Monday, July 30, 2012

The Iceman Cometh

It's been a while since I got to indulge my creative side and just go out prospecting for pictures. So I was looking forward to getting some time to get out and shoot around Wanaka a couple of weeks ago on my family's annual ski vacation. The only thing missing was snow. Plenty of man-made stuff on the trails, but two days in, I was bored already. So I called a rest day and took a little drive to Hospital flat, looking for a photographic challenge. Here's what I found:

Ice Ice Ice

Some nice big icicles had been building up on the South-facing rocky bluffs.


Getting up to them was tricky, as the way up involved scrambling through thorny shrubs and ascending a treacherous ice stair, but I made it, body and gear intact. Once up there, the challenge became how to get around without becoming an ice-kebab. As the day warmed, the melt started and one or two large high skewers actually came crashing down nearby, but sliding back down the rocks with 18 kilos of photo gear was still my biggest worry.


There were some beautiful shapes and textures among the ice, but I found it hard to make something really good out of them with the limited positions and late morning natural light.  It was all just a bit messy. Time to break out a radio trigger and off-camera flash, and try to isolate the icicles from the background by lighting them from the rear or off to the side. 


The bare flash had potential, but my first attempts still didn't really grab me. What this ice really needed was some colour. Of course I'm never without a bunch of gels, so I went straight away to full red. The first shot showed some promise.


So I persisted.

Icicles Icicles Icicles

Discovery: The natural blue of daylight contrasted really well with the rich red from my flash. It finally felt like I was learning something new and my creative itch was getting scratched.


For the next few days, zipping down the man-made trails at Treble Cone didn't seem so bad after all ... until the urge to see something new and make pictures from it came back again.
It always does.

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