Snowflake Macro Photo Challenge (Virtual Meetup)

  • March 23, 2013 · 9:00 AM
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Photo Credit / Article: HERE

 

Note:  The term "challenge" in the meetup description means to challenge yourself and your own personal creativity to get the shot.  It requires research, trial and error, and patience. This is not a competition and photos will not be judged. (only admired)

 

What: Try to take a macro shot of a single snowflake

 

Where: This is a virtual meetup, start shooting now and submit your photos when the meetup allows for uploads.  Shoot where ever your heart desires.

 

When: March 23rd, 9am start uploading your photos.  The ability to successfully do this challenge relies heavily on specific weather conditions. By weather conditions, I don't just mean if it's snowing.  Review some of the resource links below to see what I mean.

 

How: I don't want to limit creativity. Do what's necessary to get the shot.  Online examples show people with lenses that have macro abilities.  In some cases, extension tubes.  You don't need an expensive DSLR to get results as online how-to's demonstrate techniques with point and shoot cameras.

 

Resources: The following are just suggestions.  Feel free to post your comments with more information.  Don't rule out do-it-yourself hardware hacks.  Head to Walmart and Homedepot for supplies.

Resource1 Resource2 Resource3 Resource4 Resource5

 

Challenge Rules: 100% success in this challenge means a shot of a single snowflake similar to the photo at the top of this description.  The snowflake can not be drawn or produced electronically.  You can create the snowflake by any means necessary ie.  your freezer or wait for outside conditions. You can process / post edit the photo any way you want.   If your shot contains multiple snow flakes, still submit your photo to our online gallery.  There should be no identifiable background image other then the flake(s).  An example of a complete fail of this challenge would be posting a picture of your dog playing in the snow.

 

Have fun and happy shooting!  Can't wait to see what people come up with!

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  • Jeff G

    Wow, great photos everyone, some really great shots. Can peopl post what kind of technique they used to capture their posted shots? I had a really good time doing this.

    2 · March 24, 2013

    • Bianca N.

      90% of my shots (over my several outings) were taken hunched over my tripod with Remote Shutter Release in hand. Finally got fed up on the last day, took the camera off the tripod, removed the shutter release, walked over to my jeep and started shooting in manual mode. The 3 images I posted were taken from that batch after I ditched all the extra equipment. Was a very interesting lesson lol.

      March 25, 2013

    • Jeff G

      All my keepers ended up being me holding the camera in one hand, and the broom bristle with snowflake in the other hand, trying to get the right light from the sun, and staying steady while using manual focus. It was a juggling act. ;-)

      1 · March 25, 2013

  • Bianca N.

    Got back late last night. Jeff, just wanted to say this was such an awesome challenge! Absolutely LOVED it! I learned so much ie: camera settings, gear, technique ... It really forced me to become more proficient in so many ways. So really big thank you for this!

    1 · March 25, 2013

  • Jeff G.

    "I wish I could join this challenge but I don't have an expensive DSLR and macro lens..." Here's the answer to that. An iPhone plus a $5 attachment. I am just amazed on how resourceful people are, almost to a point where it's discouraging.


    http://www.petapixel.com/2013/03/02/macro-snowflake-photos-captured-using-an-iphone-and-5-lens-add-on/

    March 5, 2013

    • Jeff G.

      @Michael: The one you have :-P There's so many different ways people are getting these snowflake shots that the "best" is really dependant on personal preferences. This challenge has shown me it's not just about the lens. I tried extension tubes, the nikkor micro 105mm lens, tripods, yelling and also a bit of cursing. Cursing for me works best as my breath melts the snow flake just enough to stay in position and seems to stop me from shaking while keeping mother nature in line.

      1 · March 23, 2013

    • Mariette

      Unfortunately, I couldn't participate either. I didn't have the macro lenses for DSLR nor do they have one yet for smartphone Samsung Galaxy III. :-(

      March 24, 2013

  • Tammy J

    Loved this challenge! Made me work for hours! Made me learn a lot! Thank you Jeff!

    1 · March 23, 2013

  • Bianca N.

    I have to take off for the eatern townships right now to visit family and Cabanne a Sucre tomorrow! Won't be back until tomorrow evening but do have some comments I'll share then and can't wait to see everyone's photos! Have fun guys :-)

    1 · March 23, 2013

  • Jeff G.

    Prolly be up within the hour or so.

    March 23, 2013

  • Jeff G

    Is anyone else seeing the picture upload button yet? I don't see it anywhere.

    March 23, 2013

  • Ginny F.

    Been away in Florida for two and a half weeks. I do have one good flake pic from before I left. Would I say, 'it's a good thing it's still snowing here so I can keep trying????' I don't think so. lol

    1 · March 21, 2013

    • Jeff G

      I was away as well and I finally had some time last night. I was able to capture some images, nothing like what the sample is above but I'm excited that I actually got something! I ended up pulling off one strand from a broom and used that to "pick up" a snowflake from my porch railing. Trick was getting enough light on the snowflake.

      2 · March 22, 2013

    • Jeff G.

      Brilliant technique with the broom Jeff! Can't wait to see.

      March 23, 2013

  • Ginny F.

    Will we be able to upload until late tomorrow evening? I am on the road all day and don't want to miss it. Thanks.

    March 22, 2013

    • Jeff G.

      You will be able to upload forever. There's no time limit. :-) (except when the intertubes fill up and the sun goes super nova)

      March 23, 2013

  • Bianca N.

    OMG this snowflake challenge is a serious exercise in patience -.- Good thing I'm stubborn!

    3 · March 19, 2013

  • Jeff G.

    Please only post photos after the start date

    March 14, 2013

  • Jay Roblee P.

    my stinking app changed my RSVP by accident LOL... well must have been my fat fingers.. woops

    1 · March 14, 2013

  • Mariette

    Sounds like fun! Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

    1 · March 1, 2013

  • Angelina

    having a point and shoot camera is the greatest challenge. probably a fail, but this gives me an idea what they might look like if I have a macro lens. http://www.flickr.com/photos/angelina2600/8506017956/

    1 · February 24, 2013

  • Dana

    I have a huge soft spot for macro photography, but unfortunately I have yet to invest into one of those awesome lenses. I do not have anything with a macro or zoom ability, so unfortunately I will have to sit this one out. Great idea however!

    1 · February 24, 2013

    • Jeff G.

      One experiment in addition to the link above: goto the dollar store and buy a magnifying glass. Put your cam in manual focus if you can. If not, don't sweat it. Put your iso high, shutter speed at 400s and fstop at 5.6+. Now focus moving the magnifying glass a little at a time... Keep firing your shots while trying to focus. I took 400 shots this morning. Ten were in focus. Give it a try... Most you got to loose is $1

      February 24, 2013

    • Jeff G.

      Sorry, $1.15

      1 · February 24, 2013

  • Jeff G.

    Check out this video. Amazing. About 14 minutes into it, he reveals his technique. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wle7zLhBr7s

    1 · February 24, 2013

  • Bianca N.

    So I dusted off my macro lens. Pulled out the tripod. Braved the cold and got myself setup in the high hopes of getting that elusive shot. After the AF tried to focus 999 times and I ended up with a lens full of snow (filters are lifesavers!), I still couldn't get the damn thing to focus. Annoyed at this point, I abandon the camera and turn to Google for answers. Turns out I'm not the only defective user! A kind soul suggested Manual Focus instead. I discovered that Manual Focus on a macro lens is the best option for me. I also learned where the sweet point is in positioning my camera when equipped with a macro lens. And the last lesson learned was that going outside when it's snowing like crazy, the wind is insane, and it's below -20 is probably not advisable lol.

    Hopefully this post made you smile or have a good laugh at my expense ;-) Whether I manage to capture the elusive snowflake remains to be seen but what an incredible learning experience! Thank you Jeff! :-)

    February 21, 2013

    • Jeff G.

      I tend to get carried away when chatting about hardware and technique. It's so much fun to play and experiment with all the available options to us with the latest technology on even budget $100 cameras. Angelina, I think your approach is a good one.

      February 23, 2013

    • Bianca N.

      No such thing Jeff! All the info you've provided has been very helpful :-). And OMG, you are a great shopper lol. I usually decide what I need, price check online at two maybe three retail stores then go pick it up. Not very cost efficient when I see the deals you get!

      1 · February 24, 2013

  • Jeff G.

    Anyone play in the snow this morning? 7am I saw the weather forecast and quickly drove to Walmart. I bought some coloured paper, thick black presentation board, a mirror, piece of glass and a paint brush. Today was the first time I looked at single snow flakes with my naked eye. Pretty darn cool. In Barrhaven, about 1 hour into the snow fall, the flakes turned into tubes! I never knew all the atmospheric conditions / effects that make the different shapes from triangles to the traditional flake. I used an led flashlight to try and catch more light at f/32+ In live view mode, zoomed in also with my extension tubes, I was watching the flake collapse and melt in real time. Next time I shovel the driveway, I'll be a little more gentle as I have a whole new appreciation for the little buggers. lol

    4 · February 23, 2013

  • Jeff G.

    Warning / Tip:
    When taking your camera outside in the winter, before going back indoors, put your camera in an air tight plastic bag. Eg ziplock. Then allow your cam to warm up inside the sealed bag. This prevents condensation from forming on the sensor, on and in your lens.

    2 · February 21, 2013

  • Shawn Michael M.

    unless someone has a 4/3 body and lens that they dropped and the lens and body bayonets are still good, it looks like I'm going to have to buy that 50mm Macro ED Zuiko Digital Lens for my birthday...

    February 20, 2013

    • Jeff G.

      Hey Shawn, don't know anything about your cam but couple of things to try: what happens if you reversed you lens? (Fixed by tape? Another option: home made extension tube?

      February 20, 2013

    • Shawn Michael M.

      What I have is a real sweat, very fast, 100mm lens and a bellows I used on my Pentax ME, I can use the same rig on my Olympus if I had a 4/3 lens to cannibalize.

      February 21, 2013

  • Angelina

    yes, been trying to do this for awhile.

    1 · February 20, 2013

    • Angelina

      and failed too many times too. But that one rig with tubes, or magnifying glass is an inspiration.

      February 20, 2013

  • Jeff G

    Very interesting challenge, unfortunately I don't have my macro lens yet so would only be able to show dozens of snowflakes. ;-) The sample images in the link are very impressive.

    1 · February 20, 2013

    • Jeff G.

      Jeff, there may be options depending on what equipment you already have. Google macro reversing ring. Use a magnifying glass with your lens from the dollar store. Surprise us and come up with something! :-p

      February 20, 2013

    • Jeff G.

      Btw, the snowflake doesn't have to be a massive resolution or even take up the entire screen.

      February 20, 2013

  • phillipa

    So the fail example just made my day happier!

    3 · February 20, 2013

  • Jay Roblee P.

    ""An example of a complete fail of this challenge would be posting a picture of your dog playing in the snow.""

    Hahaha

    2 · February 20, 2013

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