I’ve updated the homepage with an image I made this weekend while walking along the Hudson River with my son Bryce. We’ve had a deep freeze here the last few days, and I knew that much of the river would be frozen. With the changing tides, this causes cracks and huge pieces of ice to form in all kinds of sizes and shapes, creating a scene more reminiscent of an arctic region. A fresh snowfall the night before added to the effect, and I got excited with the possibilities this would provide. (I imagined a Polar Bear walking along the surface of the river as I thought of what the final print would look like.)
I was thinking in black and white from the very beginning because of the overall lack of color, and the strong shapes which dominate the scene. These are always good indicators of an image that has b&w potential, and lends a very graphic quality to this image. For me the challenge with snow is to find enough tonal variations so that the whites don’t dominate the composition, and for this I usually look for a strong sky.
I was fortunate to have just the right texture in the sky to add balance to the river, and the overhead sun created the deep shadows adding a sense of drama. Knowing beforehand that you’re going to convert an image to b&w is very helpful in terms of composition and I always find my photographs turn out better when I make that decision in the field. Camera settings were f/16 at about 1/60 second, ISO 200 (using Highlight Tone Priority in my Canon 1DS) – lens was approximately 24mm.
The hardest part of this image was making sure my son didn’t do something silly on the ice while I waited for the right light with my camera and tripod. By now I know he will give me 5 minutes to concentrate before he decides there are better things to do than wait for me to finish “working”. I’m hoping to increase that to a whole day – wish me luck!