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Photographing Ice With Nikon Equipment

There are some top tips on shooting ice with your kit.

| Creative
Photographing Ice With Nikon Equipment: David Clapp
Photo by David Clapp -

When it's cold enough for ice to form, make sure you head out with your Nikon kit and photograph its intricate designs. 

You'll need your macro lens, and a telephoto zoom might come in handy too, if it's not safe to use a macro lens.

Stay safe - First of all, when shooting snow and ice, it's really important that you stay safe and aware of your surroundings. Wear sturdy, comfortable shoes and don't put yourself, or your equipment at risk of taking a dip in the freezing water! 

Polarising filter - Slip a polarising filter in your bag. It'll come in handy for combating the glare that can reflect off of your icy subjects. If the filter doesn't cut out enough of the glare, try standing in the way of the light, casting your shadow over the area. This will make your shot darker, so be sure to check your readings and adjust the exposure accordingly. 

Side lighting - Using the sun's low winter light, or bringing your own light source to side light the ice will add depth and texture to the shot, especially if the ice is quite rough. Sunlight will melt ice, so remember to work fast to get your images and keep shooting as the ice melts, as new patterns can be revealed as this happens. 

Air bubbles, patterns - Look for interesting focal points in the ice. Lines of trapped bubbles often make for good abstract shots. Frost can sometimes form swirls and fronds on top of the ice, making for great intricate macro shots.

DIY - If it's not icy outside, then why not make your own ice? Chinese takeaway containers can be ideal for this as they are see through and shallow. Try using a table lamp or window lighting if it's a little dark and you're working indoors. Use a small aperture so you capture the intricate designs of the ice all the way through.

Check your exposure - Shooting lots of whiteness can fool the camera's sensor, causing images to come out darker than they should. Make sure you regularly check your histogram and use exposure compensation (+1 or +1.5) to give the ice that glisten everyone expects to see. Most cameras, such as the Nikon D600, have this feature. The D600's exposure compensation range goes from -5 - +5 EV in increments of 1/3 or 1/2 EV.


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