Fifty mile per hour wind gusts sweep down from the mountains of Banff and Jasper over the Kootenay Plains. I huddle in a compact ball, digging my crampons into the glacial blue waters of Lake Abraham, clutching my camera and tripod into my chest. Surprisingly, the wind is warm like the breath of spring.
I came to Lake Abraham for ice bubbles; methane gurgles up from its depths and freezes below the surface of the ice. The same winds that were trying to send me sliding, clear snow from the surface and polish the ice to a sheen. During my time there, I remember that ice is porous living thing: cracks and wavelets form, and reform, with changes in temperature. The lake sings as ice plates bump against each other in deep sonorous whumps. The warm springlike winds in January are worrisome, though.
The next day, I badger two friends into another session on the ice. There is some fear that the warm weather may block access to the ice, and it is certainly degrading the bubbles I’d come to see. Thick clouds draped the sky, offering scant hope of a sunset for grander photography. For a while I work on intimate detail work, while keeping an eye on the sky. The spirits of mountain and glacier must have taken pity on us, as we were treated to a glorious display of color reflected in the lake.
I share some additional thinking behind my creative process on this trip at the blog of my friend Royce Howland.
Please check out my gallery of recent work for more images from Lake Abraham!
I have also started an email newsletter which I’ll be sending out on a quarterly basis to keep you posted of new work and events.