<<< o >>>the snow queen 61 comments + add yours

It's not often that I put up a shot that I'd like to be remembered by, but this may well turn out to be one of them. And as with yesterday's shot, this was taken outside our house as Rhowan and I waited for everyone else to get ready for a walk.

The original shot is here:


The post-processing was similar to yesterday's, insofar as I added some blur to the outer areas, but this one was processed in LAB Color mode (the topic of next month's tutorial), hence the unusual colouring. I may well include this in the LAB Color tutorial as it is a good example of how a LAB Curve can be used to dramatically change the colours and colour balance of a photograph.

Update: Paul left an interesting comment earlier when he said "If it wasn't for those 3 or 4 stray hairs over her eye I would rate this as your best", so here's another version, minus the stray hairs. If you'd like to see the slightly hairier version, it's here:


And on a totally different note …

You may well remember a spate of baby shots back in January of this year (this one, for example), that we were shooting for a book. The book – Baby Photography Now – has now been published and we should take delivery of 70 copies some time over the next few days. If you’re interested in buying a signed copy you can purchase one from our new ‘store’ page here:


1x1 + children [portraits] + photo friday
comment by Jennifer at 07:28 PM (GMT) on 26 November, 2007

Wow ..... If I hadn't already taken out subs to your fab tutorials this would certialnly have me reaching for my purse ;-)

comment by m at 07:31 PM (GMT) on 26 November, 2007

How long is it since I was last there? Fantastic shot. Like the original too

comment by alexandru savu at 07:55 PM (GMT) on 26 November, 2007

She's an adorable kid. Interesting post processing technique.

comment by Lew at 08:03 PM (GMT) on 26 November, 2007

So great ! I love this picture !

comment by thukai at 08:04 PM (GMT) on 26 November, 2007


comment by boje [ gonzo gallery ] at 08:07 PM (GMT) on 26 November, 2007

Nice one. The colours are, dare I say it, perfect... Have you softened/airbrushed her skin at all, or is it just an age thing? You get the feeling she's already learning the power of the gaze, or at least how to return it ;)

comment by Sam O'Hare at 08:07 PM (GMT) on 26 November, 2007

Very nice cool colour tones, smooth but keeping the detail. Well processed.

comment by djn1 at 08:13 PM (GMT) on 26 November, 2007

m: too long ;-)

boje: it's an age thing. As for "the gaze": she's a natural with the camera. I don't know how she does it - it's something I've never been able to do - but she can look straight through the camera as though it wasn't there.

comment by Alex at 08:31 PM (GMT) on 26 November, 2007

She is beautiful and has a rare intense look. Cool color tones really fit her well.
Great portrait.

comment by rambohoho at 09:18 PM (GMT) on 26 November, 2007

i like ur post processing. it makes a photo into art.

comment by Raymond at 09:25 PM (GMT) on 26 November, 2007

Vraiment excellent !!!

Remarque : une petite erreur sur votre nom dans la page "store" :
Baby Photography Now (by David J. Nightinagle)

comment by djn1 at 09:30 PM (GMT) on 26 November, 2007

Raymond: merci :-)

comment by Rose at 09:47 PM (GMT) on 26 November, 2007

She is perfect. Such a soft portrait! And the colour of her eyes maches that of the capuchon (don't know the word in English ;-)) Nice!

comment by Furanku at 10:05 PM (GMT) on 26 November, 2007

I will love the next tutorial !
I don't think you have to worry. This one will be remembered. Her gaze is so magnetic and the colours make her look so cold and majestic.

comment by Sean McCormick at 10:24 PM (GMT) on 26 November, 2007

I think you turned a snapshot into a masterpiece.

comment by Craig at 11:33 PM (GMT) on 26 November, 2007

Wow indeed!

I've been following your RSS feed for over a year and this is the most stunning shot I think I've seen. Beautiful!

comment by Paul at 11:36 PM (GMT) on 26 November, 2007

Very impressive PP work, one of my favourites of yours. If it wasn't for those 3 or 4 stray hairs over her eye I would rate this as your best. (That's a bit cheeky I guess, considering this is way beyond my own standards!). 8)

comment by djn1 at 12:30 AM (GMT) on 27 November, 2007

Paul: :-)

comment by Dave C at 12:34 AM (GMT) on 27 November, 2007

Classy portrait with lovely tones, Dave.

comment by Michael George at 12:56 AM (GMT) on 27 November, 2007

This is breathtaking. The tones are just great, it almost makes me shiver.

I can't imagine the time this took in terms of post-processing.

comment by PJ at 01:15 AM (GMT) on 27 November, 2007

WOW!!! This may, indeed, be among my very favorites as well. The watercolor tones...that certain washed out grey-blue-green...remind me so much of the hand tinted B &W photos of my parents' generation. Absolutely stunning! And to think I loved yesterday's portrait of Rhowan. I'm curious to know what Rhowan's reaction was to seeing this one... As always, thanks for sharing.

comment by Paul at 01:17 AM (GMT) on 27 November, 2007

Wow, what a difference losing a few hairs can make (as those of us losing them will agree!).

I really like this, it's very "Narnia". Nice.

comment by djn1 at 01:19 AM (GMT) on 27 November, 2007

PJ: thanks. As for Rhowan: she said, and I quote, "That's nice. Next time though can you take one that has all of me in and the flowers in the background. That would look good wouldn't it."

Paul: yes, I agree, on both counts :-)

comment by doreen at 02:14 AM (GMT) on 27 November, 2007

you know, had i not seen this less hairy version, i would never have thought the "first draft" of this pic could have been improved upon XD good call, paul.

fantastic shot. rhowan's gaze is absolutely hypnotizing. it's funny that she reacted so nonchalantly to her portrait while the rest of us are so blown away by it.

comment by djn1 at 02:18 AM (GMT) on 27 November, 2007

doreen: I'll read the comments to her in the morning, and though I'm sure she'll be pleased, I suspect she won't be massively interested. If she was a bit older I think it would probably be a different story :-)

comment by Rob at 04:16 AM (GMT) on 27 November, 2007

Great shot. I'll be sure to remember you by it as requested - what a nice thought.

comment by Kevin H. Stecyk at 04:58 AM (GMT) on 27 November, 2007

My first reaction when I saw this beautiful photograph of your daughter Rhowan was, Oh Wow. It's a stunning photograph, one that you both will treasure, even more so as life inevitably moves forward.

Seeing your wonderful photographs of your family reminds of a website--and perhaps an annual project for you to consider. The website is The Arrow of Time.

You created an incredibly beautiful photograph of Rhowan. Thank you for sharing it with us.

comment by Sharla at 05:30 AM (GMT) on 27 November, 2007

Wow. It has been said several times but what word is left that is adequate? Rhowan so often makes such a great model. I hope she keeps her nonchalance and you keep capturing it.

comment by owen-b at 07:24 AM (GMT) on 27 November, 2007

Hi Dave, this is a great shot - the cool tones are a great choice, and the blurring around the edge isn't at all noticeable. All works really well together, looking forward to seeing your tutorial on LAB colour processing!

Incidentally, I saw your book in Waterstones in Oxford Street last week and bought one for a friend of mine who's both a keen photographer and a new father. I had a quick look through myself and found it very interesting reading, especially a couple of the tutorials at the back. Good luck with it!

comment by njr at 07:24 AM (GMT) on 27 November, 2007

I'm not surprised you're pleased with this.
Even by your standards, this is remarkable.

comment by One Way at 09:03 AM (GMT) on 27 November, 2007

Simply beautiful. Definitely better with the stray hair cloned out. And it's great when you post the original shot... people like me can learn a lot by comparing them

comment by Mark [londonrubbish] at 12:01 PM (GMT) on 27 November, 2007

I don't get the time these days to view many photoblogs, let alone comment, but I always try to drop by now and again. This just stopped me in my tracks and made me go...WOW! A great picture and amazing processing.

comment by katie at 02:04 PM (GMT) on 27 November, 2007

what were the camera specs on this photo? you usually include them....and i love it by the way!

comment by peter at 02:11 PM (GMT) on 27 November, 2007

This is excellent. The look on her face works like a magnet, attracting all my attention to her eyes.

comment by dfp at 02:57 PM (GMT) on 27 November, 2007

Dave, the original is great, but the post processing on this shot is first class! I love this image, probably my favourite of all of your kids shots.

comment by Tom K. at 04:27 PM (GMT) on 27 November, 2007

Nothing short of perfection.

comment by Gerry at 04:36 PM (GMT) on 27 November, 2007

One word "outstanding", one of those pictures your daughter will be proud of in years to come

comment by Chuck at 06:24 PM (GMT) on 27 November, 2007

Absolutely beautiful, mesmerizing

comment by Alice at 08:25 PM (GMT) on 27 November, 2007

Very nice. I thought I prefered the b/w from yesterday, but I really like this version with the color. Nicely done.

comment by Frankie at 08:45 PM (GMT) on 27 November, 2007

A beautiful processed shot of a beautiful daughter

comment by djn1 at 08:51 PM (GMT) on 27 November, 2007

Thanks everyone :-)

Kevin: thanks for the link to the Arrow of Time site, it's definitely something I'll consider doing.

katie: the EXIF data was much the same as yesterday's - around 185mm, f/4.0 and 1/160th.

comment by chiara at 09:50 PM (GMT) on 27 November, 2007

Beautiful shot! Makes me cold. I love the tones

comment by Simon C at 09:54 PM (GMT) on 27 November, 2007

This is one striking shot. It's those cool eyes that do it of course, their impact heightened by the similarly cool tones.

comment by Karen G at 04:22 AM (GMT) on 28 November, 2007

Breathtaking!! I actually gasped when I opened it. I love the work you do, I love what you've shared of your home world . . . you're a gifted and generous person. Big fat comments, I know, but ... simply true, and heartfelt. I know I speak for many, many people who visit your site (even those who only 'talk technical' - hah!). Thank you so much for the time you spend with us.

comment by mikey at 02:11 PM (GMT) on 28 November, 2007

the colours are superb, it almost doesn't look like a photo, but an extremely well made photorealistic painting. top stuff

comment by milou at 03:21 PM (GMT) on 28 November, 2007


comment by Jamie at 03:23 PM (GMT) on 28 November, 2007

Wow, outstanding. I take a ton of pictures of my daughters so I know how hard it can be to capture a moment like this, even if your subject is relatively cooperative. Kudos!

comment by Osiriums Ventaka at 03:44 PM (GMT) on 28 November, 2007

Very good shot! Nice clean contrasts and colors!
She's beautiful!

comment by Paul Courtney at 06:34 PM (GMT) on 28 November, 2007

Hi Dave,
It's been a while since I last commented, however, this one simply demands praise of the highest order. Rhowan's eyes are mesmeric, you feel as though you could fall a very long way into them, like glacial pools. If you can tear your gaze away from them, then the tonal selection is sensational. The blurring around the fur trim seems completey natural .
This one is iconic.

comment by 100meters at 01:17 AM (GMT) on 29 November, 2007

Just amazing. Not very constructive I know, but that's the first reaction.

comment by Karen at 01:52 AM (GMT) on 29 November, 2007

Wow, this is SO GORGEOUS! First thing I thought of was "Ice Princess". =D I love how her eyes math her jacket. It's such a calm (but chilling) photograph to look at.

comment by Polly at 09:30 AM (GMT) on 29 November, 2007

Absolutely beautiful.

comment by m at 10:07 PM (GMT) on 29 November, 2007

A few times this year you didn't run a picture a day and left us with one for a longer period of time. You could have left this one for a good while. I like it more each time I see it.

comment by Richard H at 03:22 AM (GMT) on 30 November, 2007

I like the tones of this image... very soft and smooth.

comment by Nick at 10:42 PM (GMT) on 3 December, 2007

Absolutely brilliant.

comment by Jylan Wynne at 07:14 AM (GMT) on 5 December, 2007

Absolutely brilliant! I reckon she looks like a snow queen or something :) Those gray-blue eyes are really piercing, too.

comment by Jezblog at 06:34 PM (GMT) on 5 December, 2007

Wow David I have not dropped by for a while.... then I suddenly remembered I could see some good old British light here...... but instead like everyone else got kind of wowed by this image.... what a lovely little girl what an amazing image of her... nice one
cheers Jez XX

comment by Sean McCormack (no i!) at 03:44 AM (GMT) on 10 December, 2007

Beautiful work David. I really love the toning in this. I think the extra work on the hairs does indeed lift the level of this image. I think Paul was wise for chiming in.

comment by Phil at 06:39 PM (GMT) on 15 December, 2007

I havn't been here for a little while and was flicking through the latest images and this just jumped out of the screen, it's just stunning!

comment by Allan at 07:03 AM (GMT) on 4 January, 2008

Simply stunning.

comment by jesus d at 10:13 PM (GMT) on 21 March, 2008

your daughter is immensely infinitely beautiful, she makes a masterpiece of this photo