The Crystal Maw by alexnoriega

This is an updated process of one of my favorite images, originally posted early this year. Better clarity, punchier highlights, more shadow detail, MUCH less blue saturation, a more appealing hue, and a slight crop to this rendition. It’s closer to reality, while being in line with the vision I had for the shot. I’ve been slowly revising it over the past seven months or so, and I think it’s finally dialed. I guess something about winter in Minneapolis must have made me unable to see the ridiculous colors of a few images I put out around that time. Below is the text that accompanied my original post.


Wisconsin’s Lake Superior ice caves require walking across a couple miles of lake ice to reach. Luckily for me, I chose to live in the Midwest the first winter they’ve been accessible since 2009. I missed a couple of rare freezes in the northwest while I was gone, but I gained this in exchange – and it’s exactly the type of ice image I’ve longed for.

This image has a short story to accompany it. The formations you see at the top, framing the image, are maybe 3 feet off the icy floor. I went on a day that was relatively warm (+25F), and the floor was turning to supercooled slush farther into the cave. I had to lie down/crawl around in it for almost an hour to compose this image. When I stood up after shooting, I panicked.

I COULD NOT FEEL MY BUTT. This wasn’t the numbness I had experienced growing up snowboarding, sledding, and playing in the snow. This was much worse. Was my butt frostbitten? Would it become necrotic and fall off in a couple days? Had I just sacrificed my gluteus for a single image? Is any image worth losing a butt over? I awkwardly hobbled the two miles back to my car, and didn’t feel a single thing until I was on the road home.

I’m still worried my butt is going to fall off, guys.

I’m scared.

Now, contrary to what might be suggested by what you’ve just read, I can assure you I am capable of acting in a professional manner. Along those lines, if you like the way my images look, you may be interested in knowing I teach my processing workflow over Skype! Please visit my website for more information:

via 500px