How to Capture Beautiful Photographs of Snowflakes

Photographer Don Komarechka is renowned for his macro work, particularly his images of snowflakes. In this short video, he runs you through how he goes about capturing these tiny ice crystals and their always unique six-fold symmetry.

If you’re lucky enough to be in a region graced with snow this winter, you might want to dig out the extension tubes, splash out for a ring flash, and head out into the cold. Komarechka’s lens of choice, the classic Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro, will set you back $1,049 brand new, but there are plenty to be picked up secondhand, such as this one retailing at $786.50.

Ring flashes are a curious breed, and the Yongnuo YN-14EX-C Macro Ring Lite seems a popular choice at $115.

Be warned: you might draw some confused stares as you stand out in freezing weather pointing a weird-looking camera at a woolen glove, so my commiserations if you don’t have the privacy of a backyard. As the video suggests, shooting is not a quick process: it’s not unusual for Komarechka to take up to 300 photos of a single snowflake before constructing an image that is made up of between 30 and 50 individual exposures. If you want to get an insight into his editing process, be sure to check out this video.

Andy Day's picture

Andy Day is a British photographer and writer living in France. He began photographing parkour in 2003 and has been doing weird things in the city and elsewhere ever since. He's addicted to climbing and owns a fairly useless dog. He has an MA in Sociology & Photography which often makes him ponder what all of this really means.

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I captured a photograph of a snowflake once, and all he did was complain about it on his social media platforms.

The best way to photograph snowflakes is to take a picture of a small group of young people. At least half are bound to be snowflakes.