Secret Life Of Ice

Photographer and videographer Edward Aites, of Seattle, submitted this time-lapse video to Science Friday. He looked at ice through a macro lens and cross-polarizing filters, and found a colorful, surprising landscape. This is ice like you've never seen it before.

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IRA FLATOW, HOST:

I'm Ira Flatow, here with Flora Lichtman joining us now, hi, Flora...

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Hi, Ira.

FLATOW: ...with our Video Pick of the Week. And it's really something different this time, special from - coming from - over the transom as we say in the publishing business.

LICHTMAN: Absolutely, over the transom. One of our listeners, Edward Aites, submitted this video to us. He's a professional photographer and videographer. And he said that he was playing around in his studio during the winter. He does time-lapse usually when he's outside. But winter time, he wanted to have something else to explore, so he looked into ice, and this is ice like I had never seen it before. You know, we've done a piece...

FLATOW: Yeah.

LICHTMAN: ...a few weeks ago.

FLATOW: Ice sculpture.

LICHTMAN: I felt like I understood it. No.

FLATOW: Right. No?

LICHTMAN: No, no, no.

FLATOW: No?

LICHTMAN: There is a secret side of ice...

FLATOW: Love it. Love it.

LICHTMAN: ...that is revealed in this video. It really is so beautiful. So here's what he did. He took cross-polarizers and a macro lens, and so that's cross-polarized light.

FLATOW: Mm-hmm.

LICHTMAN: And he...

FLATOW: Like when you put sunglasses on those polarizing lenses.

LICHTMAN: Yeah. And I think there's two.

FLATOW: Two of them.

LICHTMAN: Right. And what he found was this unbelievably colorful, intricate landscape of ice changing over time. So he time-lapsed a very zoomed in look at ice, and it's really like abstract art. I mean, he said he was kind of blown away when he saw it. It's really worth a look.

FLATOW: So he actually watched the ice crystals developing in many, many colors over time...

LICHTMAN: Yeah.

FLATOW: ...I mean, in his time-lapse photography.

LICHTMAN: Yes. So he used an intervalometer.

FLATOW: Who?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

LICHTMAN: Yeah, that's what I said. So it takes a picture every one second or 10 seconds, and then he put them together and made this two-minute video, and he said that, I think after he had weeded out some shots, he was at 3,600 photos, I think...

FLATOW: Wow.

LICHTMAN: ...and that's what it made. But it really - just seeing these tiny, little structures melt and reform and the colors change over time - and you know what? This is something that, you know, I knew all - our listeners are just - have troves of great video. I know you're out there with your video.

FLATOW: Yeah.

LICHTMAN: I'm going to do the unthinkable, please email me. My email address is - I can't believe I'm doing this - flora@sciencefriday.com. But if you're a scientist who loves video, or maybe you're a videographer who loves science, send it my way. This was really a neat find.

FLATOW: Yeah. This is a gorgeous video. You know, it reminded me actually of the movie "Fantasia," which I'm sure there was a...

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

FLATOW: ...where - I think there's - there was a fairy skating on the ice and all these crystals are forming, if I remember correctly.

LICHTMAN: Yes.

FLATOW: And it looks just like that, beautiful formation, but in full color of these crystals growing.

LICHTMAN: It's psychedelic really. I mean, it really is, and I asked if he could - if Edward had found any trends, you know, why certain colors appeared or what forms appeared when. And he said that it seemed like bubble - the bubbles made a difference, and that can be, as we know from our video a few weeks ago, how ice forms. So if you freeze ice slowly, you're going to have fewer bubbles and that might change the structures that you get to see through these cross-polarizers.

FLATOW: All right. So if you have videos, if you're a scientist, or you make some great, cool videos, time-lapse, send it to Flora.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

FLATOW: Send Flora an email, flora@sciencefriday.com. We'd really, and in all seriousness, we do want your videos, and we'll take very good care of them and distribute them for everybody to see. We'll add value to them, as they say in the business.

LICHTMAN: This one was very valuable on its own. Thank you, Edward Aites, for sending it in.

FLATOW: It's got music and beautiful. It's our Video Pick of the Week, up on our website, @sciencefriday.com. And if you go to our website, you can also join our SCIENCE FRIDAY growing community. And if you want to take it with you, it's going to be available in our iTunes and our Android apps so...

LICHTMAN: Mm-hmm, and Podcast.

FLATOW: ...you can - and in our Podcast. Thank you, Flora.

LICHTMAN: Thanks, Ira.

FLATOW: That's about all the time we have for today. I'm Ira Flatow in New York.

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