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Polar Bears



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When Light Meets Ice
Photograph by Norbert Rosing

The atmosphere unveils optical magic near Churchill. After a snowstorm, a cold wind swept in and set millions of ice crystals dancing in the air, refracting sunlight at dusk. (The setting sun appears at lower center near the horizon.) A circular halo rings the sun. On the halo's right and left edges, brilliant sun dogs, or parhelia, form as sunlight passes through plate-like hexagonal ice crystals. At the top of the halo is light called an upper tangent arc, formed as sunlight refracts through hexagonal ice crystals elongated into columnar shapes. "These light effects are not uncommon," says Rosing. "It's just wonderful to sit back and watch them happen."

Photo Fast Facts

Camera: Leica R9
Film Type: Fujichrome Velvia 50
Lens: Leica (shift lens) 28mm PC f/2.8
Speed and F-Stop: Unrecorded
Weather Conditions: Sunny after snowstorm
Time of Day: Late afternoon
Lighting Techniques: Natural light


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