Ice and Sandstone on the Oyster River

When I’m photographing landscapes, my tendency is to anchor the scene with a foreground object and then go wide to show the expansiveness of the land. Last weekend I was without my full-frame Nikon D600 (still with Nikon Canada being serviced a second time for oil and dust problems—looks like I’ll be without it for at least another week or two) and so had a good reason to experiment with my Fuji X100S. The “limitations” of a fixed lens last weekend forced me to move from the wide angle landscapes that I love to create using flowing water and stone to a more narrow range of view.

Stone and Ice #7
Smooth sandstone contrasts with ice and grey-blue cobble in a pothole on the Oyster River.

At the Oyster River bowls, the water has carved a sinuous channel through the soft rock that lines the riverbed. In times of high water flow, the river overwhelms the channel and spills out over the shelf of sandstone—depressions collect harder cobble and gravel and the excess flow of water spins smooth stones to create a pothole.

Stone and Ice #1
Detail of the edge between ice and sandstone.

I spent some time photographing the edges where rock and ice meet in the potholes. It was cold enough that the water that had collected in these natural bowls had frozen, leaving a thin layer of delicate ice over dark wet gravel. In some potholes the ice was thick enough to be opaque and had formed patterns of bubbles and circles.

Stone and Ice #5
Hints of sandstone can be seen through the thicker ice.

It’s good to shift focus sometimes and look at a landscape from another perspective. The shapes and patterns, and the contrasting stone in the bowls made for interesting compositions and images. The fixed 35mm equivalent lens of the Fuji X100s was limiting, but also provided incentive to think outside the box.

Stone and Ice #11
Not quite touching, an arm of sandstone splits a larger pothole into two smaller sections.

I’m heading back to the Oyster River this coming weekend with a group of local photographers and it looks like I’ll be without my Nikon D600 once again. Fortunately, my trusty Fuji seems well up to the task of capturing this landscape, albeit in a very different way.

To view more images and/or order prints, visit my SmugMug site Dave Ingram Photography: Oyster River Ice and Stone.