Previous news story    Next news story

Homemade rig captures extreme macro shots of snowflakes

By dpreview staff on Dec 2, 2013 at 08:01 GMT
Homemade rig captures extreme macro shots of snowflakes
1 2 3 4 5 13

Homemade rig captures extreme macro shots of snowflakes

Moscow-based photographer Alexey Kljatov is a keen macro photographer, and for the past couple of years he's been producing closeup shots of snowflakes. More recently he decided to boost the magnification of his camera - a Canon PowerShot A650 - by attaching a reverse-mounted Helios 58mm F2 lens. His inexpensive homemade rig delivers extraordinary magnification, revealing an incredible amount of detail in the intricate crystals of ice. 

Via: Bored Panda, Source: Alexey Kljatov

Comments

Total comments: 186
123
Anders Carlson
By Anders Carlson (4 months ago)

Fantastic images!

0 upvotes
drummercam
By drummercam (4 months ago)

How do it know?

0 upvotes
mauritsvw
By mauritsvw (4 months ago)

Magnificent! And how nice to have a thread without mostly negative comments for a change.

12 upvotes
Wu Jiaqiu
By Wu Jiaqiu (4 months ago)

this was posted on the off topic forum weeks ago

Off Topic forum 1 - 0 DPR News

1 upvote
WS808
By WS808 (4 months ago)

"Snowflake Bentley" of the digital era. Beautiful!

0 upvotes
Mac McCreery
By Mac McCreery (4 months ago)

Brilliant!!!

0 upvotes
Raist3d
By Raist3d (4 months ago)

This is pretty great. Great light, composition... looks like artisan glass!

1 upvote
Tom Nokin
By Tom Nokin (4 months ago)

Does anyone have any idea what magnification we are looking at?

1 upvote
peevee1
By peevee1 (4 months ago)

Great photographs!

Tiny sensors are the best for macro. People buying FF or even APS-C for macro are just clueless. m43 unfortunately is the smallest ILC format with native macro lenses, but sometimes manual focus etc is just fine, and then cameras with even smaller sensors should be used. Or simply P&S if the built-in lens is OK for macro.

If Pentax ever gets around to making a dedicated supersharp macro lens for Q, something like Q10 will suddenly start to make a lot of sense.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
KodaChrome25
By KodaChrome25 (4 months ago)

I'll bite. Why are tiny sensors best for macro?

0 upvotes
neo_nights
By neo_nights (4 months ago)

@ KodaChrome: small sensors gives you more depth of field. And macro photography has, by definition, little depth of field (the closer you get to the subject, the lesser DoF you have. Simple physics).

So, if you add a kind of photography that inherently has small DoF and adds a camera that will give you also small DoF (large sensor cameras), will end up with crazy thin DoF.
OTOH, if you use compact cameras, that have small sensor and big DoF, you "even things out", so-to-speak.

4 upvotes
edu T
By edu T (4 months ago)

"Why are tiny sensors best for macro?"

Because the lenses they come with have relatively very short focal length, which is a real boost to your already critically shallow depth of field at short distances.

(An A650 zoom, for instance, has a "normal" angle of view at 11 mm; what matters here are the "real" mm, the ones marked on the lens barrel, not the "equivalent" FL.)

IOW, the relationship between sensor size and DoF is a case of correlation, not causation.

3 upvotes
neo_nights
By neo_nights (4 months ago)

@edu T - You're right. I've just taken the 'common-sense' route to explain. Yours was more precise and true to reality.

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (4 months ago)

Not only DoF, but higher pixel density too. 1:1 macro lens put on a sensor with 6x crop compared to FF works like 6x macro (which in not even available for FF) while preserving DoF of 1:1.

1 upvote
KodaChrome25
By KodaChrome25 (4 months ago)

Thanks for all those replies.

0 upvotes
Anstup ID
By Anstup ID (4 months ago)

Simply brilliant! My applause. In Russia I trust. My lovely hometown...
In 1986 I do hi speed pictures of breaking massive ice by axe using rangefinder "Zorky", Svema 64iso film and chemical bomb especially as flash light. I have to find that negatives from my childhood..

3 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (4 months ago)

There's just no beating Mother Nature. Wonderful. And no need for a D800, a high DxO score or any of that.

12 upvotes
alegator1
By alegator1 (4 months ago)

Reminds me of the fact that skill is more important than the gear.

18 upvotes
Alpha Whiskey Photography
By Alpha Whiskey Photography (4 months ago)

Amazing images! Just stunning!

1 upvote
Digitall
By Digitall (4 months ago)

The Micro world is beautiful, the expression of nature in art form.
Interesting homemade rig, creativity always above the equipment. Congrats to the photographer!

0 upvotes
obeythebeagle
By obeythebeagle (4 months ago)

omigod. Mr Daniels "Mind Blown" comment says it all. No design studio on Earth can touch these. Maybe there is something to Vonnegut's "Chronosyncalsticinfandibulum".

0 upvotes
Antony John
By Antony John (4 months ago)

Along the same lines as "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious"?
:-)

0 upvotes
liquidsquid
By liquidsquid (4 months ago)

I've got to try this! Plenty of subjects around here.
To get rid of the monochrome result you could use a few color-tuneable RGB LED hobby kits placed at different locations. That may add some real pizzaz to the result without post.

0 upvotes
Antony John
By Antony John (4 months ago)

Try 'Crossed Nicols'.

Comment edited 44 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Alexey Kljatov
By Alexey Kljatov (4 months ago)

Thanks! This winter i'll try some new lighting types.

2 upvotes
alphacam
By alphacam (4 months ago)

wow!

1 upvote
Crac1
By Crac1 (4 months ago)

Absolutely and purely beautiful, unique and magical. Manufactured by the Earth.
A big BRAVO!

1 upvote
Rob Bernhard
By Rob Bernhard (4 months ago)

Though not with snowflakes, I used a reversed Canon 50mm f/1.8 in front of a Canon A80 back in the day. The working distance was so short that I accidentally got pollen on the rear element of the lens when I bumped the anther of the lily flower I was trying to photograph.

Comment edited 23 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Devendra
By Devendra (4 months ago)

nice

0 upvotes
Mrrowe8
By Mrrowe8 (4 months ago)

Proves it's not what you shoot with and don't listen to the " experts on how make better images " the principle of photo are the principles of photo and with that as a guide and a little creative thinking you can make visual magic happen. ..

1 upvote
Anders Ståhls
By Anders Ståhls (4 months ago)

Very nice work! Bravo Alexey!

1 upvote
photo nuts
By photo nuts (4 months ago)

Lovely images. I wonder if this set-up offers higher magnification than the Canon MPE 65 lens

0 upvotes
lbrulhart
By lbrulhart (4 months ago)

Cool !

0 upvotes
Antony John
By Antony John (4 months ago)

Must have been ;-)

2 upvotes
Antony John
By Antony John (4 months ago)

Simply brilliant.
Very well done Alexy.
Wonder if you could try crossed polarisers (Crossed Nichols') sometime and see what you get?
Now I know where the movie studios get their inspiration for Sci-Fi spacecraft from!
Just so much beauty in nature if only people would look.

3 upvotes
Robert Daniels
By Robert Daniels (4 months ago)

Mind Blown! I'm sure the Illuminatti peeps coped their designs from snowflakes. LOL. Natures Symbolism

1 upvote
daddyo
By daddyo (4 months ago)

Amazing photos! What absolutely beautiful designs -- it's equally amazing that every snowflake has a unique design.
To me, this is the micro equivalent of looking into the Grand Canyon -- all I can say is 'Wow'!

9 upvotes
mrmut
By mrmut (4 months ago)

Amazing! :-)

0 upvotes
inti4444
By inti4444 (4 months ago)

Have you noticed the different shapes, well it is part of the Chaos theorem.
Each crystal is unique.
Beautiful pictures.

2 upvotes
Antony John
By Antony John (4 months ago)

Mostly compounds will form the same crystal structure under mostly similar conditions.
That water can form crystals that vary so dramatically under similar conditions is worthy of a Nobel prize if someone can figure it out - specifically as they're symmetrical.

Comment edited 39 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Hugo808
By Hugo808 (4 months ago)

The different types are caused by the particular mix of humidity and temperature always giving the same basic shape. Alter one or the other even slightly and you get a different basic shape.

But they remain apparently unique, though I haven't checked them all yet...

0 upvotes
Antony John
By Antony John (4 months ago)

Hugo,
One would think so but there will me micro variations even on the scale of a snowflake - this would result in different crystal shapes ('growth') through the snowflake - which is not what one experiences - i.e. the symmetry wouldn't be the same from one side of the crystal to the other.
One has to assume that the first 'seed crystal' determines the crystal growth pattern.
If anyone has any good references then I'd like to read them.

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (4 months ago)

First link on google:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-do-snowflakes-form

But whatever science discovers, idiots would still think that some supernatural being in the sky personally carves them out.

1 upvote
Antony John
By Antony John (4 months ago)

Peevee1,
Did you read the article?
It says precisely nothing and, as one of the article comments says, it doesn't explain symmetry - or more precisely the changing symmetry of the snowflake as evidenced in the photos.
If the temperature/humidity stayed the same then the snowflake would have a constant symmetry.
"To understand how they grow, “we have to marry the mathematics with the physics, and that’s not been done, partly because we don’t know the right physics,he said"" sums it up.

1 upvote
tomjar
By tomjar (4 months ago)

Outstanding, wow!

0 upvotes
Jacques Cornell
By Jacques Cornell (4 months ago)

Note to DPR - The slideshow stops at slide 8: everything after that just jumps to a page on the Sony Store. Bleah!

2 upvotes
inti4444
By inti4444 (4 months ago)

That is the new set up of dpreview.

0 upvotes
MustangJoe
By MustangJoe (4 months ago)

Doesn't happen to me with Chrome.

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (4 months ago)

@Jaques - can you send a feedback email using the link at the bottom of this page? I can't replicate the effect you're seeing.

0 upvotes
Hugo808
By Hugo808 (4 months ago)

Download Adblock plus and be done with it!

But it won't work with Internet Explorer, but no one uses that anymore right?

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
Torsten Hoff
By Torsten Hoff (4 months ago)

Happens to me as well using Safari on an iPad.

0 upvotes
Eric Hensel
By Eric Hensel (4 months ago)

I'm still seeing it on Chrome...

0 upvotes
MarkInSF
By MarkInSF (4 months ago)

Yup, still doing it on Chrome to me. The entire lower part of the page, incuding the area where the navigation buttons are, sends me to the Sony store. I got around it by editing rhe URL, but it would be nice if it were fixed. I suspect it's something at your end as Chrome is othwrwise behaving correctly.

0 upvotes
mazzuccato
By mazzuccato (4 months ago)

Woooow

0 upvotes
Lea5
By Lea5 (4 months ago)

It's the little things where you can see god's art at best.

7 upvotes
daddyo
By daddyo (4 months ago)

Exactly, but only because we're too little to see the big things as though they were little things!
It's impossible for me to look to look at this design and organization and then say, 'Wow, nice accident'!

Comment edited 23 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
MarkByland
By MarkByland (4 months ago)

So you don't know much about math, then?

15 upvotes
Sonnik
By Sonnik (4 months ago)

MarkByland, why would you dismiss daddyo's comment and not allow for the possibility that math was also created by God?

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Juck
By Juck (4 months ago)

Because it's Bronze age mythology.

14 upvotes
Marianne Oelund
By Marianne Oelund (4 months ago)

@Juck

Mythology doesn't produce spontaneous supernatural healings and resurrections.

How little you are aware of!

0 upvotes
PLShutterbug
By PLShutterbug (4 months ago)

A saying from Andrew Carnegie I read years ago seems appropriate here: "a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still."
How does it harm you that the poster believes in a Creator? He definitely was not attempting to push his religious views on you personally ... can't you just appreciate that he appreciates these stunning images, albeit in a different light than you, without beating him up for his beliefs?

0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (4 months ago)

We know how snowflakes are made. And it is not complicated. Just a matter of crystalline symmetry. I do admit that looking at living creatures and also the luck that the universe has exactly very good constants - that makes you wonder if this is not made instead of just happened. But - snowflakes is not an area where I wonder. There I know. And it is - as I said - easy.

3 upvotes
Tom Nokin
By Tom Nokin (4 months ago)

Since there a so many GODs around people knee and pray to: any clou which one of the special beasts we have to include in our evening prayer for this? Before the debate gets heated I would suggest physics and chemistry:)

3 upvotes
MarkByland
By MarkByland (4 months ago)

@ Sonnik - great photos all around. I like that he basically cleaned house with a generic home-made set up that includes a 40 year old Russian lens and a camera most people would rather laugh at than operate.

Why is it that there has to be 'one' person, place, or thing ultimately responsible for every thing as we know it? For all we know about physics and nuclear energy, we could be residing on a particle inside of a giant atom smasher and this "god" every one speaks of is a physics student working on his thesis.

0 upvotes
Adamaflex
By Adamaflex (4 months ago)

ahh this is surely the work of cthulhu

2 upvotes
phips243
By phips243 (4 months ago)

@MarkByland
The astonishing amount of mathematical precision in our universe isn't exactly a strong argument for an universe formed by myriads of accidents and coincidences. The existence of math itself isn't eighter...

0 upvotes
Juck
By Juck (4 months ago)

err,, yes it is phips243,, that's exactly what it is. rofl

1 upvote
Tony Ellis
By Tony Ellis (4 months ago)

I love these photos! - I have no idea how it is done? I get that it is a compact with a lens 'reversed' but not sure how it all gets put together... What is under all that tape? If anyone can post a link to a good site where it is explained I would be very grateful

Does it work with lenses that are not around the 50mm area?

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
edu T
By edu T (4 months ago)

The author himself cared to explain his well thought out optical contraption:
http://chaoticmind75.blogspot.ru/2013/08/my-technique-for-snowflakes-shooting.html

--and, not to be overlooked, the whole noise averaging process:
http://chaoticmind75.blogspot.ru/2013/08/about-averaging-identical-shots.html

If you are feeling "very grateful" now, then thank him... :)

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Greg VdB
By Greg VdB (4 months ago)

reversing a ~50mm lens to do extreme macro cheaply is nothing new, but Alexey definitely went a bit further than most, and the results are fantastic.

Here's a shot I took of air bubbles in a glass of orange juice with coloured papers in the background. Ten years old, made with a 4MP Casio QV4000 (the poor man's Canon Powershot G2), but it's still one of my personal favourites:
http://www.pbase.com/gbleek/image/17736911

7 upvotes
billbourd
By billbourd (4 months ago)

Greg,
You just caused me to lose time from my schedule admiring your galleries. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos.
Billbourd

1 upvote
Greg VdB
By Greg VdB (4 months ago)

Thank you very much billbourd, that's the nicest comment one can get. And I appologize for your loss of time :-)

0 upvotes
iAPX
By iAPX (4 months ago)

Incredible!

1 upvote
ThePhilips
By ThePhilips (4 months ago)

That's probably the cheapest reverse mounted rig I have seen. Bravo!

Otherwise, can pros comment/compare reverse mounting vs. extension tubes?

1 upvote
Rbrt
By Rbrt (4 months ago)

Somebody should buy this guy a really good camera!

3 upvotes
ThePhilips
By ThePhilips (4 months ago)

He probably already has good camera.

But it might be too expensive to be tinkered with like that.

Plus, only few of the "good" cams have the articulated LCD, which is very useful for macro.

1 upvote
peevee1
By peevee1 (4 months ago)

Something like Canon 1Dx or Nikon D4 would be THE WORST for the purpose. ;-)

0 upvotes
Rbrt
By Rbrt (4 months ago)

I wasn't thinking of only this application, which is just fantastic, but he obviously has a whole lot of creative talent. He is not going to be taking pictures of snowflakes forever (I guess).

0 upvotes
ProfHankD
By ProfHankD (4 months ago)

Very hacked-together, but he says autofocus even works. ;-) I don't think the sharpness is awesome, but it doesn't matter for this subject. Very nice work.

0 upvotes
Antony John
By Antony John (4 months ago)

No cat or dog crystal images not good enough for you?

0 upvotes
Ferling
By Ferling (4 months ago)

A very nice body of work, and I'm glad to see a little creativity in overcoming technical feats and budget.

I've mounted manual primes using reversal rings, (attached to an old Canon Bellows adapted for EOS) to photograph things like blade and needle edges for medical devices. My most challenging was special knots tied onto fine suture threads. Fun stuff.

2 upvotes
reginalddwight
By reginalddwight (4 months ago)

During this holiday season, I wanna believe.

0 upvotes
jacketpotato
By jacketpotato (4 months ago)

Superman !!!

Real inspiring, I have a650 will try your technik.

2 upvotes
Ben O Connor
By Ben O Connor (4 months ago)

God bless all pro.s from talented hobbyists/enthusiasts :)

(In every area, not only photography)

1 upvote
Eigenmeat
By Eigenmeat (4 months ago)

Impressive stuff!

3 upvotes
sdw1
By sdw1 (4 months ago)

I think they are real snowflakes - not plastic or glass Christmas Tree ornaments - as evidence of the slight melting taht can be seen on some - though I could be wrong. If real, what also stood out to me is that most are variations on hexagons - with the exception of pic number 10. I am truly impressed - nature is amazing in all its variation.

5 upvotes
Alexey Kljatov
By Alexey Kljatov (4 months ago)

Many thanks for your interest!

32 upvotes
PaulChapman
By PaulChapman (4 months ago)

I have a sneaky feeling that these are Christmas Tree ornaments....but, of course, I may be completely wrong....

1 upvote
bluemoonman
By bluemoonman (4 months ago)

I have a sneaky feeling you are completely wrong....

3 upvotes
Der Steppenwolf
By Der Steppenwolf (4 months ago)

Get a seeing dog and white cane Paul.

1 upvote
Antony John
By Antony John (4 months ago)

The same size as a fibre? - maybe - if ants celebrate Christmas too.

0 upvotes
Optimal Prime
By Optimal Prime (4 months ago)

Necessity is the mother of all inventions.

1 upvote
LensBeginner
By LensBeginner (4 months ago)

Wow...

0 upvotes
Hugo808
By Hugo808 (4 months ago)

Fantastic work, isn't nature wonderful! Hard to believe they are natural structures.

2 upvotes
AndreaV
By AndreaV (4 months ago)

Really an amazing work! Very well done! :)

1 upvote
Total comments: 186
123