Six Unbelievable Close-Up Snowflakes That Reveal the Magic of Winter

When the first flakes start to fall, we look forward to hitting the slopes, making snow angels and revving the engines of our snowmobiles. Fresh snow gives us the chance to head outside and take in the magic of winter. And while this year’s winter has started out mild, we’re anxiously awaiting the next big snowfall.

So, the next time you’re out enjoying a snow day, grab your camera and get up-close with what makes Pure Michigan a winter wonderland – snowflakes! Photographer Joshua Nowicki shares his tips for photographing these one-of-a-kind beauties. 

dsc_2412 snowflake photo by Joshua Nowicki

As the snow accumulates over the winter months, it is easy to lose appreciation for the beauty of winter.  As the snow builds layer after layer, I find it therapeutic to take a closer look and enjoy the wonders of a single snowflake.

A little over a year ago, I received gift of a +1, +2, +4 set of close-up macro filters to use on a lens for my camera.  It was snowing that day, and almost immediately, I was outside trying to take photos of snowflakes.  I searched for snowflakes lying on leaves, pine needles, windshields anywhere I could find them isolated or on a dark background.  I was spending a lot of time searching for individual snowflakes and not much time taking photos.  So, I decided that I needed to find a better way to capture my subject.  I tried a variety of different materials to catch snowflakes on, and found that I had the best luck using an old blue stocking cap.  The snowflakes land at angles propped up by the frayed fibers of the stocking cap, and this provides a little separation from the rest of the material.

The macro filters gave me a closer view of the snow than I had ever seen before; but I wanted to get closer.  I was using the macro filters on an 18-55mm lens, and then, I switched to trying them on a 55-200mm lens.  This worked reasonably well, but I felt like I was getting too much distortion in the images that I took.  So, I kept searching for another way.  I could not justify the cost of a macro lens, therefore I kept experimenting.  I finally decided upon using electrical tape to attach one lens backward in front of another lens.  My favorite combination is currently a 55-200mm lens with a 50mm lens.  For lighting the snowflakes, I use an external camera flash and flashlight.  It is not a beautiful set up, but it is an effective one.

The level of magnification that this has allowed me has been astounding.  Details that I never thought I would be able to see in person, I could now photograph.  I have been amazed by the variety of shapes of snowflakes and dazzled by the intricate and delicate detail of each individual snowflake.  As the weather and temperature change, the shapes and sizes of the snowflakes also change.  Two of my favorite snowflake shapes are sectored plates and stellar dendrites.

Every time it snows, I find myself running outside to see what the snowflakes look like. Frequently, I have had to explain to neighbors and people passing by why I am sitting in the snow taking close up photos of my stocking cap.  Many of them chuckled until I showed them the photos I was taking. The next time it snows, before you grab your shovel, take a moment to sit in the snow with a camera or magnifying glass and enjoy one of the true marvels of winter. See their beauty below.

dsc_3080 snowflake photo by Joshua Nowicki

dsc_3063 snowflake photo by Joshua Nowicki

dsc_2820 snowflake photo by Joshua Nowicki

dsc_2270 snowflake photo by Joshua Nowicki

dsc_0291 snowflake photo by Joshua Nowicki

What’s your favorite way to spend a snow day? Share your photos enjoying the snow using #PureMichiganSnowDay on Twitter and Instagram or visit

Joshua_NowickiJoshua Nowicki is a St. Joseph, Michigan based photographer specializing in landscape, nature, architecture, and food photography.  His photos can be viewed online on Facebook or his website

Five Incredible Pure Michigan Instagram Fan Photos from September 2015

As summer turned to fall, the unmistakable sights, sounds and smells of the new season came into full effect. With cooler weather and the kickoff of apple orchard & cider mill season, our fans were eager to capture the beauty of the season in Michigan. Here are just a few stand-out Instagram fan photos from September.

A road trip through Michigan’s foliage is just what we need. Photo courtesy of @candy.mittentripper.

Photo courtesy of @candy.mittentripper

We love how Pure Michigan paths are painted with beautiful colors this season. Photo courtesy of @snaphappygalphotography.


A breathtaking sunrise on Isle Royale. Photo courtesy of @adventureguyphoto.


Even though the weather is getting cooler, it’s still great to get out on the water this autumn. Photo courtesy of @squirrelman2340.


There are many ways to enjoy the changing fall colors and walks are one of our favorites. Photo courtesy of


If you’re on Instagram, follow us @PureMichigan! If you’d like us to share your photos from across the state, please tag them with #PureMichigan to give us permission to “re-gram.”

12 Amazing Michigan Fall Foliage Photos

Autumn in Michigan is nothing less than breathtaking. Between the opportunities to hike through wooded areas bursting with changing colors to spending time on the water before it gets too cool, there are endless things to enjoy during the harvest season in the Great Lakes state. As we look forward to the official start of fall, check out these 12 autumn photos as shared by Pure Michigan’s Instagram community. 

Sometimes the best fall colors are right in your own backyard. Photo courtesy @hockeygirl0011.

Fall colors right in our backgrounds. @hockeygirl0011

A picturesque Upper Peninsula hidden gem near Munising, Mich. Photo courtesy @justvisitingblog.

Upper Peninsula - a hiddlen gem near Munising, Mich. Photo courtesy of @justvisitingblog

Autumn in Michigan is a beautiful thing and this scenic wooded view is no exception. Photo courtesy @yoopershirts.

Autumn - photo courtesy of @yoopershirts

Even in fall Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is a breathtaking site. Photo courtesy @chrissymaio.

Pictured Rocks - photo courtesy of @chrissymaio.

An awesome perspective of vibrant gold leaves. Photo courtesy @aaronburden.

Vibrant gold leaves - photo courtesy of @aaronburden

Fall colors at Lake of the Clouds never disappoint. Photo courtesy @rachelstaeffler.

Lake of the Clouds - photo courtesy of @rachelstaeffler.

A wonderful place to take a fall walks near Traverse City. Photo courtesy @chajones61.

Fall walk - photo courtesy of @chajones61

Sometimes just what you need is a nice fall drive. Photo courtesy @traprockvalley.

Fall Drive - photo courtesy @traprockvalley

Where do you like to bike ride to see the fall colors? Photo courtesy @laurenweber84.

Bike ride - photo courtesy @laurenweber84

A gorgeous day on Grand River in East Lansing, Mich. Photo courtesy @shawste4.

Grand River - Photo courtesy @shawste4

Even though the weather is cooler, that doesn’t mean you can’t go on a kayaking trip to enjoy the fall foliage. Photo courtesy @treegirl29.

Kayak - photo courtesy @treegirl29

A wonderful reflection of a Midland bridge, we can’t help but stop and stare. Photo courtesy @he_lium.

Midland bridge - Photo courtesy @he_lium.

What are your favorite places to explore in Michigan this fall?