Photographing Ice - Removing Glare

Photographing patterns found in ice can be both rewarding and frustrating. One of the most frequent problems I encounter is reflections of the sky reducing the visibility of these patterns. Often times it will give images a soft, cool feeling that can be quite effective. However, in many situations, I wish to remove the glare and let the patterns of the ice shine through boldly. When I first began photographing ice this late fall, my first reaction was to use a polarizer to reduce the reflections. I quickly found out that a polarizer will usually have some effect, but never to the degree that I wished - there would almost always be stray reflections here and there that I simply could not eliminate. After struggling for some time, I realized that I could simply block the reflections of the sky with my body... and in doing so I had much success. All was not perfect, however. Trying to hold an awkward position for 5+ seconds while kneeling on ice was difficult at best! Enter the jacket. By draping my jacket over my entire tripod, I am able to eliminate all reflections quickly, easily, and with more strength than any polarizer ever could. Additionally, I soon plan on purchasing a 4 ft. x 4 ft. piece of black cloth to fold up and put in my backpack that will be even easier to use than my jacket. If you plan on using this technique, keep in mind that you will lose some light when placing the cloth over the tripod - so adjust your exposure accordingly. Below you will see an example of the technique. Before:

Ice Abstract, Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville, Virginia

After:

Ice Abstract, Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville, Virginia