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Synergistic Snowflakes
1st PlaceSynergistic Snowflakes
EddyG


Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: Macro III (Classic Editing*)
Camera: Canon EOS-10D
Lens: Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro
Location: My front porch
Date: Dec 19, 2003
Aperture: 22
ISO: 100
Shutter: 1/2 sec
Galleries: Macro, Water
Date Uploaded: Dec 21, 2003

My second attempt at photographing snowflakes. A slightly different technique than the first time (where I used extension tubes on my macro lens and black velvet). Here, I used the same, older non-USM Canon 100mm/2.8 Macro but with a reversed Canon 50mm/1.4 hanging off the end on a macro coupling ring and a piece of glass.

I "caught" these snowflakes by putting the piece of glass outside while it was flurrying (which only happened once during the challenge week, so the brief snow -- it only lasted about 20 minutes -- was my only opportunity.)

The temperature was close to freezing, so the snowflakes were melting pretty quickly once they hit the glass. I would stare at the glass looking for individual snowflakes as they landed. Once I found one I liked, I would move under our covered porch to prevent more snowflakes from accumulating.

This one caught my eye because it was 12-pointed; but it was "conjoined" to a 6-pointed flake. I didn't have time to switch the orientation of my camera (mounted on a tripod and pointing straight down) to portrait, which is why the top of the 6-pointed snowflake got cut off.

The background was achieved by elevating the glass on an old stool, hanging the part of the glass with the snowflake over the edge, and putting some metallic-looking multi-colored fabric on the ground underneath the glass. Because the fabric is way beyond the focal plane, it blurs nicely.

Naturally lit by the overcast sky.

Post-processing: Cropped from landscape to portait; some dust specs cloned out; coloring tweaked.

Statistics
Place: 1 out of 165
Avg (all users): 7.3852
Avg (commenters): 8.6154
Avg (participants): 7.2688
Avg (non-participants): 7.6429
Views since voting: 14243
Votes: 135
Comments: 64
Favorites: 111 (view)


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AuthorThread
02/07/2006 07:23:35 PM
What an awesome shot. Definitely one of this site's best photos!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/11/2006 12:40:28 AM
beautiful.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
07/25/2005 10:59:52 PM
Uhm. I hadn't seen this before. This is one of the best pictures I think I have ever seen. I actually like the fact that the other flake has been cut off a bit. It is ok. It keep the focus on the main attraction, but it's cool that it's conjoined.

This is simply amazing. You rock!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/28/2005 02:48:54 PM
Really really nice!!!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/28/2005 12:44:45 PM
Just looking through pics and found this one. WOW!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/20/2004 07:21:26 PM
tried to replicate this in the Deja Vu challenge and couldn't, Eddy you rock.

Some further reading: photographing snow-crystals
  Photographer found comment helpful.
11/29/2004 12:39:01 PM
Excellent...thank you for the indepth comments to help us all improve our techniques!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
06/12/2004 09:59:12 PM
This is superb!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/03/2004 01:17:47 AM
This is awesome - great job. I spent most of last week looking at flakes landing on my gloves thinking about taking a picture - but this is just brilliant - love it.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/02/2004 12:11:45 AM
I tried and tried to get a similar shot, but just couldn't do it. I'm really impressed that you not only got these snowflakes, Eddy, but that they are so beautiful and so clear. Congratulations on this well deserved ribbon!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/01/2004 08:14:55 AM
Amazing photography. Thanks for sharing the technique as well.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/31/2003 06:26:23 PM
Eddy, This is really fantastic. A very well deserved win. Congratulations!!!
Regards,

Grayce
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/30/2003 11:49:44 PM
Thanks for all the great comments everybody!

For those who are going to try photographing snowflakes yourself, here are a couple more tips:

1) Keep your glass, fabric, etc. outside. If you have to wait for your "snow catching device" to get to the same temperature as the ambient air, you may lose a good opportunity as the snow will melt instantly if the items are warm.

2) Keep a spare battery in your pants pocket (not your coat pocket). Batteries perform worse in cold weather. Keeping a spare in your pocket will allow you to swap it quickly if necessary, and since your body heat will keep it warm, it should perform much better.

3) Realize that not all snow is good "photography" snow. Sometimes the snow is just "frozen balls of ice" (technically sleet) without any detail, and sometimes the ambient temperature is just too warm for the flakes to last. Snowflakes form when water vapor condenses directly into ice up in the clouds. The beautiful patterns form as the crystal grows. Colder temperatures make snowflakes easier to handle and last longer.

4) Don't breathe on your snowflakes! They will melt from your breath.

5) It is possible to catch snowflakes on something smooth, such as dark-colored foamcore (which makes it easy to see the flakes), and then carefully use a toothpick to move a particular flake to your glass or fabric or whatever.

6) Snowflakes are tiny! You could easily fit 10 or 15 typical snowflakes on a penny! The flakes get bigger as the temperature drops further below freezing, and then they start to get smaller again as the temperature gets even colder.

6) Lighting is the key! Since "clean snow" is nothing more than an ice crystal, it can be as clear as glass.

7) 12-sided snowflakes aren't rare, but they aren't nearly as common as 6-sided snowflakes. You'll never find 4, 5 or 8-sided snowflakes, but you'll occasionally see triangular-shaped 3-sided snowflakes. The uncropped version of my photo also has a 3-sided snowflake in the frame (and no, I did not manipulate the position of the snowflakes at all. It just happened that way!)

Good luck and thanks again for the comments!

Message edited by author 2003-12-30 23:59:21.
12/30/2003 02:03:26 PM
Congrats! Beautiful shot!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/30/2003 01:51:39 PM
Astounding and beautiful! Or astoundingly beautiful!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/29/2003 10:18:02 PM
wow, I had not voted on this during the chalenge, but seeing it now its fantastic!
Congrats on a well done image.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/29/2003 09:56:24 PM
Absolutely stunning! Very eye-catching and a well deserved win - thanks for sharing how it was done.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/29/2003 12:49:12 PM
Congrats! Well deserved!
In the next weeks we will probably see many DPCer chasing snow flakes, including myself.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/29/2003 12:21:56 PM
This is a really terrific shot - I can't wait for it to snow so that I can try something along these lines (I have a new macro lens I am dying to make use of). The background is terrific.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/29/2003 10:58:00 AM
Simply incredible.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/29/2003 10:20:57 AM
Eddy, fantastic job! I enjoyed reading how you achieved this shot. Wonderful photograph, and great skill!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/29/2003 09:54:23 AM
Congrats. Don't you want any red or yellow ribbons? Only blues?
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/29/2003 09:29:43 AM
This is incredible!! I'm amazed it's a real snowflake! Here in AZ we make those out of paper... I had no idea they were really shaped like that... lol. Truly brilliant work Eddy, congrats on the blue. :-)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/29/2003 09:00:39 AM
congrats, eddy
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/29/2003 08:16:16 AM
Congrats on this super shot! Thanks for sharing your technique.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/29/2003 08:05:06 AM
Great shot eddy!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/29/2003 06:28:26 AM
This was one of my favourites in this challenge, congrats on a well deserved win and an awesome snowflake photo! :-)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/29/2003 05:57:05 AM
Eddy! This was by far my favorite of the contest. Thanx for sharing your technique.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/29/2003 12:45:15 AM
Wow! Lots of work. Congrats, well-deserved.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/29/2003 12:42:01 AM
This was shot that caught my attention right away,absolutely beautiful and outstanding
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/29/2003 12:26:37 AM
Awesome, one of my favorites!!!
Congratulations!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/29/2003 12:22:20 AM
Eddy, this is the sweetest shot yet. I love it. Congrats!!!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
 Comments Made During the Challenge
12/28/2003 09:13:45 PM
If these are real flakes, I'd love to hear how you captured them without melting and so perfectly squarely. If they aren't real, you stil have a beautiful picture here.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/28/2003 10:19:36 AM
nice composition and color, good clarity, has a feel of embossed notepaper though - not quite a wow
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/28/2003 07:06:42 AM
Wonderful image, wonderful colour, wonderful detail. 10 Morgan
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/28/2003 04:51:00 AM
great shot, love the BG. Would love to know how this was done.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/26/2003 07:56:15 PM
If this doesn't win blue I'll eat my legs.

The subject is stunning, beautiful lighting and crystal clear focus (pun intended). I can't imagine anyone voting less than 10 really - apart from being a bit pedantic about your cropping. Personally I just love to see these wonderful things in such detail. [10]
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/26/2003 09:43:01 AM
Awesome detail, beautiful light, and I love the graduated background.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/25/2003 04:18:37 PM
Gorgeous! Quality: excellent, subject: simply amazing, lighting: wonderful, colours: simply beauty, score: of course 10! :-) You took my brother's breath away, too. :-)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/25/2003 01:18:29 AM
Great Shot, the background works really well with the snowflakes.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/24/2003 03:18:02 PM
Very well done. Wonderful lighting and detail. My favorite of the challenge. 10
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/24/2003 12:13:42 PM
Would like to see a more even background color buty understood that was necessary to bering out the great detail in this image.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/24/2003 11:35:03 AM
Don`t know how you did it or what Synergistic is but it`s a great photo. I guess some very expensive microscope. 10
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/24/2003 11:34:05 AM
Skillful use of background color. I cant imagine how you did it. It is wonderful! Well done!!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/24/2003 05:17:47 AM
Very very cool shot. (No pun intended!) Details, I want details! Hope you have some in your photog comments section. ! Would have been absolutely perfect with a third, or even part of a third, snowflake, making for a more dynamic composition.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/24/2003 03:44:49 AM
Wow!! It's amazing, brilliant shot!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/23/2003 11:10:37 PM
Very lovely, I would love to know just how you did this. Are these real snowflakes??
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/23/2003 06:32:03 PM
Neat shot (what is it a picture of?). Love the the color and composition, although I think 'landscape' orientation performs better in these challenges.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/23/2003 05:19:07 PM
This is beautiful, very light and ethereal.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/23/2003 04:19:50 PM
Nice gradiented background, good detail and crisp focus. My favourite so far in this challenge.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/23/2003 11:02:50 AM
These snowflake shots amaze me! This is beautiful!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/23/2003 10:50:43 AM
I just love this. The light is so perfect. I hope you tell how you did this. Wonderful color.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/23/2003 09:59:14 AM
Technical: fits the challenge. Exposure composition focus lighting all very good.

Personal: Love it. Just one question: how?!?! I'll be very interested to know how you did this.

My vote: 8
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/23/2003 09:24:24 AM
Excellent shot, even though I hate the word synergy.

Message edited by author 2003-12-30 13:21:55.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/23/2003 08:32:11 AM
Great detail and lighting!

very nice shot
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/23/2003 06:53:38 AM
beautiful!! Isnowflakes always seems like a miracle!! Yours are very well done!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/23/2003 02:04:08 AM
very pretty. i cannot imaging getting such perfect detail on this. were they actually snowflakes or some frost formations?
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/22/2003 10:32:23 PM
Wow... My only 10 in this challenge. Congrats
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/22/2003 06:51:40 PM
Gorgeous - hope you tell us how....
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/22/2003 09:25:45 AM
Nice 10.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/22/2003 07:10:02 AM
Nice... would make a beautiful post card.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/22/2003 04:39:58 AM
Stunning, absolutely stunning. I thought those only appeared like that in cartoons!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/22/2003 01:01:22 AM
Perfect... Great shot
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/22/2003 12:14:22 AM
That's a beautiful shot. Are those real snow flakes? What kind of lens did you use to take that shot? Amazing!
  Photographer found comment helpful.


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