Frozen Fantasy

This picture was taken early in February on the shores of Lake Ontario. I arrived here just around dawn and it was cold, cold, cold. As I made my way to the shore I was thrilled by how the wind-blown lake had covered the entire shore with ice. The shore seemed to take on an inner, numinous glow. It felt absolutely magical.

I spent a lot of time in post trying to capture, not so much what I saw as what I felt when I was out there. I wanted to imbue the highlights with warm tones while pushing the cool blues in the mid tones (i.e., split toning.) The sky had a lovely filtered, mid morning light and I wanted to capture the feel of the light opening up and breaking through the brooding clouds. In all, I was trying to capture the other worldly feel that I felt when I was out there.

So that was my intention. The feedback I’d like is on how successful I’ve been in fulfilling my intention and what might I have done either composing or in post that might take it up a notch.

And, by the way, a shout out to Sean Bagshaw whose excellent video tutorial on favorite Photoshop techniques was really helpful in my attempts to pull out the best of this image.

Fujifilm Xt-2, Fujinon 16 – 50 mm, f/2.8, ISO 200, 16mm, f/11, 1/40 sec.

You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.
1 Like

Kerry, I like the mood in this image, the subject and the composition does contribute to a feeling of starkness and other worldliness. I like how your composition balances the large tree with the small ice covered branch on the right. I think the sky just above and to the right of the tree has gotten a bit too hot (at least on my monitor), but it looks like you might be able to recover more detail in those highlights if you went back to the raw file, and then masked that in over this image.

I like your idea of doing some split-toning here, the warm highlights in the sky look good to me against the blue water… To my taste, I think the foreground icicles coating the trees and rocks look a bit too warm. They are actually in shadow as opposed to being backlit, and I would prefer to see them a little cooler. I would try to aim for something like this, where I recovered the sky highlights, and cooled the foreground ice.

Thanks for your feedback, Ed. And I agree with your edits, especially pulling back some of the warmth in the foreground ice. I’ll incorporate your suggestions before printing.


BRRRRR! Dang, I just get cold chills looking at this! So for starters, you’ve done great in presenting that and getting that reaction.

I think you did a great job with the processing. Ed’s tweaks work too.

One small detail is the fact that the frozen stick on the right is not merging with the horizon. Not sure if that was intentional, but I’m glad it’s not breaching the water line.

Wondering if there is any more snowy, icy detail at the bottom for a little more room? No biggie though.

Kudos for braving the elements too!


Thanks Lon. That the frozen bit on the right of the frame doesn’t touch the horizon is very much intentional based on one of Sam Abell’s adages - “nothing touching.” I certainly didn’t want it above the horizon and chose, rather, to have it just a bit below. I like the aspect ratio of the image as is and since I didn’t want any more on either side, I cropped from the bottom. I felt that what I cropped didn’t add anything so this is what I came up with. What I mean is that I thought about the two issues you raised and was intentional in my choices (for better or worse :thinking:)

Definitely looks cold! And stark.
I cannot tell techy color or brightness details on this laptop, but I sure think those icicles on the tree are intriguing. They really hold my eye. Did you try any close-ups?
Good comp on this. My eye keeps going back to those icicles…:grinning: