Stained Glass Ice Puzzle

We had a day of sunshine between storms on Monday, so I went for a walk hoping to find icicles and/or ice abstracts near Great Falls. This show of birefringence was in a backwater area just below the falls. I could see this as a puzzle, but I’m not sure I’d want to be putting it together… (5D3, 100-400 @ 300, 1/13 s, f/16, iso 200, tripod and polarizer)


Yes, it looks like a modernist painting now. It’s amazing what you’ve managed to do with this subject.

Amazing. Lovely. Beautiful!

Modern art, for sure. Your ice posts are reminding me of optical mineralogy labs in college. Your ice looks like minerals in thin sections (paper thin slices of rock mounted to glass slides), viewed with a microscope and using a polarizer.

Mark, no critiques here. Just loving everything about this abstract and wanted to comment. It feels like you were really having fun when you made this.

Beautiful, Mark!!! Wild abstract that really works well.

Wonderful capture, Mark. I agree with you about it being a great puzzle . . . .for someone else to put together. Very nicely seen and executed.

Absolutely stunning image Mark!!! Tremendous composition given all of the business in this shot. Well done! I just want to sit and stare at this for a while.

Absolutely beautiful! I’m curious how it looked without the birefringence.

Mark, this is one of your wildest bi-refringence abstracts ever, I love it !!!

It’s the interplay of the light and dark tones of green that add some extra pop to the image. For me the pattern had no focal point, but it doesn’t really matter to me, I like it anyways. Mark, do you know anything about the physics behind this that explains why green is so predominant in te way the colors appear?

@Bonnie_Lampley , this is exactly the same phenomena that you’re describing, only writ large. This was taken from maybe 100 feet away, so I’m guessing that it’s a 10’ x 15’ section of ice.

@Mike_Friel , without the polarizer (which I didn’t see wearing polarized sunglasses that were removed for the shot), I expect that you’d see some textured ice reflecting the sky or surroundings. I did rotate the polarizer and the other rotation changed where colors were with more yellows and blues and no dark greens.

@Ed_McGuirk , While I understand the most basic of the optical physics here, I don’t know the details. The colors and their strengths depend on the thickness of the material and the angle between the light (in this case, partially polarized sunlight) hitting the material and the lens. The difference between this shot and earlier posts is most likely the thickness of the ice and the angle of view. In this case I was high above the ice where earlier posts had me standing on the shore.

Thanks for the explanation Mark, I knew that you are knowledgeable on the optics / physics of this stuff.

Amazing abstract Mark!

This is quite astonishing and beautiful. I have no more to say; a rare feat for me

Mark, a puzzle indeed, but I wouldn’t want to try to be the one to put it together. Amazing abstract for sure. Good find and capture.

Beautiful Mark! I think it would make an amazing puzzle. What a challenge that would be!

Thanks, Mark. Your shots with the polarizer are fantastic.