Sunday, December 8, 2013

Coldness and snowflakes

Like many places, it's been really cold in Salem, lately.

Being a west coaster, I am not used to seeing single digits, but this is what I saw at about 8am this morning.

The days leading up to now were slightly warmer. There wasn't enough moisture for snow, but at first we had some frost.

(Granules of frost on a leaf.)

The lakes behind my place had begun to freeze in some sections. And then finally on Friday...

...we had a little snow!

It was nothing major, but of course Salem can't handle even the minor, so we got sent home at around noon. :D I'd been wishing for a snow day! The drive home was a bit stressful, as the roads were pretty slippery from packed-down snow and 20-something degree weather. But eventually I got home and I spent much of the afternoon taking pictures.

"My" lake.

Its appearance changed with the temps. I really want to see how thick the ice is, but I haven't found a good rock or stick to break it with. Oh and did I mention that it's cold outside?

But the most interesting photos I was able to take were of snowflakes!

Thank God for my macro lens and the light, powdery snow. :D Now if only I could keep track of my tripod mount. :( :( I was extremely bummed to not be able to use my tripod for these, so they were all taken without. Handheld, fading light and a camera with low tolerance for high ISOs isn't the greatest combination, but let's not pay attention to the quality, and instead look at the flakes. Plus, this was just my first try. I am hoping that I get another chance to practice this winter. Let there be more snow!

The ones that are on this blue background were on a plastic lid I had. I held it out to collect flakes and then found individual ones to photograph. As it turns out, that lid had lots of spots and scratches that I wouldn't usually notice, so I did a little editing to smooth out the background on many of these.

Some were taken on the railing of the deck.

A double-decker (no pun intended).

A squished one.

This looks plastic, like a cheapy piece of jewelry.

This one looks like a show-off.

I also used my jacket as a background, but the weave is pretty distracting in some of these. I hadn't considered that. These are all things I'll try to improve upon if I get another chance at this.

He lost a couple legs!

This looks like a bush of snow flowers.

A crop of the previous photo.

This one's just strolling along.

Man, I so hope I can try this again. I didn't think much about it, but all the conditions were right (except my tripod situation!!) for this to happen, and I'm not sure when that'll happen again. The type of snow, the time of day (so I had some light on my deck), and the fact that it was cold enough that they weren't melting were all important factors. Thankfully I do have image stabilization on my lens, so that helped too. :) I love my macro lens!


  1. Oh my word, I love the snowflakes! I have never seen them with a macro lens and they are amazing! So intricate. I mean, I know that each one is different, but have never really seen it. Maybe I just need to get out more, but this is incredible!

    1. Thank you! Yeah there's a whole world of pretty symmetrical designs that we miss so much of the time. I so hope I can get more pictures because that's the only way to really appreciate them, since they're so hard to see with the naked eye (I've always thought that was kind of a weird expression :P).

  2. VERY cool. I want a macro lens!!!! Which one do you have?
    We got down to 12 or 13 degrees here.
    I love wintertime photography and I'm trying to be more creative with it. I once tried to photograph snowflakes on a black piece of paper but they didn't turn out so well; not cold enough. This time it was cold enough but it was dark most of the time it snowed.

    1. Thanks, Samantha! I have this one:

    2. Okay, thanks for the link! How much did you pay for it?

    3. Well, that's a bit of a personal question, but I didn't buy it, so I don't know how much it cost. :)

  3. I have been stocking your snowflake photos for days. The images leave me speechless. I know that each flake is unique, but never really experienced it in this way. I hadn't realized that the flakes were six sided either. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! Thank you for displaying this beauty to us.

    Love, Mom

    1. Thanks, Mom! I didn't know they were 6-sided, either. I mean, if someone were to quiz me before, I would've guessed 8 or 5, probably. I hadn't looked at snowflakes in quite awhile, aside from some photos online recently. I do remember being a kid and looking at the window and seeing that they were indeed like the paper cutouts that we made, but then hadn't had a lot of opportunity to study them after that.

      There's a guy who did some really awesome photos (way better than mine) that you might want to check out:

    2. Actually, ignore that link--this one's better:

    3. That is a cool sight! Some of the flakes are tubular it seems. Some look like tiny boxes. I had no idea. Thanks!

  4. Gosh! When we studied William "Snowflake" Bentley a couple years back, I was really impressed that he was the first to be able to photograph snowflakes (check him out if you don't know who that is -- he was homeschooled!), but here is your "first attempt" and I'm just floored. I don't know what to say. You are so good at this macro thing. It doesn't matter what the backdrop (even though I know you'll keep working on that), you did an awesome job on these snowflake pictures.

    1. Thanks! Well, I don't think I can take much credit.. I just did what anyone would do with basic camera knowledge and a macro lens. :D These aren't fancily framed or anything. Oh by the way, you don't need a macro lens to take macro shots. You can flip your lens around and tape it backwards to your camera. You might want to look that up sometime and try some snowflake photos of your own, since you get more snow.



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