Creating a World of Ice


Have you ever observed an ice cube while it chills your cold drink? If you look at it closely, you will find intricate patterns in it—an excellent subject for photography.

You can shoot extreme close-ups to effectively capture the minute patterns formed inside ice blocks. Photograph/Ove Tøpfer.

You can shoot extreme close-ups to effectively capture the minute patterns formed inside ice blocks. Photograph/Ove Tøpfer.

Exploring Minute Patterns
You can freeze a large chunk of ice in a vessel or make a thin sheet of ice in a plate. Then, all you need to do after extracting the ice is hold it up against a window or shine a torch behind it. To shoot this, you can either use a macro lens, or use the macro mode on a compact camera to get close enough. Alternatively, you could zoom in and make extreme close-ups. Besides blocks of ice, you can try shooting frost, if it forms in your freezer. Explore the tiny crystals or frozen stalactite-like drops hanging from the roof of the freezer.

Let it Melt
Ice melts really quickly. You can use this to your advantage and place scrunched-up foil under blocks of ice. The water from the melting ice will create striking reflections on the foil. You could even put the ice inside different types of containers like tin cans, steel vessels or opaque glasses and shoot the condensation forming on them to make a series of stunning abstracts.

Creating Unique Ice Blocks
Besides freezing big blocks or thin sheets of ice, you can also freeze ice in differently shaped tumblers. You can even try freezing liquids of varying thickness and colours like juice and coloured water. Even solid things like tiny flowers, strawberries, slices of mangos and apples can be frozen so that you can make a unique series of images that explore a frozen wonderland.

Experimenting with Vibrant Colours
You do not need to shoot with a plain, dull looking background. Vibrant reds, blues, greens, oranges or even blacks can add colour to your ice photos. For this purpose, you can experiment with backgrounds like coloured walls, chartpapers, gelatin papers or even thermocol. You can even light the background to make it vibrant. However, do bear in mind that you might need to overexpose or underexpose the image depending on the background.

This article originally appeared in the July 2015 issue of Better Photography.

Tags: Macro, abstracts, reflections, colours, patterns, ice, world, freeze, cubes, miniature, liquids, juice, gelatin paper, thermocol, chartpaper, coloured walls, blocks, frost, aluminium foil, steel vessels, stalactite