Before the sun rose last Saturday, Torontoist photographer Miles Storey took the day’s first ferry out to Ward’s Island. He knew, he says, “that the temperature had fallen drastically overnight and that mist would be steaming off the water,” and he recorded the three short video clips above “on the south side of the island facing towards the headland of Tommy Thompson Park,” a quiet landscape save for the sound of wind and ice.
Says Storey: “You can see how the water vapour curls high up into the sky in the background of the video where the lake is deeper, and the difference in temperature between the water and the air is greater.”
The calming, peaceful video is a little less so once you realize the circumstances in which it was recorded. “Although you could see birds swimming and diving quite happily in the water,” explains Storey, “the reported temperature that morning with the wind chill was well into the -30s. For the briefest periods my hands were exposed when I was operating the camera”—a Canon 5d with a 17–40 and 200 mm lens—”and the skin on my hands went white and bone dry with the cold. When I got home and warmed up my knuckles were cracked and bleeding. It looked like I had been punching a wall and felt like a hundred tiny paper cuts.”