Don Komarechka | Tiniest Snowflake
Name: Don Komarechka
Picture title: Tiniest Snowflake
‘Photographing snowflakes can be a challenge, especially when using reflected light off the surface of the crystal. This allows for a beautiful view of surface details, but it forces a very narrow depth of field, as the snowflake needs to be photographed at an angle to make this work. Because the angle needs to be found quickly, by rotating the camera and ring flash around the snowflake, the entire shooting process must be done handheld. For larger snowflakes, this is a challenge. For snowflakes such as this one measuring around 0.3mm across, they are nearly impossible to photograph using this technique. Attaching a 20x microscope objective to a 200mm lens set to infinity, the camera effectively becomes a microscope. Handholding a 20x microscope objective is not for the faint of heart!
The colour you see in this snowflake is caused by the physics of "thin film interference", the same physics that puts rainbows in soap bubbles and oil spots. In a snowflake, it is generated by bubbles in the ice forcing the ice on either side of the bubble to become incredibly thin. If the thickness of the ice changes, so does the resulting colour!’
Canon EOS-1D X Mark II
Mitutoyo Plan APO 20x
Technique: Focus stacking
Accessories: Ring flash, no tripod.
Post processing: Photoshop, focus stacking of 44 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 and further cleaned to isolate the snowflake from the black mitten fibres it rested on.