【Kamuy landscapes】

The deep forests and coastlines inhabited by wildlife. Introducing Hokkaido’s natural scenery that changes with the seasons

Special feature

【Kamuy landscapes】Frost flowers – the brief, white meadows of Lake Toro

The surface of Lake Toro covered with frost flowers

Early in the morning, as the sky begins to turn white, the temperature at Lake Toro is almost 20 degrees below zero. The frozen lake surface looks like a field of pure white flowers.
 
At first glance, the white specks look like snowflakes, but they are ‘frost flowers’ – the crystalized water vapor on the ice caused by radiative cooling. Almost the entire surface of Lake Toro has frozen over, and the white frost flowers grow as far as the eye can see.
 
The ice is still only several centimeters thick. We walk on the ice wearing thick waders to keep us safe even if it breaks. Occasionally, we hear a creaking sound beneath our feet and the ice cracks. The frost crystals are about a centimeter in diameter. I lie down on the ice and start photographing from a low angle.
 
This field of flowers will disappear when the sun shines and the temperature rises.

(Words and photos by Shigeru Tadanobu)

Location

Lake Toro

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