Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Beginner's Questions => Topic started by: timothyj on January 01, 2013, 12:22:19 PM

Title: Icicle Photography
Post by: timothyj on January 01, 2013, 12:22:19 PM
I've been experimenting with some pictures of icicles after our recent winter storms, and was wondering if anyone had any tips/examples for making these types of photos more interesting? There is a bush near my house covered with icicles that make for interesting patterns, but I'm finding that most of my shots are turning out rather bland and gray. I've worked in post-processing a bit in lightroom to increase the contrast, but still don't feel that the pics really stand out. I've attached one example that I've edited.

This was shot at ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/125, with a Nikon D5100 and f/1.8 prime lens.
Title: Re: Icicle Photography
Post by: pegelli on January 01, 2013, 02:38:11 PM
Agree this picture probably doesn't do justice to what you noticed and inspired by when you stepped outside and saw this bush covered in ice.

Couple of tips to make them more interesting :
- wait for nice light, so the ice starts to "sparkle"
- Use a larger aperture to make it stand out more from the background
- find a pleasing composition of the lines formed by the branches (now it's a bit of a hodgepodge)
- maybe get a bit closer and focus on some details (can help to avoid clutter)

Hope this helps, and looking forward to your next try.
Title: Re: Icicle Photography
Post by: PDobson on January 19, 2013, 02:13:59 PM
Bigger icicles!

If that's not an option, get much closer and isolate the aspect of the ice that caught your eye on the first place. You won't get that sparkly movement in a still image very easily. Ice looks unique and special up close.

Title: Re: Icicle Photography
Post by: Peter McLennan on January 19, 2013, 11:21:47 PM
Bigger icicles!

Agreed. Get closer.  LOTS closer. 

I love shooting ice, in spite of the downsides.  (you get cold  ;D)  I'm nearly always using my macro at close to full extension.
Title: Re: Icicle Photography
Post by: PDobson on January 23, 2013, 03:06:59 PM
I agree with Peter about the downsides. To sort of quote Kelly Cordes, "Ice is stupid, cold, and scary. But, if you keep warm, is it's all puppies and rainbows."

I'm interested in seeing your next efforts Timothy. I would also suggest that you go out of your way to find interesting and unusual ice formations. The variety of forms that ice can take never ceases to amaze me. I've been climbing the stuff for six years now and I keep getting surprised. A couple weeks ago I found what could only be described as an "ice fern", very cool.

Title: Re: Icicle Photography
Post by: Banana on January 29, 2013, 05:48:33 PM
timothyj, i'm in the same boat, and not making good icicle images yet.

Let's not forget that the 'big icicles' are incredibly dangerous...  If you must 'get close' to a 'big icicle' (ice falls), please wear a helmet!
Title: Re: Icicle Photography
Post by: PDobson on January 29, 2013, 06:21:50 PM
Good point, Banana.

A big 'cicle can really ruin your day, even with a helmet. It's rare for them to actually fall, but you should always position yourself in a position out of the path of "widowmakers".

The first photo was taken from a dangerous viewpoint: get in, snap the photo, and get out. The second one was nicely protected from icefall by the rock roof. Much safer.