Macro Photography on Ice

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I took this shot in New Zealand on a freezing cold morning. Frost covered everything – from the boardwalk and benches to the grasses and flowers. To me, these tiny ice “sculptures” looked like a post-apocalyptic cityscape… the buildings toppling one after another. It was so incredibly peaceful out there. Completely silent except for the call of the ducks and the crunch of ice under our feet. If not for the fact that I couldn’t feel my fingers after a while, I would have been happy to stay right there all day long. 😉

I used my 180mm macro lens to get in close – and then closer – until those tiny ice crystals seemed to fill the frame. I wanted an incredibly narrow depth of field. Just a few millimeters of focus to show off that “skyline”, while blurring the ice crystals in front and behind.

1. Macro shots are a heck of a lot easier with the help of a tripod and a good ball head. If your ball head slips, it’s going to drive you crazy… tiny subjects will disappear from your frame with even a small shift. Make sure your ball head is nice and tight, and take the time to adjust your composition until it’s exactly where you want it. And then, be careful not to bump that tripod. 😉

2. Be sure your focus is exactly where you want it. I use the live view setting on my camera to get a good look at my subject – and then I zoom in to 5 or 10x while focusing. I use auto focus if I can, but there are times when manual focus works best. If the camera is “hunting” for your subject, switch to manual.

About Author Varina Patel

There is nothing more remarkable to me than the power of nature. It is both cataclysmic and subtle. Slow and continuous erosion by water and wind can create landscapes every bit as astonishing as those shaped by catastrophic events – and minuscule details can be as breathtaking as grand vistas that stretch from one horizon to the other. Nature is incredibly diverse. Burning desert sands and mossy riverbanks… Brilliant sunbeams and fading alpenglow… Silent snowfall and raging summer storms… Each offers a unique opportunity. I am irresistibly drawn to the challenge of finding my next photograph, and mastering the skills required to capture it effectively.