Home Cameras/Lenses Nikon Jack Frost on a Manfrotto focus rail at the crack of dawn

Jack Frost on a Manfrotto focus rail at the crack of dawn


Hmmm, I thought, nice frost shot when Andy Sands at Chiswick Camera Centre showed me his latest creations. He’d been out and about at the crack of dawn one frosty morn with a good pair of gloves and a warm hat. What better time to catch the frost with a bit of jiggery pokery thrown in?

You’re unlikely to produce photographs like these without some jiggery pokery, it has to be said. Andy, who is a noted wild-life photographer specialising in birds, by the way, had a whole raft of gear to help the process along.

These are full-frame shot, taken with a Nikon D810 and the Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G VR Micro. That’s a base outfit of around £3,000 for starters. Then there’s a Gitzo Explorer tripod and a Manfrotto focus rail, not to mention a warm coat, and you’re in business.

As you can imagine from the results, this wasn’t a quick snap, snap snap sort of job. All these pictures were shot in RAW, each photograph based on twenty separate exposures while moving the camera forward on the rail about 0.5mm at a time. Processing was done in Lightroom and the shots were then combined using Zarene Stacker. Finally, Andy made final level adjustments in Photoshop.

Says Andy: “You need high pressure with low winds and clear skies. Hoar frost forms in the same way as dew and early morning is best before it melts. Mind you, up and about on a cold morning isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.”

So there you have it. If you fancy trying your hand at this sort of shot you can get all the equipment from Andy’s Chiswick Camera Centre. In addition to being a Nikon Pro store, CCC are also main agents for Fuji and Olympus and have a high level of personal service to offer. It’s something you don’t get from eBay.



  1. Thanks for showing these, Mike, and hat off to their originator! Clearly such perfection doesn’t come cheap in cash or time or technique – but beautiful and worth it.

  2. Wonderful – shows what patience and well-earned expertise can produce. On a related nots, are there any pitfalls to using one’s camera in sub zero temperatures for an extended period of time other than battery drain ?

    • Thanks, Michael. No problems that I can report, battery does drain slightly faster but with an SLR it’s no great problem as battery life is far better than mirrorless.

  3. These are superb photos -full marks to Andy for his personal skill and for showing what modern gear is capable of producing.
    With all the fantastic gear we have nowadays it’s disappointing that so many of the photos we churn out are so well ordinary and could in many cases have been taken with the cameras we had 50 years ago.
    Last night I was looking at book of 1960s motor racing photos by Jesse Alexander, one of the great motor sport photographers,mainly taken with a Leica M3 or a Rolleiflex and I found myself thinking that most of us would be hard pressed to even approach the standard he achieved in his photos with all our auto everything cameras.
    Mike, please let’s have more brilliant photography like this on the blog showing what modern gear can really do.


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