The human is one sensitive and vulnerable being. Depilated by evolution and dramatically spoken, deprived of our sharp teeth, nature confronts us with a crucial test of our willpower, and sometimes it even leads to a pure fight for survival. We found the coldest place on earth on a plateau of East Antarctica – no not in Siberia as some of you might have guessed. The measured temperature was minus 98 degree Celsius, taken by a satellite measurement (which makes the record unofficial because it is not the method used by the World Meteorological Organization).
For comparison: the coldest ever measured temperature in Germany was minus degree Celsius, 1929 in Wolnzach, Oberbayern. The coldest inhabited place on earth lies deep within Siberia – Oimjakon is a small village in the Yakutia district with averages temperatures of minus 50 degree Celsius in Winter. There is no possibility to grow any vegetables or fruits.
The brightest color for the roughest circumstances
What do all these places have in common? Usually, at those temperatures, the landscape is covered with a blanket of ice or snow enlightened in pure white. It’s almost ironic that the brightest color we know is a sign of the hardest living conditions. White is the color of innocence and purity, the sum of all colors of light and therefore probably the most impressive color we know. Yet it is the color that makes us shiver, literally spoken.
White doesn’t equal white
White has the characteristic to appear different according to its surroundings. Photographers could write a book about it: keyword white balance. Sometimes it seems to be brighter or darker, more warm or cold. There are so many versions of white. We even thought the Inuit had hundreds of words for snow which turned out to be a lyrical mythos, yet is somehow manifested in our minds. It would make sense – whoever looks at white all day long should be able to tell the slightest differences in the expression of the color. When we find ourselves in winter landscapes, we primarily see a pure white. According to the weather conditions, it might be brighter or darker, but in nature, we barely spot the different tones of white with our naked eyes.
White demands planning
White in nature ist bittersweet and somehow ambivalent. We are excited when looking at snow-topped mountains, the morning frost reflecting the first light of day or the silence of a frozen lake. At the same time, we know that we face rough conditions and we need to be prepared. The warm winter jacket is necessary for both, the winter morning walk and the Arctic expedition. All for the price of beautiful views on white purity once we overcame the discomforts of the cold. If you are no fan of frost and like to get around the thrilling cold of winter, we put together a Lightbox for you including the most beautiful snow-covered landscapes.