Frozen Ice drops

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  James Staddon 5 months, 1 week ago.

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    Ben Glick

    Hey all! So it recently snowed over at my house, and I went outside later in that day after the snow had semi-melted and then refrozen in an attempt to get some cool icy photo’s.

    While it wasn’t all that great outside other than cold, I did find a tree that had water that was currently freezing on it. I went back inside to get my camera and came outside to take the photo.

    The photo itself took some editing to get to an “acceptable” point, when I took it the skies were gray and it was very dark outside. Main editing that you may notice is a background emphasis to turn the sky white instead of gray, and some sharpness added to make the ice drops stand out more. 🙂

    Just curious to see what you guys think, this is my first time ever doing a picture like this. Did it turn out well?

    Specs ~
    Camera Make: Canon
    Camera Model: Canon EOS REBEL SL1
    Lens Model: EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM
    F-Stop: F4
    Aperture: F4
    Focal Length: 27.0 mm
    Shutter Speed: 1/197 s
    Exposure Time: 1/200 s
    Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
    ISO Speed Rating: 100
    White Balance: Auto
    Metering Mode: Multi-segment
    Flash: No, compulsory
    Exposure Mode: Auto


    Dan Cope

    I think it would have been good if you could have found a way to zoom in on the ice drops and isolated them more. As it is they don’t stand out as a subject in the midst of the clutter of branches.


    Ben Glick

    Hey Dan! Thanks for taking time to look at the photo!

    1. “I think it would have been good to zoom in on the ice drops and isolated them more.” Great advice! I have no experience with working with photos like this so that advice is super appreciated!

    – Do you think that that level of zoom can be done still in editing? Or is that a kind of zoom that I would need to go get another photo for? Plus, do you think I could make them stand out more if I increased sharpness only in the droplets? I used some bokeh blur on a few of the branches in an attempt to make the water stand out more, I don’t know if it worked. 🙁

    2. “As they don’t stand out as a subject in the midst of the clutter of branches”. Another great thing pointed out!

    – I did take the photo in a tree that had a lot of branches, sorry about the clutter, I tried looking for another angle, it didn’t work. The tree just looks cluttered from all directions. I tried zooming in to “reduce” the clutter, it again “semi” worked, I tried again to darken and desaturate the branches to remove attention from them and put it towards the ice droplets. I thought it worked pretty good, maybe not.

    Any ideas on how to put attention towards the drops? Thanks Dan. 🙂


    Dan Cope

    Do you think that that level of zoom can be done still in editing?

    It’s doubtful. What you have here is a picture of branches with a few barely noticeable ice droplets. In order to make it into a photo of ice droplets, you would need to zoom WAY in until the ice droplets become prominent. That amount of “zoom” or crop in post processing would result in undesirable results as far as image quality is concerned. If you got an opportunity to shoot ice droplets again, I would suggest getting very close or zooming in with a telephoto lens to really fill the frame with the ice droplets, keeping your aperture wide enough to blur out distracting branches etc. Also look for an angle that creates a darker background as opposed to the bright background of the sky. You want those ice droplets to stand out instead of blending in with the sky. Try to find a composition that eliminates as many branches as possible. Even break some branches off and remove them if necessary. Basically just keep in mind that if the photo is of ice droplets, you want people to look at it and see ice droplets and not branches! Unfortunately ice droplets don’t occur every day but if you get another opportunity, I’ll look forward to seeing what you come up with!



    Hey ben, not sure if this helps, but I had a similar situation a couple weeks ago during a rare snowstorm. here’s what I was able to come up with before my hands froze. 🙂 hope this gives you some ideas.


    Lydia Bennett


    Here are some thoughts that come to me as I look at this photo and read the discussion:

    Make the subject the subject. The thing that grabbed you about this particular scene was the icicles on the branch. When something that detailed and small is your subject, you need to work extra hard to clearly lead the eye to it. That is most easily done (and perhaps, best done) by zooming in. I use my 55-200mm lens for these types of photos, and usually zoom in all the way to 200mm. If you don’t have a zoom lens, then “zoom with your feet”, as @jamesstaddon says, and get in as close as you can with whatever lens you do have.

    If you can’t zoom in further, try to find shapes to bring out in the photo. That’s what I attempted to do when I took the photo attached below, using the sun and the shapes of the branches to try to bring order to the photo. Not sure if it worked optimally, but it’s an example. 🙂

    Don’t leave to editing what you can fix while shooting. You can do a ton of editing to try and salvage a “bad” picture, and in the end, it’s still a “bad” picture. Instead of relying too heavily on editing, do your best to evaluate the photo right when you take it, and see what you can do to take a better one right then and there. Of course, I realize you can’t always tell in-camera how great a picture will turn out, but take the time to do the work of making the picture as best as you can while you’re shooting so you don’t have to edit out everything later when some of those things could have been fixed in the first place. (Spoken from experience!)

    Keep trying! Winter’s not over yet! 🙂


    James Staddon

    It was fun revisiting this thread’s pictures on the webinar last night. 🙂 Here’s a link to the replay, if you’d like to watch it:

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