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What to get this shot?

Icicles are a wonder of nature. • Credit: Ethan Meleg
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What to get this shot?

Pro photographer Ethan Meleg tells you how.

Ethan loves to photograph icicles - a wonder of nature

Icicles, I just can’t get enough of them! They’re one of my favourite winter subjects to photograph and Ontario is a great place to find them.

Most of the icicles that I photograph are clinging to the rocks of the Niagara Escarpment or Canadian Shield. I search for them along rocky shorelines, roadsides and trails through rocky landscapes. Some of my best icicle photos have been taken on the limestone outcrops of the Niagara Escarpment along the Georgian Bay shoreline.

BLOG 1 - IndianHeadCove BPNP Winter EMELEG 0394Indian Head Cove, Bruce Peninsula

Knowing how and when the best icicles are formed will help you be out at the right places at the right time.  I stay tuned for the following conditions:

  1. Early winter storms with high winds cause waves to crash into rocky shorelines. If the air temperature is cold enough, when the water drips back down the rocks it can freeze into spectacular icicles along stretches of shoreline. If the weather remains cold, these icicles can last all winter.
  2. During late winter and early spring, warm days (above freezing) cause snow to melt. As the temperature drops below freezing overnight, the water drops freeze into long, dagger-like icicles clinging to rocky ledges and overhangs.

There are many artistic ways to photograph icicles, but my favourite approach is to get up close and personal with a wide-angle lens. I like how this exaggerates the perspective and gives a very intimate look at the icicle detail.  

BLOG 1 - HWLD BPNP Icicles EMELEG 6590

Safety is top consideration when going out into these icy conditions. I’ve wiped out on the ice a few times and nearly slipped into the lake (in which case, I wouldn’t be writing this now!). Wearing sturdy boots with strap on crampons for extra traction is the best way to avoid slipping. And most importantly, I always photograph with a buddy in case of an emergency.

I’m looking forward to another season of icicle photography here in Ontario. I’ll be watching the weather forecast for the ideal icicle conditions. See you out there on the trails, roadsides and shorelines! 

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