Ice Ice Baby

Just a follow up to my post yesterday on the First Night Festivities in State College. I went back down last night and took some more photos of the ice sculptures. Ice is a difficult subject to photograph. I tried three different approaches each of which has a unique perspective.

The daylight shots show the detail in the ice better than any of the others but just don’t capture the wet glistening look. The figures could be made out of plastic for all you can tell from the photos.

For the night shots, I tried taking photos both with the flash on and with it off. With the night shots, the ice takes on the transparent look that is missing from the daylight shots. The flash also gives you a nice glistening look that is missing from the other too approaches. Unfortunately, you lose some of the detail that you can see in the daylight shots. Also the flash overpowers much of the front lighting that the scene has and the result isn’t the same as it appears to the naked eye.

That leaves night shots without a flash. Of course that approach presents some exposure, focus, and camera shake challenges but they are overcomeable. Without the flash, you are able to see both the front and back light that is illuminating the scene. Unfortunately, I think the long exposures over accentuate the available light to the detriment of the subject itself. I think you lose too much detail in the subject (of course, it could just be that I wasn’t able to find the correct combination of lighting and exposure).

Here are some shots from yesterday that demonstrate what I am talking about.

First for completeness sake, yesterday I showed the preliminary ice sketch of the continental soldier, and I wanted to show you the finished product. Here’s yesterday’s daylight shot along with two photos from last night – first with, then without flash.

Here are some shots that really highlight the differences from the three approaches.
This sculpture is of Admiral Peary who is generally considered to be the first person to reach the North Pole (how appropriate for an ice sculpture).

This is probably my favorite shot from last night. It was taken with flash, and is just part of the Jeremy Rose/Afleet Alex sculpture.

I’ve update the online album by adding last nights photos. You can view both yesterday afternoon’s and last night’s photos by clicking here.