Ice Mosaic

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Ice Mosaic

Ice Mosaic

Sunny winter days are rare in West Michigan. So when a day dawned bright and clear in late February, I headed to the shore to take advantage of the rare opportunity. My destination was Pere Marquette beach and the south breakwater of Muskegon. I could not anticipate the breathtaking sight I would encounter when I arrived.

In winter, ice often builds up along the shore in a series of dune-like ridges. Along the water’s edge are volcano shaped blowholes. Beyond is usually an area of floating ice shaped like cannon balls or giant icy lily pads.

So imagine my surprise when I encountered instead a wide expanse of perfectly crystalline ice stretching along the shore as far as the eye could see. In the gentle swell the ice twinkled in the light and made a mesmerizingly musical tinkling. I took a few shots trying to capture the entire experience, but soon realized to capture its essence I’d have to narrow my focus.

This photo is abstract in two distinct senses. Most commonly we think of the word as an adjective referring to a style of art that emphasizes lines, colors, and generalized form rather than representation. Clearly this piece fits in that tradition. The most common response to it is “What is that?”

But abstract can also be used as a verb, meaning to draw out, remove, or consider the general qualities of something. This is a form of abstraction I often employ in my work. Sometimes to abstract the essence of a scene, you have to narrow your focus.

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