With snowflakes he finds limits no matter what camera lens he uses, because “a snowflake can be thinner than a sheet of paper.”
He admits that snowflakes are “the hardest thing I have ever done. You must have a special lens, a macro lens, and if you use a light, it must not be too hot or it will melt the snowflake. Here in Kearney it is overcast when it snows so I need a tremendous amount of light. Because it’s so cold, I often shiver and tremble, but the depth of field is so shallow.
He uses other techniques such as “focus stacking”, where he uses software to combine photos into a single photo. “As small as it is, if I focus on the front of the snowflake, its back won’t be in focus due to the limitations of the lens. It is very rare to get a good snowflake all at once. “
But he likes the challenge of trying: “Technically I’m pretty good, but artistically, I often miss something. Good photos are not only crisp and clear, but have elements around the periphery to complete the composition.
During crane season, he goes out three or four hours at a stretch, four or five times a week. He drove six or seven hours to Wyoming to photograph sage grouse, then spent an entire day in the field trying to define and photograph them.