Photographing ice patterns is a great way to spice up your macro photography in the winter months. There are an endless number of patterns and colors in the ice.
The best way to experience this variety of patterns is to get out in nature. I like to photograph small streams and puddles in the woods. The shallow bodies of water better reflect the color and patterns from the bottom. You also find leaves, seed pods, etc. to use in your compositions.
Photo Gear for Photographing Ice Patterns
- Macro Lens
- Extension Tubes to get really close compositions
- Tripod that will get really close to the ground. I use the Vanguard Alta Pro 283CT Tripod. The middle column slides out and can be mounted horizontally to allow the tripod to get closer to the ground.
- Remote Shutter Release to minimize vibrations when you release the shutter. You can also use the timer delay on your camera.
- Knee Pads. You will need to get close to the ground to focus and compose the shot. Knee pads will help your knees from kneeling on the ice and snow.
- Hand warmers. Your fingers will be exposed quite a bit composing and focusing your ice pattern compositions. These are handy to have in your gloves or pockets to warm up your fingers.
- Use manual focus for more precise focus. Focus your composition by zooming in on the LCD screen on your camera. If your camera does not already have this set up, customize your camera's function buttons to easily access the magnify function on your camera.
- Look for dark backgrounds and leaves beneath the ice for more color and contrast in your photos.
- Ice macro photography is great for cloudy days that don’t work for other types of photography. This will help prevent the ice and snow from blowing out in your compositions.
- Use an exposure compensation of +1 to +1.5 to keep the ice and snow from looking grey in your photos.
Post processing of ice patterns is largely personal preference. But, here are a few tips that I use that may help in your post processing
- Changing the white balance to create a colder look to your photo.
- The whites slider in Lightroom is useful in getting the right amount of brightness in the ice in your photo.
- Use Viveza from Google to selectively lighten and darken the image to provide contrast and highlight certain parts of the photo.