Siberia

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Hut by the river

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getting away from it all


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The river froze

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Magnificent mountains

The drama of B&W.Magic mountainsWhatever the light, these mountains are magnificent.

 

 


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Lovely powdery snow

Lovely to watch the light powdery snow being lifted by the breeze then swish and swirl across the road. Then anxiety flashed into my dreamy thoughts as I warmed up in the van after an afternoon of trudging up and down the slopes, snowshoeless: if I happened to fall back and lose sight of my companions, this lovely drifting powdery snow would soon cover up our fresh, knee-deep tracks, making it impossible to distinguish the path back to the van from the older paths that occasionally crisscrossed the vast expanse of land around us. A sobering thought as the warming cognac was passed around.

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Vertical view

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On the way to Barnaul

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on the way to Barnaul


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Altai

This is what some of Altai’s countless unskied slopes looked like a few weeks ago. Something tells me that most of them are too remote to ever become crowded ski resorts, but you never can tell.

 


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Bird on a frosted branch

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Bird on a frosted branch, Svetloe Lake, Altai


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Winter wonder at Svetloe Lake

Every winter for some years now, hundreds of swans have been flying southwards to Svetloe Lake in the Altai Region of Siberia. Because of the warm springs that feed this Lake, the water never freezes, and in fact it is said to never go below 5°C no matter what the surrounding air temperature is.

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Flying over Svetloe

The lake water may be warm enough, but the winter temperatures here are well below freezing! These preening swans are doing what needs to be done to keep the cold at bay: feather care. By spreading the oil produced by their uropygial glands, the swans keeps their feathers waterproofed and in good condition.

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Preening

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Preening

Even in temperatures of -25°C to -40°C, visitors come to watch the swans and hear their loud honking. But in the chilly hours before and after sunrise in late February this year, the only visitors were me and a small group of Russian photographer friends.

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Busking

 


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Wonderful this morning

Do I look all right?

Yes dear, you look wonderful this morning.

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Swanning around #3

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Swan chase

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Swanning around #2

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Swanning around#1

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Swans in the morning mist

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Swan from the morning mist

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Snowdune

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Snowslope

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Swan day

Svetloe in winter: a lake full of swans and light.


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Scenes from a village

Farm animals walking freely through the village, snow-eating cows, buildings that blend in with the natural backdrop, washing hung out to dry in the snow, and a cheeky sheep that stuck its tongue out at me when it spotted my camera…


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Altai sunrise

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Highway through the snow #1

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Snow slopes and trees #2

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Snow slopes and trees

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