Photo Tip Series – How to Photograph the ICE! Exhibit at Gaylord Palms


2017 ICE at Gaylord Palms DSC_0025_MODPhoto courtesy by

Written by Nathan Wertheimer

The next Photo Tip Series I will be writing about is how to photograph the ICE! Exhibit at Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee, Florida. This is an advanced topic for serious photographers. If you want to get postcard perfect photos one will need to bring a lot equipment and gear. This venue takes place every year from November through early January. Ticket prices may vary. There are no photo/video restrictions at this ICE! Exhibit.

Let me warn you that the ICE! Exhibit is 9 degree cold when photographing the various Christmas themed ice sculptures. As a photographer, you might encounter problems while photographing this task. Don’t worry and I will guide you to having a successful photo outing.

The first part is planning. For any photo assignments one must prepare for field conditions and ready their photo gear. Make sure you charge all of your camera batteries. Low to dead batteries are not good in the cold. Next, get a steady tripod so your composition will be level and not lop-sided. Then you’ll also need a cable release to your camera. This will help you in low light situations where you can use available light only without shacking the camera. Don’t forget to bring a soft lens cloth to wipe away in condensation on the lens. I guarantee you’ll need the lens cloth.

2017 ICE at Gaylord Palms DSC_0032_MODPhoto courtesy by

To make yourself comfortable inside the ICE! Exhibit, I recommend bring your own heavy-duty winter jacket, a ski mask or knit cap, winter gloves. This venue provides light blue winter coats to attendees to borrow if you forget your winter jacket at home. Extra layers of clothing maybe needed if you’re a cold person.

Before entering the ICE! Exhibit displays, one will see a brief movie, and a lecture on the does and don’ts of this attraction. The best time to photograph the ice displays is not at the peak times in the middle of the day. There will be too many people around to capture the best aspect of the ice piece. Usually, the best times to photograph the displays are during the first and last hours of the exhibit of the day. The weekends are busier than the weekdays. Make sure you time it just right. This is up to you.

2017 ICE at Gaylord Palms DSC_0167_-MODPhoto courtesy by

While in the ICE! Exhibit you will encounter many people in blue winter coats. Just be patient while people keep viewing the ice displays. Eventually they will move on to the next ice display. Also, be courteous to other photographers as well. Everyone wants to capture the best photos.

You might be wondering what are my camera settings for the day I was there. My camera set at ISO 4000. I would not recommend cranking it up to the top because you may start to get a lot of grain. Next, keep the auto focus active on your camera because one will have a hard time trying to manual focus it on the ice display. For the aperture I prefer f8 – f16. Most of my photos were taken at aperture f8. The shutter speed will depend on your aperture setting. As a rule of dumb, keep the camera meter in the middle on anything that is white. One needs to have a balance of both white and black tones. Take multiple frames of the ice display while bracketing your shutter speed. Because the ice is glass-like one will not want to use a flash. A flash will bounce a lot of light around the subject and be very reflective too. Plus, you may have blown out photos too.

As I mentioned earlier you might run into problems. This is to be expected. About halfway through my time, my camera lens started getting condensation on it. To fix this gently wipe away the condensation with a soft lens cloth. The viewfinder too make get fogged and or hit with condensation too. Also, when viewing your photos through the back video display on the camera you might find the photos are out of focus with condensation. Make you check your photos outside of the exhibit because you may have to return to get a better photo of that ice display.

If you get too cold inside this attraction please exit the exhibit to warm up then return when you’re able too. Most people will spend approximately 15-30 minutes inside the ICE! Exhibit. At the end of your time, one will be amazed of the wonderful ice sculptures.

When you get home or back to the hotel room, you will want to post production of your photos. Don’t be surprised that you’ll have many good ones to pick from. Some of the photos might need to be sharpened and color corrected. This is a given. When finished post production please post your very best photos on your social media account. The ICE! Exhibit at Gaylord Palms post a new hash tag each year. This year’s hash tag for 2017 is #cagp17 . Next year just change the last two digits to current year.

Good Luck with capturing the best photos from this assignment. Please check out my other Photo Tip Series advice at . If you like this article, then like it on our Otownfun WordPress account. Also, join to be one of our followers at otownfun on WordPress. For more great events, places, and articles, please visit us out at

Note: All written content and images are copy righted by either by the person and or company who wrote and photograph published for this article. No duplication and or republishing of this article without the consent of Otownfun. Any questions please contact . ©2017

Note: Nathan Wertheimer is a Freelance Photojournalist for



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