Photography by J.D. Magers

On1 Processing For a Very Cold Image

Added on by J.D. Magers.

On Friday morning, I drove over the South Platte River to run an errand.  It had been especially cold the night before, and the moisture from the river coated all the trees next to it with an awesome layer of hoar frost.  It was extremely pretty.  Of course, I didn't have my camera (when will I learn this lesson?!?), so I wasn't able to photograph it.  Friday was cold though, so I figured the frost would still be there on Saturday morning.  I got up, and with camera in hand, I drove back over to the river.  Nothing.  Apparently hoar frost doesn't stay around too long.  Oh well, I was out of the house, and that was good enough for me to try and make some images.  So I walked down to the edge of the main lake and saw a whole bunch of these little jagged icicles sitting on top of the frozen lake.  I spent about 15-20 minutes shooting these little intimate compositions.  This one here is one of my favorites:

Unprocessed image of frozen lake water at Adams County Regional Park, near the South Platte River.  Adams County, Colorado.

Unprocessed image of frozen lake water at Adams County Regional Park, near the South Platte River.  Adams County, Colorado.

Now let's look at how I processed it.  This image was taken around 09:00 in the morning, so the sun had already risen quite a bit. It was also over my right shoulder and slightly behind me.  In photographing scenes like this, it is important to get down low to avoid shooting down on the subject.  I try and shoot across the subject to show depth of field.  

The raw image is pretty flat, and there is not a lot of color in here.  My first thought was to try and convert this to black and white.  There is definitely potential here as a monochrome, but I decided to start out by conveying the feeling of exactly how cold it was when I was out shooting. It was around 25 degrees.  In Lightroom, I lowered the temperature slider down until I got a nice blue tone, and then adjusted the HSL blue sliders until I liked what I saw.  From there, I opened the image in On1 Effects.  

Since this is a photograph of ice, I wanted to bring out the texture that ice has.  The first preset I used was Dynamic Contrast.  This did a very nice job of bringing out the textural elements I was looking for.  Especially in that big air bubble towards the upper right.  I then added a Tone Enhancer layer to bring out the blue color a little bit more. Within the tone enhancer, I slightly lowered the brightness, and increased the Compression setting just a little bit.  The other sliders I didn't touch.  Lastly, I added a subtle vignette to finish off the image.  

The final image, processed using Lightroom and On1 software.

The final image, processed using Lightroom and On1 software.

I really like the way this image looks and think it's a nice way to start off 2016.  What drew me into this image is all of the circles, and the jagged edges of the frost on the surface.  I like how I processed the image too, but realize there might be some aspects that make it look a little off. I would love to hear what you think, so please let me know in the comments.  And, we'll see you on Wednesday.