Categories: "Snow Crystal Photography" or "Snowflake Photography"
I shot this snow crystal in 2002 on slide film (probably E100S). By today's standards it is a rather poor picture - I still use film a lot but for snow crystals, digital is definitely better. (Lower noise, better edge definition.) But for me this was a watershed image in that it was in this shoot that I figured out how to get consistent results. The setup I used to take this image was totally different than what I used in the years before, and still is at the heart of what I do these days.
I proceeded to shoot snow crystals on E100S and Velvia for the next couple of years before upgrading to a DSLR.
Shooting snow crystals on film was pretty challenging - in the early days (1998 and the few years following) I used manual flash and controlled exposure by controlling the flash to subject distance, which I worked out on in a Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet running on a 486 DOS computer outside in snow... It felt high tech at the time! Those were fun days.
I'm posting this now in response to a query regarding the Star of David in snow crystals. If you look at this in a certain way you can see a Star of David embedded in this image. Jon Nelson's excellent article "The Six-fold Nature of Snow" helps clarify why snowflakes form in six sided shapes.
Winter is truly here - at last! It was -8F (-22C) this morning with a howling wind. By mid afternoon snow was falling and for brief intervals some nicely formed snowflakes fell. I spent several hours outside, partially shooting and partially shoveling, and managed to eek out a few good photographs.
This is probably the best of the day (click on the image for a larger view):
Lastly - a wee small crystal, one of the last shots for the day:
All images made with a Pentax K-3, DFA 50mm f2.8 macro (reverse mounted on bellows and tubes) and AF360FGZ flash.
Here are a few new snow crystal images - the first for this season. These were taken with my usual setup with a few changes - the camera has been upgraded from a Pentax K-01 to a Pentax K-3, the lens has been upgraded to a Pentax SMC DFA 50mm f2.8 macro, and the flash has been downgraded from a full service DSLR unit to a simple manual flash with just one power, running through an Olympus Safe Synch adapter to avoid frying the K-3.
We’ve had at least a foot of snow this last week - rather early even for Michigan - so it looks like the season if off to a good start. Click on the images for a larger view:
I made a dumb mistake and accidentally set the shutter speed to 1 second for these next couple of shots (doh!) - fortunately the exposure is almost entirely from the flash, so the effect of motion blur was limited. I did lose quite a few other shots, though. The first of these is 4 images focus stacked, since the crystal was not flat on the glass plate:
The weather is like a box of chocolates - you never know what you’ll get. Here it is, the first day of spring, and it is 18F, cold and snowing lake effect snow. I spent an hour or so outside hoping for some snow crystal images, but the snow is effervescent and not photogenic. Here is one photo from tonight - maybe the last for this season:
Click on the image for a larger file. I am not sure where the green tones come from - never got those before with this setup - but maybe it is just the power of the first day of spring.