Recently, somebody asked me how I created the pictures of my Ice Entities series. In this post, I’d like to address this question, even though technically, the process is not too exciting. I edited most of the images in Adobe Lightroom only, using its various local adjustment tools to pull off what is usually referred to as dodging and burning.
The original photograph
As you can see, the original photograph is already black&white and square format to begin with.
I used the Monochrome Setting of my Nikon Z6. The camera still shoots RAW images, and upon import in Lightroom, the necessary adjustments are applied to approximate the look of the camera’s monochrome settings. I could take them back to color in Lightroom, but why would anybody want that?
Ice Entities – Step by step
To give you a feeling for how I proceeded in post-processing, I recorded a short video that walks you through all the steps via the History panel in Lightroom. Apart from the basic global settings and the vignette, I only used the Brush and the Radial Filter for my local adjustments. All I did was darken certain parts of the image and highlight others. No pixels were moved or erased, except for applying a crop. I won’t go into technical detail about the tool settings as there are countless free videos on YouTube about this already. Just search for “Dodging and burning in Lightroom,” and off you go. As for the creative process, however, it is worth noting that I didn’t have any predefined course of action at any time. Instead, I decided again and again after each step which area of the image needed fixing or enhancing. Also, in many cases, I didn’t do it in one session. More often than not, I had to put the photo aside for a couple of days before I could see the next necessary step.
Now, enjoy this short video if you like.
Ice Entities #15
There is one image in the series, where I did move and even duplicate pixels to get to the final image. It’s Ice Entities #15.
As you can see above, there is only one of these mole-like beings in the original photo. So, in Photoshop, I duplicated them several times and transformed and resized each copy slightly, thus introducing some degree of variation in size and shape. I then arranged them in two lines, as you can see in the photo below.
As you can see, creating images like these is not too much of a technical challenge. If you know how to dodge and burn in the editing application of your choice and have some degree of imagination, you can pull it off, too.
So, why don’t you try and share a link to your efforts in the comments below? You don’t need to wait until the next winter. As you can see in my Wax series, there are plenty of materials that offer similar photographic opportunities. Happy exploring.