Photographer captures rare “Ice Bow” photo at -40 degrees

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Marc Adamus is renowned for spending weeks in the wilderness, returning home with images that completely take our breath away. He is one of the most respected and famous landscape photographers working today. Marc has been (and still is) a pioneer forging a path for the rest of us. Many of those who succeed in the landscape photography genre do so because they are standing on Marc’s shoulders.

Marc recently visited Jasper Alberta and captured one of those rare phenomena which most of us never get a chance to see. Marc tells DIYP the story behind the image.

This day was definitely one of the coldest shots of my life. Some “light show” phenomena only happen high in the atmosphere. When it gets really cold, though, we can sometimes see them closer to earth. The name for one of those phenomena is “sun dogs”. You may know it as “Ice Bow” although.

This past week, temps hovered in and around the -40s on two consecutive days. The rare condition created spectacularly vibrant ice bows like the one above. I also observed vertically oriented rainbow-like formations with vivid colors and nacreous clouds.

When temps go this low, snowflakes/ice crystals hanging in the air become small flat platelets and refract light. This effect normally happens only in the high cirrus layer. Such Ice bows are a beautiful addition to photography, but they are not easy to capture. Your camera will complain, shout at you, and eventually shut off due to the cold weather. The average life of my LCD screen on these days was about 10 minutes before it failed. 10-20 minutes later, my shutter regularly froze shut.

It was all worth it though, even the constant need to rewarm my equipment. The low temps produced rare displays of some great atmosphere due to both inversions and steam rising from the yet unfrozen springs nearby many shooting locations.

You can find more of Marc Adamus’ work on his website, and follow him on Instagram and 500px. The image is shared with permission.

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