Snow People

Here is an eerie but extraordinary picture from …

… photographer Pierre Destribats. It was taken in Lapland, which is a part of Finland.

The light shown in this photo is very familiar to me. It’s that top-of-the-world, angled sunlight that is passing through a clear, cold atmosphere.

I have seen these formations here in Northwest Territories, but only occasionally and the result is much less impressive. What are they, you ask? These are actually snow-covered trees.

An icy coating forms over the trees when humidity in the air makes contact with the branches. The moisture freezes instantly and begins to form a layer of thick frosting. This results in these rather ghostly, human-like sculptures.

An alien landscape on Earth.

This photo was originally published in National Geographic magazine.

Happy weekend, everyone. 🙂

19 thoughts on “Snow People”

  1. That is so amazing! It always blows me away to see all the different things that mother nature can pull off. I just saw a photo yesterday of trees that had snow form in these really weird squared off blades that suck out all down the trunks of the tress. I’d never seen anything like that before.

    1. It really is breathtaking, isn’t it? I recognised this type of snow cover right away because we get a form of that here in NWT, but if I hadn’t come here, I would be wondering what these strange formations are! I love how the tree in the foreground looks like a sort of heavy-set hobbit. Frodo, the later years. 😉

    1. Yes, that IS snow! Lake effect (or ocean effect, as the case may be) snow is why there’s so much moisture in the air, and that can lead to this result. It happens here too, but because our temperature can drop so fast, there’s not enough time for the layers to really thicken.

      1. We don’t get that sort of snow in the UK, of course. But, growing up, I lived close the Humber Estuary, a tidal outlet to the North Sea, and winter used to see us suffering periods of freezing fog, sometimes for a fortnight. The frost and any accompanying rain, would form into long beards on power lines and very long icicles dropping from guttering. The beards were very picturesque, but the icicles were potentially lethal if you happened to be under one when it fell!

        1. I bet they were! Sounds like a situation where someone might have a job going around to knock them down. We have that here – someone whose job it is (among other things) to knock down the huge snow “awnings” that can hang along the edge of a roof. When they come down, they might bury you if are hit by one!

          1. No such social concern here, Lynette. But, to be fair, this was in the 1950s and 60s, when health and safety were seen through less clear lenses!

  2. I’ve always wanted to visit Lapland in the winter. The snow covered landscape looks gorgeous. I have never seen it where there is so much snow that it covers the trees completely. The snow tree formations look so neat.

    1. Apparently there is something of a tourist development around going to see these trees, probably similar to how guides take out tourists here to see the northern lights. You can spend a night in a clear-roofed cabin watching them.

      I was only in Finland very briefly quite a few years ago – I would really like to go back.

      1. Lake Athabasca
        I was on a exploration project. First night there I hear what I thought was a shot gun going off? We’re in the middle of nowhere. Closest camp with other humans was 25 miles away. So I asked one of the guys “who the hell is out at night in this cold hunting”? He told me it was a tree exploding. Being the new guy in camp I thought they were pulling my leg until he took me out back of the tent and showed me one that had exploded! It looked like someone had some how placed a stick of dynamite inside the core of the tree!
        I now know it happens because of a quick freeze! The tree is draining the sap down into the roots as normal in the Fall time. It doesn’t get it all drained when a early freeze happens. The water in the sap expands and boom!

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