Today’s Post was taken while visiting LeConte Glacier (Alaska). Glaciers are continuously on the move, as they wind down the mountainside. This movement, although so very small, causes the terminal end of the glacier to periodically crack and fall from the glacier. This process is called “calving”. For anyone who has never witnessed a glacier calve, it is quite an impressive thing to see and hear. As the glacier begins to calve, it often emits a very loud pop as the ice cracks, sounding like someone has just shot a rifle. This is followed by a chunk of ice falling into the water, sometimes as large as a house! This is usually followed by a tremendous splash of water into the air and often a “mini tidal wave” of water, as the water reacts to such a large piece of ice falling into it’s pool.
Here is a sequence of 6 images I made of an impressive calving. To get the best view, quickly scroll down through the images and watch the large portion of ice in the middle of the photos. You should be able to see the ice falling straight down into the water. This was shot about 5 years ago … wish they were building video into the cameras at that time … would have been the perfect time to have one!
One important thing I learned while photographing this glacier is that you should not shoot calving glaciers at high drive speeds (i.e., the number of frames per second). The calving is relatively slow and you can easily fill and lock the camera’s buffer if you’re not careful. This happened to me while shooting this sequence, and I was not able to capture the very end of this calving. But now I know, so when our workshop group visits LeConte Glacier in a few weeks, I will be ready to capture the entire process! I also plan on having my video camera with me so I can capture some video of LeConte calving!