The Glassy Lake Near Antarctica

I’m in the middle of working on a full upgrade for the Stuck In Customs Textures Tutorial. I think it’s already very good (only had ONE return in over a year!), but I can do even better. I’ve learned a lot in the past 18 months about this stuff and the technique continues to evolve. As I am working through some new shots for the tutorial, I thought I would go ahead and post this one. It was taken late one afternoon near a glacial lake on the southern edge of Argentina.

We have put together a fair upgrade plan if you have purchased the current Textures Tutorial and you want to a new set of 50 Textures taken from secret locations along with the new video. I’m excited to get it out there… not sure how much longer it will take. I want to give it a professional touch. In the meantime, I wanted to share this one with you!

The Glassy Lake Near Antarctica

  • Jacksonian

    Is it just me or does this have a resemblance to the picture of that lake at the southern tip of South America that you posted a while back? Either way this is an incredible shot! The clouds/fog are in the perfect place. This makes me want to get out even more with my D5000 that I just picked up today. Job well done.

  • Magnificent photo, Trey. I love the suttle colors, a little pink in the clouds reflected in the water, and the stark mountains, also reflected in the lake. Summer is flying by here in Montana. Not ready for the cold weather, but then I never am 😉 . Have a great Wednesday, everyone!!!

  • It is going to be almost 100 degrees in Dallas today. This photograph will keep me feeling nice and cool! I hope you have a very nice week, and thank you again for sharing these wonderful pictures with everyone. They are truly appreciated!

  • casusan

    Wow beautiful Trey!! Love this shot!

  • Phil

    Hi Trey,

    Great capture as always!

    You’ve got me thinking about textures now! While I’ve seen some wonderful examples of the use of textures with photography, I’m surprised by how common it seems to be among HDR specialists, such as yourself.

    The beauty of HDR IMHO is the increased detail and dynamic range. All a texture seems to do is mask some of the detail, thereby negating some of the merit of HDR.

    What do you, and others think?

    Is there any chance you could post the original HDR image, before applying the texture, so I can compare the two?

    Thanks, and keep up the great work!


  • David Ingram


  • Thanks!

    Phil, I usually add textures when I “feel” like it. It’s hard to say… images are pretty before and after the texture. It’s like asking which of your two kids you like the most!

  • Nelson

    Hi Trey,
    I´m looking forward to an update of your textures tutorial, i bought it last week and i´m happy to get some new ideas.

    Can you please drop me a line when it is time to order your hdr-book from germany? I´m still hopping to get it as soon as possible!!!


  • Dear Trey

    Congrats on the excellent book!

    To continue our conversation from Flickr, I wanted to sent you a rough draft of ideas that are to appear in my upcoming HDR artice, which features your photograph. This is the text underneath the 6th picture in the article, your “A Razor to the Sky”, your HDR of Fitz Roy:

    [ 6) Photographer: Trey Ratcliffe. Image Above: A Razor to the Sky, © Trey Ratcliffe 2009, used by written permission. More at

    Mount Fitz Roy is a high peak between Chile and Argentina in Patagonia. It challenged Trey Ratcliffe to catch the dawn light while photographing in sub-freezing wind, without any sleep, and suffering from altitude sickness. Trekking in these conditions up to this granite spire shows, without doubt, an absolute fidelity to the medium of adventure photography. Like the native, first nation name of this mountain peak, “Smoking Mountain,” Ratcliffe’s career is also smoking, in the sense that his work output is on fire with a new book out called A World of HDR.

    We have mentioned the intent of the photographer towards their work. To extend this idea, I’d like to relate a story. When the Smithsonian Institute held a contest in 2009, they made a mistake in their Altered Images category, advertising it as accepting any digitally manipulated images. They asked Ratcliffe if his image had been altered. When he told them the truth, that he employed high dynamic range imaging, and clearly entered it into the Altered category with his technique in mind, they unfortunately disqualified his image. Mr. Ratcliffe’s low-key response was to write them, in support of difficult choices they faced in choosing winning images from so many entries. Sharing the story on his blog, Ratcliffe’s honesty and his ethics showed strength of character.

    Ratcliffe’s background is in art, and his blog and HDR work in the Smithsonian has developed a large following. Some of his images show a rebirth of what I call “Pictorial HDR.” Like the pictorial photography movement of 100 years ago, Pictorial HDR is emotive and atmospheric, and is influenced by the ways Impressionist painters evoked emotion through color science. Mr Ratcliffe says: “What feels right about Impressionism is what we discussed above. Impressionist images go deep into viewers’ brains and evoke memories of shared scenes and events. The memory is in fact an Impressionist playground of fleeting colors, shapes and edges. A face here, a blur there, a hint of something almost there, but not quite. Look at Monet’s work. Think about how the yellows of a sun in the distance is the same yellow as an up-close flower. But something about the colors makes the sun feel brighter than the flower.”

    It is helpful to think about the history of photography, and how painting and photography influenced each other, when seeing HDR images. The relationship between modern HDR work, and the Pictorial photography movement is this. The movement argued that photography should emulate painting and etching to become art, so that pictures with emotion and atmosphere would portray personal artistic expression. Pictorialists thought images with emotion were more interesting than photographs concerned only with realism. Pictorial photography was more like Impressionism in painting. This theme is echoed in an article by Trey Ratcliffe on making beautiful photographs. Not surprisingly, in photography we are again working in relationship to the painting of the past.

    Ideas of Impressionism in photography date to the 1880’s when Dr. Peter Henry Emerson championed a theory of vision. He believed the eye saw only a small portion of a scene. All else around this part appeared blurred. Emerson and his followers split the photo world into two schools. First, there were those who wanted everything tack sharp. Second, there was Emerson’s group, oft criticized for being “the fuzzy school.”

    While I agree with Ratcliffe that at times memory seems like a playground of colors and shapes, I believe that our memory, like our visual scanning, works in a much more active and dynamic way with complex links to our attentional process. We may also search for scenes to photograph in part because we are actively seeking out novel scenes that, only in part, are in harmony with our recorded personal experience. ]

    Warm regards

  • Jim – fantastic work – thank you – I am honored!

  • casusan

    Wow Jim – comprehensive and interesting – way to go! Am sure Trey appreciates you efforts!

  • Nelson – I think you’ll be able to get the book there with no problem… I’m waiting on more info from the publisher Peachpit / Pearson / New Riders

  • This is fabulous! I have to go put my mittens on now. btw, am I the only person who sees the face in the mountain keeping a watch over things?

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