Blue Ice Crystals

February 04, 2012


: Trent LaCour
Summary Author: Trent LaCour; Joe LaCour; Jim Foster

These angular ice crystals formed on the side of a rock outcrop near Dungeness, on Washington's Olympic Peninsula. This picture was taken in the shaded portion of a gravel pit just after a cold snap -- morning temperatures were in the mid- to upper 20s F (about -3 C). The crystals are approximately three-quarters to one and a quarter inch (20-32 mm) wide. The blue hue of the crystals is attributed to light from the sky, which tints daytime shadows, especially if the sky is clear and the Sun is low -- as was the case this day. Additionally, water and ice are intrinsically bluish since they absorb more in the red portion of the spectrum than in the blue. However, for this inherent coloration to be readily noticeable, the ice would generally need to be much thicker than an inch or so. Photo taken on January 2, 2012.

Photo details: Camera Maker: Canon; Camera Model: Canon PowerShot A480; Focal Length: 6.6mm; Aperture: f/3.0; Exposure Time: 0.0080 s (1/125); ISO equiv: 80; Exposure Bias: none; Metering Mode: Matrix; White Balance: Auto; Flash Fired: No (enforced); Orientation: Normal; Color Space: sRGB; Software: Adobe Photoshop CS Macintosh. The blue color is as it was -- no processing was done to this photo. Camera was positioned about 3 in (8 cm) from the crystals -- field of view was approximately 1 in (2.5 cm).