These photos of ice-engulfed lighthouses are sure to send shivers down your spine. Formed under very specific circumstances, these pasty kraken emerge annually on the shoreline of Lake Michigan each winter. Their alluring formations are enough to entice the hot-weather-loving photographer, Tom Gill, to photograph their sculptural encasings every year.
To grow your very own frozen sea monster, you will need the conditions to be just right. Not only does it need to be well-below freezing, but the water adjacent to the lighthouse must also still be liquid. With the addition of turbulent winds, water repeatedly covers the towers and then freezes in layers, growing up to several feet in depth within days or even a number of hours. The resulting tentacle-forms become a physical documentation of the force and direction of the winds.
The final crucial ingredient is a moment of calm following all this upheaval, which allows our humble photographer to venture down the precarious pier to the foot of the lighthouse. Although many photograph these structures from a distance, few venture so close as the pathways are dangerous even when there is little wind. Judging by the subjects of these photos, you wouldn't want to be caught there at the wrong moment. “Stories of people falling into the freezing water along the lakeshore in winter are far too common around Chicago,” the photographer told Architizer. “They're rarely if ever discovered in time.”
If you’re completely set on having a delicious iced-lighthouse of your own but you happen to be someplace warm at the moment, try adding a pinch of salt to grow your own crystals for a hot climate alternative. Otherwise, you could also print one out of sugar for dessert.
Photographs of frozen lighthouses by Tom Gill.