Help fund the snowflake book project! (Sky Crystals)

Snowflake book project link: http://igg.me/at/skycrystals/

It has been a long time since a new blog post, but the time has come to show off the 2012-2013 snowflakes and announce to everyone about the snowflake book project!

Snowflakes take up months of my time as a photographer, but the time and effort required is always worth it:

In a snowflake like this, you’ll see a few things you might not expect. The colour jumps out at me, and has a number of causes. Prisms in the ice crystal split the light in the branches, creating a rainbow effect. The pink center is coloured that way due to optical interference between multiple boundaries of air and ice at just the right thicknesses. The geomteric patterns are created by the way ice crystals form into hexagons… there is a ton of science explaining the wonders of snowflakes, and as much of it as I can understand will be in the upcoming book.

There are better examples of specific things. For example, this snowflake shows some very interesting geometry:

The geometric patterns are typically 6-sided with all angles matching 60-degrees (6*60 = 360). What happens in one section is in no way “linked” to the other sections, but the symmetry exists because all parts of the snowflake grow in nearly the same conditions. As a snowflake grows, the symmetry starts to fall off and get a bit more chaotic, as even in the distance from one end to the other, the environmental variables that make a snowflake (temperature, humidity, etc) change slightly.

Some snowflakes exhibit colour in a vibrant, yet telling way:

The above snowflake shows you beautiful colours created through optical interference, revealing the interference pattern as the thickness of the ice changes. This same pattern can be identified and compared to soap film. The soap film has a pattern that changes with thickness just as this snowflake does, and answers some of the mysteries you can uncover on a black mitten in your backyard.

Some features on a snowflake may remain hidden, unless viewed on a very precise angle:

This is the same snowflake but photographed from two different angles, only a few degrees apart. The light from the camera flash changes to bounce off the icy surface and into the camera lens, instead of traveling right through the crystal and only reflecting the edges. Each view has it’s merits and tells a different story. It’s a gentle reminder that even the person next to you can see the world in an entirely different way – and the smallest change in perspective can have a dramatic impact on perception.

The book will contain all of these images and hundreds more. In it’s 300 pages, the hardcover book will detail the photography and photographic techniques (over four hours of editing on average goes into each image), the science and physics found in each snowflake, and the philosophy and psychology explaining why we find snowflakes beautiful in the first place. It’s going to be a great book, but I need your help to make it happen.

A production run of books is expensive, and I need to raise $15,000 in funding to get the book produced. I’m using a website called indiegogo to gather the funds, and you get rewarded for your contribution. A $35 contribution or more will get you a copy of the book when it’s published later this year (higher contributions have extra perks as well!). As of this writing, I’m two weeks into the campaign and at 40% of the funding goal! The remaining 60% will be the hardest, and I sincerely hope that you’ll be able to contribute to get this book made and get a copy of it in your hands!

Here’s the link to the book project, please share it with everyone and contribute!

http://igg.me/at/skycrystals/

$35 is a great price for the kind of book you’ll be getting. Offset printed, beautiful cover and 8.5″ square. Below is a gallery of some of the images from this season’s snowfall. I’ve edited many more than this (over 100) and have the same number from last year. I also have roughly 200 images to edit still, so the book will be full of the most beautiful snowflakes you’ve ever seen. Check them out!

Macro Photography @ Georgian College

With spring here and an abundance of insects and flowers to photograph, I’ve been busy! Just like this busy honey bee I captured yesterday:

My Macro Photography course is starting at Georgian College, from May 22nd to June 5th.

The course is 15 hours (9 classroom, 6 in the field) and covers all areas of macro photography. From gear to technical info, composition and all the tricks to take fun pictures like this Dandelion refraction image:

I’ll even have preserved snowflakes on hand!

Here’s the details:

Where?: Georgian College Barrie Campus
Who?: Anyone! No prerequisites, and special lenses are not required!
Cost: $132.00
When: May 22 – June 5, 2012, Tuesday Nights 7-10PM
Saturday June 2nd, 9AM-3PM Outing
Course CRN: #35105
Sign Up: Click Here for Georgian College signup page

I’ll need a few more participants in the course before it can run! It’s a great opportunity to expand your photography and learn all my secrets. 🙂 If you know someone that is interested, please pass the info along.

And for those that simply enjoy the photographs with no desire to make your own – here’s a gallery to browse of some recent images:

January Snowflake Series

I know not everyone is active on Google+ where I am posting these, so here are 10 of my favourite snowflakes photographed so far this year. There are some extremely beautiful images, from the small-but-stunning:

To the incredibly large:

Check out the gallery and read the descriptions for a little insight. I have many more of these still to put together and winter is far from over. It’s going to be a great year! Check out Google+ if you can’t wait for more, I post one every day. 🙂

Snowflake-a-Day on Google+

Its been nearly two weeks since I started a “Snowflake-a-Day” project over on Google+. I’m posting one snowflake image every day for 100 days.

Snowflake-a-Day on Google+ (Add me to your circles!)

The above image is my favourite snowflake image so far this year. While snow seems in short supply so far this winter, I race out every chance I get to photograph the falling crystals. More exciting news soon!

Colliding Water Droplets

Single water droplets falling into a glass. The first one splashes back up just in time to collide with the second one, falling from above. High-speed photography of these collisions requires precise timing, calculations, and luck:

Awesome, isn’t it? I have a special device for triggering my camera at the precise time, as well as coordinating the water droplets. The Camera Axe 5 with the valve sensor is very much a necessary tool to make these collisions happen, but even still I took over 700 images to get the 7 that I am showing here. Lots of fun experimenting, especially with background refraction:

Check out the gallery below, and let me know what you think! (and I know – it has been forever since my last update. Don’t worry, there are interesting things to post soon!)

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