Full Frame: The Story Behind the Image


© Blaine Harrington

Ice Breaker
Photographing the ice caves underneath the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Alaska, can be a challenge. First of all, the caves, while beautiful, are a treacherous place to shoot. “There is danger involved in going inside, particularly at the entrance, as ice falls regularly and the caves are sometimes closed and some become impassible,” photographer Blaine Harrington explains.

To safely navigate the caves, Harrington relied on a mountain guide who, as it turns out, also became the model for this spectacular shot. “The images from the cave that contain people are much more interesting, I think, as it gives the size of the cave scale and also gives it story value,” Harrington says. “I aimed the guide at the entrance to the cave where very faint light was coming in. That, along with the dim light coming through the ice from above, was the only light source. To the naked eye, it was almost pitch black in there.”

He captured the image with a Nikon D810 and an AF Fisheye-Nikkor 16mm f/2.8 lens shot wide open at ISO 16,000, 1/80 second. “This is one of the reasons I bought the Nikon D810, its ability to shoot high-quality images in very low light with high ISOs.” You can see more of Harrington’s work at blaineharrington.com.