Ice sculpted by the wind to look like liquid waves reflecting the reds and purples of a dramatic sunrise was an unexpected bonus when we arrived at Abraham Lake, where the temperatures had been minus 30 degrees Celsius, not including wind chill.
The extreme cold at least ensured that the ice was safe to walk on. We used crampons with strong spikes that made walking on the ice easy. Without them walking would have been virtually impossible.
We had come to see the frozen methane bubbles trapped in ice, flammable but oh so striking, that can often be found on the lake during the winter. Abraham Lake is manmade and the methane is formed from decaying plant materials. When lake freezes in the fall and winter, the gas bubbles become trapped. As the lake freezes further, other bubbles are trapped deeper. The result is a lake that looks more like a surreal abstract painting than a typical body of water. Fortunately strong winds often blow the snow away so that the bubbles are visible. As the ice thaws in spring flammable gasses are released.
In addition to the bubbles, which formed abstract images like Rorschach inkblots, the ice formed artistic shapes sometimes looking more like lace, while other times heaving sections a foot or more to reveal gorgeous blues.
To my surprise, when I laid down on the ice to capture this view of an ice shelf, the wind blew me across the ice! Photographing in severe conditions like this requires that you be prepared both with camera gear that can handle extreme cold as well as clothing to keep you relatively comfortable. Wind proof outerwear and layers are essential. My favorites include my Paramo layers (that I wear nearly everywhere), as well as my Canada Goose pants for extreme cold and my Taiga down jacket. Needless to say, I also rely on SanDisk memory cards. After braving extreme conditions like this I want the most reliable and fastest cards I can get: for me that means SanDisk.