It's snowing pretty hard here on this day in January, but the snowflakes seem to be coming down in very soft, fluffy bunches. Wearing a dark coat, I could see them landing softly on my sleeve, and noticed that they remained intact for several seconds before melting into the surface of the coat. I grabbed my camera, and using a "macro photography" approach (taking close-up pictures), I was able to capture the unique design of these snowflakes. They say no two snowflakes are alike - how does anyone know that it's really true? Mother Nature is a pretty good artist!
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The picture above left was taken by Artsology; the picture above right was taken by Wilson Bentley. Bentley, who lived from 1865-1931, was one of the first known photographers of snowflakes. He used a process of catching flakes on black velvet and photographing them before they melted. It is said that he took over 5000 pictures of snowflakes in his lifetime!
You may ask, what is the scientific explanation as to why snowflakes come in so many different patterns? A snowflake consists of approximately one quadtrillion water molecules, which are added to its core at different rates and in different patterns, depending on the changing temperature and humidity within the atmosphere that the snowflake falls through on its way to the ground. It's like they're evolving and developing as they come down from the sky!
Here's an additional selection of snowflake photographs all taken by Artsology today. My camera doesn't have a powerful-enough zoom to get in as close as Bentley's pictures of snowflakes, but I still think one can see some pretty good details here with the digital zoom on my Nikon camera.