Thursday, 21 March 2013

2013 BP World Ice Art Championships (Fairbanks)

A little off topic for this blog but I'm sure everyone can appreciate the skill and creativity of the artists who produced the sculptures at the world championships this year. There are several categories and our visit coincided with the completion of both the single and multi block competitions. The youth competition was under way but the sculptures were incomplete and the amateurs were also in progress.  

Lighting is a major element in displaying the sculptures to their best particularly for photography. Our visit was in the evening and initially the daylight was too strong and the lighting was not adequate to show the sculptures at their best. By the time we got the single block area the natural light level was low enough for the lights to start having an effect. I shot all of the following hand held with my Canon 50D at ISO3200 using just the available light. I should really have utilised a tripod but time was limited on this visit. I tried flash but that just over powered the display lighting in the same way that the natural light did early on. This had the effect of losing some of the detail in the sculptures.    

The following images are from the single block competition, click the pictures for full size versions:


The above sculpture was incredible, as were many others, and the lighting really brought out the detail. The human figure is life size to give you some idea of scale.


Another jaw dropping sculpture. They weren't all fish, honest, but these 2 were exceptional and really helped by the lighting.


Not great lighting on this one but superb detail and just so life like. I shot this from various angles and have plumped for this one which is a bit of a compromise. Some angles show the rider better but this gives the best overall impression of the composition for me.

Fortunately we had a little extra time to revisit the multi block sculptures once the lighting had improved a bit.  The bear, below, was my favourite but I really struggled to find an angle that showed it at its best. I settled for the one below but really you just had to be there!



This skier sculpture was excellent with the trees looking just like snow covered pines and very realistic skiers. For scale the skiers were pretty much life size!


Another favourite of mine was this mountain goat sculpture. I loved the way the top goat was stepping off into space and the detail on the individual animals was fantastic. I wasn't happy with the photo but I couldn't find an angle to show it at it's best. I think it needed to be a little darker for the displaying lighting to have more effect.


I really loved this squirrel evading the attacking eagle, the detail was superb and it was another where the lighting really helped show more detail in the photograph although I think it is another where you really had to be there to appreciate it.

For anyone interested you can see all of the sculptures at the links below: