Monday, November 27, 2006

Ice Studies Two

The mission here is to capture the textures of the ice, both photographically and also with molding material in order to recreate those textures back home in the studio, using the lost wax process to cast textured shapes into glass sculpture . This is an incredible ice sculpture that I fished out of Arthur Harbor a few days ago. There is a picture of me carrying it across the rocks in my post "Ice Chaser". Art may have taken a better picture of this which I will post later.

This morning we had a photo session. Soon Art will figure out how to use his fancy new Nikon 200. This camera is so complicated that it takes a computer genius to figure it out. Meanwhile my little Canon has done a heroic job. I'm hoping that eventually we figure out a way to increase the contrast of the ice surfaces to get more depth and definition of the texture. I need as precise and accurate a record as possible to recreate them in the studio. If they white out in the photos, I'll never have a record of how intricate those surfaces could be?

I found this one lying on the north side of Gamage Point yesterday. I knocked its head off and stood it up on the rocks:
After dinner I went out and it was still there. I noticed that over the six or so hours the ice had smoothed over and the texture had diminished emphasizing the form.

In the middle of the photos session I looked down off the pier to see this texture.

We experimented with different silicone / catalyst / thickener ratios.

It is summer here. The temperature has varied in the past week between about -5ºC and +5ºC. This morning is was drizzling or snowing depending on which window you looked out of. But this afternoon the sun came out so we took a zodiac out to Old Palmer, about one Km away. It was a dazzling ride. By this evening it was snowing again. Art at the helm:

On the way out we encountered this piece of bar ice with its typical battuto texture. Since it had snowed earlier the top was frosty.

Ice bergs typically have 80% or more of their mass in the water.

I caught this shot of the underwater battuto refracting the light through the surface ripples. The water was especially clear today, and very blue.

This bird was guarding our boat at Old Palmer.

Landing on Old Palmer near the cache. We have a two mile boating radius here There are about five caches including tents, radios, and food on the various island and points. Hard to think that the weather gets so severe here that you couldn't get back 1 kilometer to the station. November is supposed to be the snowiest month, even if summer, but we have hardly seen it. Ben told us about being here in October, a few weeks ago, when the sleet was blowing 70 knots. You needed goggles just to go outside. He said it was like riding a motorcycle on the freeway during a snow storm just to walk outside!

You can see the foundations of the old Palmer Station from about 35 years ago.

We walked across this saddle on our way to the ice bridge:

This cave was unbelievable! First, there is the characteristic "battuto" texture on the walls and ceiling of the cave, only large than we have seen in clear ice in the water.

It was dripping and muddy, plus icicles were falling as we watched. We didn't go inside.

Looking up at the ceiling, which was glowing from sun penetration through the ice.

On the way back Mount Williams, in the middle of Anvers Island broke through the clouds for a while.

Suddenly there were icebergs we hadn't seen going in.

I expected to see a Polar Bear sitting there!

But this guy growled at us passing by.


Blogger Julie said...

This is so interesting! I love the pictures!

11/27/06, 11:54 PM  
Blogger Suzi-k said...

WOW this is SO cool! who needs coffee in the morning when you can get high on these photos! THANK YOU for the spectacular blog...I can't wait to see what's new each morning, and will definitely go into withdrawal when you leave there!

11/28/06, 5:15 AM  
Blogger Kris said...

Fantastic! This just keeps getting better and better. It looks like another world, but unbelievably, it's our own. Wow. Enjoy your warm and sunny summer's day. :)

11/28/06, 5:39 AM  
Blogger nzm said...

David - what fantastic images and also what an amazing life-enhancing experience you're having.

Just one comment about the images: you mention trying to increase the contrast of the images through the camera exposure.

Increasing contrast will cause the highlights (white areas) in an image to blow out even more and lose detail. Similarly, it will also darken the shadows (black areas) and they will also lose detail.

What you need to do is find the correct exposure for your images to show the detail in the ice. This will normally be up to -1 stop from the normal exposure setting.

I'm not sure which Canon model you have, but if you're shooting in Manual mode, there is an exposure compensation feature that you can find when activating the Function button. Adjusting the exposure compensation and experimenting with the exposures will allow you to get more detail in the ice.

Email me on matdxb(at) if I can be of further assistance to you - I'm happy to help!

11/28/06, 6:38 AM  
Blogger Therapy Doc said...

What a beautiful place, such wonderful pictures. Good luck in your travels,


11/28/06, 6:42 AM  
Blogger The Great Quotes said...

I never saw so many snow!!!!!!!

Keep it real!!!!!!!!
Cool pictures!!!!!!!

11/28/06, 9:30 AM  
Blogger Briseide said...

Waaaa...that's great!! I envy you a lot! *_*

11/28/06, 12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm, not much chance of seeing a polar bear sitting on an iceberg in Antarctica I'm afraid.

11/28/06, 6:02 PM  
Blogger OTRgirl said...

Great photos! The sculptures will be amazing.

11/28/06, 9:07 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Wow - those are some fantastic pictures. Thank you for posting them!

11/28/06, 11:13 PM  
Blogger He.Marli said...

wonderful, loved the ice form going into watear- was thinking about the many things in life that is hard to capture-(using your ice photos to visualize understanding of life s mysteries)evasive is that the word?its +5 in trondheim Norway too .thought i saw a polar bear shape in your ice form. wish you quiet understanding to tell us more.... bon chance.

11/29/06, 12:52 AM  
Blogger Tom Rampton said...

David, you expressed concern about ice photos looking washed out in the whites.

So I downloaded one and experimented with it, using Photoshop and the LAB color space that I've come to like very much. Basically, I steepened the three curves in various ways. Then I reposted it on my own blog.

Before and after versions are at

Coincidentally, I'd been experimenting with the LAB color space on another photo, and had posted that result a day earlier.

What nzm said above will also help.


11/29/06, 1:30 AM  
Blogger speak no EVIL! said...

i hear u can get delirium out there.

11/29/06, 1:33 AM  
Blogger kasandra said...

Las imagenes de tu espacio me encantaron. Desgraciadamente no hablo ni gota de inglés :)

Pero quería dejarte un saludo desde Spain ;)

One Kiss

11/29/06, 10:44 AM  
Blogger H said...

Those pictures of ice are glorious. Grim and dreary as it may be outside over here, these pictures brightened my morning.

11/29/06, 11:35 AM  
Blogger ilkayn said...


11/29/06, 11:58 AM  
Blogger ilkayn said...


11/29/06, 11:59 AM  
Blogger Andrea Gerak said...

Wow, fantastic pics! It must be very interesting to spend some time at a place where everyday human beings would never go. Congrats to your work and thanks for sharing!!

11/29/06, 12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your lives with your viewers and posting such beautiful photos. Our planet is a wonderful construction, if only people would realize that. May the Antarctic remain pristine forever...
I envy you your life-changing experience there.

11/29/06, 5:48 PM  
Blogger Forty_Two said...

Antarctic polar bears?

It's easy to get confused and forget what pole you're on.

Beautiful pictures. I'm a third shift guy. Tell me about everyone's sleeping habits during the summer.

11/30/06, 12:09 PM  
Blogger TuxBaby said...

What a spectacular series of photos! We just got snow last night... but NOTHING like what scenery you get to see!

Keep 'em coming. I'm enjoying every single moment...


11/30/06, 1:03 PM  
Blogger romanowski said...

The pictures are beautiful! It makes me want to go. It sounds adventurous. Great shots!!

11/30/06, 8:34 PM  
Blogger Rambling Rose said...

What amazing pictures. The shapes and colours of the ice look magnificent.
Thank you for sharing these and your experiences with us.
I am looking forward to seeing and hearing more in the future.

11/30/06, 11:08 PM  
Blogger Zana said...

Wow, what lovely pictures!!
thank you for sharing!

12/1/06, 1:10 PM  
Anonymous catnapping said...

Positively breathtaking photographs!

I had to right-click the one of the "underwater battuto." Stunning.

Thank you for the time you've put into this.

12/2/06, 10:07 PM  

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