REAL Canadian Snow!

In 2006 I took my first snowflake images and was fascinated with the results. Inspired by Wilson Bentley‘s pioneering efforts and after reading Edward R, Lachapelle’s book “Field Guide to Snow Crystals”, I decided to experiment more.

My set-up is a Nikon D200 with a reversed 24mm lens and extension tubes mounted on a copy stand. The crystals fall on a piece of black foam core and those that catch my eye are transferred to a piece of glass with a small paint brush. The colors in the background come from colored plastic.

Taking snowflake images is cold work! Usually I spend hours at -10C to -15C, working very fast to capture the crystals in the best condition. Most crystals are imperfect, clumped together into snowflakes, or have spikes growing upward into the third dimension. I select only crystals that, on first glance, may be close to perfect and I only show those that are very symmetrical or are interesting in other ways. This is a VERY small percentage of the snow crystals that fall.

Kenneth Libbrecht has an informative website including information on photographing snow and their many crystal shapes. Janko Gravner and David Griffeath have been modeling snow crystal growth and have a snow crystal growth simulator on their website.

Check out the snowflakes in the flickr sets of Alexey Kljatov, Linden Gledhill, David Drexler, Fred Widall and Mark Cassino.
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