Click on the image to view a high res version.

Focal Length: 18mm
Aperture: f/5.6
Shutter Speed: 20 minutes
ISO: 100

My first shot of the winter season. For this shot I was also experimenting with stacking ND filters plus testing out my calculations on how long to keep the shutter open. I would say that the calculations are accurate but I was taking this shot during the sunrise which was a little tricky. When you take your base shot to get the shutter speed and then calculate what your new shutter speed should be based on how many stops your ND filter is (in this case it was 19 stops with 2 filters stacked) and the sun is slowly brightening things up, it changes so you have to kind of guess. My calculations were at about 25 minutes but since the lighting was a bit tricky I decided to go for 20 minutes.

Why did I want such a long shutter time? Because the clouds were moving really slow and I did a 5 minute shot but you couldn’t really see any movement in the clouds. I think 20 minutes really got me where I wanted the shot to be at. As I said before though is that I was also experimenting to test my calculations to make sure I knew what I was doing.

You may also notice that the focus is more on the foreground and not so much on the background. The reason for this is because I wasn’t looking for a typical landscape shot to try and get most of the scene in focus. I was more interested in the foreground and not so much in the background, except the clouds. I liked how the ice didn’t come all the way to the shore and there were a couple rocks sticking out of the water a bit. I also liked that you could see other rocks in the water as well. I wanted to get closer to the rocks but slippery conditions and the way the bank was did not allow me to do this. It took me roughly about 1.5 hours to get this shot due to multiple shots to get the effect I wanted along with time it took to get things set up in single digit temps. The good thing is that I was able to take time to warm my hands up between shots.

I’m hoping to get some more photos processed that I have taken recently to show more things I’ve been working on. I’m not so much concerned about the quality of the photos at this point but just learning some different techniques that I’m hoping to refine and use for some better photos in the future.


Closing Ice

31 thoughts on “Closing Ice

    • Thanks iosatel! I did quite a bit more processing on this than I normally do but that’s because I didn’t really want an hour and a half of time to go to complete waste. I wanted to have something come out of it. I spent at least a few hours on processing this photo which is a lot for me. Usually if it takes more than 10 minutes I don’t think it’s worth it.


    • Thanks Sarah! The reason why the ice is like that is because there’s a tube that goes under the walkway into a lake on the other side. The moving water on both sides help the water not freeze. I was very tempted to put my tripod in the water and get a nice closeup of the rock on the left but didn’t want to chance slipping into the water due to the steepness of the bank. But after a test shot I decided that this composition worked out nicely. Afterwords though I wish I would have went a bit wider because after getting the shot with the 2 filters stacked there was enough vignetting that I couldn’t recover the details in the corners so I had to crop it even more. But that’s just something to think about next time. We always learn and move forward.


      • Yes, I hate that vignetting problem with filter stacking! It has me looking at really wide angle/fish eye lens prices all the time and then despairing. Did you take a pole to test the water depth? I’ve been looking at clamping mounts that you can fix to just about any pole or scaffold that could make creating sturdy home made mounts quite fun. Project for next year to go with the remote trigger I think 🙂


        • The water depth where I wanted to put the tripod wasn’t that deep. I might be able to do something in the spring or summer when I don’t have to worry about cold weather, ice, and snow. I’ve done a few shots where my tripod was in the water and I was balancing on small rocks trying not to fall in the water to get a shot. I would like to find some nice portable water boots or something that would be easy to carry around so I could walk into the water. I look every once and awhile but can’t really find anything I’m happy with. I should be getting Nikon’s new 20mm f/1.8 lens this week and I’m thinking that at 20mm the vignetting should be less. I’ve been shooting my 16-35mm at 20mm a few times and don’t mind that focal length. I’m looking forward to getting it for the f/1.8 as well as the minimum focusing distance of 7.8″. I am looking forward to a lot of experimenting. Now I just need to hope I have enough free time to get out. It’ll be more difficult this winter though as there will be a 3rd child in our home and the oldest isn’t quite old enough to trust walking in the ice and snow with me for some places I want to go to. I don’t want to leave my wife at home with all 3 kids, a preschooler, toddler, and baby. I’ll probably work more on my editing skills this winter than actually getting shots but I’m happy with that too.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Oh new baby! Congratulations 🙂 I’ve never been well enough to have my own but Simon’s making me a step-grandmother! His step-daughter has two, 5 and 3, and his daughter Charlotte has two boys, almost 4 and 15months 🙂 I got to pick up her eldest from preschool yesterday. I love it! They’re all fascinated by the camera and gear and I do let them have some supervised goes with some of the kit 🙂 We all go to Wisley Gardens a lot and some of the National Trust buildings and land. There are places that they’re not quite old enough to go to yet! The new lens sounds great, f1.8 is just perfect for detail and low light. Have you thought about a wet suit or fishermen’s waterproofs? Sounds like you’re going to have a busy Christmas at home with the kids! Enjoy every moment of it 🙂


          • I have considered waders which are pretty much waterproof overalls but there’s the bulk of the item and I’d only want to wear it in the water. While out hiking I want to have on fairly breathable clothing because I get too hot from the walking otherwise. I usually dress in layers and can open up my jacket a bit and if I start to get too cold I just move around a bit more or get out of the wind. Something that is lightweight and I can just slip over my boots and legs would be nice, especially if it could fold up and fit in my camera bag as well or strap to the side of it. I’m also looking for something that won’t cause a lot of bulk to carry around. I haven’t done enough extensive research to find out if what I’m looking for exists or not and I’m not willing to pay a lot for it at this point if it’s too much because it wouldn’t get used that much. Not a top item on my list though. Right now I’d rather spend hundreds on filters and probably no more than $50 for waterproof items. It’s so tough to set priorities for photography as you can’t always get everything at once.


          • I normally dress in lots of layers too when I’m out so I can strip off or warm up as needed! Wet suit is probably not the right option unless you know you’re just going out to get into the water. There must be some lightweight waders available that you can carry in a rucksack? You’ll have to look through angling magazines and websites! Complete filter kits are SOOO expensive. I have a small collection but need to increase it if I’m really going to improve my landscape work. Priority setting is even more difficult when you’ve got a growing family!


          • I did a little searching and found some dry pants made by Kokatat that also have socks attached to them as well so you can keep everything from the feet up dry when wading in water. They are expensive though. Some of them cost more than a nice lens! But they do seem like they are really good quality and have great reviews so if/when I do get something I’d probably go with those. Lightweight and easy to carry around. Nice to know that something exists that would work but just a bit out of my price range right now. They are used for kayaking which makes since because those people would want something more lightweight from the hiking they’d need to do from time to time.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Not sure about how much shipping would be or if you’re able to get them over there but a little more research and I found an affordable option from the same company. It’s not made out for Gore-Tex but through comparisons it seems to be nearly just as good and for our use it would work perfectly. I wonder if I could convince the wife to get these for Christmas. $180 for me vs. $800+ or more even for a full dry suit or even bibs.

            Liked by 1 person

          • My pleasure Justin! It’s good to brainstorm ideas 🙂 That’s really not a bad price you found! There’s probably a supplier here that I can look into. I’ll probably be putting the thermals on underneath 😉 I’ve been given great tips and advice from others on WordPress! Love our community 🙂


    • Thanks Laura! I was actually combining two different techniques here. The first one with a motion blur of the clouds and the second one in processing trying to create more of a higher contrast difference between the whites and blacks. When processing I also decided that something needed to be done to keep the viewer’s attention more towards the bottom of the frame. I already achieved this halfway with the out of focus background when getting the shot, I just needed to finish it off in post. During the processing I took it through Silver Efex Pro about 5 times or so before I was happy with it. It was a bit of a pain. I would take it through and make my changes then view it again in LR and wasn’t happy. I would then make adjustments on the RAW again in LR then take it through Silver Efex Pro again and kept doing that until everything was good. I really hate repetition but sometimes it does pay off.

      On another note the color version has some weird color casting in the water. I’m not entirely sure but the long exposure, reflections, and stacking of two different brand filters were probably all involved in that somehow. At least with the B&W conversion you can’t tell. Mostly all of the photos I will do with a long exposure like this will be converted so I’m not too worried about it at this point.


      • Sometimes I run an image through SEP2 three times….I make a high key, a low key, and a neutral and then I layer them and use masking to show different areas. It takes awhile but nothing can compare to a little work in photoshop! Nicely done Justin and thanks for sharing what you did.


        • I wish I could work with layers but I just have LR. I can’t justify the price for PS as there are some months that I might only process just one or two photos and on the rare occasion not process any. Lately I’ve barely had enough time to just look at my photos or I’m just too tired to really care.


          • Aww I’m sorry you sound so tired! I can hear it. I know how much you love your photography. LR does so much and at least you have some plug-ins. You do well with what you have. Don’t worry about PS.


  1. I like the faint streaks in the sky that you achieved with the long exposure, I had to look a couple of times at the foreground to realise I was looking at water with rocks in it surrounded by frozen ice, its quite dark which I find a bit overwhelming but that may reflect the day or your intentions for the image.

    I havent done anywhere near this long exposure yet, but looking forward to it!


    • Thanks Stacey! I’m not sure if I got the look I was going for or not. For this I was trying to do more of a high contrast long exposure photo. I don’t think I quite achieved what I wanted completely and the color version had some weird color casts due to stacking the filters. But I did learn a few things which I hope to use in my next attempt. Experimenting is one of the things I enjoy doing the most.


      • Its nice to meet someone else who blogs about their learning experiences and isn’t afraid to say “hey I did this, not sure quite what it is but its a step closer to learning how to do it properly” 🙂

        Thats mostly the reason i started blogging when I got my first dslr, I was going nuts trying to remember EVERYTHING!!


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