Moscow, Russia-based photographer Alexey Kljatov shoots incredibly beautiful photographs of snowflakes on the open balcony of his home… using a custom compact camera kit. That’s right: rather than use fancy (and pricey) camera gear, Kljatov simply uses a 12.1MP Canon PowerShot A650 and some DIY macro gear that he put together.
Kljatov says he mostly works on a glass surface with an LED flashlight illuminating the snowflake from the other side of the glass. For other shots, he also uses natural light and dark woolen fabric as a backdrop.
Here’s what the setup looks like: notice how the sheet of glass is resting on an upside-down wooden stool:
When he was just starting out, Kljatov would use the standard macro mode on the A650, using a plastic bottle tube to stabilize his camera while it’s pointed straight down onto the snowflake at the minimum focusing distance. He would press the shutter with one hand (with a delay so he could shoot hands free) while using the other to point the flashlight at the snowflake.
More recently, Kljatov built a “super-macro addon” using a Helios 44M-5 lebs from an old USSR Zenit SLR camera. You can see the new rig above.
Here are some of the amazing snowflake photographs he has captured using the two setups:
P.S. If you’re into snowflake photos, be sure to also check out these gorgeous snowflake snaps by another Russian photographer named Andrew Osokin.
Image credits: Photographs by Alexey Kljatov and used with permission