's also going to come at a cost. Says Bryant Park Blog: "Unfortunately, all this beauty is causing the Fountain pain. The weight of the icicles is putting undue strain on the Fountain's granite bowls. This hasn't been a problem in past winters, because the temperature has fluctuated enough for some of the icicles to melt off, but this year's prolonged freeze means that layers of icicles have been building up for the past several weeks." To deal with the onslaught of icicles, the park is shutting off the water until warmer weather comes around.
Russia's "Blue Heart"
Siberia's Baikal is the deepest and largest-by-volume freshwater lake in the world. When frozen, it creates amazing vistas like this one. Equipped with stereoscopic cameras and technologies, Moscow-based RSS Productions journeyed through the cold terrain to film a new documentary about the UNESCO World Heritage site (see the trailer here). Although water levels of Lake Baikal are currently at a worrisome low as of this year, here's to hoping the so-called "Blue Heart of Siberia" keeps pumping.
Icescapes From Above
A portrait of a glacial Lake Erie taken by NASA Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer captured on Sunday could be an artist's study in shades of white. The image, which was released today, shows that the great lake bordering the Canadian province of Ontario, and the US states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York, is over 90% frozen. Not to mention another arctic front is being forecasted to hit the northeastern US region later this week.