The First Day of Christmas - Frozen Spectrum

December 08, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

The first day of Christmas brings me an old friend I was able to revisit a little at a Christmas bazaar I was part of last weekend. Somewhere along the way I titled this image ‘Frozen Spectrum’, mostly because I like the word spectrum and it was very,  very cold the morning I took this shot.

Winter SpectrumWinter SpectrumA little magic happening at the bottom of a falls.

This image holds a lot of memories for me as it was taken at a time some important creative concepts and practices I had been working on were just starting to gel. I had taken off early one frozen morning to go chase our local group of wintering Bald Eagles around the canyon a bit. It turned out to be a dark and dreary morning and there wasn’t enough light to do much with the eagles so I had wandered down to 1000 Springs / Ritter Island state park to walk around. Although there wasn’t anything going on photographically it was quiet and peaceful and I was enjoying it very much.

Because of the flat, uninteresting light, I had turned off the cameras and had them strapped behind me. I was practicing a kind of walking meditation I refer to as ‘listening to the silence’ where I don’t focus on any one thing and let everything fade to silence, all the time trying to be aware of anything, anywhere that breaks that silence. I had given up and was almost back to the truck when I caught an almost ‘rainbow pony’ flash of light and color in the periphery of my left eye. I looked and saw this little scene popping to life at the far end of the park in the only light making its way to earth. I was doing an old man sprint (shuffle) across the grass while trying to pull my camera and telephoto lens out from behind my back (not a pretty sight but there was no one else down there). 
Not too far off was a waterfall created by the aquifer springs in the canyon wall and the nearby power plant. The ever present mist from the waterfall was freezing and sugar coating the surrounding brush and was pretty all by itself. What really created the magic though, was the morning sun hitting the mist and creating a short light spectrum or rainbow that stretched up from the frozen scene. The ‘diamond dust’ created by the 10 degree temperatures amplified this spectrum to an almost cartoonish intensity. I braced my lens on the fence and managed to get 3 or 4 frames before the spot of sunlight moved off downstream.

It was from this experience that I coined the acronym BAM or ‘Beautifully Awesome Moment’, the moments all photographers attempt to capture.

To me this image symbolizes a lot of what Christmas means to me. The water in this picture is emerging from what is thought to be a several hundred year journey through the ground to begin its new and productive life in the light. It is the combination of this life giving water and the light it absorbed and then shared back that creates the stunning spectrum and focus point of this picture. At its core this Christmas season is about the birth and light of Christ and the ‘living water’ the ‘Light of Christ’ offers us. It is all about beauty and sharing and life.

I donated a framed print of this picture to the youth group that was sponsoring the Christmas bazaar I previously mentioned. It is my hope that the few dollars they can earn from its sale will benefit a few of the young men and women I met and that we all can benefit from the living water and light that is available to us all from our Savior whose birth we are celebrating this season.


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