Monday, January 24, 2011

Blue Ice

I've spent the afternoon playing with blue ice. Not the real stuff, way too cold, but a picture of frozen salt water in Downeast Maine.  I liked the patterns in the ice, and I liked the blueness in the photo I took, but wanted to see what else could be done with it.

I was thinking about the work of a facebook friend, Stoney Stone, while I shot the ice. "How would Stoney frame it?"  One of the great benefits of being part of a group of photographers is that you get to learn from everyone, experts and newbies too. The influence of other people challenges me, surprises me, and broadens my imagination.

Stoney messaged me with some advice, which gave me a starting point. So I'll show you the road he took me down, and you can decide if you like the results. To some, it will be like looking at all the "white" paint chips in the big hardware store. I thought it was interesting enough to share.

Here's the original picture in Adobe Lightroom, with my white balance set on Auto.  I really like the patches of color created by the light and shadow, and the warm reflections at the top where the ice was shiny. But it's too blue!

On Stoney's suggestion, I processed it in Photoshop :
   Image -
   Adjustments -
   Hue/Saturation -
Decreased the Blue until it looked slightly blue but not neon. The ice has a much more delicate look.
Then I tried playing with the original in Lightroom. Decreased the blue, increased the red and orange. Not bad.

Next I took the original picture and changed the white balance to shade, which corrects for the blue hue. It looks more blue here than it does in Lightroom, but you can still see the difference.

Finally, I took the picture with the corrected white balance and processed it with Photomatix Pro, which is HDR software. I couldn't do real HDR processing because I hadn't shot bracketed photos. But part of the HDR processing is a thing called Tone Mapping which brings out the details in both shadows and highlights.  These colors are much closer to what I saw this morning, and that warm reflection really shows up. 

I'm not sure I'm done playing with this image yet, but I really like what I've done so far and I really like what I've learned. And I really like the fact that there's always someone to ask for advice when I need it.  Thanks, Stoney!

By the way, you can visit Stoney at

    1 comment:

    1. Susan, I am visiting your website for the first time after you commented on a couple of my photos on Facebook, (NEP-YM). I am one of the "newbies" and am very inspired by your photographs, your website, your blog, and your willingness to share technique and experiences. I love your photographs and the way you capture the beauty of NE! They are amazing!Thank-you. Regards, K.Langenberg