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Question:Advice regarding taking photos over frozen surface?

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stevie asked on December 19, 2016 21:00
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What I want to do or know

Experimenting with using a trail camera to capture photos of a wetland where a frac sand mine is going to be coming in. Looking for advice on taking photos over a frozen surface. Anyone have ideas on how best to do this? Has anyone handled glare, or frozen conditions or have ideas about it?



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3 Comments

xose 11 months ago

Hi stevie!! Cool experiment!
In relation to white or high reflecting surfaces It's important to have in mind that reflected light meters are calibrated to measure between a 12 and 18% of grey so usually snow or frozen surfaces photographed become grey and not white. The lightometer "thinks" there's more light than the light that really is been reflected (because of the high reflection of the surface) and takes the picture a little bit underexposed. It's important in these cases to overexpose a little bit the picture so the frozen surface gets it's real white color.

Thinking about the temperature I've remembered the work of the friends of ASHAB Asturias High Altitude Balloning. They launched a Soyouz replica with a ballon to 35km of altitude. The capsule is made of expanded poliestirene covered with a cheap golden termal tissue and reached the 35km with an inside temperature of 20º celsius . Maybe you can make some kind of enclosure to keep the temperature of the trail camera. Maybe your camera can reach really low temperatures and this is unnnecesary... anyway keep us informed ;D

cfastie 11 months ago

Hi Stevie,

@xose is right about snow and ice making exposure tricky. The glare from an ice surface can also be a problem with exposure, but that will be major issue only when the camera is pointed toward the sun. If possible, the camera should be set up to the south of the subject so the sun is behind the camera most of the time. If that is not possible, it will be hard to ensure that photos taken into the sun will capture much useful information. This is an even greater issue in winter when the sun is low and might be captured in the photo frame causing lens flare in addition to under exposure of everything else in the scene.

As soon as snow covers the frozen water, glare will not be a problem, and the exposure issues that Xose described will be more important. If glare from an ice surface is a persistent issue, a polarizing filter in front of the lens can eliminate it completely.

Chris

stevie 11 months ago

Hi, This is great! Really helpful, we'll be sure to post back about it. @marlokeno can you loop in with Dwight about this thread? think he'd find it helpful!

-Stevie

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2 Answers

(I'm reposting this as an "Answer" because a bug is preventing "Comments" from displaying sometimes.)

Hi Stevie,

@xose is right about snow and ice making exposure tricky. The glare from an ice surface can also be a problem with exposure, but that will be major issue only when the camera is pointed toward the sun. If possible, the camera should be set up to the south of the subject so the sun is behind the camera most of the time. If that is not possible, it will be hard to ensure that photos taken into the sun will capture much useful information. This is an even greater issue in winter when the sun is low and might be captured in the photo frame causing lens flare in addition to under exposure of everything else in the scene.

As soon as snow covers the frozen water, glare will not be a problem, and the exposure issues that Xose described will be more important. If glare from an ice surface is a persistent issue, a polarizing filter in front of the lens can eliminate it completely.

Chris


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McKeesey-marsh--2013.JPG

My first suggestion is to photograph on a cloudy day. Compensating for the sun is difficult. A polarizing filter helps, as does a uv filter, but I don't know if filters fit on the trail camera. And take a lot of photos, because most will be bad. Best pics to take, for the start, are through clear ice showing the original condition of the wetland. I'd say, take lots of before pictures. Focusing through ice is also a problem. Here are 2 pictures I took of McKeesey marsh in 2013 to document a sand mine choking it with sand. In the first one, I crawled in a culvert to find clear ice and get out of the sun. Picture 2 is my bootprint in the swamp. I wish I'd taken more that day, as so many came out badly from glare and focus problems. #fracsand, #trailcam, #wetland, #photography, #water-quality

[footprint-sand-M.marsh-2013.JPG] (https://publiclab.org/system/images/photos/000/019/127/original/footprint-sand-M.marsh-2013.JPG)


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