I decided to do a part 2 of "How to Photograph Snowflakes" because there was such an overwhelming response to the last one. In this article I share an amazingly easy way to get perfect snowflake pictures--while staying warm the entire time! Seriously, it doesn't get any easier than this!
In the last article, I explained that my tool of choice is the Olympus TG-2 for taking macro shots of snowflakes (heck, macro shots of just about anything). There's a reason that I promote a specific camera when taking these kind of shots--it simply does a better job than any other tool I have used. I have tried using macro lenses connected to DSLRs or mirrorless cameras, but they generally offer a 1:1 ratio at best. The TG-2 offers users a 7x-14x magnification while in super macro mode. This means you will have no problem zooming in on your subject. Also, the camera has a minimum focusing distance of 1 cm. This means you can get super close to your subject. Although I use the TG-2, feel free to try whatever tools you have at your disposal--macro lenses, macro lens adapters, or macro filters. If you get great results, let us know!
Believe it or not, this session of macro snowflake photography was done from inside my house using the Olympus TG-2! During the last snowfall, I noticed that I had some beautiful snowflakes sticking to my window. I quickly grabbed the camera to see if my newest idea would work. Not only did it work, but it was way easier than my last snowflake session and I was able to stay warm and dry the whole time.
Here's how to do it:
- Set the camera to super macro mode. That's the picture of the flower with an "s" next to it.
- Push the "T" to zoom in as close as you want--from 7x-14x magnification (0x-8x zoom or anywhere in between). If you go past the 4x zoom range, the pixels will begin to get softer. This is a byproduct of using the digital zoom. Decide if this extra zoom is necessary or not. My images are slightly sharper if I do not go into the digital zoom range, but I like getting the snowflake as large as possible in my frame. I generally sharpen the images in post production.
- Put your camera directly up against the window. I have double pane windows, so this created the perfect distance from the camera to the subject.
- Search for the perfect snowflake. Sometimes getting the snowflake in the frame is a challenge, but after a few minutes, you will be able to get the hang of it.
- Click the shutter when you've found your flake and the camera has achieved perfect autofocus. The best part about using the window is you don't get camera shake. The window is a perfect surface for stabilizing your camera. I ended up with so many good images that it was hard to pick my favorites.
- After I downloaded the images on my computer, I edited them in Lightroom. It really doesn't matter what software you use as long as it give you the opportunity to clean up your shot, add color, or edit the best way you see fit. I am not an expert at major photo retouching, nor do I claim to be. I decided to add some blue hues to my image to give it an ethereal feel. I also left the sharpening on the softer side to further enhance this look. I used the clone tool to get rid of dust, debris, and random water droplets that were in the image. I wanted the images to look as smooth as possible. You may decide to edit yours with a completely different look. That's the joy of editing!
I love being able to share the tricks of the trade. Likewise, if you guys have some great suggestions we would love to hear them. Head on over to our forums and let us know how you capture that perfect shot!