Nature is vibrant, complex, alive, and creative, so we can never stop marveling at its miracles. Every season brings distinct natural phenomena, and the winter is often the most magical one.
The cold winter weather offers countless challenges to photographers, and the spectacular blanket of white is a great opportunity for them to expand their photographic portfolio.
In the snow, even familiar surroundings can look unique from the right perspective, and the usually uninteresting landscapes can be turned into magical and surreal scenes.
Yet, what a Colorado native and landscape photographer, Eric Gross, managed to capture is a truly remarkable phenomenon indeed.
The morning he arrived at the Dream Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, he noticed a lot of other photographers around the place, so he went to find a more secluded place of the lake and enjoy the landscape.
Netizens were thrilled to discover a new natural miracle
Out of a sudden, he discovered a technique that charmed the world:
“While much of the lake was simply bumpy, one small section near the shore actually had what looked like frozen waves with sharp edges, hard curves, and steep sides. I couldn’t explain what I was seeing, so while trying to imagine how ‘frozen waves’ could occur, I started shooting. And shooting, and shooting.”
He shared the photos with the ice waves in a lake that resembled a pool of liquid metal on Instagram, and people were fascinated by them!
Photographer Eric Gross took photos of the unique frozen waves at Dream Lake, Colorado
The ice wave phenomenon is not that rare, especially in the Rocky Mountain National Park.
The fantastic sculptures in the lake are not caused by the waters freezing, but the water starts to flip into a slush called frazil before it freezes into ice.
Many believe that the phenomenon is caused by the synergy of water, cold weather, and wind, while meteorologists maintain that they are a result of drifting snow melting across the surface of the frozen lake and re-freezing into ice over time.
Eric says that composing photos from ground level “revealed that the dark ice waves exhibit psychedelic reflections of the surrounding mountainous landscape.”
Impressed by his last visit, Eric returned once more in March and took photos of the lake and mountains, and as soon as he posted them, they started making headlines.
Eric explained his beginnings in photography: he started doing copywriting work from home in 2014, to save enough to road-trip across North America. He had “ randomly gotten two basic photography gigs and used the money to buy a basic DSLR camera kit.”
He described it as wind-swept waters frozen in time
Eric added that as he started traveling, he started learning how to use the camera, and as soon as he started creating beautiful natural landscapes across the country, his “ entire mindset shifted from traveling for adventure to traveling for natural landscapes and photography.”
Since he left New Jersey back in 2014, Eric started living an adventurous life, that involved living in four states, visiting all his relatives and friends all over the country, visiting 30 national parks, and spending about 34 months living in and out of his 1997 Toyota Camry.
In 2019, he even redesigned it into a bed and storage place, called Campry. He said that the most challenging part of photographing the lake was the weather.
“After that first bluebird February day gave me an image I loved, I knew I had to go back and try again with more planning. I tried to go for a sunset shoot the following week, but this location, being at 9,905 feet in elevation, battered me with over 40mph snow coming directly at me down the valley, even though it was not snowing at the trailhead at 9,400 feet.
I hiked the next morning, where again, it was sunny at the trailhead, but after the 1 mile trip to the lake, it was far too windy with nearly whiteout conditions to take any photographs. On my fourth and fifth trips, I was able to actually use my camera.”
He explained that the lesson he learned from the experience was that one cannot plan a foreground for an image, but he has to walk around to find something interesting.
He hiked up to Dream Lake twice, but he carefully planned the trip the second time
When asked about his plans, Eric said that as some areas are shuttered due to the coronavirus spread, he plans to “ put my boots to the ground a lot more often, looking for the most interesting foregrounds, instead of focusing more on dramatic mountain peaks.”
He managed to take the desired photo despite the harsh weather and the lake starting to melt
He has made a list of prior images from across North America that he would like to retake in a more artistic and original way. His goal
remains, “to show things that are rarely seen and expand appreciation for the natural world through mesmerizing imagery.”
Here are some magnificent pieces of Eric’s work: