Ice Fishing on Eagle Lake, Mount Desert Island

Posted by on Mar 1, 2014 in Event, Lifestyle, People

This morning the MDI Photo Club met on Eagle Lake to shoot and socialize (translation: take pictures and talk about photography). Located in Acadia National Park on Mount Desert island, this pristine body of water is nearly two miles long and about a half mile wide. This time of year its frozen surface hosts ice fisherman, cross-country skiers, and on this day, a dozen photographers eager to get a special shot that typifies winter in Maine. When we first arrived, only a few other brave souls were visible. This is what it looked like.

Eagle Lake Ice Fishing

As the morning went on, people came and left, but at any given moment the "crowd" was never much bigger than what you see in the picture above. My idea was to capture all the activity that occurred during the next few hours and create a photograph that compressed time by showing everything happening simultaneously. To do this, I set up a tripod on the north end of the lake and while facing south, shot a 180° panorama from east to west. That's what you see above. Then, with the camera still mounted on the tripod in the exact same location, I waited. Whenever I saw something interesting, I swung the camera around and took a picture. I did this until my feet were numb from the cold, and then I called it a day.

Back in my nice warm house, I picked the best images and overlayed them onto the panorama to create the composite image you see below. You can pan left or right by click-dragging, or by using the arrows at bottom center. If the pano doesn't look right, or does not pan smoothly and you are using Firefox on an older computer, please switch to another browser like Chrome or Safari. If you want to learn more about how I made this picture and what tools I used, read the explanation below. Otherwise, just enjoy!

This content requires HTML5/CSS3, WebGL, or Adobe Flash Player Version 9 or higher.

I shot with a Canon 5D3 and a Canon 70-200mm zoom at 100mm. For the base panorama (top picture above) I shot 27 frames and later stitched them together using PTGui. I shot about 100 additional frames of various activities and used 30 or so in the composite, giving each it's own layer in Photoshop. Because I shot all of the images from the same camera position, the activity layers blended easily with the base layer, however I did have to compensate for the change in exposure that occurred as the sun's position and intensity changed during the two hours I was shooting.

The final image was 30,000 pixels wide, but I reduced it to 5,000 for display on this blog post. I used Pano2VR to provide the panning capability. The problem with Firefox on older computers occurs because Firefox blacklists certain graphics card drivers that don't properly support WebGL. Though you can force Firefox to work with them anyway, it's easier to just use a different browser.

Was it a lot of work to make this image? Yes. Was it a lot of fun? Yes. Will I do it again? Definitely!