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Ice Hole Fishing

I was at the right place at the right time, somewhere on the frozen Saint Lawrence River, between Canada and the United States. I had been exploring the area and noticed people heading onto the ice to fish. Some had ATVs while others dragged shacks on sleds. I was very interested in what I would find out on the ice; it was a unique opportunity and a very unusual landscape for me.

I ordinarily carry a lot of equipment in my truck for various situations and to work on the ice I grabbed my ice cleats. The cleats gave me stability and grip on the ice or slippery trails. I packed a couple of wide-angle lenses and my Hasselblad 100mm lens. I also took a few batteries because the cold drains them rapidly. I was heavily loaded up plus the tripod.

You would think a frozen river would be frozen, however, it's very wet. It did not take long for the cold to zap me, however, I was enjoying myself too much to care. At first, I stayed away from the people who were fishing because I didn't want to bother them and making photographs of people is not generally my thing. A person alone is rarely enough of a subject for my taste. However, when I met up with this young man, I was inspired by how his presence and chair altered the stark landscape.

I asked if I could photograph him while ice fishing and he said he did not mind. I switched to my Hasselblad 35mm lens, which is extremely close to my natural perspective, and I began making exposures. I worked on my tripod but I kept the ball head loose so I could easily reposition the camera. I also added 2.0 EV to my exposure to account for the brightness of the ice and fog.

Had I not explored the ice and put myself into a new environment, I would never have created this photograph in which I juxtapose the cold stark desolate landscape with the colorful chair and boy ice fishing.


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