Intimate Landscape
3rd Place

Don Komarechka | Fractal Symmetry



Name: Don Komarechka
Picture title: Fractal Symmetry
Category: Intimate Landscape
Occupation: Photographer

Don says:
‘At a magnification of 3.4x, this is one of the largest snowflakes I have photographed – typically much larger magnifications are required, but this crystal was colossal. I photographed it handheld in order to find an angle that produced reflections off the surface of the snowflake. This needs the camera and lens to be rotated around the subject at the point of rotation, not where the tripod mount is. Over 200 photographs were taken to ensure that all the focus stack slices were captured, and 46 images were used to make the final picture. 

A snowflake such as this will start sublimating quickly, so the photographer needs to start capturing images within a few minutes of it falling to the ground to avoid degradation. While low tech, the snowflake is photographed on a black mitten to provide contrast, isolate the subject and offer some insulation. Having photographed snowflakes for a decade, this is the most symmetrically complex crystal I have ever seen.’

Technical information:
Canon EOS-1D X Mark II
Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro 
ISO 320
Accessories: ring flash, no tripod
Post processing: Photoshop: focus stacking of 46 separate frames to get the snowflake in focus from tip to tip. Background cleaned up with cloning techniques to bring the out of focus background from the most forward-facing layer to the rest of the final image. Further cleaned to isolate the snowflake from the black mitten fibres it rested on.

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