Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Snowflake draft #1

Decided to start additional series of snowflake photos: Snowflake draft, in parallel with fully processed snow crystals. This will be small packs of snowflake photos, processed with simplified and more quick workflow.

My main processing workflow for snowflake photography requires lots of time and effort. I really like this work and never tired of it, because careful processing of aligned and averaged RAW stack certainly worth all efforts: resulting image looks way better than in-camera source photos. But that means that i can show you only small fraction of all nice and interesting snowflakes i capture every winter. All of my snow crystals stored in very big archive as series of RAW + JPEG photos, waiting for processing; though i suspect that most of these snowflakes will never be released - only because i can't find enough time to process them all!

So, here is first post in draft series. For these photos, i'll do faster processing: averaging of JPEG stacks with simplified post-processing. I will show only interesting and/or beautiful crystals (at my taste), but, to keep some intrigue, will not show best of the best snowflakes, until they processed with full workflow. :)

These crystals was captured 18 December 2015. This was second day of my snowflake photography this winter, and first day that brings me some nice specimens:

Snowflake macro photo: Draft_1-1 (real snow crystal with very broad transparent arms, photograph on dark woolen fabric)
Snowflake photo: Draft_1-1 (2453 x 1840)

This large snow crystal resembles duck feet or gecko's paw. Snowflakes of this type, if they are big enough, can be easily spot by naked eye and draws attention, thanks to their unusual and beautiful shape with thin, broad and very clean arms. Here is details of one arm without re-scaling. I like how background distorted by transparent details on crystal surface:

Snowflake macro photo: Draft_1-1, details of one arm

I've already processed two snow crystals of this type: High voltage / Gecko's paw (normal and negative processing of same photo, taken on glass surface) and Ice crown - large snowflake on dark woolen fabric:

Snowflake picture: High voltage, big snow crystal with large broad arms and relief surface, glittering on pale gradient background in LED back lightSnowflake image: Ice crown, big snow crystal with very broad arms and unusual pattern in the center, glowing on dark blue background

Next snowflake is very big 12-sided crystal (quite rare finding), with complex structure and slight rime on surface:

Snowflake macro photo: Draft_1-2 (real snow crystal with 12 arms, photograph on dark woolen fabric)
Snowflake photo: Draft_1-2 (2901 x 2176)

Here is crop of it's center in 1:1 scale. Can you find tiny hollow column snowflake on it?

Snowflake macro photo: Draft_1-2, crystal center details

Snowflakes with twelve arms is one of my favorites (along with hexagonal plates and triangular snow crystals). Here is two more 12-sided crystals: Wheel of time and Twelve months (i've captured and processed them in 2014).

Next crystal is stellar dendrite, but almost completely covered with rime. Usually, i do not like such crystals: often they carry so much rime, so they reminds pillow, almost completely opaque and even their shape barely seen. However, small amount of rime sometimes look cute: snowflake can remind massive brooch, covered by lots of tiny diamonds:

Snowflake macro photo: Draft_1-3 (real stellar dendrite snow crystal with medium amount of rime on its surface, photograph on dark woolen fabric)
Snowflake photo: Draft_1-3 (2400 x 1800)

And finally, small crystal of capped column type. Although, it is bigger than common capped columns, and have wide caps with different size. You can see it's thin column through transparent cap:

Snowflake macro photo: real capped column snow crystal with thin column and wide caps of different size and shape
Snowflake photo: Draft_1-4 (1752 x 1314)

Here you'll see "standard" capped column:

Snowflake photo: capped column snow crystal with massive ice column and two hexagonal caps on opposite ends

These snowflakes was the best from December 18. In total, 129 photos was captured; they took 1,5 Gb in archive after packing RAWs with archiver 7-Zip (after tests, i choosed PPMd compression method and model order=3 - it gives best compression ratio for my 10bit RAW/DNG files, and also good speed).

Here is next snowflake in draft series, captured January 18, 2013:

Real snowflake photo: pair of large stellar dendrite snow crystals, sparkling on black woolen background in natural light - Alexey Kljatov

If you want to see more snowflakes, you can browse through all snowflake pictures.
Here you'll find snowflake photo wallpapers in numerous resolutions and screen proportions, up to Ultra HD 4K.
And here is article about snowflake macro photography.


  1. High quality/excellent captures! All of them.

  2. mind-bending work, Alexey. Absolutely incredible amount of beautiful detail in each of your crystalline gems. Congratulations.

  3. Beautiful! I like these better than the fully processed ones. You see the geometry of the ice more.

    1. Thank you! I will continue this serie soon.

  4. Incredibelly beautifull shots Alexey, can I use as wallpaper those for my personel laptop?

    1. Of course! I glad if you will use them. Here is ZIP archive with all four snowflakes in full size, 12 megapixels (i also added this link into post):