Sadly the best things in life are often unseen… because we cannot see them with the naked eye! But Alexey Kljatov – an amateur Russian photographer of note – has found a way of making some of these hidden marvels of nature visible to us. His art is snowflake photography. Although for him, the biggest artist is pristine nature itself. Art of Snow was recently in conversation with him online.
How did you discover snowflake photography? The first inspiration was http://www.SnowCrystals.com by Kenneth G. Libbrecht, professor at CalTech. I could not believe my eyes when I saw his photographs of snowflakes – they are so amazing and absolutely beautiful. As most amateur photographers, I thought that it would be impossible to capture something like this without any experience and a microscope.
Secondly I stumbled across some Russian photographs of snowflakes taken on a dark woollen fabric. On this background snowflakes look like precious gems in a jewellery store. Completely surprised I realized that these pictures were taken with a conventional compact camera without a microscope! Snowflake photography needs patience, persistence and practice that go beyond expensive photo equipment. You need good snowfalls, which offer a large range of interesting and beautiful snowflakes. De-tailed instruction: http://chaoticmind75.blogspot.ch.
What is the technique behind it? Currently I use a low-cost Canon Powershot A650is camera at maximum optical zoom (6x) shooting through a Helios 44M-5 lens reversely mounted in front of built-in camera optics. As fast and easy as shooting the photo sometimes is, what can prove more complex is the post-processing workflow. It needs cleaning from distracting elements, noise removal, precise masks and many individual treatments. It takes significant time and effort.
What is the fascination behind snowflake photography? From the day I discovered the possibilities I was longing for the winter like never before. The fascination of snowflakes makes waiting for weeks or months for the right moment to capture a wondrous marvel of nature falling from the sky well worth it. After nine seasons, snow crystals still amaze me with their unlimited diversity and the beauty of their incredible inner patterns.
What is your dream? Even though photography is only a hobby for me for now, I am planning to make it my full-time work in future.
bilder: Alexey Kljatov