Sandwiched by last week’s 10 degree wind and today’s freezing rain, yesterday brought beautiful weather. It was a great day to go take pictures, and it happily coincided with the “Ithaca Ice Wars Carving Competition” on the Commons (a stop on the NICA Tour of Champions!). How could I miss that? The competition started Friday evening and was set to go on through last night (Saturday) at 7. So, I decided that if I got down there late in the morning, I’d get good light *and* good parking. The problem with that reasoning was that when I got there, they hadn’t done much carving yet. No problem – I’d snap a few pictures and then run errands – but when I turned the camera on, I realized I had forgotten one of the first rules of digital photography. The display read:
So I ran the errands, had lunch, played with the dog, and headed back out. This time there was lots of activity, including a chowder contest, street musicians, a sale by local artists… and ice carvers getting their blocks of ice for the final 4 hour competition.
After making two trips and not seeing the intricately detailed sculptures that I had come out to see, I felt obligated to make a 3rd trip in the evening. It was well worth the effort. The completed works were beautiful, despite the glaring work lights and the chainsaws, torches and other machinery that were still in evidence.
I tried to read up on suggestions for good camera settings for ice carvings. All I found were articles on how difficult it was to capture the essence of the work, how beautiful the ice sculptures were, etc – not the hard numbers I wanted. So I winged it. For the evening photos, I set the ISO to 800, the shutter speed relatively low, and asked the lens to go as wide an aperture as possible. The full 15-picture album can be found here.