Imaggeo on Mondays: Ephemeral winter wonderland

Today’s text is brought to you by the author of this impressive picture, Patrick Klenk (Heidelberg University, Germany).

“Wonderland” by Patrick Klenk, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence

This photograph is part of a series of images which I took in Death Valley National Park on a brisk December morning in 2011. In this case, we were close to Aguereberry Point, a mountain viewpoint located at 1961m above sea level, overlooking the central part of this “vast geologic museum”. This was our  first trip to the Death Valley, and the scenery was unlike anything I would have expected, which was mostly due to a 5cm snow cover that had fallen the previous night. When we got to the viewpoint early in the morning, the last clouds were just moving out and the strong winds had created these delicate icy structures on shrubs, rocks and grasses, which instantly started to sparkle and glow as soon as the sun came out. Especially when viewed against a backlighting sun, one got the impression of an almost unworldly setting, seemingly defying gravity. It didn’t last for long, however – the sun melted everything away within just a couple of hours. Hence, this image truly was about being in the right place at the right time, about capturing a glimpse of an ephemeral winter wonderland.

The picture was taken with a Nikon D7000, using a 18-105mm lens. Aperture was f/11, with exposure of 1/320s at ISO 160 and a focal length of 105mm. Beyond the black-white conversion (using Silver Efex Pro 2), no further picture editing was carried out except for  adding a little vignette for emphasizing the subtle backlighting atmosphere of the central part of the image.

In my real life, I am a physicist, currently working at the Institute of Environmental Physics, Heidelberg University, Germany, on novel approaches for using Ground-Penetrating Radar for Quantitative Soil Hydrology.

By Patrick Klenk

Imaggeo is the EGU’s online open access geosciences image repository. All geoscientists (and others) can submit their images to this repository and since it is open access, these photos can be used by scientists for their presentations or publications as well as by the press and public for educational purposes and otherwise. If you submit your images to Imaggeo, you retain full rights of use, since they are licensed and distributed by the EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Bárbara Ferreira was the Media and Communications Manager of the European Geosciences Union from 2011 to 2019. Bárbara has also worked as a science writer specialising in astrophysics and space sciences, producing articles for the European Space Agency and others on a freelance basis. She has a PhD in astrophysics from the University of Cambridge.

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