Cody Williams

Cody Williams

Air bubbles trapped within a subalpine wetland ice flow

My parents live in central Colorado in a high elevation environment (9,996 ft; subalpine). Upon visiting them, I knew I would find a shot worth submitting for the assignment that would demonstrate the properties of fluid flow and fluid dynamics. Once my parents mentioned there was a melting ice sheet overflowing from the dormant wetland near the house, I had to explore the site. The ice in the area is subjected to approximately 5-6 hours of sunlight per day during the winter months, causing the ice to deform and freeze constantly, creating captivating ice formations. The wetland itself is located within a valley alongside a mountain ridge. My intent was to capture the ice in action, which was simple considering the ice was frozen in time.

Ice chunks and flows move with the help of gravity and under the pressure of their own weight. They move by internal deformation, much like arctic glaciers, and by gradually sliding over rocks and sediments at the base. In this case, there is an underground aquifer that feeds into a shallow spring/wetland throughout the extent of my parents’ property. The area is oversaturated with water throughout the year. However, during the winter, this water rises up from the ground and is subjected to sub-zero temperatures, thus freezing the water into ice. Due to the constant melting and freezing, internal deformation is likely to occur. Internal deformation occurs when the weight and mass of an ice flow causes it to spread out due to gravitational forces. Ice flow retreat, melt, and ablation (the removal of snow and ice by melting or evaporation) result from increasing temperature, evaporation, and wind scouring. After taking the image, I noticed a vast array of air bubbles trapped within the ice as well. As this compression continues and the ice crystals grow, the air spaces in the ice layers decrease, becoming smaller and isolated. This compaction compresses more air spaces out of the snowpack or ice, and compacts the remaining air into bubbles. I ultimately decided to take a close-up image of the air pockets for the assignment.

    The time was approximately 3:30 pm and 33ºF while shooting the image, with the sunlight beaming through parts of trees, making for an interesting lighting situation on the surface of the ice. I shot 14 photos about 4 inches above the ground before determining the perfect image (distance from object to lens). My frame of reference was 4 inches x 3 inches. The lighting was purely natural sunlight, without using any sort of flash photography. I was using a Canon EOS Rebel T6i DSLR camera with a EF-S 18-55mm lens, the exposure time was 1/160, the focal length was 55, the dimensions were 6000 x 4000, and I believe the camera was set to an automatic, no flash setting. For future photos I will make sure to manually adjust those settings myself. The final result was an interesting macro picture of contrasting green and blue hues split down the middle of the photo with interspersed air bubbles throughout.

Once the photos were captured, I went ahead and edited the final photo on Adobe Lightroom CC. I primarily tinkered with the white, blacks, exposure, clarity, saturation, and vibrance of the image, while leaving the tints and contrast entact.

Overall, I think the image clearly demonstrates fluid motion frozen in time and serves as a decent example of ice air bubbles forming due to internal deformation, compression, and compaction. Next time I will make sure to adjust the camera settings myself, change the focus and shutter speed, make more in-depth recordings of my field site and image, and manipulate and experiment with fluids even more.

 

Summary/Field Notes:

Environment: Subalpine Central Colorado Wetland

Elevation: 9,500-10,000 ft

Temperature: 33 degrees fahrenheit

Time: 3:30pm

Lighting: Purely natural light – Late afternoon/evening sunlight

Area: Receives approximately 5-6 hours of sunlight a day during the winter months; located within a valley alongside a mountain ridge

Length Above Ground: ~4inch

Editing Program: Adobe Lightroom CC

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48 Comments. Leave new

  • It looks like one of my favorite shirts! I really like the transition from yellow to blue. The cloud-like ice bubbles were unique. I’d like to read more about that phenomenon.

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  • This is a beautiful shot. The colors, composition, texture, and framing is wonderful . love it.

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  • The color gradient is beautiful in this photo, the bubbling steals the show and may be seen as the subject. I enjoyed how the variety of colors kept within a certain spectrum.

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  • I like the small bubbles and think that the focus is spot on to help show their clarity. Good exposure and shutter speed as well.

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  • Amazing shot. The color captured here is stunning and with great clarity

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  • Daniel Petrykowski
    February 10, 2018 1:13 pm

    This photo has a really nice color gradient. Is the fogginess of the ice caused by smaller bubbles or something else having to do with the phase change?

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  • Galen Melchert
    February 9, 2018 11:45 am

    So cool. That color gradient is beautiful. Really like what you captured.

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  • Kim Youngwoong
    February 9, 2018 11:43 am

    This is very beautiful. The color distribution is fantastic. The air bubbles are nice to see.

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  • Michael Sandoval
    February 9, 2018 11:43 am

    The color gradient of the image makes for a nice offset balance in the photo. Alsom the randomness of the bubbles makes for an interesting photo.

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  • Beautiful picture with interesting colors. It has good focus to show details. Cool gradients captured.

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  • Wonderful job on the gradient of the image. For a square inch composition, the image makes it seem a lot larger than it is, which is really interesting.

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  • Lucas Sorensen
    February 9, 2018 11:42 am

    I really appreciate the natural color gradient here, focus and exposure are good, bubbles appear frozen in time which is a very striking effect.

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  • The colors are really beautiful. The crisp sparkling air bubbles mixed with almost fuzzy ice really makes them stand out.

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  • Yousef Shashtari
    February 9, 2018 11:42 am

    Beautiful picture! Especially that there are 2 different colors, blue and yellow. Very nice focus and lighting. Great job.

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  • Summerlyn Thompson
    February 9, 2018 11:42 am

    Beautiful image! the aesthetic of the gradient is beautiful with the texture of the air bubbles. Your focus is perfect and the flow is a cool subject to capture.

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  • I like how drastic the colors are without any heavy post processing. It’s cool to see how the ice and moving bubbles make a beautiful image. The image is great and I like the lighting

    Reply
  • Cyron Completo
    February 9, 2018 11:41 am

    The natural gradient and the textures caused by the bubbles under the ice make for a beautiful composition. Great usage of depth of field to illustrate the actual depth of the scene where you captured this.

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  • Art
    Sooo nice :) I like the aesthetics of these tiny things. It feels “grainy” somehow…
    Flow:
    Soooo coool. Nice creative shot of this small-scale thing.
    Photographic Technique:
    Nice. It looks like you challenged the limits of your camera with this shot.

    Reply
  • Sulaiman Alduaij
    February 9, 2018 11:41 am

    I think the difference in the two colors adds a very nice touch to this picture. it’s a great focus and very interesting.

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  • You did a good job really highlighting the air bubbles in the ice. I like the depth of view where there bubbles in the background that blur out.

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  • This image is great! The bubbles in the ice are clearly in focus and the natural gradient is wonderful.

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  • This has a great color gradient but it is a little blurry. What did the image look like as you maybe took the image from further away with a greater zoom? Overall I really like the way this image came out

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  • Michael Johnson
    February 9, 2018 11:41 am

    The color gradient in the picture is really cool and its awesome that it is natural. The bubbles are also very interesting and the picture seems to have a nice lighting and the focus is nice.

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  • Very beautiful image, I like the natural blue color of this. And the left and right contrast is great. The overall picture is very clear and sharp.

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  • FEISAL ALENEZI
    February 9, 2018 11:41 am

    The mixture of colors in this picture looks great!

    Reply
  • Gabriel Elbert
    February 9, 2018 11:41 am

    Art: This image is really beautiful and the natural gradient is awesome. The blue is my favorite part.
    Flow: although ice is solid, the flow of the once liquid water is shown through the bubbles in a nice way
    Technique: great focus, and exposure.

    Reply
  • This is a beautiful depiction! Very nice color flow and transitioning between saturations

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  • The colors in this picture are really cool. The natural saturation of blue to a lighter brown color is awesome. The focus in this photo was done really well because I can see the texture and granulation of the ice. Overall, really awesome photo.

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  • I really liked the different layers of frozen bubbles you can see in this ice. The color gradient and focus also makes this image more interesting.

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  • Really cool color gradient and I like how you accented them. I feel like an even closer image to the bubbles would look good too, since the first look at this photo is a bit confusing to grasp at first.

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  • Garrett Wolcott
    February 9, 2018 11:41 am

    The colors in this image are fascinating. You captured this effect perfectly.

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  • Very beautiful picture, good coloring. The flow is understandable. Focus is good for this picture. Good to know how bubbles formed.

    Reply
  • Jordan Nahabetian
    February 9, 2018 11:41 am

    The gradient of color is beautiful. This picture is sharp, clear, and captures an interesting phenomenon.

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  • Crazy to see this type of clarity. Like frozen crystals suspended above thicker sheet. Great positioning capturing the transformation from colder and pure to littered brown.

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  • This image is awesome. The focus is on point and the color of the picture is great. The frozen air bubbles are a super interesting flow phenomena.

    Reply
  • Madison Emmett
    February 9, 2018 11:41 am

    This is a beautiful image. The color gradient is fantastic. I like how the flow is actually frozen in ice. I love the simplicity and the natural component of it.
    What would inverting the colors look like?

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  • The natural gradient is what makes this, the yellow and blue happen to be colors that complement very well. The focus is very crisp and the the detail is very easily visible. Well done!

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  • Cody, I really like the color gradient from warm to cold as you look from left to right of your picture. The randomness of the bubbles is great and I believe your focus in this picture is awesome. Great job.

    Reply
  • Stephen Morton
    February 9, 2018 11:40 am

    Theme air bubbles and the gradient across from left to right are very beautiful. It is very clear, and it might also be cool to see a bubble zoomed in.

    Reply
  • Abigail Rastatter
    February 9, 2018 11:40 am

    Love the texture of this image – very compelling. And you got lucky with that gradient. Nature is so cool

    Reply
  • This is really good. The colors look like a beach and the ocean which contrasts with the fact that the water is frozen. The texture of the ice is really nice and the details were captured very well.

    Reply
  • Really love the gradient and contrast of the ice. Love the colors and really love the photo.

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  • Easily one of my favorites, the colors are beautiful and the saturation work you did was very tasteful. I really enjoy seeing this as this illustrates fluid statics that resulted from fluid dynamics.

    Reply
  • Steven Rothbart
    February 9, 2018 11:40 am

    Really sharp and really cool to look at

    Reply
  • Gabriel McGann
    February 9, 2018 11:40 am

    The contrast and color gradient is awesome, and the pattern of the bubbles is really cool. Excellent work

    Reply
  • Philip Nystrom
    February 9, 2018 11:40 am

    Great post processing, cool to show how fluids effect their solid counterparts. Very nice photography. Very artistic.

    Reply
  • The colors are awesome! It took me a while to figure out the flow! But the photo itself is beautiful! I love that you brought out the colors!

    Reply
  • Michael Guenther
    February 7, 2018 11:36 am

    Took a bit to understand what I was looking at but once I understood the bubbles were bubbles it made sense.

    Reply

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