the ice dragon

dragon ice sculpture with blue lighting
a blue version of the ice dragon (image reversed)
Initially, this ice sculpture was done for my commercial site: ice dragon ice sculptures. So a lot of time went into designing, carving, and photographing this sculpture. The project turned out to be a wonderful learning opportunity as I figured out how to get the level of detail and surface treatment that I wanted for my dragon. I also learned a lot of ways NOT to photograph an ice sculpture. This sculpture stayed in the freezer for quite a while with the intention of getting more pictures of it. In the end, though, the dragon was slain by the hot New Orleans summer and a lack of electricity.

multi-colored dragon ice sculpture

a multi-colored version of the ice sculpture

closeup view of the dragon ice sculpture

a closeup photo of the ice dragon's head and jaw

the incomplete dragon ice sculpture with a template still applied

the dragon partly sculpted, with the template still applied

dragon ice sculpture with red lighting

a predominantly red version of the sculpture, with a right claw

In some of the secrets blog entries on the site, I go into some of the details of photographing ice sculptures, but this sculpture represented a milestone in my photography education. Some of the early photos that I took of the sculpture were really bad, especially compared to what I got later. To get my photos, I used an early Canon digital SLR, the D50. I didn't use any flash and, of course, that meant I had to use a tripod for the required long exposures in the largely dark freezer. (I had to take some precautions to protect my camera from the cold also.) Lighting the sculpture was challenging, but it helped that the sculpture's surface was polished so that it would catch the lighting better.

The dragon’s last days were spent keeping some friends’ various perishables cold while they decided whether or not to stay in New Orleans in the days after the storm. We left before the storm hit and thought they were crazy for staying. (There was no room for the dragon in the truck.) The photos shown have received light touchups, but the shape of the sculpture itself hasn’t been altered, aside from reversing the image in the blue dragon photo. Different lighting combinations make for the color changes. The secrets blog entry for this sculpture gallery is here.

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