Darcy Johnson  

Ice Forest by Darcy Johnson

September 2021 - Ice Forest

About the Image(s)

Ice Forest was taken last winter after a particularly wet and heavy snowstorm hit overnight. Temperatures dropped well below freezing and beautiful ice crystals developed on just about everything exposed to the air. This was an opportunity shot captured on a grill cover strap hanging vertically. Since I don't yet own a macro lens, this was taken with my Tamron 100-400mm, f3.5 zoom lens as close up as I could get without falling into a surrounding drift and before the warmth of daylight melted it all. I would have loved to have more depth of field to catch some more of the "forest". I am interested to hear everyone's thinking on how best to improve this image or to create a better capture next time around.

ISO 400, 400mm, f6.3, 1/640 sec. Nikon D500

9 comments posted

Gregory Waldron   Gregory Waldron
Hi Darcy,
I really like your concept. The grill strap takes up too much space in this image, so I think you should focus on Next time. I know this is a subject of opportunity, so you may want to focus on different compositions, and also isolate the Ice Forest. All in all, I think this will be a fun challenge for you.
Best regards,
Greg   Posted: 09/04/2021 11:54:59
Darcy Johnson   Darcy Johnson
Thanks for you insights Greg - I'll give it another go when the next opportunity presents itself. Best -   Posted: 09/10/2021 17:45:37

Tom Brassil   Tom Brassil
Hi Darcy
Always fun to get out and experiment with opportunity shots. I do like your composition and the fact that the top of the strap leads the eye straight to the conglomeration of ice crystals on the right side of the image.

I believe that the choice of F6.3 is a bit narrow for this style of image the separation of the ice crystals is lost due to the blurring created by the depth of field at 6.3 aperture. I believe that if you stod 6 feet away with the setting you used you would have virtually no depth of field, less than half an inch, I recommend you check a few websites that provide DOF calculators for various lenses and settings, these will give an indication of what will be in focus and where you start to lose focus. Search Depth of field calculator, I recommend PhotoPill (one word) as a starting point, they have a good guide and explanation, they also have a range of other helpful advice. I found it hard to get my head around Depth of Field when shooting Macro, it does not seem intuitive (to me at least)

Also in processing, I think a bit more contrast would be achievable by reducing your Blacks in either Light Room or what other processing tools you use, I took the liberty of using your image and reducing the blacks, as per attached as an example   Posted: 09/06/2021 19:20:12
Comment Image
Darcy Johnson   Darcy Johnson
Thanks for the tip on PhotoPill and for checking the contrast Tom - need to work on that generally. I think that this is a good example of not having quite the right equipment for the job at hand as I seemed to have run out of focal length and my f-stop range.   Posted: 09/10/2021 17:42:42

Ingrid Lockhart   Ingrid Lockhart
Hi Darcy. This is a very interesting capture of a very unusual subject. My only suggestions would be to darken the brightness on the right lower left corner and to try to see if the clarity and texture and dehaze sliders in lightroom or Camera Raw filter could bring a bit more sharpness to the ice crystals. Having worked with a macro lens, achieving sharpness of all of the crystals would still be difficult, though. I love the concept and your image title.   Posted: 09/11/2021 12:07:41
Darcy Johnson   Darcy Johnson
Hi Ingrid - I'll play with the LR sliders and darken the corner as you suggest to see how that improves the image. I appreciate your suggestions. Thanks -   Posted: 09/11/2021 14:35:23

Xiao Cai   Xiao Cai
Hi Darcy, very interesting image, you did very well. I think the bottom part is a little bit distracting, probably needs more blurry and darken. Thanks for sharing.   Posted: 09/13/2021 08:29:16
Darcy Johnson   Darcy Johnson
Thanks Xiao - I'll see if I can improve the image using the techniques you suggest. I appreciate your input.   Posted: 09/16/2021 16:45:15

Syed Shakhawat Kamal   Syed Shakhawat Kamal
Hi Darcy,
Greetings my friend.
I loved this interesting capture of opportunity. I am sure this is a fairly new idea for me to even consider and need to visit your places for this type of capture. But the caption ice forest and the composition works pretty great. A macro lens would surely give a different perception. Loved those crystals and the light probably needs to be darken to bring out the contrast, like tom suggested. nice work and concept. Thanks for sharing.
Kamal.   Posted: 09/21/2021 03:45:42


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