ON1 Inspiration — Episode 8: Working The Abstracts

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Of all the places I’ve photographed and all the extreme weather conditions I’ve been in, I never would have guessed that one of the most challenging locales to create photos in would be an ice cave in Iceland. I had the good fortune to photograph a handful of ice caves during my very first trip there and, next to seeing the northern lights for the first time, this was something I was most excited for.

What I didn’t expect was the immense challenge of finding a strong composition in a confined space that has so much complexity to it. You wouldn’t necessarily think that an ice cave would be very complex. It’s just a huge open pocket surrounded by hundreds of feet of frozen ice. But it was challenging… exceptionally so for me. I had my moments of frustration because I kept trying to find a photo that encapsulated the entirety of the place and that was my problem.

It wasn’t until I allowed myself to forget about the wide shots that I really found my groove. I packed away my ultra-wide angle lens and used my telephoto zoom instead. Instantly, I started seeing all the possibilities simply by focusing on the intricacies of the abstracts. When you look at the wall of an ice cave up close, you see frozen liquid poetry. It’s unreal and it was a huge moment in my photo career because that lesson has saved me from many more subsequent frustrations. I only hope it helps you, too!

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