Frigid air over top of warm lake
water can produce tremendous amounts of steam, especially first
thing in the morning. When the wind conditions are just right,
the steam can spin up into a vortex called a steam devil. Although
they resemble tornadoes, these vortices are harmless (unless you
find yourself unlucky enough to fall into the water while looking
Photographing them is tough.
First of all they're far offshore so they can be tough to spot,
then add the freezing temperatures which wreaks havoc with camera
batteries and fingers which are never bundled up enough, especially
when trying to operate camera controls. It's still totally worth
the effort, even if you have to get up at 4:30 in the morning
to get into position before sunrise.
First light on Lake Ontario. The steam devils
were far from shore today but many of them had well-defined funnels.
They silently glide across the water like
ghosts, spinning away in the freezing chill of early morning.