Photo Shock: Lighting A Vehicle From Beneath The Ice Of Frozen Lake Baikal

A Russian photographer looking for an innovative new way of lighting his automotive subject decided to illuminate the vehicle from beneath... and by beneath, we mean under the yard-thick ice of frozen-over Lake Baikal.

Lake Baikal, located  in southern Siberia, is the world's oldest, largest, deepest and clearest lake. When it ices over during the long and harsh Siberian winter, howling winds scour away surface snow leaving large patches of polished ice.

Nikolay Rybkov figured these patches of ice would be the ideal stage for some unusual automobile photography; all he needed was a car, the right lighting equipment, and tools able to puncture the lake's meter-thick ice cap.

Getting the car was easy enough – while a Chevrolet Cruze 1.4 turbo (sold in China, South Korea and Russia) is hardly exotic, the technique of photographing it was to be the star. Rybkov then set out to acquire lighting equipment, and not just ANY equipment would do.

It had to be waterproof, first of all, and powerful to boot. After a difficult search, he was able to purchase a Chinese-made MagicShine MJ-810B light rated at 1000Lm along with soft-focus and orange filters. The latter would be employed to make daylight shots appear as if they were taken by night.

Upon arrival at an ideal spot, Rybkov was faced with his next challenge. While a yard of solid ice was a must (a car was to be driven onto it and parked), getting through the cap was required to facilitate the under-lighting.

The ice screws Rybkov brought weren't up to the task. Luckily, some local ice fisherman lent Rybkov their tools and after considerable effort, several access holes were dug.

The final part of preparation was to splash water on the ice to repair damage caused by the fishermen's spiked boots. As can be seen, the results appear both beautiful and unusual, mainly because lighting the vehicle from beneath means no shadows are cast on the ice from above. (via Nikolay Rykov/Nikolapic)