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'Ice Bow' by Jennie Jiang: the story behind this unique shot

by Editor Radu Rad 
Published the 9th of April 2020

This exceptional image surely is an eye catcher and triggered a lot of member about how and where it was taken.
  Author and 1x member Jennie Jiang  was so kind to tell us about the location, the extreme weather conditions.  She explains how it was taken, and the different steps she took from the moment she clicked till the finale edition.

‘Ice Bow’ by Jennie Jiang


Dear Jenny, can you tell us how you choose this location and some more information about this amazing place? Please include here also the planning you did for “Ice Bow”.
Crystal icy lakes and white snow mountains have been in my dreams all the time, even though I live in sunny California for many years. I have visited Banff in the past for its mysterious beauty and hidden splendid views, and have been lucky during my previous trips to bring back some wonderful pictures and unique experiences.

I went to Banff this winter to look for something new in extreme cold weather.
I planned to shoot  some stunning snow scapes, and was rewarded with this unexpected sun halo.
Sun halo is caused by the refraction, reflection, and dispersion of light through ice particles suspended within thin, wispy, high altitude cirrus or cirrostratus clouds. As light passes through these hexagon-shaped ice crystals - it is bent at a 22° angle - creating a circular halo around the sun. It can only be seen in extreme cold weather when ice crystals fill the air.

It was the very first time I could witness a sun halo and was totally shocked by its breathtaking beauty.

What makes it so difficult to shoot in such extreme conditions?
The extreme cold weather was far beyond my expectation and imagination. -42°F was a huge challenge to me and to my camera. When taking the camera out of the bag, the LCD screen  turns off in a couple minutes, even with warm patches on it. Luckily the camera was still working but is was not easy to without the LCD  and I could only shoot based on my past experiences.

What drives you to explore such locations and what do you want to transmit the viewer through your work?The abundance of snow that results in beautiful, snowy mountains and trees, and the low temperatures which provide unique displays in the atmosphere due to steam rising from the unfrozen springs on the feet of the mountains are what motivates me to explore and capture these beautiful moments in nature.  This means that we will have to  experience extreme cold weather conditions to be able to capture exceptional and unique.

That morning when we drove to Tangle Ridge, we were greeted by this amazing sun halo. We stopped immediately and explored surroundings to find the best composition. I love all the elements in this shot:  the crystal sun light sparks on the mountain ridge, the  well-proportioned display of the trees, the shadows with a leading-line to the centre of the halo, the fog engulfing along the mountains, the tiny snow crystals reflecting the morning sunshine. All these elements together resulted into this harmonious beautiful scene.

As a landscape photographer, what is the greatest challenge you face today?
It is getting harder and harder to find a unique photography spot for landscape photographers. The most popular spots have been photographed so many time from different angles, and there are so plenty of excellent images on the internet. It is a huge challenge for me, as well as for all photographers, to get a unique image with strong visual effect.

Can you tell us some more about the post-processing of this image.
I took a set of photos with trees on the foreground, and finally choose the one with the most layers of trees. The shadow of the trees leads the viewer's eye both sides, left as well right, to the sun rays.  While editing this image, I accentuated the faint radioactive white clouds in the sky by increasing the contrasts and enhanced the light and dark parts as well as the textures.  I also sharpened the snow on the ground and created a stronger contrast between the foreground and the fog on the foot of the mountain.

Thank you very much Jennie for sharing the details of the story behind this fabulous image.


Thanks Yvette and Radu !
Thank you for sharing, Yvette and Jenny! Awesome work!
Thanks, Chao Feng ;-)
Thanks, Chao !
Thanks Yvette and congrats Jenny ++
Thank you too, Larry!
Thanks you Larry !
I served in the army in a place where the temperature reached -45 degrees and I understand what real cold is. Fantastic shot, and you Jenny a fantastic woman. For the sake of such a picture, it was worth shooting at -42. Thanks for sharing Jenny ! Special thanks to Yvette!
Thanks for your appreciation, Vlad!
Thanks Vladimir ! Thanks Yvette !