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#1330252 - 28/05/2015 03:10 Falling snow photography - vids and stills - improving our skills.
Unstable Offline
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Registered: 09/01/2007
Posts: 3585
Loc: Adelaide
Some of us have little or even no experience in videoing and photoing falling snow. The only way we can learn is from the failures and successes of others who've acquired experience by trial and error. I live in Adelaide and even very determined snowchasers in South Australia may be lucky to see one or two brief snow showers in winter-spring in some years and none at all in some years.

If you have any valuable basic tips to share maybe you could post them here, and if you have any vids or pics illustrating dos' and donts' they would be valuable too.

One good example I've discovered by trial and error is that when I've seen snow falling in recent years, the cloud-covered sky has been much brighter than I expected, and the falling snowflakes which are visible to my eyes against the cloud, simply don't show up at all on pics and vids.

On the summit of Mt. Lofty during snow showers I've watched many visitors pointing their cams at the sky and videoing away and I think these people are likely to be disappointed simply because they don't know you need much darker backgrounds for the camera to successfully capture the falling flakes.

Here's a video I found on YouTube, and I've got a question about it. The videoer has very successfully captured the falling snowflakes between the camera and the person being videod a few metres away. I notice the reporter is not looking directly into the light so I'm guessing it's pretty bright. Anyone have any comments about how the videoer lit this scene to make such a successful video?

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#1330334 - 29/05/2015 00:21 Re: Falling snow photography - vids and stills - improving our skills. [Re: Unstable]
Unstable Offline
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Registered: 09/01/2007
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Loc: Adelaide
Here we have the same daylight landscape scene with falling snow, photographed first with the camera flash off and then with the flash on. Details of the camera and its settings for each photo can be found on the Wikimedia Commons source pages (I haven't studied them so I don't know if any settings were changed between photos apart from turning the flash on).

Without flash (below). Source Wikimedia http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Falling_Snow_-_stuck_at_home_%283233431411%29.jpg



Above:
"Description this one without flash. in front of my house
Date 28 January 2009, 09:11
Source Falling Snow - stuck at home
Uploaded by russavia
Author Serge Melki from Indianapolis, USA"

Now with flash (below). Source Wikimedia Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Falling_Snow_-_stuck_at_home_%283234280718%29.jpg



Above:
"Description same shot. this is with flash to grab the snow flakes coming down in front of my house
Date 28 January 2009, 09:11
Source Falling Snow - stuck at home
Uploaded by russavia
Author Serge Melki from Indianapolis, USA"
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#1330338 - 29/05/2015 06:04 Re: Falling snow photography - vids and stills - improving our skills. [Re: Unstable]
samboz Offline
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Registered: 16/11/2014
Posts: 1806
Loc: Between Maffra & the Mountains...
Good examples unstable and a very interesting subject to ponder.

I think its to do with the amount of artificial light reflecting off the snowflakes as they fall.

The commercial TV camera lighting in the first would be quite powerful and being at night there is a dark background to assist the contrast between snow and b/ground, hence they show up.

The second park scene also appears to be on a dull morning with another artificial light source - the flash - providing the same conditions of contrast.

The flash is probably quite powerful as the diamond shaped traffic sign in the background some distance away has also been lit up by it.

Not sure why I think it's morning, it just has that look. Moon (?) on horizon nearly disappeared ?

Hadn't though of this subject before unstable so thanks for bringing it up.

The necessary ingredient for good falling snow shots seems to be the light source behind the camera which will be more effective if the background is dull due to the time of day or light/weather conditions.

Interested what others think.
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#1330406 - 30/05/2015 02:19 Re: Falling snow photography - vids and stills - improving our skills. [Re: Unstable]
Unstable Offline
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Registered: 09/01/2007
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Loc: Adelaide
Thanks for your comments Samboz smile

Re "The commercial TV camera lighting in the first would be quite powerful" - agreed and I would add for me anyway "quite out of my price range", so I'd be happy with the snowflakes only being lit up in the closest couple of metres to the camera.

Re "The flash is probably quite powerful" - yes it's lit the snowflakes and nearby landscape up very impressively! Not as bright as a close strike from a positive lightning bolt but quite sufficient for the intended purposes.

Seems like the simplest solution for lighting up falling snowflakes for a few metres in front of the camcorder is a video light that will fit onto or near the camera. This is not something I have any experience of so I've been looking at Youtube videos of some examples, most notably of the Manfrotto ML240 24 LED Panel Pocket Light which happens to be available from my favorite camera store at present for $100. I haven't established whether it's waterproof yet though or seen any footage using it at night in falling snow. If anyone reading this has used a camcorder light to film falling snow in front of the camera maybe you'd like to post with any suggestions as to particular products that worked or didn't work.

Here's another video taken in Buffalo, in daylight this time, and I'm not sure if there's any artificial light - maybe none or only a little. The only falling snowflakes I can see are ones falling in front of the reporter's very dark clothing.

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#1330408 - 30/05/2015 05:55 Re: Falling snow photography - vids and stills - improving our skills. [Re: Unstable]
Wild Wassa Offline
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Registered: 17/03/2012
Posts: 390
Loc: NW ACT
The only snow I've seen has been wet snow and sleet and not the dry stuff others get to enjoy.

Neither of my DSLRs are waterproof. To keep the water out I use a Sea to Summit Pocket Towel, draped over the camera and lens with a rubber band around the lens hood, for zooming in and out. It absorbs every drop. It looks like silk and not like a terry toweling towel and it cost $30.

My young blokes have Op-tech Rainsleeves. Rain sleeves have windows and draw strings. About $10.50 for a pack of two ordered on the web. Rainsleeves are also very good in dusty conditions. For longer telephoto lenses they're excellent because they're long but for shorter lenses cut the excess Rainsleeve to make 'one' more convenient.

Warren.


Edited by Wild Wassa (30/05/2015 06:03)
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#1330494 - 31/05/2015 04:17 Re: Falling snow photography - vids and stills - improving our skills. [Re: Unstable]
Unstable Offline
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Registered: 09/01/2007
Posts: 3585
Loc: Adelaide
Thanks Warren - that's very useful information. We have the same problem in South Australia - when it does snow it's likely to be wet, or else it soon melts on whatever it falls on including cameras, camera bags and clothes. On the Mount Lofty summit there's a good verandah where one can shelter from the falling snow but I've found the best places to photo and video are out in the falling snow. I've thrown caution to the winds in the past and only tried to keep snowflakes off the lens and wipe snowflakes and waterdrops off with wads of cheap Coles supermarket tissues. The cameras have survived so far but good covers would definitely be valuable.

On another topic, in my searching through some of the falling snow videos on Youtube, I've come across two videos taken in daylight that show falling snowflakes as darker against a bright background. Here's one of them below: "Snowflakes falling in slow motion" uploaded by Chris Kemila . "Extremely large snowflakes snow flakes falling at 30% speed, filmed at 60 fps with Canon Rebel T2i EOS 550d". Anyone have any ideas as to how this was successfully done? In this case the background seems most likely to be the clouded sky, and right near the end two flying birds make a cameo appearance.

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#1330518 - 31/05/2015 12:38 Re: Falling snow photography - vids and stills - improving our skills. [Re: Unstable]
Rigger Offline
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Registered: 15/11/2008
Posts: 114
Loc: Leanyer,NT (suburb of Darwin)
Snow falling at Mt Bindo, NSW Oct 2010
This pic is of sleet falling in down town Oberon.
And another pic on Mt Bindo.

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#1330521 - 31/05/2015 12:48 Re: Falling snow photography - vids and stills - improving our skills. [Re: Unstable]
samboz Offline
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Registered: 16/11/2014
Posts: 1806
Loc: Between Maffra & the Mountains...
Good pics, it'd be interesting to have used the flash for a comparison Rigger.These ones show the snow well though. If I had the skills try shorter exposure time to try to take the movement(blur) out of the flake.

Must find some falling snow soon and take a few pics, see what works.


Edited by samboz (31/05/2015 12:48)
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#1330605 - 01/06/2015 00:47 Re: Falling snow photography - vids and stills - improving our skills. [Re: Unstable]
Unstable Offline
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Registered: 09/01/2007
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Loc: Adelaide
Good examples of how falling snowflakes show up well against a dark background and poorly or not at all against bright backgrounds Rigger smile

Unless one is using the technique in the previous video, and the secret of success for that videoer remains a mystery to me. Maybe there are some lighting situations where snowflakes show up dark against a bright clouded sky.

Re "Must find some falling snow soon and take a few pics, see what works" - I agree Samboz - I hope you get some reachable snow showers soon. I might have to wait a bit longer than you for the chance. We went three years in a row without any snow falling at all in SA a few years ago. Maybe you could peer at the sky when snow is falling and slowly rotate 360 degrees and see if there's a part of the sky where falling flakes do look darker than the cloud above them, and see if you can capture the flakes on camera.
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#1330700 - 02/06/2015 00:42 Re: Falling snow photography - vids and stills - improving our skills. [Re: Unstable]
Unstable Offline
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Registered: 09/01/2007
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Loc: Adelaide
How good is this mobile phone video of falling snow at night, including scenes looking more or less straight up at the downcoming flakes! Comments the photographer: "i have recorded this video with my sony ericsson satio. It may not shows how good the quality of satios video is, but it's really beautiful in my opinion" and "it was so beautiful that i couldn't resist.....although a snow flake fall onto the cameras lense, but whatever......".

I have tried to capture snowflakes falling past a bright street light above me, but in more difficult conditions and the results were nowhere near as good as in this video. I need practice and experimenting. One potential limitation is that really bright lights on poles are hard to come by in some places where one might find oneself videoing falling snow at night wink

Title: "sony ericsson satio video test 2 (falling snow)"
Uploaded on YouTube by "Predator2010GR" on Mar 25, 2010.

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#1330717 - 02/06/2015 10:09 Re: Falling snow photography - vids and stills - improving our skills. [Re: Unstable]
samboz Offline
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Registered: 16/11/2014
Posts: 1806
Loc: Between Maffra & the Mountains...
Have a very bright hand held torch Unstable, supposed to be 5,000+ lumens, & probably is, have to try it when next in the snow o/night.

My trouble is that sane man should be sipping anti freeze of the preferred type in front of a hot fire rather than freezing out in the snow. This preference is exaggerated with age of the man and the anti freeze ( a 10yr old Talisker single malt is hard to beat for special occasions ) grin
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#1330776 - 03/06/2015 02:37 Re: Falling snow photography - vids and stills - improving our skills. [Re: Unstable]
Unstable Offline
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Loc: Adelaide
This is a selection of several good videos I found on Youtube this morning, showing snowflakes falling in slow motion. I looked at plenty of others that weren't as eye-catching or illustrative for my purposes.



Above: "Massive snowflakes captured in slow motion (HD)"
Published on Feb 3, 2015.
"Watch as large snowflakes fall to the ground in slow motion after being captured during a recent snowfall in Bratislava, Slovakia. Recorded and edited by Matus Jaco."



Above: Richard Dane
"Snow falling in slow motion"
"Here I test out a new feature on my smart phone called slo-mo. I tested it on the falling snow"



Above: "OnePlus One. Snow fall. Russia. Slow Motion (1080p with 60 fps). Night."
Кирилл Ивлев



Above: "Slow motion of snow fall using iPhone 5s"
Daniel Chung



Above: "#uksnow in slow-motion"
Ben Marsh
Published on Feb 3, 2015
"Slow motion snow falling in Leicestershire, UK. Shot using an iPhone 6."



Above: {This is another video showing there are lighting situations where falling snowflakes look darker than the background sky.}
Ibrahim Faza
"Snow falling captured in slow motion with iPhone 5s. Amman Jordan. Jan. 9th 2015."
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#1330777 - 03/06/2015 03:15 Re: Falling snow photography - vids and stills - improving our skills. [Re: Unstable]
Unstable Offline
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Registered: 09/01/2007
Posts: 3585
Loc: Adelaide
Ha ha Samboz!! There are things in life that some people do from time to time that don't seem rational or even sane when there are clearly logical and sane alternatives available such as sipping spirits in front of a fire on a freezing night. Snow-chasing is one of them smile
Yes I bought a hand-hold lantern from KMart a few days ago for the same purpose - it's got LED "globes" and I'm guessing is sufficiently bright. It's pretty heavy with a lantern battery so I will do some indoor experimenting to see how best to combine it with the videocam. Maybe hold one in each hand if that's practical in the frigid gale wink
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#1331244 - 09/06/2015 02:51 Re: Falling snow photography - vids and stills - improving our skills. [Re: Unstable]
Unstable Offline
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Registered: 09/01/2007
Posts: 3585
Loc: Adelaide
As I've never taken a slowmo video of falling snow, this post is partly an opinion piece based on the very limited investigations of the topic I've done. As usual feel free to correct any errors or wrong impressions you read.

After looking at more than a hundred videos of falling snow (mostly on Youtube) in the past month, many in real-life motion and many taken at various slow motion speeds, I've come to the conclusion that videoing falling snow in slow motion can provide results that substantially enhance the viewing experience and considerably increase the information one can learn about the fall.

There is a sound and logical reason for this I think. It so happens that snowflakes naturally tend to fall a little too quickly for the human eye to be able to comfortably follow individual flakes falling. But even slowing the speed of fall by half enables the eye to much more confortably follow individual flakes falling and generally take in the scene.

It's like watching slomo videos of lightning and time lapse videos of thunderstorms and other cloud types. We're just slowing things down or speeding them up as the case may be so they can be watched at speeds our eyes and brains can easily take in.

And we can learn quite a bit more about the size range of the flakes and other characteristics of the fall, and perhaps most importantly for those living on the outer fringes of SnowWorld, we can get a much better idea of whether they are actually snowflakes, or sleet or graupel or hail or a mixed salad. One of the biggest problems with building a reliable record of snowfalls in SA where I live remains the challenge of getting a good record of what it was that actually fell.

I speculate there are some negatives to taking slow motion video of falling snowflakes. Taking 60 frames per second instead of the usual 30 frames per second or thereabouts I would imagine uses more battery power and takes up twice the memory. Taking 240 fps will give you an 8 times slowmo but I speculate may use a fair bit more power and 8 times the memory. (I have no idea how taking more frames per second affects power use - someone may be able to enlighten me).

It seems there are at least a few digicams and mobile phones priced at less than 500 dollars that will take videos at 60 frames per second. One I found takes frames at up to 240 fps.

I've had a lot of difficulty finding relatively cheap cameras that have a slomo facility, one reason being that in the "Specifications" there typically isn't a horizontal row for whether it can or can't video in slow motion. Arrrggh! So a much more complex search is required and I'm still little the wiser as to what are the best digicams and mobile phones to get for slow motion at less than five hundred dollars.

My plan is to have a relatively cheap camera or mobile phone whose prime purpose is to take slow-motion videos of falling snow, and preset for slow-mo videoing before I leave on a snowchase. If no snow falls (usual scenario) I can practice on other less exciting forms of precipitation, or even falling leafs.
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#1331334 - 10/06/2015 02:16 Re: Falling snow photography - vids and stills - improving our skills. [Re: Unstable]
Unstable Offline
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Registered: 09/01/2007
Posts: 3585
Loc: Adelaide
Here's a link to an instructive and fine slow motion video of falling snow titled "Snow - iPhone 6 - slow motion - 240 fps" - that's slowing down the speed 8 times. Published on Nov 15, 2014 onto youtube by samgraves2 .
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCEQ94mGDiI

So if you've got a late model iphone you may be able to take falling snow videos like this one.

I notice that there are apps that may enable earlier model iphones and may enable android phones to video in snow motion too. Getting ever deeper into a field I know nothing about, here's three articles you may find useful if you want to explore slomo cameras, apps and software.

"top ten cameras for slow motion" http://www.wondershare.com/multimedia-tips/slow-motion-cameras.html If I interpret the page correctly it was posted on Apr 28,2015
"Top 10 Slow Motion Android and iOS Apps"
http://www.wondershare.com/multimedia-tips/slow-motion-apps.html
"Top 10 Slow Motion Software"
http://www.wondershare.com/multimedia-tips/slow-motion-software.html
I know nothing about the website Wondershare these articles are on. It says "We currently serve more than 50,000,000 customers worldwide." I hope that's correct.
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#1382610 - 17/07/2016 18:28 Re: Falling snow photography - vids and stills - improving our skills. [Re: Unstable]
samboz Offline
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Registered: 16/11/2014
Posts: 1806
Loc: Between Maffra & the Mountains...
Here is one that caused me some confusion Unstable, in fairly bright sunlight a squall was racing towards home and some white floaty particles were falling in front of the dark squall.

I grabbed a pic and scurried inside, the wind was strong and weather closing in rapidly.

What do you reckon about this, I thought some of the white flecks in foliage were cockies, changed mind on that smile

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#1382628 - 18/07/2016 00:06 Re: Falling snow photography - vids and stills - improving our skills. [Re: Unstable]
Unstable Offline
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Registered: 09/01/2007
Posts: 3585
Loc: Adelaide
I don't have enough experience to say with confidence what they are (except they aren't cockies). Looks like it could be flakes of snow if the air temperature was about 1 degree or less, or flakes of sleet. It doesn't look like hailstones to me and solid hail isn't floaty. I saw a similar sight Tuesday 12th July on the summit of Mt Lofty - a hail shower had just finished when unexpectedly some white objects came erratically down around me much bigger and slower than hailstones. Only a few of them and gone before I did anything more than puzzle over what they were.
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#1382719 - 18/07/2016 20:05 Re: Falling snow photography - vids and stills - improving our skills. [Re: Unstable]
samboz Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 16/11/2014
Posts: 1806
Loc: Between Maffra & the Mountains...
Been in wind driven sleet Uns., this didn't behave like that, and it was most likely >1C as the sun was out for a short time before the squall roared thru'. Maybe very small sleet semi thawed. No hail at all either.

It was wet and hit the ground in liquid form, quite interesting.





Edited by samboz (18/07/2016 20:06)
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