Ice axe on ice

Ever since I saw Lake Champlain in Burlington, VT freeze over perfectly clear I have wanted to shoot a product through the ice.

Air bubbles frozen on Lake Champlain

Air bubbles frozen on Lake Champlain

Ice fractures from expanding and contracting

Ice fractures from expanding and contracting

Clear ice cube from the lake

Clear ice cube from the lake

After some research online, I found that to get clear ice you want the water to freeze from the top down, forcing the cloudy ice (think of an ice cube) lower. I grabbed the largest rubbermaid bin I owned and filled it with 8 inches of water and left it outside uncovered waited for it to freeze. After a week of mild temperatures, Burlington finally had a string of days below 32 degrees and was able to get a slab of ice 3 inches thick.  

My slab of ice

My slab of ice

My hand looking through the clear ice

My hand looking through the clear ice

An ice axe on ice seemed logical to shoot, and my friend just got a new pair. I laid down a contractor trash bag to catch the melting ice and got my lights ready to go before bringing the slab of ice inside. Working quickly, I was able to capture 4 images before the melting ice started to take over my living room! 

Behind the scenes I used 4 flashes. 2 flashes for lighting up the ice, while the other 2 flashes and white cards light the ice axe.

Behind the scenes I used 4 flashes. 2 flashes for lighting up the ice, while the other 2 flashes and white cards light the ice axe.

Cassin ice axe photographed through the ice.

Cassin ice axe photographed through the ice.

I used blue fabric behind the ice to mimic that glacier blue ice. 

I used blue fabric behind the ice to mimic that glacier blue ice. 

Detail of the ice axe striking the ice. 

Detail of the ice axe striking the ice. 

Behind the scenes look at the ice axe propped.

Behind the scenes look at the ice axe propped.

Ice axe laying on top of the ice slab. 2 flashes were used to light the ice from below while an additional 2 flashes lit the ice axe.

Ice axe laying on top of the ice slab. 2 flashes were used to light the ice from below while an additional 2 flashes lit the ice axe.

Before breaking down the set you gotta take a selfie! 

This was a fun experiment and I am already thinking of all the different backdrops and surfaces I can use ice in for other projects.