This natural phenomenon gets epic attention.
When a calming blue hue appears on ice — now occurring in the Straits of Mackinac in Michigan — residents look on in awe and photographers get to work.
"The blue ice is incredible. When it shows up, it's like these mountains of ice just appear on the shores out of nowhere," said Tori Burley, a photographer from Mackinaw City. "They're huge. I haven't seen a photo that truly does them justice on just how giant they are."
Jeff Caverly, a photographer from Essexville about 160 miles to the southeast on Saginaw Bay, said he and his brother were on the way two years ago to Tahquamenon Falls in the Upper Peninsula and were at a loss for words when they saw the blue ice under the Mackinac Bridge in the afternoon light.
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"We grabbed our cameras and took a hike out on the ice to explore," Caverly said. "The ice had piled up and there were great views everywhere."
Burley advises photographers to try to shoot at sunrise or just before sunset to get the perfect shot.
"The lower light gives the ice the best blue glow and makes it pop a lot more in photos," she said.
When lake ice is clear with no bubbles, in this case where lakes Michigan and Huron meet, it allows for short wavelength light to penetrate and scatter in the water below and reflect back through the ice, said George Leshkevich, a field scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Blue ice in Straits of Mackinac
"In deep, midlake water, where chlorophyll content is low, the reflection of the water can make the ice look even bluer," he said.
To see the blue ice, you need to be quick. As February turns into March and temperatures rise, the ice in the Straits of Mackinac is beginning to melt.
"The crazy part is how they can disappear so quickly after showing up. Just a day or two and you can completely miss it," Burley said. "It's amazing, and it doesn't happen this big that often, which makes it even more exciting."
Follow Omar Abdel-Baqui on Twitter: @omarabdelb