Breaking my snowflake maiden

Two years ago, I tried my hand at snowflake macro photography, eventually scoring the photo Mittsu No Yuki for my efforts.

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.

That was two years ago. After purchasing some focus stack bellows, I planned on improving my photo sharpness in the 2019-20 wintertime.

But in January 2020, I shattered my ankle. By the time I was able to recover and stand and walk, winter was over. So I waited for another storm.

That happened yesterday. Down came the snow.

I was prepared for the snowfall. For the past few days, I had stored a flat piece of black-painted aluminum outside, so that if snow landed on it, it wouldn’t quickly melt.

I quickly set up my tripod and the focus stacking module, then attached one of my macro lenses – the Chinese-made Mitakon Zonghi 20mm 4.5X super-macro – onto my Nikon Df.

I dangled the aluminum block outside, catching snowflakes on it. I then brought some snowflakes under the lens, and took several stacked photos.

Brought the camera into my warm home, and pulled this out of the focus stack.

Snowflakes 2021-1a. Nikon Df camera, Mitakon Zonghi macro lens. Photo (c) 2021 Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

Now I know this isn’t that classic six-pointed snowflake image that I want, but it is – for the first time in two years for me – a suitable snowflake image. And it’s also going to be a benchmark to improve for any future snowflake shots later this year.

I have to say, this snowflake image is actually a personal push for me. I’ve only shot a few things in 2020, and I really need to get my hands back on my gear and get some images.

And if I can pull an image like this after two years of no snowflakes…

It just makes me itch for another snowstorm, with better snowflakes to fall.

And that feels good.