Missouri River Ice Pods

January 21, 2015

When it gets really cold in Missouri, I mean in the single digits, those of us who live near the Missouri River become witness to an “icetravaganza” second to none. The transformation occurs as if by magic as a progression of ice pods works its way downstream past each and every river town. After living near one of those river towns, Washington, Missouri, for many years, I know when to look for such frozen river art. About a week ago was one of those times, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Some of the ice pods are 15′ or more in diameter and over a foot thick. I once saw a photo of a deer hitching a ride on one as it floated past the Washington riverfront; a natural water taxi. Oh, how I wish I’d been standing on the shoreline with my 500 mm lens on that day! I also remember one or more waterfowl hunts when I accidentally ran my boat atop a stealthy ice pod while it was still dark, and found myself drifting along as if on Huck Finn’s raft until I could extricate my watercraft from the sinister glacier.

Over the years as I’ve observed and photographed the ice pods of the Missouri River I’ve noticed that occasionally one will glance off the bank or another disk of ice, and begin spinning like a top, appearing to be free of any frictional force to slow it down. Later I discovered that by photographing such whirling pods at a very slow shutter speed, around dawn or dusk when the light is very low, I could capture the motion of the icy ballet. It takes a bit of patience as the light has to be just right so as to provide a half-second to two-second exposure at the chosen f/stop, usually f/18 for my work. In this week’s edition, I’ve featured such an image during a nice sunrise over the Washington bridge.

Thanks for looking,


Email me at:  NatureFrames@Rocketmail.Com

Note:  This week’s image was captured with a Canon 1D Mark IV; Canon 17-40 L Lens set at 35 mm; 0.4 seconds @ f/20. I also used a 4 x 6 Lee graduated neutral density filter, three stop/soft edge, which I simply held in front of the lens to balance the dynamic composition of the sky and landscape.


4 comments on “Missouri River Ice Pods”

  1. Even amongst your other amazing photos, this one is particularly wow, and I repeat…please start posting videos 😀

  2. Very pretty photo Danny, of the nature at its best. It takes me back to simpler times. Thanks for sharing. I know that you are enjoying your retirement daily.


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