Nose red, fingers numb and seeing double (from my macro lens) – these are the things I look forward to during winter time. Whenever I am behind my camera with the macro lens attached, it always amazes me how snowflakes come in different sizes and shapes.
Capturing snowflakes can be tricky, but these three secrets have helped me tremendously.
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No.01The right gear
I like to use the Canon 100mm 2.8L, the Canon MP-E 65mm, and sometimes even the Lensbaby Edge 80 (with macro rings). I’m able to utilize apertures of f/2.8-f/9 while capturing snowflakes with these lenses. The MP-E even has up to 5x magnification which makes the need for extension tubes completely unnecessary.
No.02Ditch the accessories
I don’t use a tripod or extension tubes. I prefer the freedom to move around to get a better angle. This is helpful, especially since snowflakes melt so quickly. I just try keep a steady hand and use a little timing on my breathing.
Since I’m hand holding my macro lenses, I need to be mindful of my settings. For the 100mm, I can get away with a shutter speed of 100 since it has image stabilization, but for the mp-e 65mm, I go from ss250 or higher and have to compensate with a higher ISO.
No.03Grab a blanket
Thankfully I don’t have to go out in the cold and freeze. I just open my window, lay a blanket over the window sill.
I like to use different kind of textures for the snowflakes to fall on to and to experiment with. I also prefer to use a fuzzy fabric, snowflakes seem to last a little longer before they melt. This gives me a little time to take more than one photo on each flake I find.