The Super Snowflake Chase, 2020-21

Two years ago, I tried my hand at photographing snowflakes. Or should I say, photographing the little miniature constructs as big, detailed, geometric treasures.

The 2018-19 winter was fickle, and I was still trying to set up my snowflake-shooting equipment … a ring flash, focus stacking, a stable tripod…

And even with all that, I was still able to snag this photo as the best of my snowflake shots.

三つの雪 (Mittsu no yuki). Nikon Df camera, Nikkor 55mm 1:3.5 lens with extension tubes (c) 2019 Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

I entered Mittsu No Yuki in various shows during Competition Season 2019, and it picked up a ribbon at the Big E. So I had hoped to improve on my snowflake capture in the 2019-20 season.

And the first day there was a decent snowstorm … I slipped on my porch steps and destroyed my ankle. By the time I was even able to stand unassisted, it was springtime. Plus, even if I COULD get a decent snowflake photo, COVID-19 shut down all my competitions. Ugh.

So I need a project. I need a goal. I need a personal motivational tactic for this winter.

I’m looking over my equipment. I have a Nikon Df camera and several macro interchangeable lenses. I also have acquired some Nikon bellows, which will allow me to tightly “focus stack” whatever I can capture.

I can strap the Df into the focus stacking rig, then I can attach the tripod and get ready. As soon as there’s any sort of fluffy snowstorm, I’ll be out there with a black board, ready and waiting to capture the little treasures.

Then I can photo them. And if I get a great shot, then I will post it here – and if I get a better shot, I’ll post both for comparison and let you, my wonderful blog readers, help me decide which snowflake photo is best.

Besides … I’ve been in a photographic funk lately. The last decent photo I’ve taken was the fireworks show at the Jericho Drive-In. And that was months ago. I need to get my hands around the Df and shoot like I’m playing Asteroids in 1980.

Personally, I think we all need something like this. COVID-19 has robbed us of not only our health and our socialization, it has also robbed us of our energy and our drive. And to tell you the truth, I’m sick of having my life robbed by some virus. So I’m going to do something about it.

Thus begins the Great Snowflake Chase of 2020-21.

Come on, Mother Nature. Bring me a good old-fashioned Nor’Easter. Lots of flurries and clumpy snowflakes. And when that one hexagonal breath of nature lands on a little black card… and gets placed under the my camera setup … press that shutter button … and give me that little frozen proof of God’s creation. Big and large and detailed and delicious.

I need this.

And realistically, every one of us needs something like this.