Blizzard (Sort Of)

Snow again today, and loads of wind to blow it all over the place. We’d plans to go to Mardi Gras, but the wind and snow kept us at the house. For me, that translated to a chance to try some experimental (for me) photography.

I set up to capture some snowflake images on my sensor. At first, I tried a hand mirror. This was a great surface, flat and untextured. But…. (isn’t there always a “but”?) the snowflakes reflected inside the mirror, creating a double image of them. This really didn’t work as well as I thought it would, so I moved to something else. I got one of my old black “pleather” camera bags, and set it outside to let it get down to temperature. Unfortunately, it didn’t work very well either. The snowflakes never did quite sit well on it — I guess that material doesn’t lose it’s heat as quickly as the surface glass from the mirror — and the texture was distracting.

I think the right answer might be a smoked piece of glass. If it’s dark enough, I could even build a mount to mount the glass in, and ensure the camera’s sensor plane is parallel to the glass surface, which would allow me to take shots with the camera pretty wide open, without having to worry about the depth of focus interrupting the shot. Incorporating some focusing rails would probably help this out too. In fact, that contraption could be used for other kinds of macro work involving relatively stationary objects. In other words, no bugs.

I also took a quick ride down to Creve Coeur Camera to pick up some close-up filters. I haven’t used these in a long time, but I thought they might be useful to get closer to the tiny cold-air snowflakes we had. They did help some, and would’ve probably been great for the snow we’ve had recently. This snow, though, was comprised of tiny, tiny flakes, and I just couldn’t get close enough to come even remotely close to filling the frame with them.

The solution to that problem is, I suspect, a new macro lens. Canon makes a 5x lifesize lens, the MP-E 65, which appears to be an amazing lens. As I told Beck the other night, I think you could read the serial number on a bug’s eye with that thing. 🙂 I also thought about extension tubes as a possible solution. Especially with my macro lens (an f/2.8 lens), I oughta be able to pull off the use of tubes pretty easily.

More stuff to practice, for sure, but a noble start of some pretty cool stuff…