Sunday, February 06, 2011
Madison's winter geography -- new mountain ranges everywhere, sculpted by wind and weather.
For days after the blizzard ended, we watched new mountain ranges of pure white form and shift around us. The snowfall ended Wednesday morning, but the drifting kept on for the better part of two more days. Even where it had been plowed, new drifts would start to reach out across the road. The wind sculpted the fine white snow into intricate mountain peaks, cliffs, ledges and valleys. There was something fractal about it, the way that -- in a few short hours -- the wind copied on a smaller scale features normally formed by geological forces over millions of years.
The abstract patterns formed by the drifts were a photographer's delight. I began by shooting in color, but I soon found the results overly domesticated -- just too pastel and pretty. The color photos didn't really suggest the incredible power of the storm, its savage, inhuman beauty. So I switched to black and white. (More photos in this Flickr set, Blizzard of 2011.)