A snowflake time of year

Posted on 30. Dec, 2009 by in Everything, Photography, Snowflake

No, I haven’t entirely disappeared from the face of the earth.  Although if you’ve been checking my blog lately, that might be an easy conclusion to jump to with how infrequent my updates have been.

Instead, I’ve been doing some learning, updating of my web sites, working with a fabulous graphics designer on updating my logos, enjoying Christmas with my sweetie KAK, and, with KAK’s assistance I’ve been photographing some of the most spectacular snowflakes (or crystals if you prefer) that I’ve come across since I began this endeavor.

The conditions in Edmonton have been just perfect lately for snowflake photography with the temperatures hovering around -12 Celsius (10 Fahrenheit) and a wonderful amount of snow falling.  Not too heavily with not a lot of wind makes for perfect snowflake photography.  Sure your fingers and toes get cold, but when you get the results I’ve enjoyed over the past little while, it’s all worth it.

Now some will argue that snowflakes are not wildlife.  And while they aren’t alive, they are certainly wild and free.  They are difficult to photograph, the conditions need to be just perfect and fall in a tight range of temperatures (and it needs to snow),  and the snowflakes are extremely, extremely fragile.  I’m sad to say that many a snowflake was destroyed by our efforts and even more sublimated away.  But, I believe it is all worth it.  It’s a celebration of this beautiful place I live and it takes advantage of the six (yup SIX) friggin’ months of winter we typically endure enjoy each year.

I present the following image as evidence of my efforts and a tribute to the wonders that nature provides.  The snowflake in the image was about 3mm from tip-to-tip.  Remember that you can view a larger version of the image by clicking on it.  And for those bound to ask, I’ve yet to see two identical snowflakes.

Fern-like Stellar Dendrite

Fern-like Stellar Dendrite

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7 Responses to “A snowflake time of year”

  1. fotografzahl

    03. Jan, 2010

    Beautiful indeed – what an awesome macro!

  2. Grace

    04. Jan, 2010

    Breathtaking, Paul. Perfect execution resulting in a work of art.

  3. Victor J

    05. Jan, 2010

    Wow! That is an amazing shot. I’m just wondering how you took it? What lens and where was the snowflake (mid-air?) when you took the pic?

    • Paul Burwell

      05. Jan, 2010

      Thanks Victor.

      The shot was made with a combination of the Canon 65 MP-E 5x Macro lens and some extension tubes. I like to tease that I chase the snowflakes as they fall and work hard to get them against a great background. Of course the difficulty is exasperated by the incredibly shallow depth-of-field. Of course that would be impossible, but it paints a great mental picture.

      The basic setup works like this: I catch snowflakes on the sleeve of my jacket. When I spot an interesting one, I transfer it via a paintbrush to a sheet of glass I have setup and photograph it.


  1. Tweets that mention A snowflake time of year | WildShots -- Topsy.com - December 30, 2009

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    This post was mentioned on Twitter by paul_burwell: Just posted: A #snowflake time of year #photography #macro http://tinyurl.com/ycpakcq