Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What in the World is a Pogonip?

Last week we had a real cold spell in Las Vegas and so I started several winter scenes in my little studio with space heater blasting. They actually called it a "Hard Freeze" because the temperature dropped into the 20's at night and several days the afternoon high didn't even reach the 40's.  The Mojave Desert does get below freezing during the winter but this cold snap was actually nothing compared to the week that our Northern Nevada neighbors experienced.  Shortly after this drop in temperatures, I started noticing beautiful photos of ice crystals taken in the Reno area being posted on Facebook.  The word "Pogonip" was popping up everywhere and so I had to do a little research on this word because I had never seen it before. 

Turns out the word pogonip originates from a Shoshone word and occurs only when the humidity in the air is nearly 100% and the temperature is below freezing.  This causes ice crystals to form in the air, creating an ice fog as it were.  The crystals then cling to everything creating a beautiful encasement around leaves, twigs, branches, grasses and anything else that happens to be around. The world just sparkles because it appears to be dusted in diamonds and crystals.   I was so impressed by the photo taken by Spring Creek, Nevada photographer, Dini Torrence Esplin that I had to get her permission to attempt a rendition in acrylic paint on a canvas and this is the results:

Amazing photograph taken by Dini Esplin

"Pogonip in the Pines"  11 x 14 Acrylic

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