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snowflake macros
Posted By: timbo13, 01-21-2009, 07:34 AM

I have been working on getting some good snowflake macros this winter
and I'm fairly pleased with the latest batch. Here's some of my favorites.
Technical details at the end.

(click for larger view)

These were shot with my M50/1.7 mounted on a macro bellows run out to
the maximum (160mm I think). Exposure is f11 for 3 sec, natural light,
which is to say under the covered porch in the middle of a snowstorm.
A little post processing to clean them up.

let me know what you think, thanks for looking!
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01-21-2009, 07:44 AM   #2
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Whoa, those are awesome.

01-21-2009, 08:33 AM   #3
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That is very impressive, nice job!
01-21-2009, 08:42 AM   #4
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Excellent series Timbo. Very nice as usual

01-21-2009, 01:33 PM   #5
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I love these and have been wanting to do something similar.

What background did you use and how did you isolate the individual snowflakes?
01-21-2009, 01:44 PM   #6
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These are great shots! Please more details on your setup so those of us in snow laden climates can try something similar
01-21-2009, 01:46 PM   #7
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Very impressive. First impression was they were plastic and then I realized they are too irregular to be. Wonderful captures and great shapes.
01-21-2009, 01:55 PM   #8
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I saw this series in DPR and glad to see this posted here too. More friendly responses? Hehe

Good photography and I am very keen to learn from you on this

01-21-2009, 02:23 PM   #9
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Tim, that is superb macro work resulting in wonderful images. Thanks for posting them.
01-21-2009, 02:43 PM   #10
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those are totally awesome... Nature is amazing...
01-21-2009, 02:59 PM   #11
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im not familiar with snow... how do you get around to "catching" a snow flake to take a shot without melting it? .... in otherwords, how did you get those shots?
01-21-2009, 04:22 PM   #12
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Great shots. I'm impressed. Thanks for sharing.
01-21-2009, 05:24 PM   #13
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Original Poster
thanks, all, for the compliments I really appreciate them.

QuoteOriginally posted by roentarre Quote
I saw this series in DPR and glad to see this posted here too. More friendly responses? Hehe

Good photography and I am very keen to learn from you on this
James I am wondering what you saw and where you saw it because I don't
post on DPR - sometimes I post things on Digital Grin but I haven't put
these up there yet. PentaxForums is of course the friendliest place to

For James and the rest who want to know, I'll try and outline my method,
taking these was a lot of fun, I hope some of you get a chance to try it.

- I keep a small box on my (covered) porch with all my supplies (except
for the camera, bellows, lens and tripod) so that they are well below
freezing and don't melt the snowflakes. My cold box holds a glass jar,
a sheet of black paper and a small artist's paint brush I "borrowed" from
my sons

- wait for a snowstorm and check the shapes of the snow while walking
the dog Snow comes in different shapes, not just the classic 6 point
stars. When the conditions are right, get excited and tell spouse.

- I set up the camera etc indoors then dress warmly and head outside. It
was about 15 F, or -9 C when I took these.

- set up the jar upside down under the lens as a stage to hold the flakes
while you take the shots. Nothing special about the jar, I have found that
glass is better than plastic as it doesn't take a static charge the way
plastic can. If I had a small piece of window glass I would use that
instead because it would be flatter. I put a piece of the black paper
under the jar for a nice dark background, it might be fun to try different
colors and see what happens.

- catch snowflakes using the rest of the sheet of black paper. Look for
interesting ones with the naked eye or maybe a hand lens. Transfer them
to the jar using the artist's brush. I find that with a gentle touch they
will stick to the tip of the brush.

- frame and focus, I do this with the lens open and then stop down, meter
and take some test shots, adjust as required. Repeat until it stops
snowing or your batteries freeze

- post processing - curves to adjust the tones, desaturate (very little
color to start with) and clone out the worst of the dust and flecks of ice.
Rotate and crop to taste.

I'm sure any macro lens setup capable of sufficient magnification would be
fine. My setup is about 3:1. I have experimented with using flash but
I like the natural light better.

thanks again everyone, I hope this outline helps. Feel free to ask about
anything that isn't clear or that I left out!
01-21-2009, 06:16 PM   #14

Great work!
01-21-2009, 06:33 PM   #15
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Awesome...I didn't even snowflakes got all those shapes...

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