Photographer Shoots the Humble Snowflake with his iPhone Camera and a Jeweler’s Loupe

macro snowflake

The snowflake is perhaps one of those most timeless of subjects that will continue to fascinate and delight; despite its being around since time began. It is one of those spectacles of nature that will hold us and generations to come spellbound. Greg Miller is one such individual who decided to shoot the humble snowflake, but with a unique twist. He pressed a jeweler’s loupe against his iPhone camera, and then proceeded to shoot the snowflakes. The result is a look that is reminiscent of very early period photographs, appearing exceedingly vintage in look.

snowflake macro

Miller recently spoke with TIME, and he recalled that all he wanted to do was shoot photos of a snowstorm from his window. While attempting to do so, it came to his attention that there were snowflakes falling right at his feet. After attempting to focus using the camera, it was then that he decided to try using his daughter’s jeweler’s loupe.


A jeweler’s loupe is a small magnifying device used to look at tiny details closely. It is differentiated from a magnifying glass by not having an attached handle. Its focusing lenses are housed in an opaque cylinder or cone and folds into an enclosing case that protects the lenses when not being used. Loupes are also known as hand lenses.


The end result is a collection of images that document the delicate formations of every flake. Miller tried to experiment, using the same technique with a point-and-shoot camera, only to discover that it was more difficult to do than with an iPhone, since its tiny lens than can be positioned  directly against a surface. Miller, who is reputed for his large-format pictures, said that working with an iPhone was much easier than using an 8×10 camera and its accompanying lights.

diy rig macro

He plans to continue doing projects with his iPhone camera, alongside other projects with his trusty 8×10. “The reasons for grabbing the SLR are shifting,” he said, “but the reasons for shooting with an 8×10 aren’t moving, because they’re deeper and bigger.”

snowflake close-up diy macro

On his snowflake shoot, he said, “I was kind of obsessed with it for a couple of hours. Whenever the photographic process takes me and leads me to this place, I sort of lose myself.”

See his unique snowflake images here.

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Patricia Ramos

Patricia Ramos

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.