Canadian winter, in all its glory, up close and personal

 It was almost an accident, really. A snowflake on a mitten and a guy with real curiosity.

Don Komarechka came from Sudbury to Barrie at age 7 and loved winter. As a kid he loved snowflakes. He still does. And his interest in photography coupled with his father’s ability to infuse curiosity with research lead him to understand what creates snowflakes, what affects their size, why they have six sides, why they fuse one on top of the other to create 12 sides, and on and on.

Talk about focussing on the miniscule!

That’s exactly what Don has done. With a gift from his dad, Don bought himself a professional quality camera and a macro lens with its own clipon flash and began to shoot individual snowflakes… on a black mitten. What he has created is fabulous, “I’m Canadian” art, and it’s now on display at the Barrie City Hall Rotunda for the whole month of March.  Catch this show before it melts!

An advertising & marketing grad from Georgian, it’s really Don’s photography that is launching his self employment career. He teaches a number of photography courses at Georgian, nature & landscape, macro, and photoshop at two campuses. That pays the bills. But his two main interest and income streams are snowflakes and sports pictures (ski and hockey) as well as aerial photography. You see a sample of all of it in his Rotunda show, but the gripping portion of these images is really the snowflakes.

Each flake is so different. Some have enormous prismatic colour, rainbow of colour running along their stems. Producing the picture is art itself as the camera captures only a sliver of the flake in-focus with each shot. Don shoots many slivers and uses photoshop to bring the entire snowflake into focus. This is true microscopic photography!

“I love the science of snowflakes, their colour, their angles. Some are connected to each other, and they are six sided because water freezes into hexagonal crystals,” he says.

His show is comprised of 33 images, price ranging from $60 for the smallest unframed print to $200 for the framed 20 by 20-inch picture.

Each print is a limited edition.

Don has a special limited edited framed print with the actual snowflake preserved in resin. A tiny switch imbedded in the underside of the frame actually lights up the original flake. It’s an amazing picture. This is priced quite separately.

Don is a talented photographer. His images are grippingly detailed. They make a uniquely Canadian gift. What a great gift for a new home owner, or a new baby’s room, or a bridal shower or wedding…

The significant prismatic colour is there on some but not on others… it just depends on the refraction of light. I think my favourite is Carved in the Sky. But, then again, it might be…

You can see for yourself at or But it’s way better to look at them hanging under good light at the Rotunda.

Now, this is getting up close!

Thanks, Don.


On another note:  I’m sure most of the community was thrilled when the MacLaren Art Centre agreed to offer use of its Spirit Catcher as icons and logos for non-profit events in the community. It’s a fabulous turnaround, and embraces the true community spirit that is what Barrie’s all about. Bravo!