Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sure, why not?

Lighting the ice 2

When you're standing in a field of ice chunks the size of dining room tables, and they're a crystal blue color, and the scenery is all other-worldly to start with, why not try to augment the feeling by pulling out a flash unit to see what happens?

I had brought a couple of lights and stands along with me on the trip to Door County, Wisconsin to photograph ice sculptures that were carved as part of the Fish Creek Winter Festival over the weekend. Those didn't pan out the way I had hoped (not many sculptures to choose from, and not a very high quality of art in my opinion, but that's for another blog post).

After I had shot a number of photos out on the ice in available light (see previous posts), and with the night closing in on the scene, I packed up and headed back to my car. Spying the bags of lights and stands in the back of the car, it hit me. Take a stand and a flash unit back out on the ice, dummy. So I did.

I set up a wireless trigger on a flash, placed a couple of warming gels over it and set the white balance on the camera to incandescent. I started by pointing the flash on the light stand directly at the ice chunks and firing away while walking around, but that wasn't doing it for me. It impressed the snot out of a bunch of people nearby, though. I then tried to backlight some of the more translucent ice with varying degrees of success. I finally took the flash unit off the stand and placed it inside some spaces in the ice and hoped the wireless signal would be able to pass through several feet of ice to set off the flash. Better.

As the daylight continued to fade, the gels on the flash created a warmer and pinker tone. I would have loved to have gotten a person in these photos, but by this time, the dozen or so folks that were present when I arrived had gone their way. And only posessing two hands, I did not bring a tripod along to go with the camera, flash unit, and light stand I had to carry to try some self portraits. Plus it was a bit treacherous walking around out there. Who would have thought that ice would be so ... icy?

Lighting the ice 2
Photographs © 2010 James Jordan.


Wanda said...

All of your "blue" ice photos are wonderful...the contrast of the cold blue now and ice, and the warm of the pick glow, makes for a nice romantic valentine!

Happy Valentine's Day!

kelli said...

Very cool, Jim. You rock the snot out of a lot of people.