We got a wicked Nor’easter here on the East Coast of Canada and since I ran out of British period dramas to watch on Netflix, I thought I would try to capture some macros of big, juicy snowflakes. Since I am in Nova Scotia temporarily, I don’t have all my gear, which includes a set of Kenko extension tubes. The piece of gear that would really help for ultra close macros of snowflakes. When you are on the road, you have to make do, so I got out my trusty 100mm f/2.8 macro lens and tried to get the best shot I could.
After freezing my little fingers off, I learnt a few things about photographing snowflakes. The video shows my set-up, but here are some additional tips:
Use a piece of dark clothing to catch the snowflakes, so the flakes standout against your background.
Make sure the clothing item is cold. If you are bringing the clothing item from inside, put them out in the cold for a few minutes before shooting so your snowflakes don’t instantly melt.
Photograph fresh snowflakes right after they fall. If they’ve already been kicking around for a bit they won’t have the same shape. I tried picking a few up off the ground and they were all broken.
Photograph in temperatures -5C or lower. If it’s too warm, the snowflakes will melt immediately and that is a losing battle. Trust me.
Try to manipulate the snowflake so that it is sitting at an angle rather than flat. You will get more light on the snowflake and it will make a more interesting shot. Try bending the fabric or nudging it with a pen. Don’t use your finger or it will melt or you will break off it’s lovely little arms.
Use an f-stop around f/5 to get most of your snowflake in focus and the background blurred. This will give you a more artistic look.
Focus stack to get a sharp focus throughout the snowflake. I found this too tricky with so much snow falling and my frozen fingers, but you can try this technique out if you want a sharper snowflake.
Good luck friends! If you get any good shots link them below. And feel free to complain about the bad weather. I’m Canadian. I’ll listen.