Martian Icescape

Here’s an icescape where the entire field of view shows off the effects of polarized light as it interacts with what’s called a birefringent material (in this case thin ice). The colors are only seen using a polarizing filter. While I’ve seen small parts of thin ice show this effect, this is the first time that the entire field of view showed the effect strongly. Rotating the polarizer 90 degrees makes the colors disappear. (7D2, 100-400 @ 135, 1/25 s, f/16, iso 800, tripod and polarizer)

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Interesting effect. It would be interesting to see the same composition with the polariser at 90 degrees if you have it. The colour while vivid may take away from some of the great texture and shapes in the frame.

Mark; such great detail, a wonderful array of rainbow colors and a bit of an abstract feel to this photo. Nicely seen and executed.

Very impressive, Mark. I just love how the many different colors are showing up so vividly. I am sure that this was a fun image to capture, and you did a super good job of it. :+1: :+1:

Wow! How did I go 62 years without running into the word “birefringent” before? OK, even the spellchecker doesn’t recognize it, so I’m sure I’m not alone. Thanks for the chance to learn something new. Fascinating phenomenon. So does oil on water create a birefringent surface, 'cause that’s what this reminds me of? Certainly an interesting image from many different perspectives.

Mark, this is absolutely wild. I’ve seen the small localized versions of this in ice , but never anything of this scale. It’s really neat (and fortuitous) that birefringement results in adding complementary colors too. The other thing that fascinates me are the shapes in the ice, are they created by lily pads being right under the surface ?

But no matter what, this a pretty cool abstract, nicely done.

Hello Mark

I just had to upload my old image of the stacked ice sheets after seeing yours which covers the entire frame. Amazing colours that are revealed with the polariser.

@Nathan_Klein, while I didn’t duplicate this view with the polarizer rotated, I did that on an alternate view. As expected, the result is a mild blue image with the texture showing. Even with extensive contrast enhancement and trying b&w the result shows the structure nicely, but isn’t something that I find special.

@Tony_Kuyper, birefringence is a phenomenon that often isn’t covered in an introductory physics or optics course. While the results look similar, the colors in a thin film of oil come from a different phenomenon (thin film refraction) that relates to the local thickness of the film.

@Ed_McGuirk, the structures are all from the different ways that ice freezes (especially seen well in thin layers on a quiet surface). (As of about 20 years ago, the folks who study ice physics had identified at least 13 different ice structures…way past Ice 9, if you’ve read Vonnegut… :laughing:)

Wow this is fascinating, thanks for sharing! I never knew of this effect.

What do you think about a little bit of midtone contrast? I thought it looked just a little flat.

I think your composition is nice but I also played around with a top and right side crop to focus on the most colorful part, just food for thought.

Excellent, Mark!! Great patterns and colors. I was about to say it kind of reminds me of Tony K’s earlier work, then I see he chimed in with a comment. I like Brent’s crop, but it also works well as presented.

This is a very unique and wonderful find, Mark. There are just so many patterns and shapes throughout the scene to enjoy and those polarized colors are absolutely wild looking! Thanks for sharing this.