Photo of the Week – February 7, 2014

When I woke up, the temperature was hovering around zero degrees F but there was almost no wind, so I decided to go for a sunrise prairie hike.  It was a beautiful morning, and there was a lot to see in the prairie, but I didn’t find much to photograph until I got down to the Platte River.  There, as I walked cautiously across the frozen surface of the river, I found a few small holes where flowing water was exposed…

Columns of ice along a patch of open water on the Platte River.  Hamilton County, Nebraska.

Columns of ice along a patch of open water on the Platte River. Hamilton County, Nebraska.

It looked like the splashing of the passing river by had created stalactites of ice around some of the uneven edges of the holes.  Over time, those stalactites had widened into wide-based columns that spanned the 3-4 inch gap between frozen surfaces.  Regardless of how it formed, it was sure attractive in the early morning sun.

A close up of the columns.

A close up of some of the columns.

The edges of the ice were rimmed by frost, as were some of the plants nearby.  Not that there was any need for the frivolous decoration – the ice was plenty attractive on its own.  Very carefully, I slid myself on my belly toward the edge of the ice hole until I heard the first small cracking sound.  That seemed like a good place to stop.  Then, lying on the frozen river and photographing ice, water, and frost, I thought about (as I often do) how glad I was that no one was around to watch me.

Frost-covered plants on a small island near the open water.

Frost-covered plants on a small sandbar near the open water.

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