A Sea Urchin (on Ice)

As you all may (or may not) have noticed, I love photographing details in ice. I love seeing “what else” there is in the ice other than just the ice. This one kind of reminds me of a sea urchin shell…

Type of Critique Requested

  • Aesthetic: Feedback on the overall visual appeal of the image, including its color, lighting, cropping, and composition.
  • Emotional: Feedback on the emotional impact and artistic value of the image.

Specific Feedback and Self-Critique

I processed this image to be cool with a little bit of warm at the same time, rather than just being cool throughout. Does it work?
Another thing I’m not sure about is composition/framing. Looking at the image now, I can’t help but wonder if it wouldn’t have been better if I placed the main “feature” more to the right with more space to the left of it. I’m not sure because at the same time I like the visual tension I feel from this composition.

Technical Details

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Tom, I think there is a fairly sizable group of nature photographers who find intimate ice based scenes attractive subject matter. My hat is certainly in that ring as well. :slight_smile:

I think this one’s great. IMO, it’s a great composition with the featured ‘bubble’ easily becoming the ‘leading actor in a starring role’ of the shot while the surrounding bits take on (to me) a very impressionisticy (Is that a word? :slight_smile: ) vibe.

Also, the mostly cool color palette works a treat with just enough warmth to add a bit of contrast to the scene.

And I can definitely see the sea urchin…though it could pass as a snail as well.

Like this one a lot.

The colors look great and the framing works for me. I think it has more energy with the urchin framed to the left - it’s as if it’s moving that way. The ice textures are very cool, also.

This actually reminds me of a foraminifera, not a sea urchin (although I see that little sea urchin shape). If you don’t know, forams are one-celled, mostly marine organisms with interesting calcarous shells. I did my thesis in university on fossil forams, which is why this struck me as a foram right away. Here’s some planktonic (floating, not sessile) forams from the Sargasso Sea (stolen from a web page):


I also think the mostly cool with a bit of warm treatment works well. To me it provides some nice color contrast along with the luminosity contrast. I agree with @Bonnie_Lampley about the framing. Nicely done.

Tom, I also like the “energy” as my eyes move from right to left across the frame. In fact, I would suggest an experiment where you crop to move the main structure even further left in the frame. This looks like there were multiple bubbles as the ice formed. The details in the focused area are excellent.

This is a very interesting ice image. When I first looked at it, I saw a snail and then the small what @Bonnie_Lampley explained as looking like a foraminifera. Thanks Bonnie for the education and that must of been a very interesting subject to study. Maybe it’s a snail with a foraminifera (love that name) taking a free ride :grinning:. I like the colors and shapes in your composition too. I also think the leading bubble is in a good position and I like @Mark_Seaver suggestion of taking a little more off the L side. Very nicely seen, Tom.

@rjWilner , @Bonnie_Lampley , @DeanRoyer , @Mark_Seaver , and @Donna_Callais - thank you all for taking the time to comment!

Bonnie, I’ve never heard of foraminifera but you’re right, this does kind of look like it.

And Mark and Donna, I think you guys are on to something with the crop suggestion. I just quickly tried it in Photoshop and I think it does strengthen this image!

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Dang, thought I had commented here - apparently not! Well, glad I came back to check. Terrific find and image. My first impression was how this has almost a 3-D look it; with the little “urchin” on top and then a definite feeling of things, ice and details below, much deeper.

Colors and contrast work beautifully. The great thing about these natural abstracts is that going a little further in processing can often be a plus - and I think so here.

Also, crops can be endless possibilities. I think possibly a tighter crop without losing the interests on the right too much would work (along the lines of the other comments.)

Awesome capture!


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Tom, apologies for not responding sooner to your image. I love the details and the implied sea urchin shell. Excellent textures and patterns. The framing looks good to me with the main subject just left of center. I’d recommend cloning out that bright spot on the upper right edge.

No worries Alfredo! I’m glad you like the image and I agree with you about that bright spot. Looking at it now it definitely draws my eye away from the main subject and I agree that it needs to go. :slight_smile: