Sunday, March 1, 2015

Taking Snowflake Photos with iPhone or Smart phone Instructions

I'm so excited to share the knowledge of how to take a snow crystal photograph with your smart phone.  I have been taking photos of snow crystals with my microscope but I finally figured out I could use my iPhone 5S camera too.  This way I can finally get the whole crystal in the shot.  I was amazed at how the photos came out.  I have been looking at various ways to take these photos and there are so many complicated setups that you can follow as well but I found this simple and easy way to do this with today's technology.  This is what I do for the setup:

The "ingredients" you will need are:

2)  A smart phone with a camera
3)  A big sewing needle or something you can pick up the snowflake with (a small paintbrush might work as well but I haven't tried that yet).
4)  A piece of black velvet cloth or a colored piece of felt
5)  A microscope slide or a piece of plexiglas (something see through)
6  A magnifying lens for your camera
      -  I used the Olloclip for the iPhone 5S or you can use
      -  a jewelers loupe (they cost only a few $ online)
      -  a magnifying glass

When I know the snowstorm is coming I put a table outside on my porch so I have a place to work on.  You need to make sure your cloth and items you use are cold so put out the piece of velvet and the microscope slide and whatever you will use to manipulate the snow crystal.  Note that if you use a needle to move the snowflake make sure the needle is cold.  I kept putting the needle onto a piece of icy snow so it would be cold enough.  I'm sure there's a better way to pick the snow up but this is what I've figured out so far.

For the photo in this post, I captured the snowflake on the black velvet, moved it to the slide (which I put on another piece of black velvet that had no snow on it) using a big (cold) sewing needle, and then had the iPhone ready to take the photo.  With the Olloclip lens comes a little plastic hood so it is easy to set it down onto the slide directly over the snowflake.  Then just focus and take the photo.  Make sure you can steady your hand somehow because that will make a big difference.
If you are using felt you can just angle the phone camera with whatever magnifier you are using and zoom in take the shot.  The key is to steadiness.  If you are a photographer you will already know about that part.

Once you get the photos, use one of the many apps out there to edit and frame the shot.

Finally, HAVE FUN!