Planet MarsMars Art Gallery

Crater with Snow

Crater with Snow

Image Title: Crater with Snow
Release Date: December 4, 2005
Source: Mars Global Surveyor


Is it snow or is it sand? Artistically the presence of snow in the crater adds both contrast and visual excitement to the image. But is it real or just an artistic creation?

Figure 1. Original martian crater image before contrast enhancement and colorization
Figure 1. Original MGS image.

In Figure 1 we see the unprocessed version of the source image. At this stage, I have not yet applied contrast enhancement or any colorization. I have however removed noise artifacts from the image. I have also cropped the image in order to make the crater the centerpiece of the composition.

When processing an image, my first step is to remove as much noise and imaging artifacts as possible. Once I have done this, my next step is to experiment with varying amounts of contrast and brightness enhancements to make the image more striking and to reveal subtle details contained therein.

Once I am pleased with the overall effect, I then go through the image to identify its most interesting feature. I then crop the image in such a way as to highlight that feature. I then go back and make additional adjustments to the brightness and contrast.

Once I am satisfied that I have created a pleasing black and white version of the picture, I begin work on colorizing it. I typically experiment with a number of different coloring methods that I have developed in order to discover which works best for a specific image.


The Martian crater without the snow
Figure 2. A snow free crater

Figure 2 shows the colorized crater that I decided to use. I could have gone with this image as the final version but felt that it needed more visual excitement. Covering the dune formations that are present on the floor of the crater with snow struck me as being the most visually pleasing.

I hope that you've enjoyed this "behind the scenes" look at how this image was created.

Source Image Background

The source for this picture was an image taken by the Mars Global Surveyor Narrow Angle Camera in March 2004. The crater is in Solis Planum at approximately 33 south latitude, 91 west longitude. The resolution of the original image was approximately 3 meters per pixel.

Image Processing

All processing of this image was done using Adobe Photoshop.


I have created a low resolution, compressed version of "Crater with Snow" for use as a desktop wallpaper. This wallpaper is made available for your personal use only. It is not to be modified or redistributed in any form by any means. All rights are retained by the artist.

Martian Crater with Snow Wallpaper
Crater with Snow, 1280 X 1024 Wallpaper Image by Jim Plaxco

2005 Jim Plaxco,