I have had a few people ask me about some recent shots I took at night in the snow. It seems some of you were curious as to how I got the snow to blur into nice little bokeh balls visible in the shot below. It is really easy to do for such a cool effect.
The night started out as primarily a light painting shoot. It was a near full moon and the weather forecast said clear skies. Some friends and I were headed to a beautiful forested area in a tiny little valley with a nice river running through it.
During the drive up as we climbed in altitude it started to snow lightly which was contrary to the weather report. We got to the parking lot and got out of the car to freezing cold winds and snow had stopped falling. It was just really cold and, I have to admit, my enthusiasm took a bit of a plunge. We had to wait for a while for the moon to rise so we started to prepare our light painting tools. Anything to keep warm! Still no moon so we got to work light painting in the pitch black. We banged out a shot and started to work on a second set up. Being in the thick forest we really had no idea what the weather was doing or if the moon had come up so I decided to go to the river and check out the conditions for myself. To my surprise the winds had died and it was snowing like crazy. We all dropped what we were doing to go grab some shots in the snow. Now after boring you with all this rambling I can got the effect with the snow.
To get this effect you will need falling snow and a flash. It was done by flashing the snow directly in front of the lens. I popped the flash from just behind the front element to avoid hitting it and causing some flaring. It was aimed iacross the lens. I recommend using a hood if you have one. This will keep light and snow off the front of the lens. This was done at night but it does not have to be. If you have a way of firing your flashes off your camera or have a HSS cord then it should also work during the day. Of course if you are in a snowy area shooting and use a snowy scene as a background your white bokeh snow probably won’t show up against the white snowy backdrop so choose a darker background like trees or something. This will really highlight the snow you flashed. So if you find your self in snowy weather with your camera and a flash give it a try!
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