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First Snow Crystals of 2019
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Posted By: fwwidall, 01-10-2019, 10:48 AM

Winter has been off to a slow start here in southern Ontario. Temperatures have been mild, and very little snow.

Today it dropped to -7C and there were a few flurries so I headed out to the garage and try the latest version of my 'snowcatcher' for the first time.

Last summer I bought a Cine Yashikor 13mm F1.9 and finally I got to try it out on snowflakes.

First impressions are favourable. I'll attach a couple of uncropped images to show how much magnification I'm getting. I'll also attach an uncropped image with a 50mm lens for comparison.

This year I'm using the base off an old Zeiss microscope to hold the glass plate with the snow on. It really helps with the focussing.

I quite pleased with my first test shots. Hopefully we'll head into the deep freeze soon and I'll be able to capture some stunning images.

Fred.

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01-17-2019, 03:47 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by fwwidall Quote
Winter has been off to a slow start here in southern Ontario. Temperatures have been mild, and very little snow.

Today it dropped to -7C and there were a few flurries so I headed out to the garage and try the latest version of my 'snowcatcher' for the first time.

Last summer I bought a Cine Yashikor 13mm F1.9 and finally I got to try it out on snowflakes.

First impressions are favourable. I'll attach a couple of uncropped images to show how much magnification I'm getting. I'll also attach an uncropped image with a 50mm lens for comparison.

This year I'm using the base off an old Zeiss microscope to hold the glass plate with the snow on. It really helps with the focussing.

I quite pleased with my first test shots. Hopefully we'll head into the deep freeze soon and I'll be able to capture some stunning images.

Fred.
Nice capture. Personally, I would like a slight crop of the third one - where I can still see the entire flake and its symmetry - the best.
01-18-2019, 02:16 PM   #3
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These are pretty cool! I'd love to try this, but we don't get much of that stuff around here!
01-18-2019, 05:48 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by reh321 Quote
Nice capture. Personally, I would like a slight crop of the third one - where I can still see the entire flake and its symmetry - the best.
As I said these were just some test shots with the new setup.

If you'd like to see what they look like after I crop and process the images please check out my Snowflakes album on Flickr.

Fred.

---------- Post added 01-18-19 at 07:51 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by GeoJerry Quote
These are pretty cool! I'd love to try this, but we don't get much of that stuff around here!
Lucky you.

They are predicting a low of -28C (-18F) for Saturday night, with the potential for up to a foot of snow for southern Ontario.

Sounds like a good time to be in southern California

Fred

01-18-2019, 07:45 PM   #5
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Nice! You have some beautiful work in your flickr album.

QuoteOriginally posted by fwwidall Quote
They are predicting a low of -28C (-18F) for Saturday night, with the potential for up to a foot of snow for southern Ontario.

Sounds like a good time to be in southern California
Naw...we've got a full freezer, a full tank of oil for the furnace, and no place we have to be. My freezing cold porch will be seeing some camera action this weekend too.

Spring melts are here before you know it, enjoy the cold while you can.
01-19-2019, 11:51 AM   #6
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A delightful -13C this afternoon so I went out to the garage to try and capture some crystals. Its quite windy so mostly it was just chunks of ice, although I did mange to capture a couple of nice images including one of a 'column'. Only the second one I've seen.

I went back to my El-Nikkor 50mm F2.8 enlarging lens for these images.








Hopefully the wind will die down this evening and I can try again.

Fred.
01-19-2019, 11:57 AM   #7
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Wonderful! Never tried this, snow is rather rare in our neck of the woods, but this is very inspiring! Thank you....
01-19-2019, 04:45 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rense Quote
Wonderful! Never tried this, snow is rather rare in our neck of the woods, but this is very inspiring! Thank you....
Thanks for the kind comment.


One last one for today. I managed to get a nice image of an hexagonal plate crystal. I did see quite a few of these today. Tiny little things less than the size of a pinhead.



If you'd like to learn more about snowflakes check out Ken Libbrecht's lecture called "The Secret Life of a Snowflake: An Up-Close Look at the Science and the Splendor of Nature's Frozen Art" at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ontario on Feb 1st, 2012.

Fascinating stuff.

Fred.

01-25-2019, 11:57 PM   #9
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Wow! Your macro photography is so much further advanced than any I have seen.
01-26-2019, 02:00 PM   #10
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Thank you for your kind comment.

I try to improve on my technique each year, but like everything else in photography perfection remains a long way out of reach. I much prefer photographing snow to shovelling it

There are lots of people shooting stunning snow crystal images out there. Check out the many excellent images in Flickr's Awesome Snowflakes pool.

Fred.
01-28-2019, 11:54 PM   #11
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I would prefer to photograph the snow, too. But it is easier to blow/shovel it, and I did so, today in large quantities. The city plow must have taken three passes at my driveway. My Toro is not the greatest, but surprisingly good at clearing large amounts of snow.
01-29-2019, 10:04 AM   #12
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I feel your pain

We had probably close to a foot come down last night so I was out with my snowblower this morning doing my driveway and those of my neighbours.

Last year I picked up a cheap 10x microscope objective on ebay to try using for macro photography. Last night I tried it on snowflakes for the first time.

Wow !! This tiny crystal (approx 1mm) just about filled the whole frame. The downside is that working distance is very small, and the lens is just about touching the snow crystal. It would be impossible to front light it.

DOF is incredibly narrow, so I shot 8 images and used focus stacking for the final image.



One straight from camera.


Last edited by fwwidall; 01-29-2019 at 01:50 PM. Reason: added extra image
01-30-2019, 10:47 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by fwwidall Quote
I feel your pain

We had probably close to a foot come down last night so I was out with my snowblower this morning doing my driveway and those of my neighbours.

Last year I picked up a cheap 10x microscope objective on ebay to try using for macro photography. Last night I tried it on snowflakes for the first time.

Wow !! This tiny crystal (approx 1mm) just about filled the whole frame. The downside is that working distance is very small, and the lens is just about touching the snow crystal. It would be impossible to front light it.

DOF is incredibly narrow, so I shot 8 images and used focus stacking for the final image.



One straight from camera.

Blowing snow is easier, because I just have no idea how you are doing this. I hope one of you experts will get a 2nd person and post a video of how you do it. I see some amazing flake crystals with my naked eye when they land on my car, but have no idea how to capture a snowflake with a camera, and I do have a macro lens.
01-31-2019, 06:18 AM   #14
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Its not too difficult to get started.


The two basic techniques are to light the crystal from above or below. I chose to go with the latter. Here's an image of the rig I started out with back in 2008. If you read the description there's a writeup of my workflow.



Over the years I've tried tweaking things to improve things, the latest tweaks being a microscope base for ultra fine focus control, and a microscope objective for extreme closeups. But, some of my favourite images were shot with the original rig. A 50mm lens on a bellows, or extension tubes, will get you pretty close. Here's an image from back then using that rig.




The other technique is to light from above which give a totally different look to the crystal.



Don Komarechka is the master of that technique. Check out this video where he explains his method in great detail.

Hope that helps.

Fred.
01-31-2019, 06:34 AM   #15
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magical, marvelous compositions.... dave m
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