Dan Mottaz  


Anyone for a Breath mint? by Dan Mottaz

January 2021 - Anyone for a Breath mint?

About the Image(s)

As I get older, it seems like I can't tolerate the cold as well as I used to. I don't know about where you all live but it's been crazy cold here in Idaho.
Speaking of the cold, here is an image of a frozen lake. Of course, what compelled me to take this shot was the star symbol in the ice that served as a foreground attraction. I placed the floating rock in the mid area to block the eye from drifting out to the right and redirecting the viewer to the island. I intentionally held onto the predominate blue tone with the hope that the viewer would feel some of the cold that I experienced while there. The pinkish hue was enhanced slightly as a complementary color to the blue. I usually do heavy vignetting to bring out more drama in my images, but I resisted this time because I felt the cold was depicted better without it.

Technical: Captured on a Canon 5D MKIII with a 16-35mm lens. At 16mm, the ultra-wide allowed me to get inches from the ice surface. I did two sets of bracketed exposures. One set focused close and the other focused back further. I manually merged the two in PS. 3.2 sec., f22, ISO 800. Steadied on a RRS tripod. This was processed in my normal fashion first with ACR then PS and NIK.

Happy New Year to everyone and be optimistic for a better 2021.


3 comments posted




Robert Atkins   Robert Atkins
Hi Dan - Happy New Year to you as well! You've started the year off wonderfully with another image that I love. You've kept things here very simple and elegant, and have masterfully applied the near/far sort of composition. In addition to the beautiful patterns in the ice that are amazing, I really like the sense of cold which comes through in the blue tonality, but with hints of complementary pink which add great artistic flare. You could have brought the pink out more, but I think it would have pushed against your effort to portray the cold - so I think you've managed the balance really well.

Your discussion of the rock I think hits on the one area where I think the image could be made even stronger. Partly I think you are right, there is a tendency to drift out to the right. But I'd say the issue is more that the foreground and background are not quite as tightly linked as they might be. So there is a little disconnected feel. I also think the contrast of the rock to the bright ice is so great that my eye wants to go there and then not leave.

I thought of maybe three things that could help with this. First, I think you can lighten the rock so the contrast is not so great. Second, I think you can crop a little more tightly so that there is less loose space around the edges to drift into. Finally, although you said you deliberately chose not to do a vignetting, I think a subtle spotlighting of the foreground ice, rock, and background trees again helps hold us in the center and flow from the front to back. I've taken a shot at those in the attached.

All matters of taste. Overall this is a wonderfully composed shot with great visual interest and very compelling color palette.
  Posted: 01/09/2021 11:19:06
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Gerard Blair   Gerard Blair
Dan, I was very impressed by the focus - and was about to ask how the heck you had managed it ... and then read the answer in your introduction. Very well done in my opinion. The color is lovely, the shades of blue broken by the island and its trees. I particularly like the island's reflection, which brings me to ...

I understand that you want this image to be about the star, but I see this as interesting and I see the horizon as beautiful. Thus my suggestion would be to crop some of the closer ice so as to de-emphasize the foreground and to accentuate the distant.
  Posted: 01/09/2021 16:32:36
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Cheryl LaLonde   Cheryl LaLonde
I think I am going to be the odd man out here.
First of all let me say I really like this image. I love colors, the blue is perfect for portraying the cold and the pink is nice. You might have been able to go a bit more pimk but not much. I think your right that it would take the cool feel out of the image. Love the "Star" of the photo and the details in the ice. I agree with your choice not to add a vignette.

Now here is where I'm the odd man out. I personally don't like the floating rock at all. I would clone it out. My eye goes directly to it and does not linger in the trees on the island when it is there. It also breaks up the perfect diagonal line you have going for you between the trees and the star shape. Just my opinion tho..

This is a beautiful image. You have such a great eye and I love the way you got down really low to show depth.   Posted: 01/09/2021 21:58:48
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