Russian photographer Alexey Kljatov is a master of snowflake photography. After using a homemade rig with inexpensive equipment to take stunning close-ups, Kljatov’s snowflake photos went viral in 2013.
But he hasn’t stopped capturing amazing photos, and now his images are more stunning than ever. Kljatov shared new photos with INSIDER, and thanks to his extensive “how-to” blog post, we learned more about the process behind the images.
Keep reading for a look at the amazing snowflake crystals and to learn more about how Kljatov works his magic.
Kljatov was inspired to try his own snowflake photography after seeing a website called 'Snow Crystals' created by a CalTech physics professor named Kenneth Libbrecht.
At first Kljatov believed it was impossible for amateurs to capture photos like these without expensive equipment.
'Now I know that this is completely wrong!' he wrote. 'Every photographer with simple point-and-shoot camera can take very good snowflake pictures.'
Kljtatov uses what's called a 'lens reversal macro technique' with a compact Canon Powershot A650is camera and a lens called the Helios 44M-5.
'Against this background, snowflakes look very impressive,' he wrote. 'Like precious gems in a jewellery store.'
For the lighting, he puts a flashlight nearby and uses coloured glass patterns to create a subtle background of pinks or yellows.
Once the glass sheet is completely covered with snowflakes, Kljatov wipes it clean with a dry towel and starts over.
This is called 'averaging,' and helps to reveal more details that might be missed in a single picture.
But for 'more interesting and beautiful crystals' he sometimes snaps 16 or more pictures before averaging them.
Half of the balcony is covered by a roof, so he can shoot either out in the open as snow is falling lightly or under the roof if its heavier.
'I'm lucky that I have such a nice place where nobody disturbs me,' Kljatov wrote. 'And I can return into house when I freeze.'
'For this type of photography, patience, persistence and luck mean much more than any expensive photo technique,' he wrote.
We love the small imperfections he captures -- like the tiny snowflake connected to this larger one seen below.
His post on snowflake macro photography goes into helpful detail about his camera, lens, and photo-processing techniques.
'Even after eight winters of regular photo sessions, seeing thousands of snowflakes in all their details, I do not get tired to admire (sic) new crystals with amazing form or an incredible inner pattern,' Kljatov said.