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BY JOANNA NOBLE

Photographer Joanna shares five tips for getting started with creative snowflake and ice photos: the perfect winter project for anyone staying #HomeWithOlympus

Ever since adding the M.Zuiko 30mm F3.5 Macro lens to my camera bag, I have begun to see the world in such a different way – whether it’s in the tiny scenarios my ‘Little People’ find themselves in, or the wonderful world of garden bugs and fungi.

However, this recent spell of cold weather gave me the chance to shoot something I have always wanted to have a try at capturing – snowflakes!

Since the temperature dropped, the snow and ice have provided some of the most amazing patterns and textures and seeing them through a macro lens has made them even more spectacular.

I have never managed to capture a snowflake before, so I set about, very determined, to manage it this winter – and here are five of my tips for photographing them!

1. Conditions Count

The conditions need to be just right for the best snowflakes: ideally you need fine snow and very low temperatures, so it doesn’t melt straight away. Having the weather-sealed OM-D E-M1 Mark II makes shooting outside in the snow so much easier!

2. Wrap Up Warm

Be prepared to be patient. It takes a while to find the perfect flakes that you will want to photograph, so make sure you’ve wrapped up warm!

3. Find a Contrasting Background

Try and find a contrasting background. In my garden I tend to use my decking fence post as it’s a great height and makes the snowflakes stand out when they flutter to the ground.

4. Use Focus Stacking

Use Focus Stacking if you’ve got it: having the OM-D E-M1 Mark II means that I can use the in-built Focus Stacking capability, so when you have found the perfect dendrite flake, stacking the images ensures you can get as much of it in focus as possible.

5. Think Fast

Think fast – you do have to be quite quick to react, so make sure you’ve got your settings as fine-tuned as possible before you start your search so you can get the image before the flake disappears!

I’ve yet to find a totally perfect shaped snowflake yet, but just seeing them and photographing them this winter has been amazing. The detail you can pick up through the 30mm macro lens has been fascinating.

If you can’t find any snowflakes, why not try shooting some ice patterns instead? You can get some brilliant patterns across frozen puddles, on leaves or grass – or failing that, break some ice, prop it up against a background and make your own!

The macro ice world is a beautiful fascinating place, just ready and waiting for you to explore!

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