Fire and ice


On Valentine’s Day this year, our home town of Putnam hosted its annual winter celebration of Fire and Ice. During the day, ice sculptures were carved by businesses in the downtown area and in the evening large, floating baskets of wood (they were tethered in place) were set afire up and down the center of the river to burn brightly in the dark. In truth, the fire portion of the event can be quite beautiful, but owing to the storm that started raging later that day and into the next (see Stam’s khawmin’! ) I was only brave enough to go out in the bitter cold of the day to take pictures of the ice sculptures. But yes, that evening, despite the storm, the Fire event took place. New Englanders other than me are tough folk!

It was during the Ice portion of the day that I discovered just how hard it is to take pictures of clear ice with a white background! Still, I hope you enjoy these…

Before viewing the photographs, I would also like to invite you to visit the poetry blog, the Book of Pain. As always, special thanks to my dearest spouse Lyn, who does most of the hard part: the photos selection. Thank you for dropping by the Book of Bokeh.





This one is hard to decipher, but it is Jack Frost (you can see his cheek and nose from the side) blowing his cold winter winds.







I confess I hung around this longer than politeness said I should have…but it was so nice and warm!!









This is one way to ‘shine’ the sculptures, once you are done…melt a thin layer of ice that then re-freezes clear and hard. Another way (which I saw several people do, although I cannot understand how they could manage it) was dipping a rag in a bucket of hot water and then polishing the sculpture by hand. Chattering teeth also seems to help, at least that is what they were all doing.


All photographs and comments ©John Etheridge with all rights reserved; not to be used without the expressed written permission of the copyright owner.


19 thoughts on “Fire and ice

    • Tried ice carving? Gosh, no. For one, I hate cold hands, and for two, I am as about artistic with my hands as a small primate with no opposable thumbs. All I would do would be to whack off a few bits and mumble something about Picasso. Or worse, want to throw flecks of paint at it and talk about my admiration for Jackson Pollock! 🙂 That would really put the fix in the henhouse!

      Have you?

    • Thank you so much for dropping by the Book of Bokeh and for such a lovely comment! With such nice things as that to say, feel free to come back often! 🙂

  1. John, beautiful images with very difficult shooting captures. Incredible how these artists spend so much time and effort on these ice sculptures that with the warm, will only melt. Fantastic post, and I do thank you for sharing!!! Love, Amy

    • Exactly, you hit it on the nose! I was amazed at the level of artistry and under such difficult conditions! If I was to do that much effort I would want something much more tangible than ice at the end! 🙂

    • You are very welcome! In fact, it was the details that I was interested in because I was (mostly) failing to capture the ‘big picture’ of the sculptures, because they were clear and the background so white. And I was fascinated that anyone could make such beautiful art out of ‘just’ ice! 🙂

        • Amy, it is me that should be thanking you for taking time out of your life to honor my site with a visit!

          I just noted that you have started on a 5 day challenge of B&W photos. (Killer Day 1, by the way!) You are much more courageous than I am…I have received one already and have begged permission to delay doing it because I am so busy. But I’ll enjoy looking at yours! 🙂

    • Thank you! It was a fun time, notwithstanding the cold. But, in the end I think, that is the point…to snub the cold in its face. I hope it feels itself sufficiently chastised! 🙂

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