Ice Is Nice (When You Can FIND It)

Technical details: Canon EOS 7D camera, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens @ 60mm, ISO 100,  f/13, 1/20 sec

Photographing ice is a nice challenge for the nature photographer.  Negotiating the landscape itself when covered in snow and ice is the first obstacle and finding safe passage in both transporting yourself to the scene and then within the scene is obviously critical.  Nailing the exposure in camera is crucial in making an ice image that works compared to one that falls short – ice and snow have their obvious challenges as being bright subjects that can confuse the camera in automatic exposure modes.  Composition is a challenge, as many ice shots are all about pattern and flow through the rectangle and may not be focused on an apparent subject.  Finally, color and white balance of the image needs to be carefully scrutinized.  There are lots of options here.  Will you leave the scene cold?  This is a popular choice for winter images, or is there reason to warm it up?  Will it be in color or will you convert to B&W?  If you do go monochrome, color toning leaves you with more potential options.

Technical details: Canon EOS 7D camera, EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens, ISO 320,  f/14, 1/6 sec

I naturally tend to process the winter images I’ve been able to produce toward the cool end, either through white balance decisions or in monochrome toning.  The image presented above is a more neutral or even warm image.  These leaves, which had fallen weeks earlier in mid-autumn were approximately two feet under the surface of this stream which runs through Hawn State Park in the beautiful St. Francois Mountains.  A layer of ice about one inch thick provided the first layer of texture and the warm mosaic the fallen leaves of the stream bottom provided another.

Technical details: Canon EOS 7D camera, EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens, ISO 100,  f/18, 1.6 sec

The crystalofolia.  Ive blogged about these once before.  This particular beauty was quite intricate.  I tried to convey a sense of three-dimensionality and capture the detail one can only really see through the magnification of a lens.

Technical details: Canon EOS 7D camera, EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens, ISO 100,  f/11, 1 sec

You don’t have to read the title of this post to know that winter is MIA this year across much of North America.  This past spring I purchased my all wheel drive-all the time Subaru Forester, replacing a good vehicle but one of the worst winter vehicles to drive you can imagine.  For years, I had to either stay home or borrow the wife’s front-wheel drive vehicle if I wanted to make an outing into the snow and ice.  My anticipation for this winter season has been growing ever since.  Nothing was going to stop me now from the winter image making opportunities I dreamed about finding in some of my favorite places in the Ozarks and northern Missouri.  Never did I imagine the Mother Nature would play a cruel prank and give me what is to date the mildest winter that I can recall.   I have been able to make a few winter photographs this year, including the ones in this post.  But come on, I bought a pair of ice cleats for my hiking boots!  If February continues the way it started here in Missouri, I’ll be the first to sign the “Let’s eat Punxsutawney Phil in a stew of his own juices” petition.

Happy Groundhog Day.

One thought on “Ice Is Nice (When You Can FIND It)

  1. I totally hear you Ozark Bill. This winter has been the worst I have ever seen. I live for snow and winter time. I am also so tired of the Weathermen with their comments, “Great news we are having another above average temperature day with the highs in 60’s.”. I’m sorry but I find that info to be the furthest from “good” news. Please give me one 6 plus inches of snow storm before the dreadful heat of summer falls on us. I miss those winters where even I say, I’m ready for summer.

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