Ice Bubbles

It’s tough to compete with @Mark_Seaver beautiful ice abstracts, but a relatively mild and snowless winter this year has sent me out looking for little gems like these ice bubbles. This image is a focus stack of 4 images for depth of field, I had to capture this from the bank of a stream and couldn’t align the sensor with the plane of the ice. I like the organic look to this ice, but is this one too busy, or does it work for you?

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Any critique or comments are welcome.

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

Canon 5D Mk IV, Canon 70-200mm f4 lens at 100mm, ISO 200. This is a 4 image focus stack for enhanced depth of field.


Oh, this works for me, Ed. You did a wonderful job with the stacking. I love the different shapes in the ice bubbles. Great detail and texture in the ice. It is a wonderful capture. :+1: :+1:

This looks really good. I might consider a vignette along the top and some burning of the brighter bubbles on the bottom and right to keep attention toward the middle, but minor stuff. I quite like this and the B&W works well here, too.

Wow! Beautiful abstract image. I love composition and cold tones. Very inspiring for me. Thanks for sharing.

This sure works really well for me, Ed. The pattern on the lower two thirds is mesmerizing. All those circular shapes. I do think that the rock showing up on the right hand side is a bit of a distraction from the wonderful abstract. Perhaps it’s not too hard to clone out or to burn because of the tonal separation?

Not busy at all; definitely works for me. For me this is an elegant abstract presentation of lines, shapes and tones. I always find it fascinating the shapes and forms that water; when frozen; can take. I think the ice free areas are spaced out nicely around the frame and compliment the ice shapes beautifully. Like @Adhika_Lie I think I would darken the rock or try to clone out. Beautiful image.

This is a beautiful and intriguing image, Ed. Well balanced composition - definitely not to busy, IMO. Processing looks great to me. Only thought would be to experiment with slightly cooling down the white balance. Well seen!

I think this is excellent. I have tried to get these bubbles, and it can be difficult to do, in particular to get the necessary DOF to be able to see down into the ice. You did a GREAT job with the stacking to get that DOF.
Not too busy at all, I’d say. Nice and sharp, and the comp is great.
Well done. :+1:

Oh what a gem. You nailed it with this one. My first impression is that this looks futuristic somehow, like something from Kubrick Space Odyssey. It’s really a fascinating abstract. When done right abstracts can be mesmerizing because they release the imagination. I actually would prefer not to know that these are frozen bubbles.

The details in the ice stand out very well here, Ed, with a nice mix of bubbles and more subtle textures.

Very nice abstract, Ed! I love the patterns and textures, and also the subtle monochromatic color scheme. Like others, I do think the rock distracts, especially because it’s a little warmer than everything else. I would be interested to see the image without that.

@Dave_Dillemuth @Shirley_Freeman @Adhika_Lie @Harley_Goldman @Ed_Lowe @Mark_Seaver @Craig_Moreau @Igor_Doncov @GennyK @masdamb thank you all for your suggestions and comments on this image.

I agree with the comments about burning the top edge, and dealing with the distracting rock (which is actually a submerged leaf). The leaf was actually bright yellow/brown, and was substantially darkened and de-saturated in the original post. But after seeing the comments here about it still being a distraction, I concluded that cloning it away was the best approach. This necessitated cloning away the the ice bubble to the right of the leaf as well, since they overlapped slightly. Here is a rework that addresses these issues. It is much cleaner and simpler with the leaf sent to a watery grave…


Ed, I was not so bothered by the leaf, I noticed it, but I guess I was just enjoying the rest of the image, but I must say, the removal of it has improved the shot even more, which I didn’t think was possible. I think now the blacks on both sides balance the image too. Great job!

Your repost looks great Ed. It is more balanced after removing the leaf and deepening the blacks in that area. I love ice abstracts and you captured a wonderful one.

Most fascinating Ed! Just a great mix of details and design. Hard to think of anything to improve this… but I suppose you could bump up the whites even? But this is pretty awesome as presented.


Not too busy with all the repetitive shapes! Nice strong contrasts and different textures in the ice. I like the version with the leaf removed best.