Canadian photographer Ray Majoran has always been fascinated by night photography, and one of his amazing snaps has been that of light pillars caused by ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere.
A light pillar is an atmospheric optical phenomenon in the form of a vertical band of light which appears to extend above and/or below a light source. The effect is created by the reflection of light from numerous tiny ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere or clouds. Since they are caused by the interaction of light with ice crystals, light pillars belong to the family of halos. The crystals responsible for light pillars usually consist of flat, hexagonal plates, which tend to orient themselves more or less horizontally as they fall through the air. Their collective surfaces act as a giant mirror, which reflects the light source upwards and/or downwards into a virtual image.
“What a night in London, Ontario, Canada!!! Light pillars south of 43°N! In all my years of photography, I’ve never seen anything like it,” Majoran said.
Since light pillars need dense, cold air composed mostly of ice crystals to form, they are most common in Arctic and Antarctic regions because of the exceptionally cold air inherent to those places.