Making of "Snow flake"
The winning entry in the December, 2012 monthly contest
By PF Staff in Photo Contests on Feb 15, 2013
It was a year ago in February 2012 on holiday on the Slovakian - Hungarian border (at home). Outside it was minus 15 degrees Celsius when snow started to fall. I had seen macro images of snowflakes before so I knew what I wanted.
I paired my much-loved K-5 with my 105mm F2.8 Sigma lens (20mm F1.8 and 50mm F1.4 being my other two FF compatible lenses). Daylight was fading so I called on my flash for help. No tripod, with the flash it could be a handheld shot and I would try to find some support somehow.
Stepped outside into our garden. Cold. A beautiful winter scenery was starting to form. Opened the diffuser on the flash and started to look for my target. After a few tries around the garden I realized that I would need lots of empty space behind the subject. So I approached one of the fences that are about five feet high with the snow already starting to form on the top of it. Found a nicely shaped snowflake. So small but so nice. It must be cold for snowflakes to form like this.
Leaned against the fence with a wide stance, rested my left hand and the end of the lens on the fence and tried to compose a shot while holding my breath. It took some time and a few shots to get the sensor of the K-5 parallel with the snowflake so as to get it all in focus. Also, the subject was very close to the lens so DOF was extremely shallow so step by step I stopped the lens down taking a shot every stop. At F6.7 the batteries in the flash gave up. Reviewed the raws on the LCD and was happy.
Post processed the chosen raw, decided for monochrome and cleaned some sensor-dust - all in Photoshop CS5. Even sharpened it slightly but later found out its not worth it. I have viewed the original shot without sharpening on a 40 inch screen and it looks much smoother, yet the flake is still sharp.
The feeling of seeing this shot pictured on PentaxForums as the contest winner was just awesome. One of the best feelings in my life. It was a very very strong field with lots of GREAT entries.
Thank you guys soooo much!!