One of my primary objectives in recently going to Antarctica was to photograph ice. The abstract forms of icebergs in Antarctica are captivating and beautiful, and it seems like I can't shoot enough pictures of them.
The way I am handling the digital camera settings is that I underexpose the images by 2/3 f/stop. I do this with the exposure compensation feature on my DSLR camera - the Canon 5D Mark II. The reason is to protect the highlights from blowing out - i.e., becoming overexposed with no texture or detail. This is the worst thing you can do to a photo besides making it out of focus.
When I process the Raw files in Adobe Camera Raw, I can adjust the exposure slightly to my taste. As I do that, I watch carefully that the vulnerable highlights retain their detail. It is crucial that I shoot in Raw and not JPEG mode. JPEGs don't hold detail in highlights (or shadows) very well at all.
While many pros disagree with my underexposure approach, it works for me. In the 5 years I've been shooting digital images, I never get any overexposures because I use this method of exposure.
Notes from the editor: Author/photographer Jim Zuckerman teaches many terrific online photo courses, including
Perfect Digital Exposure. Also, the BetterPhoto.com online digital photography school offers many other classes on natural light photography and camera exposure.