Posts Tagged ‘ice’

Photo: Business Trip Friend, 2017.
An Ice Music Festival is held in Norway most every year, although it was cancelled for 2021 because of Covid. In 2020, it was held in the village of Finse, near the Hardangerjøkulen glacier.

Finally, the ice is melting where I live. I can’t help but think “good riddance” after an outdoor birthday party Sunday that saw us slipping and sliding with the grandchildren through the woods. But I have to remind myself that they actually love the ice (two kids are hockey players), and in fact, there are a variety of reasons to love ice.

Consider Lola Akinmade Åkerström’s report at National Geographic.

“Brittle bursts that mimic cymbals. Deep hollowed notes reminiscent of metal drums. These are some of the surprising sounds that Siberian percussion group Ethnobeat created from Russia’s frozen Lake Baikal in a 2012 viral video that introduced millions around the globe to ice music.

“But similarly haunting melodies had been filling dark Arctic nights across Norway and Sweden for several years. In 2000 Norwegian composer and percussionist Terje Isungset performed the world’s first ice music concert inside a frozen waterfall in Lillehammer.

“Six years later Isungset founded the annual Ice Music Festival Norway, drawing curious adventurers willing to brave subzero temperatures in order to experience this unique way of bonding with nature through music. (This winter’s festival was canceled due to the pandemic, but he’s planning to livestream a concert on March 14.)

“For Isungset, who was already experimenting with natural elements such as stone and wood when composing music, his foray into ice was an organic next step.

‘When I first started playing on clear ice, I found its pure sound surprisingly warm and gentle compared to the sound of crushed ice beneath your feet.’ …

“So what exactly is ice music? Musicians tap beats out of naturally occurring ice or play instruments crafted from ice. Many of the instruments may seem familiar, but with ice music, nature takes center stage—and brings more than a few notes of unpredictability. Both the making and playing of the instruments are processes that can’t be fully controlled, which only adds to the art’s appeal.

“Carved instruments can be either completely made of ice, such as horns and percussion, or hybrids, like harps, in which the main body is ice with metal strings attached. Isungset collaborates with award-winning ice sculptor Bill Covitz, who is based in the United States but travels to concert destinations around the world to make instruments on location.

“Another American artist, Tim Linhart focused on snow and ice sculptures in the U.S. before moving to Europe and building a reputation for crafting ice instruments. Thirty-six years later he has created hundreds of them. …

“By studying and intricately blending materials — such as homemade clear ice and carbonated water, plus crushed mountain snow — Linhart can make instruments like violins and tune them as close to perfect as nature allows. …

” ‘When you approach that breaking point between the tension of the string and the thickness of the material, right there is where music truly happens,’ says Linhart, who honed his craft through trial, error, and a few exploding instruments. …

“When the show starts, other complications arise. “’Ice is always in motion; expanding, contracting and sublimating away into the atmosphere,’ says Linhart. ‘Warm bodies melt instruments. Audiences increase temperatures because they are breathing. Instruments need to be re-tuned differently. Some drop several notes, others rise.’ To mitigate this, he designs domed concert venues that ventilate heat away from the instruments.

“Another hazard? Horn players’ lips can stick to the mouthpieces of their instruments. And most of the time, the performers can’t practice on their delicate tools, so they often compose music live and improvise in front of the audience. …

“Other instruments such as the ‘iceofon’ — a cross between a xylophone and a marimba that pairs nicely with the harp — need to be tuned differently to avoid playing entire concerts in one tone.”

Lots more about musicians up for a challenge at National Geographic, here.

Read Full Post »

Today I have a few Massachusetts photos that I took myself and a few that other people took. Most need no explanation, but please let me know if you have comments.

The abandoned boathouse is next to the Sudbury River, which you can see through the trees if you look closely. A shot taken nearby shows more of the river, including the farther shore and the ice forming along the edges.

About the traffic signs: Are drivers supposed to be hopeful about the availability of tickets?

My husband researched white squirrels after I pointed out our visitor. This squirrel could be either an albino gray squirrel or a mutation. I think I have the mutation. Very aggressive, by the way.

The new bird feeder has provided terrific entertainment ever since it went up December 16. The sharp-shinned hawk seen on the backyard bench agreed that the feeder was entertaining, although his enthusiasm was not as innocent as mine.

Kristina took the next two pictures: one of the gnome she made over Christmas, and the other of her bright and cheery plants.

My oldest grandson took the picture of his sister next to a big New Year’s ice sculpture in his town.

Finally, I hardly ever miss a chance to shoot a photo of nice shadows.

Read Full Post »


Photo: CNN
A winter storm coated buildings along the shores of Lake Erie with ice as thick as three feet back in February. Something to ponder if you’re in the middle of a heat wave now.

Blogger Deb at A Bear’s Thimble once suggested saving a winter photo for blogging on a hot day in summer, which was exactly what I did that year. So now, during our current heat wave, I’m pulling up an extreme cold-weather story saved from early March. Enjoy. Keep cool.

Alicia Lee and Hollie Silverman wrote at CNN about homes along Lake Erie that were “covered in ice following two days of gale-force winds. …

“Instead of a winter wonderland, residents living along the shore of Lake Erie in New York woke up this weekend to a winter nightmare when they found their homes completely encased in thick ice.

“Ed Mis has lived in his home in Hamburg, New York, for the past eight years, and while the neighborhood has seen ice coatings before, he said this is the first time it’s been this bad.

‘It looks fake, it looks unreal,’ [the homeowner] told CNN. ‘It’s dark on the inside of my house. It can be a little eerie, a little frightening.’

“His home on South Shore Drive in the Hoover Beach neighborhood of Hamburg, about 9 miles south of Buffalo, is covered in several feet of ice and his backyard has about 12 feet of ice, Mis told CNN by phone. …

“The ice makes the houses appear as if they’re ice sculptures or something out of the movie Frozen. …

“To blame? No, not Elsa, but 48 straight hours of gale force winds. The winds created huge waves, driving lake water up on the shore, according to the Weather Channel.

” ‘When you are down in the low to mid-20s, all of that spray that comes up and hits the buildings is going to freeze and make it a giant icicle,’ winter weather expert Tom Niziol told the Weather Channel.

“The ice has started to melt a bit since Friday, Mis said, but he hopes the governor will approve an emergency declaration to help the neighborhood recover.

‘It’s a beautiful sight, but I don’t want to live through it again,’ Mis said.


It sounds like one of those “what-am-I-seeing?” phenomena. Do you know of others? Have you ever been to a place where it took your eyes a while to understand what you were looking at?

Photo: CC/Wikimedia Commons
Town of Hamburg in Erie County, New York. (If you went to public school for 7th grade in New York State, I bet you can draw that New York map with your eyes closed.)


Read Full Post »

010618-ice-lanterns-Arlington 2













When you don’t have to travel, ice and snow are not the burden they are to a driver. You can wander a little outside your home and take pictures, bake banana bread, put out carrots for the bunny that appears at dawn, feed the birds, make ice lanterns.

The ice lanterns above were made by John’s children, and the photo was taken by my daughter-in-law. I love the smoky, swirly, mysterious aura that she captured.

My own 2018 ice lantern is below. My husband was critical to the enterprise. If you want to make an ice lantern yourself, check out an earlier post, here. You need a really cold day.

Right before Christmas, I took several photos of ice on trees and bushes because it looked so pretty. I know it’s not good for plants, though.

Sandra M. Kelly is the photographer behind the two photos of frozen bodies of water in New Shoreham — water that hardly ever freezes. It didn’t stay frozen long enough for her to get shots of ice boat racing, however. New England is swinging too quickly from deep freeze to balmy.

The big snow January 4th produced the mountain I noticed in a parking lot and the deceptive cushions on Suzanne’s porch furniture.








































Read Full Post »

Photo: Graeme Richardson / Ice Music

And speaking of ice hotels, you might want to try an ice concert one of these days. That is, if you get yourself as far north as Swedish Lapland (also known as “the world’s best place for experiencing the Northern Lights“).

Tod Perry writes at Good that ice instruments have an ephemeral quality that is reminiscent of Buddhist mandelas.

“Tibetan Buddhists have a tradition of making elaborate artwork out of colored sand and, upon its completion, blowing it all into a river. The ritual is to show their belief in the transitory nature of life.

“On the other side of the world, a man [from Colorado who is working] in Sweden has created another form of temporary art by making music out of ice. Twenty years ago, Tim Linhart made his first ‘ICEstrument’ on a snowy mountaintop and his obsession led him to create an entire frozen orchestra and chamber hall.

“In Lulea, Sweden, [the ice sculptor] has made his own igloo concert hall where musicians perform with string and percussion instruments made of ice.

“One of the major problems with conducting an ice orchestra is that the instruments eventually fall out of tune due to body heat from the performers and audience. This has led Linhart to create a unique venting system in his ice theater that filters the body heat out of the igloo.

“Linhart’s ice instruments have a beautiful sound that play on our deep connection to water.

” ‘The ice instrument is made of frozen water, we’re made of melted water. And that physical connection opens the door for a spiritual connection,’ he says.”

Read more at Good, here.

Read Full Post »

Time for a photo round-up. Winter in New England: warm days, cold days, snow, ice, complicated shadows, empty facades, food and drink.

If you get any time to be alone and quiet — maybe just nursing a head cold — use it well. Everyone needs time to think.































Read Full Post »

Boston Globe arts correspondent Cate McQuaid tweeted a link to this Seattle Times article a while back. I thought you would like it.

Reporter Sandi Doughton writes about the ice cap at Mount Rainier’s summit and how it provided a lab of otherworldly grottoes for scientists last summer. The adventure described is both harrowing and thrilling. Here are some teasers.

“The caves form as heat rises from the volcano’s depths and melts the base of the ice cap that fills Rainier’s twin craters. …

“With little shelter on the exposed ridge, the group [of explorers] bolted for the lowest ground in sight. They huddled in a small saddle, cringing as lightning flashed through the clouds. Thunder echoed from all directions and the wind blasted them with snow.

“It was an hour before the lightning abated enough for the team members to take refuge in their tents. The storm raged all night. …

“[Zoe] Harrold, a University of Washington graduate now at Montana State, sees the caves as a natural laboratory to study microbes that flourish where most life withers.

“The combination of volcanic heat and gas, frigid water and icy soil is similar to conditions on Earth when the first living things appeared. It’s also what scientists expect on Mars and Jupiter’s moon Europa — two other places in the solar system that might harbor life.”

Read the story here, and be amazed by the photos. The story reminds me so much of the spooky Danish mystery Smilla’s Sense of Snow.

Photos: François-Xavier de Ruydts/Special to the Seattle Times
Microbiologist Zoe Harrold, a University of Washington graduate, says the Mount Rainier caves can be a natural laboratory for study of microbes that can flourish in conditions hostile to most life.


Read Full Post »

Photo: Julie Van Stappen, National Park Service
Apostle Islands sea caves

Winter seems to be hanging on, so it’s not too late to blog about the Apostle Islands and the sea caves in winter.

My husband and I visited the Apostle Islands 16 years ago, almost to the day. We stayed in a pleasant B&B that had a waitress who, my husband recalls, acted like one’s sojourn there “was the experience you had been waiting for your whole life.” We drove around and tried to keep warm. I’m looking at a pottery pitcher with an apple on it that we bought in a little shop.

At the New Yorker, Siobhan Bohnacker introduces a slide show on the sea caves, calling them “Cathedrals of Ice.”

“This past February, thanks to an unusually cold winter, the sea caves along the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, in northern Wisconsin, were accessible by foot for the first time in five years. Visitors were able to walk two miles over the thick ice of Lake Superior to see the ice formations that run up the coastline. Erin Brethauer, a photographer living in North Carolina, visited …

“Describing the trek to the caves, Brethauer told me, ‘A steady stream of people cut a colorful line on the horizon. More than a hundred and thirty-eight thousand people visited the ice caves this winter, up from twelve thousand seven hundred in 2009.’ …

“The shorelines along the Apostle Islands have been slowly shaped by the movement of the water of Lake Superior, and by its annual freezing and thawing. Sea caves, which resemble honeycombs, are sculpted in the course of centuries by waves breaking onto cliffs. This impact creates what are called reëntrants, or angular cavities that tunnel into cliffs. When reëntrants join behind the cliff face, sea caves result. When water is trapped in the caves and cavities, and freezes, dramatic ice formations occur.

“Brethauer said, ‘We were struck by the size and coloring of the ice along the coastline. Some ice was a pale blue, while other formations were yellow or reddish, depending on the sediment the water collected when it was freezing. … I loved watching how people interacted with the caves and ice, climbing or taking pictures. They provided such scale and added to your feeling of wonder. And then, stepping inside one of the caves, looking up, and listening to the silence or the ricochet of sound, it felt like being in a cathedral.’ ”

Check out the slide show at the New Yorker, here.

Read Full Post »

Ice Lanterns on front stoop






My scientist brother makes ice lanterns, a useful skill for lighting friends to your door in a cold Wisconsin winter.

Here’s how. “Large 9” water balloons are frozen out on my deck, then emptied of liquid water, candled, & lit.

“The only tricky part is knowing when they are ‘done.’ Ice should be not too thin, and not too thick. Also, you need to blow air into the balloon after you fill it with H2O, so there will be a nice flat surface on top. That’s where you punch a hole in the ice to empty the liquid H2O & place the candle.”

You gotta grab all the gusto and try to enjoy the cold weather we have been having. I remember that when we lived in Minneapolis, it was a hoot to pour water off the balcony and watch it freeze in flight.

You might also want to check out how Asakiyume makes her frozen soap bubbles, here.

Closeup Ice Lanterns

Read Full Post »

In the current heat wave, I want to blog about something cool. I thought about using today’s Globe story on the Boston bar that will be made entirely of ice, but I am not into bars and the entry fee is $19.

So here is one about a tiny kingdom in the Himalayas that is cut off from the world until the river freezes. The only problem is — the river isn’t freezing as much as it used to.

“About 1,000 years ago, the Buddhists there broke away from the Tibetan Empire [and founded a kingdom] in the very north of India, in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

“The Kingdom is isolated other than two months a year when the river freezes over and people can cross over to India.” It’s called Zanskar.

Hear more at the Public Radio International show “The World,” where guest Daniel Grushkin describes a lucky escape he had near Zanskar when a piece of ice he was stepping on broke off.

And be sure to check out the adventurer’s other excursions at his blog “Roads and Kingdoms, here.


Photo: Sumit Dayal
Trekking over the frozen Zanskar River.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: