<< Previous Next >>

Arctic Abstract

Arctic Abstract
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Plants
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2004-07
Categories: Lichens
Camera: Canon EOS 1Ds MkII, Canon 24-70 mm f 2,8 L-USM
Exposure: f/4.5, 1/90 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Franz Josef Land [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-11-04 22:58
Viewed: 6177
Points: 26
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
What is this?

This shot shows the difference a small difference in shelter and moisture can make on vegetation. The ground has been subject to frost heave. In the upper 'heaved' parts it the soils are drier and very stony, get the full force of the drying winds and covered in reindeer lichens. In the lower parts it is much moister (there is ice closer to the surface ) and it has more protection from the winds. Any water that arrives here cannot drain away because of the ice below, so the vegetation is made up of moisture loving plants - mainly mosses. The height difference is no more than 40cm maximum in this shot.

You can see an aerial view of this sort of landscape http://www.treknature.com/gallery/North_America/Canada/Northern/Northwest_Territories/Inuvik/photo101102.htm

Arctic plants are adapted to short, cold growing seasons.. They have the ability to withstand extremely cold temperatures in the winter (winter hardiness), but what is even more important is the ability to be able to function in limiting summer conditions. Arctic plants have a compressed growing season: they initiate growth rapidly in the spring, and flower and set seed much sooner than plants that grow in warmer conditions. Their peak metabolic rate also occurs at a much lower temperature than plants from farther south. Compact cushions of vegetation keep the plants close to the warm soil and shield the tender central growing shoot. The height of arctic plants is also governed by snow depth. Plants that protrude above the snow are subject to strong winds, blowing snow, and being eaten by caribou, muskox, or ptarmigan. Mosses and lichens are common in the Arctic. These plants have the ability to stop growth at any time and resume it promptly when conditions improve. They can even survive being covered by snow and ice for over a year.

An ice wedge, process associated with periglacial environments, is a narrow mass of ice that can be 3 or 4 meters wide at ground surface and extend up to 10 meters downwards. During winter the ground gets very cold. The water in the ground freezes and expands. Then, as the temperature falls further, (below 17C), the soil and frozen ice acts as a solid and contracts as it gets colder, forming cracks. The cracks form in the shape of large polygons, sometimes as large as a swimming pool. They are similar to mud cracks in a drying puddle. These cracks are often several metres deep through existing permafrost layers. In the spring when the snow melts the melt-water flows into these cracks, re-freezing almost immediately until it gets near the surface. This warps the permafrost around it and can form reticular ice in the surrounding saturated soil. As the water freezes it expands and exerts pressure on the cracks, forcing them to widen. The following year the ground cracks again along the same weak points and again in spring the water flows in and refreezes, expanding the wedges even further. This process continues for many years. During summer periods sediment can fill the cracks left by the ice wedges. These are called pseudomorphs and can contain important hints of the past, such as animal remains.

jcoowanitwong, PaulH, Kathleen, joey, uleko, fartash, eqshannon, MMM, gracious, angybone, horia, anel, jtkerb has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
Only registered TrekNature members may write critiques.
You must be logged in to start a discussion.

Critiques [Translate]

hello james, this abstract shot is nice, liked the natural colours and the composition,
tfs & regards

  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2007-11-05 0:59]

Hi James, well seen and well framed, the small difference in heights between the two areas here has created a startling splash of colour in an otherwise plain and bleak looking rockscape. I like the way the mosses seem to be spilling into the shot from the back..well done.

Hi James.
Amazing and great notes to go with your image. It helps all unfold it before you.

Great sharpness, detail and colour with a great composition showing the wedge with the plants growing from the moisture.
Excellent, TFS


Hi James,
Colorful mosses and lichens picture. POV and composition are great. Enjoy reading the informative note. Very well done and tfs.

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2007-11-05 1:32]

Hi James,
a very interesting post.
The note is excellent and explains this phenomenon very well.
+++ Excellent composition showing an equal amount of rock and moss.
Great sharpness throughout and a shower of detail.
Nice colours aswell.
--- Nothing at all :D
Well done,

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2007-11-05 6:20]

Hello James,
This is a beautiful patchwork of mosses and lichens in lovely colours. There must be several different species here, it would be fascinating to have a closer look at them too. I read your note with interest!
Many thanks, Ulla

Hello James
Very intersting scene you captured,
Great composition,lighitng and sharpness,
Superb shot,Welldone.


It is a true and natural abstract in the real world. Even natures patterns have a archetype in our eyes and brain. Then some are able to see those and recognize them as such...and a few of those can capture them well as this...so you are among the lucky chose few. Very nicely done.

  • Great 
  • MMM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1114 W: 0 N: 2546] (11425)
  • [2007-11-05 6:32]

HI Jame
This is a very nice landscape presentation.Your image is sharp whit a good POV.The combinaison of colors is very nice.
TFS Michel

Hello James,
I loved this shot of yours!
The beauty of nature been beautifully presented with good sharpness, superb colouration and details!
the exposure and focus is spot on!
well done, James and thanks for the wonderful notes

I'm just amazed at the green period. WOW!
A very informative artistic shot.

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2007-11-05 12:50]

Hi James

Ahh...abstract :D How interesting!
This is indeed a lovely game of patterns and colors.
The difference of textures here is nicely visible, too, yet seeing them next to eachother sure gives a very eye-catching sight.
The composition yyou managed to vrete here is very beautiful, too, with that "flow" of moist ground covered in moss closing on your FG.
Very nice work and nice explanation in your note, too. Just one question there: did you really mean 40cm or mm? :)


  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-11-05 12:56]

Hello James

A beautiful river of mossy colours.
The composition is excellent.
The focus is sharp with very good details.The textures are very evident.


Calibration Check