My previous in-depth post about snowflakes was my second attempt at photographing this subject.  I shared photos from my first attempt on Facebook but never put them into a blog post, so here they are :)  I noticed how perfectly formed the snowflakes were on my car after dropping my son off at preschool.  A lot of times when the snow lands on the windows/windshield of the car it immediately melts so you don’t always notice the intricate shapes of the snowflakes.  When I arrived at home the snowflakes were still staying perfectly formed on my car so I ran inside and grabbed my camera.  I used the same setup as described in my other post but instead I hand-held for these photos.  It was the middle of the day and I was content with the settings I was able to have without the added hassle of using a tripod.  My daughter was content to play in the snow while I snapped the snowflake photos so we were both having fun :)  These snowflake images have a different feel than the other ones I photographed.  The others were glistening in the nighttime lights so just one snowflake was highlighted while most of these images show groupings of snowflakes.

Macro Snowflake Image

 

I love the delicate grouping of these snowflakes and how they are stacked on each other.

Macro photo of snowflakes

Macro Image of Snowflakes

Snowflake Macro Image

After I was done taking photos of the snowflakes I noticed these interesting colors and details on a tree.

Macro of tree bark

Macro of Tree Bark

Just two days after photographing the snowflakes, my Aunt contacted me and told me that their Seahorse had babies and invited me over to take photos.  Pretty funny timing since I had just taken the snowflake photos and had concluded that was my most challenging subject to date, and now I decided to take on Seahorses.  Not adult Seahorses, baby Dwarf Seahorses.  ;)  In comparison of the snowflake photo outing, there were of course relative similarities in size of the snowflakes to the size of the Dwarf babies so my setup was exactly the same.  Lens: Canon 100mm Macro and 3 Kenko Extension Tubes (12mm, 20mm, and 36mm) using a tripod.  The lighting of the area was not setup well for photography and using the Extension Tubes cuts down the light even more.  I didn’t want to move the aquarium table and risk disturbing the Seahorses so I just worked with the available lighting along with a lamp.  With the snowflakes, I was able to set longer shutter speeds but I couldn’t do that as these little buggers never stopped moving.  High ISO combined with low f/stop to achieve a high enough shutter speed combined with using the Macro/Extension Tube combo meant that the plane of focus was very narrow.  Focusing in live-view was once again quite beneficial and this time I added a remote so that I could push a button to take the photo as soon as I achieved focus.  Of course there is also the added complication of photographing through the glass and water but at least I wasn’t risking frostbite with these subjects ;)

Photo of a Dwarf Baby Seahorse for Shalyn Nygaard Photography

Here is a fun little video I took using the same equipment.  You can get a feel for how much the babies move, even though they are small movements they are constantly in motion which makes it very difficult to focus and capture before focus is lost.  I stopped the video to snap the above photo with the Seahorse was looking directly towards the camera.

Photo of a Dwarf Baby Seahorse for Shalyn Nygaard Photography

Photo of a Dwarf Baby Seahorse for Shalyn Nygaard Photography

Photo of a Dwarf Baby Seahorse for Shalyn Nygaard Photography

I read that it is estimated that the Dwarf Baby Seahorses are approximately 1/4″ at birth.  I took a few pullback shots to try to show the scale of how incredibly tiny these creatures are that I was photographing.  As you can see, I’ve indicated that the width of the aquarium is 16 inches and I have circled, in red, the Seahorse that was the subject of all of the photos and videos above.

Aquarium photo to help explain scale of Dwarf Seahorse

And to try to show the scale again, here is a closer photo with the Seahorse circled.

Showing scale of Dwarf Baby Seahorse

This week I’m starting a new blog post series named Wacky Wednesday where I blog about something a little out of the ordinary for me. It could be a different kind of photo project, something from the archives, products that I love around the house, or who knows what!  We will see :)

First up: we got a few inches of super light and fluffy snow this afternoon. While looking outside with the kids I commented that it looked like glitter – it was very pretty. I went out to shovel the sidewalk and could not resist taking photos of the snowflakes that I was seeing even though it was 7 degrees out and time to get the kids to sleep :)  This is the second time that I have photographed snowflakes and it was exponentially more difficult this time around!  The first time was mid-day in bright sunlight so I was able to hold the camera instead of using a tripod. With shutter speeds down to 1/20 second, a tripod was required this time around. My setup included a 100mm Macro and 3 Kenko Extension Tubes (12mm, 20mm, and 36mm). With the Extension Tubes the lens can focus closer than the lens’ usual minimum focusing distance. With this setup there isn’t much room for focusing capabilities like usual as you are taking a photo – you physically have to move the camera forward and backward until the focus is pretty close and then fine-tune with the focus on the lens. This is very challenging when the camera is on a tripod and the subject you are photographing is very tiny :)

Basically I turned live-view on in the camera so that I could see the subject on the screen and moved the camera around until I saw a snowflake illuminated, stopped the tripod there, then focused. Lots of trial and error in finding the snowflakes and I ended up staying outside much longer than I was dressed for ;)

Even though I was photographing a thick pile of fresh snow, the exterior house lights were causing just certain snowflakes to sparkle per viewing angle so this (combined with a low f-stop) allowed for me to get photos where single snowflakes were able to stand out and be isolated. I literally never saw one of the snowflakes that I was photographing with my eyes due to the tiny snowflake size and the ones that were illuminated with my eyes were not the same as those that were illuminated from the point of view of my camera.

Macro of Snowflakes

 

Macro of Snowflakes

Macro of Snowflakes

Macro of Snowflakes

And some behind the scenes iPhone shots to attempt to show the scale of the snowflakes, how close I was photographing, and my setup. You can see how just a few snowflakes are really standing out and shining, this is how I was able to capture the snowflakes so illuminated and pretty isolated even though it was a blanket of snow.

Kenko Extension Tubes with 100mm MacroKenko Extension Tubes with 100mm Macro

In live-view mode, I was able to zoom in to fine-tune the focus on the snowflakes. Here is how the first snowflake above looked from behind the camera.

Kenko Extension Tubes with 100mm Macro

I’ve had this pink background for almost 2 years and I just realized that I had never used it. It’s been on my mind now. I felt inspired to do a Valentine’s Day themed photoshoot with my two youngest kids and after seeing the results, I just love them! So I have decided to offer Valentine’s Day Mini Sessions in my River Falls, Wisconsin studio. The sessions will each be 15 minutes long and on the pink background for Valentine’s fun. Sessions will be $100 and include either 3 digital files (with printing rights) or 25 photo Valentine’s Day cards. The photo cards would be perfect for your child’s classmates or family and friends! Sessions will be on Saturday, February 7 and I will work fast to get either your images or your cards to you by the 11th so you have them in time for parties, mailing, email, or sharing on social media. I limit my mini sessions to ages 3 months and up as newborns take much longer to work with/pose than mini sessions allow for :) We can always discuss options like this during regular sessions at Shalyn Nygaard Photography as well if you have a newborn or would like to book a session for more time.

Contact me to reserve your spot!  shalyn@shalynnygaard.com or message me on Facebook.

Twin Cities Photographer

 

I asked him to kiss her cheek and they both smooched ;)  I’ll take it!

Valentine

 

A little prop fun!

Valentine

 

Recently she has been too busy for all of mom’s photosession requests so I was excited that she was so into the photoshoot today :)

River Falls Photographer

 

And of course some of my sweet little guy :)

Twin Cities Photographer

River Falls Photographer

Henry was long awaited, and not just because he made his debut late.  Henry decided he needed an extra eight days to do some extra growing inside his momma though and it was successful as he was born at 9 pounds 4 ounces :)  Henry’s daddy was a next door neighbor of mine when we were growing up but I didn’t meet his mommy until her gorgeous maternity shoot when we took advantage of some of the last nice days of Fall.

Henry was so sweet, I got to meet him at just 8 days new.  A full head of hair and lots of squish!  Henry was one of my last sessions before the holidays and his family sent out combination Christmas and Baby Announcement cards. One side of the card was for Christmas and one side for welcoming Henry, perfect. Ellsworth-Wisconsin-Newborn-Photographer

Newborn sessions always require images with their parents and siblings in my studio :)

Ellsworth-Wisconsin-newborn-photography

I just love black and white images of baby hands and feet with their mommy and daddy’s hands, seriously so precious!

Twin-Cities-Newborn-Photographer

Henry’s momma is quite talented and crafty – she made that gorgeous handspun yarn fluffy that Henry got to lay on to stay cozy on the vintage sled.  She also made the adorable knit lamb hat and enjoyed a little cuddle with her cute lamb.

Twin-Cities-Newborn-Photographer

Ellsworth-Wisconsin-Newborn-Photographer

Ellsworth-Wisconsin-Newborn-Photographer

I love that this family ordered a canvas series for displaying in their home!  How gorgeous is this going to be for them to see everyday?!

Twin-Cities-Photography-Canvas