Snowflakes 5

One of the upsides to a full day of the right type of snow, is pulling out the close-up lens and trying to photograph some snowflakes.

Snowflakes 1

Snowflakes 2

From past experimenting I've found that the snow has to be just the right consistency. Basically, dry and light so that each flake sits on top of the one below, creating small pockets of air.

Snowflakes 8

Snowflakes 4

Using an external light source, one can angle the light to reflect across the plane of the snowflake, causing it to shine.

Snowflakes 6

Snowflakes 10

Or to catch edges, angles and curves by directing the light to the side of a pile of snow.

Snowflakes 9

I've never had any luck doing this when the snow is heavy (big, wet flakes), dense, well-packed, old (not fresh), or during the day. As for technical bits, for all these photos I used my old camera, the D70s (I've been having some shutter trouble with the D300 lately), my trusty old Sigma 50mmƒ2.8 lens and a basic desk lamp with a bendable neck. As for camera settings, I used manual focus, manual exposure with aperture set at ƒ5.6, shutter speed based on the internal light meter and iso at 200. All were processed in Lightroom. The blue tint added by setting the white balance to tungsten then adjusting the temperature (blue/yellow slider) to the right a tad.

Snowflakes 3

Here are some I took a few years ago:


  1. Aren't they amazing?! Truly, tiny miracles. So fragile and ephemeral. Excellent capture.

  2. Thanks for detailing the process -- that made the photos even more interesting.

  3. Oh, my gosh -- these are extraordinary. Love the details in each flake. You're amazing.

  4. That is soooo cool! I know what I'll be trying this weekend so thanks for the "tech" details. Sad news about the D300, hope it's not to major. A trip to the shop?

  5. oooh, oooh, ooh. These are soooo cool. And so great that you explained how you took them.

    When I looked at these today at work they just brightened up my whole day. You are so talented.

  6. Are you kidding me??? I am stunned by these. I would LOVE to photograph snowflakes, I don't think I've ever even seen one. We must not have the right kind of snow. But I've also never taken the technical steps you did, so thank you for those.

    btw, I loved my D70 so much. Wonderful camera, I was so sad to sell it.

    Once again, a gorgeous post, Candis! xo – g

  7. Omigosh, these are WONDERFUL!!! I have never tried to do this but you can bet I will try the next time it snows! :)

  8. Wow, Candis, these are amazing. Thanks for sharing the photos and for sharing the "how to". We have been having the kind of snow you described for several days. But I struggle with low light conditions. Just can't get the hang of it. Love your photos as always.

  9. Very cool indeed! I'd love to capture snowflakes like that but it definitely has to be very cold.

    Excellent, Candis!

  10. Wow!!!! Fantastic and beautiful.

  11. Thanks everyone!

    Scott -- I'm afraid so ... bummer! :-(

  12. Those are mighty fine photos Candis - love every one of them. Wished there was snow around where I lived :D

    That being said, merry (belated) Christmas and a joyous 2011 to you and your loved ones :)

  13. Hey, thanks vedd! Happy New Year to you and your family too. :D