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Glacial Flour and Braiding

Glacial Flour and Braiding
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Landscapes
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-01-01
Categories: River
Camera: Canon EOS 1Ds MkII
Exposure: f/6.3, 1/400 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Earth from Above, TN Favourites [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-01-27 8:21
Viewed: 7495
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 50
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I took this shot during a scenic flight over Mt Cook and the glaciers. It shows a braided river flowing from the melting glaciers, heavy with glacial flour (pulverised rock in suspension) which gives the milky colour to the water.

Rock flour, or glacial flour, consists of clay-sized particles of rock, generated by glacial erosion or by artificial grinding to a similar size. Because the material is very small, it is suspended in river water making the water appear cloudy. If the river flows into a glacial lake, the lake may appear turquoise in color as a result. Other examples of this are Lake Louise, Canada and Gjende lake in Norway.

Natural rock flour is typically formed during glacial migration, where the glacier grinds against rock beneath it, but is also produced by freeze thaw, where the act of water freezing and expanding in cracks helps break up rock formations.

Although clay-sized, its particles are not clay minerals but typically ground up quartz and feldspar (here a lot of mica). Rock flour is carried out from the system via meltwater streams, where the particles travel in suspension.

Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park is situated in the South Island of New Zealand near the town of Twizel. Aoraki/Mount Cook village lies within the park. The area was formally gazetted as a national park in October 1953 and consists of reserves that were established as early as 1887 to protect the area's significant vegetation and landscape.

The park covers a little over 700 kmē. Glaciers cover 40% of the park area, notably the Tasman Glacier on the slopes of Aoraki/Mount Cook itself.

Of New Zealand's 20 peaks over 3,000 metres, all except Mount Aspiring lie in the park. These include New Zealand's highest mountain, Aoraki/Mount Cook, at 3753 metres. Other prominent peaks include Mount Tasman, Mount Hicks, Mount Sefton, and Mount Elie de Beaumont. The mountains of the Southern Alps in general are young, less than ten million years old, and are still building. Uplift in the region of the national park is at the rate of 50 centimetres per century.

The park is also part of Te Wahipounamu South Westland World Heritage Site in recognition of its outstanding natural values.

Evelynn, pvs, vanderschelden, nglen, jaycee, Ena, marhowie, fungiman, eqshannon, jcoowanitwong, sandpiper2, crs, SelenE, angybone, horia, SunToucher, ppmiranda has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Heaven: WorkJamesp 3 01-28 07:49
To eqshannon: ThanksJamesp 1 01-27 23:55
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2008-01-27 8:37]

Hello James, it looks like an abstract painting ! I really like it, the colors are just beautiful and the composition is very well done, very clear and sharp ! Thanks for this good job,


What a fascinating image James. I think it might be fun to crop out some interesting abstract compositions from this larger view. The color and sharpness is wonderful.

Evelynn : )

  • Great 
  • pvs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1127 W: 254 N: 3161] (14464)
  • [2008-01-27 8:41]

Hi James,

A very original upload,the colors and patterns looking great,tfs this upload,


Hi James,
I thought: what the hell is this?:-)
Are you sure you are not in expert in Photoshop or are you anyway;-).
I like that 'cloudy' water. Never saw this extraordinary happening before...
Well done

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-01-27 9:23]

Hi James. Wondered what it was from the small picture. your good notes on the picture help to understand about it. good colours and detail . well done TFS.

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-01-27 9:34]

Hi James,

A fascinating picture. Wonderful colors and sharpness. An amazing view of the braided river. Your notes were excellent - without them I would have had no idea what I was looking at.


  • Great 
  • Ena Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 324 W: 61 N: 594] (2454)
  • [2008-01-27 9:39]

Hello James,
Beautiful shot! Wonderful colors!
Simply great!
Best regards

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-01-27 9:48]

Hello James,
Right, you're going really abstract now! This looks quite unreal but I'm sure it is a true picture of this amazing phenomena! Your note is most interesting. I've never heard of rock flour before! Very beautiful capture and well presented.
Many thanks and regards,Ulla

Hello James
Wonderful presentation.
Beautiful picture together with interesting and informative note.
Amazing colours and good sharpness.
Thanks for sharing

No cc for you...I love this...I really do..You have such a hidden talent, hidden because you only choose to make it so...Your photos are wide in scope and in nature and are so thorough...and this one is no exception!

Hi James,
This is a stunning and very impressive picture. I have never seen something like that so far. What a precious and unusual capture. Great notes! Thanks,

Hello James,
Beautiful picture. Nice seeing the flowing glacier in perspective. Also enjoy reading your informative note. Very well done and tfs.

Hi James

Great note.

I've never seen this before, braided streams ars really interesting, changing direction all the time. The flour effect on the water is great.
A fasinating image, TFS


Hi James, very cool image. The patterns are striking. The variable water color is so lively and etherial. Nicely composed. Thanks for this very interesting post.

  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2008-01-28 2:45]

Hi James,
now this is one heck of a landscape shot! I love the colouration of the river from the Rock Flour and you've got some super sharp detail too, which must have been pretty tricky from a plane! Fascinating to look at, it tells it's own story, very well done and thanks for sharing it with us!

Great interest in this aerial view James..
If there was some red, the braiding would almost look like arteries & veins. You've done an excellent job of it. I've seen this before, but never so well defined - Or so well done :)

  • Great 
  • crs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 469 W: 0 N: 922] (3551)
  • [2008-01-28 3:09]

Hello James,

You did an extordinary photo. River water color and mountais arround look astonishing. Thank you for interesting notes.

Best regards,

  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2008-01-28 3:25]

Hi James,
It's a lovely aerial capture, looks like a painting... Colors, patterns, lighting, exposure control, your POV and composition are very good. TFS
Have a nice week

Hi James!

This is a surprising picture. The colours and the patterns of the river seem to come from another planet. It would be interesting to know if you have worked on it in your editing software.

Kind regards


Hi James
Thanks for sharing this unique landscape and for the very interesting note
Best regards, Albert

The entire planet is a work of art, isn't it. This site does so much for my faith.
What a beautiful shot - fascinating!

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2008-01-29 2:04]

So, you are still in NZ.
What fascinating scenery this is James. There are many rivers in the South Island running from the mountains, and you wonder how the farmers on the high stations manage crossing the streams, especially back in the olden days - nowadays they most probabaly have helicopters and planes... It is a dangerous life.
Thank you for showing me a special and picturesque part of my country.

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2008-01-29 6:22]

Hi James

This is absolutely amazing!
I love all your shot taken from planes and helicopters and this definitely is no exception. I also love the quality of your notes, too. It shows us just how passionate you are about what you do and how much you really know about all these interesting phenomena. They really are lessons to learn!

This "milky" river is absolutely amazing and i think that this is the best POV to shoot it from. Its color and texture are very well shown here as well as the beautiful curves it takes.
The composition thus created is magical and the tones really enhance it here. Splendid work, my friend!

Bravo and TFS

Hi James,
I saw this one a few days ago, but didn't have enough time to critique it. It certaily does deserve the prais. The wonderful colored blue vain finding its way through the green lush landscape is an awesome spectacle. The colors are simple amazing. The amount of details is marvelous.

P.S. Did you know that Adrain Warren and Dae Sasitorn made a book called 'Britain from the Air'?

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-02-03 15:34]

Hello James

A very unusual colour.It doesn't look real.Thanks for the explanation.
The colours are vivid .The POV is wonderful.
A very interesting post.


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