March 21, 2020

Lake Baikal in Siberia is a mesmerizing place as it engulfs you in its frozen embrace. The sound and feel of the ice play with the senses in strange ways. At first, it completely threw off my photographic radar. As a city guy, it often takes me a while to acclimate to rural landscapes (how far to the nearest café?). Siberia was completely out of my comfort zone. 

To answer the obvious ... yes, it was cold but not so bad at mid-teens Fahrenheit during the day and single digits at night. I was prepared for that. What threw me off was the raw, stark feel of the environment and the eerie, unsettling sounds of the near endless sheet of ice.


  • Clear Lake Ice to the Mountains

  • Ice Bridge

After a couple of days of wandering around the ice in a daze, I (literally) found my footing and finally started to find some halfway decent shapes and patterns.

Having some nice skies helped bring out the texture and transparency of the ice. The heart bubble below is completely natural (no Photoshop!), frozen below the clear ice in that exact shape showing that love can be found in even the coldest of places!


  • Finding Love in Cold Places

  • Rivers of Ice

  • Shark Ice

You can see how the various layers froze at different times creating rivers of ice in some places and trapping bubbles and compression cracks. Lying down on the ice allows the exaggeration of patterns such as the triangle and shark fin shapes shown above. 

Below, I am standing inside one of the many ice grottos allowing the sun to shine through the ice creating a window to the lake outside. The ice is frozen several meters down despite the appearance of deep cracks. At sunset, the light would shimmer through these clear ice patterns extending out to the snow-covered mountains in the distance. One of my favorite finds were the ice florets that froze in the wind on larger ice sheets. 

  • Bailkal Ice Grotto

  • Cracking the Ice

  • Ice Florets at Sunset

This is the first in a series of posts on my visit to Lake Baikal in Siberia. Located about 3 hours drive from Irkutsk in eastern Russia, the lake contains approximately one-quarter of the world's liquid fresh water, about a mile deep, 400 miles long and 50 miles wide. I visited in February 2020 with Muench Workshops led by Kevin Lisota (thanks for the photo below!) and Vladimir Kushnarev.

Behind the Scenes Video Clip

There is much more to come from Siberia! The next post will have abstracts, clear ice, caves, and a frozen pirate ship! Stay tuned for that and please signup for my photo email newsletter.


Matt

Thank you for visiting MattConti.com!
  • No Comments

Powered by SmugMug Owner Log In