The Colours of New Zealand: Pink & Blue - Desert Dust on the Glacial Ice

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Comments (8)

Ian Stehbens on March 23, 2010

The crystal blues of light through glacial ice can be seen here in the broken facets of the Huddleston Ice Falls. Then the surfaces of the glacier are dusted pink by precipitated dust that was swept out of Central Australia in the spring 6 months earlier.

The dust storms were the biggest and thickest in living memory in eastern Australia, and they continued across the Tasman to become part of the dirty rain that fell on the Alps.

I could not but appreciate the subtle pastels that painted this scene. Since then, Central Australia has had record breaking rains and the grasslands and deserts are blooming again.

brezza on March 24, 2010

An impressive but nice shot Ian Stehbens... and thank you for the news,too. Greetings from Italy,brezza

Ian Stehbens on March 24, 2010

Thank you, Brezza. It is special to be able to be there to photograph this and then to share with you.

I presume the Sirocco may bring dust from the Sahara to the Italian Alps from time to time also?

Warm regards,


brezza on March 24, 2010

I don't know exatly about Italian Alps Ian Stehbens, but the Sahara dust sometimes arrives ( yes ,with scirocco) in south Italy and centre Italy especially, even with difficult in the north... I've read "..A strong wind blows sand and dust across the Mediterranean Sea from the Algerian Desert, located in the northeast section of the Sahara Desert, to Sardinia, Corsica and the northern of the Italian Peninsula on 9 and 10 September 2008 ......" I don't know about the glaciers...but sometimes our cars turn all orange colour :-)) Greetings,brezza

beegood on March 24, 2010

OH Ian - how do you alway manage to combine the most interesting picture with the most condensed information and the most poetic words??? These colours make the glaciers look so incredibly fragile - difficult to imagine how letal they can be for anyone who dares climbing up there... it is lovely, Ian. when the Sahara winds come to Europe the only colour the bring is some sort of yellowish brown - taking colour awy rather than adding to it. I am thankful to have seen different winds and different colours of dust on this wonderful earth through your pictures.


Ian Stehbens on March 25, 2010

Thanks Brezza and Maja for the information on the Sirocco in Europe. I have never actually conversed with anyone in Europe about this before, so your comments are valued here. I was taught about the Sirocco, but only in the context of Calabria / Mezzogiorno, so thank you both for this.

People in each region probably have a local name for the same wind system, but I only know a few of the names for the wind. In Libya and Egypt there are distinctive names for it, and there is also an Arabic name which I never learnt. Xaloc and leveche are used in Spain, and my French teacher, who knew nothing about meteorology, referred to the Marin - which I suspect is the same as the scirocco/sirocco, but in Le Midi.

So if the dust reaches Germany as Maja indicates then I guess there will be times when it colours glaciers, as in this New Zealand case.

In New Zealand they don't like our dust, nor do we. But in this image, at least it makes the glaciers more attractive in their pastel pink tint!

In friendship,


theolfa on April 15, 2010

This would make a fabulous impasto painting, Ian, so get out the oils and the pallette knife and make it huge! Look at it zoomed to see what I mean. There is also a great sense of ovement in it although glaciers are slower than snails :) Cheers! Theolfa

Ian Stehbens on April 16, 2010

When the art teacher encourages me to paint, and gets enthusiastic about my artwork, then I am very grateful. Thank you Theolfa. The art teachers I had in my childhood were anything but encouraging - I kept them in the same basket as French teachers! Geography teachers were always encouraging, so they were in the same class as English teachers who encouraged my poetry, drama and writing. If only you had been my art teacher, I may now be willing to take up palette knife and wield it with joy!

Having got that off my chest, let me thank you also for your appreciation of this image. I stood beneath it all in real life and was mesmerised - enthralled - stunned! So I am very pleased if my image has conveyed some of its dynamic!

Thanks dear friend. Thanks.


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  • Uploaded on March 23, 2010
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    by Ian Stehbens