Taking pictures of snow flakes

Joined
Feb 21, 2010
Messages
904
Reaction score
10
Points
18
Location
Utah
Hey anyone know what kinda camera i would need to get some pictures of snow flakes falling? i want take a picture that makes them look like there suspended in the air. im gonna have a ton of extra time on me this winter and im thinking of doing a little photography.
 
Joined
Jun 22, 2008
Messages
3,343
Reaction score
213
Points
63
Location
Forest Hills, NYC
Your Mac's Specs
15-inch Early 2008; Processor 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo; Memory 4 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 10.7.5
The type isn't really all that important. What is important, is having full manual control of your shutter speed, aperture and ISO. So any camera able to fulfill those requirements will do. Plenty of point and shoots will allow full manual control.

What is your budget?

Doug
 
OP
RustProofCorn
Joined
Feb 21, 2010
Messages
904
Reaction score
10
Points
18
Location
Utah
The type isn't really all that important. What is important, is having full manual control of your shutter speed, aperture and ISO. So any camera able to fulfill those requirements will do. Plenty of point and shoots will allow full manual control.

What is your budget?

Doug

I'm thinking a grand.
 
Joined
Jun 22, 2008
Messages
3,343
Reaction score
213
Points
63
Location
Forest Hills, NYC
Your Mac's Specs
15-inch Early 2008; Processor 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo; Memory 4 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 10.7.5
Oooh... can I be your personal shopper?:D A grand is a fair amount to spend, but also right on that cusp of: "Man, that one is only a few hundred more, I may as well just go for that one!". This can be a very deep subject to cover, and I do suggest you take your time and not rush into spending a grand hastily. I do understand that the snow is coming soon, but that's still no reason to blow a grand on something you might look back on later and wish you had made a different decision.

I'm going to eat, but I'll come back and give you some options and opinions shortly.

Doug
 
OP
RustProofCorn
Joined
Feb 21, 2010
Messages
904
Reaction score
10
Points
18
Location
Utah
Sounds good. And what! We already have a foot of snow on the ground. Take a look at my location.
 

BrianLachoreVPI


Retired Staff
Joined
Feb 24, 2011
Messages
3,733
Reaction score
124
Points
63
Location
Maryland
Your Mac's Specs
March 2011 15" MBP 2.3GHz i7 Quad Core 8GB Ram | Mid 2011 27" iMac 3.4 GHz i7 16 GB RAM 2 TB HDD
Sounds good. And what! We already have a foot of snow on the ground. Take a look at my location.

LOL - yes - you definitely need a good camera living there (and a good jacket). I'd love to visit someday and take a few shots myself. Vansmith can give you some igloo building techniques. ;D
 
Joined
Jun 22, 2008
Messages
3,343
Reaction score
213
Points
63
Location
Forest Hills, NYC
Your Mac's Specs
15-inch Early 2008; Processor 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo; Memory 4 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 10.7.5
Alaska! ooops! And sorry for not having gotten back when I thought I would... wife returned from Europe last night so... had some catching up to do. Anyway, my opinion still stands as it was. Perhaps even more so knowing that you're in a rush. It's never good to make such an important purchase in haste.

There are so many great options out there right now, but you first have to figure a few things out. Those things include:

Size/portability
ruggedness/durability
whether this is more hobby or will perhaps take it further etc..

Some of the new mirrorless cameras are amazing, but fall short with the amount of lenses they offer. Well, autofocus lenses that is. Most of them are able to mount an adapter for use with really amazing manual focus lenses. I personally prefer manual focus for anything personal I do, other than studio work of course. Even then, I sometimes prefer manual.

I'd give very serious consideration to the Sony NEX 5N, the Olympus EP-3 and maybe even the new Fuji X10 (little brother of the X100, though the X100 is definitely a better camera).

The Sony NEX 7 is a better camera than the 5N where controls and ease of use are concerned, but slightly worse with high ISO noise. Though slightly really is ever so slight, especially if you've got Lightroom which can get rid of high ISO noise like a champ, without sacrificing detail. Only thing about the Sony camera's is that the lenses aren't all there yet in abundance. The M 4/3rds camera's have better offerings right now.

I'm not a fan of ANY of the new Nikon mirrorless models. They're overpriced IMO, for what they offer. Plus the sensor size is proprietary and thus, a new system is born, requiring yet more proprietary lenses. And as you can imagine, there are really very little being offered right now. There are more Sony ones in this regard.

At some point I'm probably going to get one of the Sony's or maybe the Olympus. Hard decision to make right now.

Then of course, there's DSLR's. Plenty of room for discussion there, so first you should decide on the form factor you're looking for, and then we can take this a bit farther.

Doug
 

RavingMac

Well-known member
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jan 7, 2008
Messages
8,304
Reaction score
244
Points
63
Location
In Denial
Your Mac's Specs
16Gb Mac Mini 2018, 15" MacBook Pro 2012 1 TB SSD
Doug,
This is more of a question than a suggestion. But given that the purpose seems to be snowflakes rather than landscapes wouldn't secondary lighting be a factor to consider?
Thanks,
Mike
 
Joined
Jun 22, 2008
Messages
3,343
Reaction score
213
Points
63
Location
Forest Hills, NYC
Your Mac's Specs
15-inch Early 2008; Processor 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo; Memory 4 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 10.7.5
It really depends upon the surroundings I suppose. A fast enough shutter speed will obviously freeze the flakes mid air, but of course lighting is uber important as well. Direct flash will usually result in blown out flakes, not desirable at all.

You don't necessarily need an expensive lighting system though, either. Nothing wrong with shooting in the sun, while looking for a nice dark background to shoot in front of. I'd also recommend a shallow DOF in order to isolate the subject (snow) and definitely manually focusing in order to pinpoint one plane of field.

It's not all about shutter speed either, though. Focal length matters a lot in terms of isolating subjects. The longer the focal length, the greater the chance that you'll be able to localize the snow, simply by choosing a background subject, then focusing in front of it just a bit. This creates a wonderful contrast between the two things. Experimentation is key.

What else... Never shoot in the middle of the day unless it's overcast. Usually the morning time or very late afternoon is best because of the shadows being cast by the angle of the sun. You never want the sun directly overhead. You might also want to use a bit of exposure compensation, like +1 or +2 to let in a bit more light. Snow is tricky and usually tends to fool a camera's sensor. You want to meter the light correctly, as well as the white balance. Using an 18% grey card usually does the trick, ya just have to know how to use one.

Lots of little things go into shooting different scenes, it's not just spray and pray or point shoot and hope. There definitely is a skill involved, and half of it is just knowing the technical stuff. The rest is experience and a good eye.

Also, since there are so many techniques involved, there's not just one right way.

But I think we should resolve the type of camera he wants first ;)

Doug
 
Joined
Mar 17, 2008
Messages
6,879
Reaction score
191
Points
63
Location
Tucson, AZ
Your Mac's Specs
Way... way too many specs to list.
Also, since there are so many techniques involved, there's not just one right way.

I believe this puts you firmly as 'Zen-master of the understatement' :D
 
OP
RustProofCorn
Joined
Feb 21, 2010
Messages
904
Reaction score
10
Points
18
Location
Utah
Well lets see. It will definitely be just a hobby. A couple factors would be low light situations right now and as we get into December we only have 6 or 7 hours of daylight so sometimes i might be wanting to take a picture when its dark. what is the difference of the cameras you have stated and dslr's? i would like to get a package deal with some lenses and such if i have to get up into the 1200-1400 range i can swing that. Another thing is that in the sumer we have about 18-20 hours of daylight which would be something to think about. I really have about 5 months off and would like to use photography as a hobby for the time being. i alway am taking pictures with a Nikon point and shoot i have and my iphone but would like to get a bit more involved. sometimes i need a lens that would get out there more i might be taking pictures of lets say a caribou that is a few hundred yards out. my point and shoot doesn't do very good at those times.
 

RavingMac

Well-known member
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jan 7, 2008
Messages
8,304
Reaction score
244
Points
63
Location
In Denial
Your Mac's Specs
16Gb Mac Mini 2018, 15" MacBook Pro 2012 1 TB SSD
I'm prejudiced toward Nikon, so it would be hard to go wrong staring out with this.
Amazon.com: Nikon D3100 14.2MP Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR Nikkor Zoom Lens: Electronics

Even better would be a used D90.

EDIT: And this is nice for reaching out a bit.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000HJPK2C/?tag=macforums0e4-20

Though, honestly, the 55-200 kit lens isn't bad and a whole lot cheaper.
FWIW I got my 70-300 from B&H refurb for about $350

EDIT2: And, though I am partial to Nikon, may even want to consider something like this.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0043DKBTK/?tag=macforums0e4-20
 
Joined
Jun 22, 2008
Messages
3,343
Reaction score
213
Points
63
Location
Forest Hills, NYC
Your Mac's Specs
15-inch Early 2008; Processor 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo; Memory 4 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 10.7.5
Heading to bed now, so I'll reserve my comments for when I'm totally awake. What I will say however, is that if you're going to get an DSLR, to stay away from any kit lenses. Invest your money in good glass. You may think that you're saving money by getting a combo lens and body kit, but I can guarantee that you'll want better glass later, after you learn the limitations of slow glass in general.

I'll also say that from the right source, used equipment can be an absolute gold mine, especially lenses! I buy used manual focus lenses from both Adorama and KEH.com all the time. More in the morning....

Doug
 
Joined
Jun 22, 2008
Messages
3,343
Reaction score
213
Points
63
Location
Forest Hills, NYC
Your Mac's Specs
15-inch Early 2008; Processor 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo; Memory 4 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 10.7.5
Sorry, my timing stinks. But I'm here now to answer more questions. I'm off tomorrow too!

D
 
OP
RustProofCorn
Joined
Feb 21, 2010
Messages
904
Reaction score
10
Points
18
Location
Utah
Update....

Well thanks for all the help. i ended up working full time this winter. that wasnt what i was expecting but oh well. i just purchased a canon t2i yesterday because i had a couple people recommend cannon and it was in my budget. thanks for all your help and i will let you know what i think!!!
 
Joined
Sep 10, 2011
Messages
1,823
Reaction score
51
Points
48
Location
Lancashire
Your Mac's Specs
MacBook Air M1 2020 Ventura 13.4.1 500Gb 8Gb. iPhone12, Watch 5, HomePods.
Personally I found chasing snowflakes hard work.:) Macro shots of lichens with ice are interesting, as are frozen spiders' webs.
 
OP
RustProofCorn
Joined
Feb 21, 2010
Messages
904
Reaction score
10
Points
18
Location
Utah
Regrettably this site does not allow me to reproduce the picture, but here's a couple of links to AMAZING snowflake pictures with details on what camera was used:

500px / Photo "A Little Snow" by Mark Johnson

500px / Photo "snowflake 2" by omid golzar

Geeze those are awesome. thanks.. i was wishing i already had the camera in hand. the Northern lights were out and they were awesome last night but sadly the only camera i have here is a nikon s6000. i was able to get some pictures of them but they were pretty grainy.
 

Shop Amazon


Shop for your Apple, Mac, iPhone and other computer products on Amazon.
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites.
Top