Sparkles on snow.
I have been trying to get a decent picture of sparkles on snow for two years now. Just because I like them. Lately it seems I do better with high shutter speed and small aperture. Not sure why. And the snow needs to be dark to see them. The first was taken with my 300mm Takumar manual lens - ISO 400, ss 1/4000, f ?. This lens need 18 feet to get in focus so is probably not the best choice. The second was at 200mm on my 55-200 lens, ISO 1250, ss 1/2000, f22. The second was dark blue and i switched it to b&w. Is there any way to get the sparkles to show on white or very light gray snow? As I see them with my eyes? Or is this a lost cause and I should be content with what I've got? Camera is Fuji X-H1.
Good work! As a skier I see this all the time, but capturing it is a problem because the sun angle that creates the sparkles is directly into your lens.
My experience (and a quick Google search) says same as Mike: it's mostly about the angle of the sun. Definitely use a small aperture for depth of field; however, shutter speed has nothing to do with it unless there is a motion issue.
You can photograph in sunshine if conditions are right:https://www.wpr.org/science-snow-sparkle-explained-uw-weather-experts
Your experience with "dark = better" may just be related to exposure. Can you repost #2 in color, as shot?
Linda, here it is.
Thanks. I had hoped I could do something on my befunky online app, but it didn't work out
Perhaps someone with better skill and using PS can separate out the sparkles, while increasing exposure.
I've seen it and tried to capture it too. very hard to do. #1 doesn't work. #2 & 3 are better but it's still not quite there don't you think? I don't have any advice. We don't get snow here so I have next to no experience.
Yep, as Linda said, it's mainly the angle of the sun. These "sparkles" are specular reflections
from ice crysals. They obey the Law of Reflection: reflected light has the same angle as
incident light. But as snow is a very irregular surface, you're just going to have to experiment.
You want a patch of snow in direct sunlight, but with no indirect (reflected lighting).
Then the snow will appear dark, and the sparkle bright. You'll probably get best
results with a flat patch of snow, because the angle of the sun will be the same
everywhere--when you find the best angle, it will work for the whole patch.
You could also try at different temperatures, since I'm not sure if the reflections are
from the ice or a water film on the surface of the ice, or both.
Also you could experiment with a polarizer filer -- not the way we usually use one,
but rotating it until the reflected light (sparkles) are as bright as possible.
Sometimes light reflected off water or ice is polarized (especially when reflected at
The refractive index of ice is 1.13, and that of air is of course 1.
Brewsters angle for ice/air = arc tan (1 / 1.31) = 52.6 degrees.
For water/air its arc tan (1 / 1.33) = 36.9 degrees.
But this doesn't help much, since as I said, snow is a highly irregular
If you wanted a simpler case to experiment with, you could try an ice cube.
You wont get sparkles, but you will get one solid reflection, and you can
try temperatures, angles, and rotating the polarizer.
Who knows, you might come up with something no one has ever