Sunday, January 1, 2012

Frozen Still-life.

I shot this one on Nikon D3 with 105mm f2.8 macro lens, and post processing on Nik software.  Camera setting it was on A mode at f/16.

1. First, you 'll need to find a suitable subject.  Leaves are the most obvious subject to freeze, being something that you might find natural frozen in a puddle, or the edge of a lake at this time of year.  A maple leaf caught my eye, thanks to its colors and interesting shape.  However, you may well have other ideas, and just about anything will work, from a feather to a pine cone.

2. Pour some water into your dish and place it the freezer-ensuring it is lying flat so that it freezes evenly.

3. Once the water has frozen, you can begin snapping.  You could shoot it indoors, using a lightbox to backlight it, but it opted to take it outside, so I could use the softness and warmth of the natural light.  Using a tripod, I positioned my camera overhead, composed my shot and released the shutter.  However, the brightly-lit ice fooled my metering system into underexposure.

4. To solve the problem, I knew I needed to apply a degree of exposure compensation.  As with most DSLR's, my camera has a dedicated exposure compensation facility.  Using this, I selected a compensation of +1stop.  I took another photo and, having studied the result (and corresponding histogram) on my camera's LCD, I knew that the exposure was now correct.

The final image:  Ice thaws quickly under direct sunlight, so work quickly.  With the exposure now correct, try different compositions.  I tried horizontal and vertical formats, and went in close to isolate specific detail as well as including the leaf in its entirely.  


  1. When looking at the first two pics I thought you had lost it! But....Q being the magician with a camera as he is, once again produced a remarkable photo right before my eyes.

    Thanks Q, I can see the finished image on greeting cards or thank you cards.

  2. a really neat effort and result!

  3. As Parker said, thank you for posting this!

    The results of this technique would never lead one to believe that this all took place in a frozen glass pan!

    I can't help but wonder what results one would get by backlighting the glass pan.

  4. Interesting process. Thanks for sharing. =)

  5. You're always coming up with these very different ideas. I guess I need to get out more, I would have been walking around in the cold next to a lake looking for a leaf frozen in the water. LOL


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