Snowflakes reveal an astonishing level of detail and beauty. Macrophotography lets us get even closer to these miniature masterpieces.
Looking at Alexey Kljatov’s stunning macrophotography, you might imagine that he has expensive equipment. That is not at all the case. In fact, he assembled his own rig from spare parts and lenses from old cameras. To see a schematic of the add on he created for advanced macrophotography, please click here. By mounting a lens backwards he changed its function from making large scenes appear smaller to making the small larger. The result is mind-blowing.
Snowflakes are classified by their shape. The classic snowflake is known as stellar, or star shaped, and possesses six branches radiating from a hexagonal (six sided) center. Ice crystals are by nature hexagonal, but there is a great deal of variety caused by temperature, humidity, and even dirt in the air.
Temperatures at or just below freezing produce simple hexagonal plates. Despite their lack of branches, these flakes frequently have markings and indentations and are often very elegant.
One hexagon that is particularly striking is a rare formation that looks like a triangle with blunted corners. Science has not yet come to a consensus as to how these snowflakes take their particular shape. It’s amazing how alien nature can look when examined closely.
At around 25 degrees Fahrenheit, -4 degrees Celsius, needle shaped crystals begin to form, followed by hollow columns as the temperature drops still lower. They are shaped like standard pencils, retaining their six sides.
Sometimes the elongated form of a needle or column is capped on one or both ends, resulting in a stunning and relatively rare formation.
Stellar snowflakes form at temperatures at or below 14 degrees Fahrenheit, -10 degrees Celsius. As the temperature drops they change from blocky forms called sector plates to lacy ones called dendrites.
Sometimes a stellar snowflake rotates as it makes its journey from the heavens to earth, becoming a star with twelve branches.
Let’s not discount the beauty of asymmetry.
We live in a glorious art gallery! It has never been easier to appreciate a snowflake in such detail than it is today. Delightful.
All photos are the work of Alexey Kljatov, ChaoticMind75, and appear under this Creative Commons License. These photos retain his descriptive and imaginative titles. We hope you will follow this artist on Flickr, where he has many more beautiful images.