Critique Wanted What should I have done?


Jan 31, 2012
Talkeetnai, AK
I took this photo today. Light was bad out I know, but there was a lot of little reflections I could see off of the ice crystals up inside the bowl underneath. I tried auto, with and without a flash, macro settings and changing white balance and shutter speeds. Never could get the camera to see what I was seeing and show up on the camera. Ended up could barely even tell there is a bowl, much less any reflections. Left a little frustrated. Camera was the E-420, lens was Olympus 14-42. What should I have done to get more clarity and definition off of this ice?



Bring Jack back!
Jan 11, 2011
Houston, Texas
Good question. Ice doesn't have much contrast, so I think it's hard to get more definition when ice is all the same color. I hope some more knowledgeable photographers will chime in. But perhaps try spot metering on the ice next time. Also increase the clarity slider if you any post processing.


Aug 30, 2010
I would have tried under exposing and over exposing a lot. Also i notice that the plane of focus is on the near side of the wood . Manual focusing so that the inside of the snow ball might have helped.

Of course you may have already tried both of these things?


Jan 31, 2012
Talkeetnai, AK
Actually, I did not try those. I am just beginning, so most of what i do is auto, including focus. But I can see, now that you mention it, that if I had manually focused on the spot I was having trouble with, it probably would have helped. I suppose there was nothing defined enough in the ice for the camera to pick up there in auto focus, so it went automatically to the wood? Does it work that way?


Jul 15, 2010
your shot is slightly underexposed, the meter in your camera is trying to turn the world it sees into 18% grey, so when you point it at a white object (like ice or snow) it is going to give the exposure to turn it gray, you need to use your exposure comp control and push it toward + or overexposure maybe +1 or +.7
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Jul 7, 2010
betwixt and between
The autofocus is not so much the problem and the auto exposure, as Bob has explained.

Learning how to use your camera to expose properly is going to be the most important thing. Generally auto focus can work very well. If you have a book that addresses this, that's a great place to start. However, there is an excellent thread over on our sister site Mu43 called A primer on Aperture, f stops, ISO and EV compensation which I think you'll find very helpful to read through. I thought I'd given a link to this thread over here on SC but couldn't seem to find it. Do take a read through and please ask any questions at any time. It's a learning experience and it takes time but you're on your way!

Jock Elliott

Hall of Famer
Jan 3, 2012
Troy, NY
I don't know if you use any kind of post processing software, but I think increasing the contrast and bumping up the sharpness a bit would help the ice crystals to pop out more.

I am a really newbie at improving digital photos after they are taken, but Picasa is a free download from Google and has helped some of my photos.

Cheers, Jock


Hall of Famer
Aug 25, 2010
S W France
Things to try

Focus - what f stop did you use - looks like you were towards the wide end - so not much DOF even on the snow/ice

(try a higher fstop - say f8 ish - but then you may loose the background blurr - but I doubt it as it looks some distance away)

what area focus did you use - how many points? - use maybe 9 or similar and focus on the ice, (the top bit)

what did you focus on - the post

Exposure - if you over expose, (but only slightly with snow), you can bring the detail back in LR or similar

If you want to start with as much info as possible in the image, (so that the PP programs have something to work with), shoot in RAW and (most of the time) over expose

If you use centre weighted metering on your focus point it may help to bring out (any) contrast

If you have a focus and exposure "lock" - use that once you have the shot

also the EXIF data will help


Hall of Famer
Dec 6, 2011
f11 - f16 to get better dof on both the upright of the fence as well as the ice simultaneously. You're underexposed but that can be handled in post processing, better under than too far over. If you want to keep your bokeh just make sure there is distance between your subject and the background-- or you can try f8 and vary background distance. Just make sure to focus on the snow, it looks like you are centered on the fence post.

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