Photography

The Magic of Snowflakes Captured Using Macro Photography

Snowflake Magic

There is something very special and even magical about snowflakes. From the way they gracefully fall through the air to their unique and beautiful crystalline structures. They are the building blocks of snow, appear in famous cultural works and movies such as Frozen, and are associated by many with the joyous season of Christmas or Hanukkah.

The life of a snowflake begins when a tiny dust or pollen particle comes into contact with water vapor very high up in our atmosphere. The tiny particle is coated by water as it freezes into a tiny ice crystal, which will be the seed from which a beautiful snowflake will eventually grow. An interesting fact about snowflakes is that no two flakes are ever the same; every single snowflake is truly unique. This unique and oftentimes beautiful structure is formed gradually as the snowflake falls through many atmospheric layers of varying temperature and humidity.

Russian photographer Alexey Kljatov has cleverly put together various camera and optical parts to create a custom-made macro-photography camera capable of capturing the magic in snowflakes at very high magnification levels. Most of us would think that to take macro photos you need expensive and highly-specialized equipment, however Alexey proves us wrong and uses only old camera parts, screws, scotch tape and the lens from an old Zenit film camera.

One year ago I started to use external optics for better magnification of snowflakes, and built a very simple optical add-on for my camera. I do this with a low-cost variation of a well-known reverse lens macro technique: compact camera Canon Powershot A650 at maximum optical zoom through a reversed Helios 44M-5 lens.

Alexey’s snowflake photography is truly special and captures how beautiful and elegant Mother Nature is on a scale even as small as this.