Nature + Physics = Exceptions

by Melinda J Johnson February. 18, 2019 268 views

First, I’m going on record here that I am not a snowflake macro-photographer (if that isn’t obvious by the low resolution and missing technique). I’ll never be old “Snowflake Bentley”, or our modern-day equivalent, Alexey Kljatov. I am, however, in love with the miracle of snowflakes, and like Camellia’s recent experience with drip photography, I’m struggling to “move on” at the moment. I promise I’ll start sharing my traditional forms of outdoor photography soon, but you’ll have to humor my flakiness a tad longer.

Yesterday presented me with the greatest diversity of snowflake formations I’ve ever witnessed in all my years of geeking over them. That alone caused me to miss church and stand outside in sub-zero temps, offering up an entirely different form of appreciation and thankfulness. (“Better Than a Hallelujah”, friends.)

No two snowflakes will ever be exactly the same, but they do follow rules of symmetry and pattern according to physics, resulting in some version of six sides or six arms as the water molecules crystallize in predetermined arrangements. This Sunday brought an unquantifiable bounty of examples.

This Sunday also delivered rebels. A few crystals somehow circumvented the rules. These anomaly flakes were smaller than their surrounding “peers”, easily able to fit through the eye of a hand-sewing needle, so I was only successful in photographing a few… and quite poorly.

Please enjoy the many beautifully-diverse results of physics that first coaxed me outside that day. At the end of collection, you’ll also find four botched-up attempts at photographing the anomalies. I'm including them because, quite simply, they made me smile, and I’m hoping you also get a smile out of their exceptional ways.

Snowflake at Attention

Snowflake at Attention

This is a compilation of flakes frozen into a composite sheet of ice.

This is a compilation of flakes frozen into a composite sheet of ice.

I call this the Kickstand Snowflake.  ;-)

I call this the Kickstand Snowflake. ;-)

'Not quite in focus, but there's still so much to appreciate.

'Not quite in focus, but there's still so much to appreciate.

So much diversity....

So much diversity....

At first glance, you just see a layer of fluff over a copper patina, but upon close inspection, the "fluff" is a conglomerate of exceptionally fine-spindled, intricate flakes.

At first glance, you just see a layer of fluff over a copper patina, but upon close inspection, the "fluff" is a conglomerate of exceptionally fine-spindled, intricate flakes.

Anomaly 1:  This flake formed on multiple planes, like stacked plates, as a little appendage overachiever.

Anomaly 1: This flake formed on multiple planes, like stacked plates, as a little appendage overachiever.

Anomaly 2:  This flake also formed with stacked planes, almost as deep as it was wide, like a little sun.

Anomaly 2: This flake also formed with stacked planes, almost as deep as it was wide, like a little sun.

Anomaly 3: The little mutation formed in a rectangular arrangement, with splicing confusion in the middle.

Anomaly 3: The little mutation formed in a rectangular arrangement, with splicing confusion in the middle.

Anomaly 4:  Quite frankly, I have no idea how to describe this little fella.

Anomaly 4: Quite frankly, I have no idea how to describe this little fella.

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Susan Wilde 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Beautiful series.

6 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Melinda J Johnson Replied to Susan Wilde 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Thank you, Susan.  blush

6 months, 3 weeks ago Edited

Stunning beautiful set!

7 months ago Edited

Thank you, Sigrid!

7 months ago Edited
Dominicus Danardono 7 months ago

So beautiful!

7 months ago Edited
Melinda J Johnson Replied to Dominicus Danardono 7 months ago

Thank you!  The snowflakes really are beautiful.  Seeing all this frozen wonder from a new perspective has me itching for what Spring might offer through that same lens!

7 months ago Edited
Laurie Madsen 7 months ago

I couldn't think of a more beautiful thing to obsess over!
I must confess that I am pretty obsessed with snowflake macro (and just bought a macro lens to capture some before the snow is gone). I lost all my files in a hard drive crash, so time to create new ones!
Snowflakes are a lot like people, no two alike, some are fractured, some are over achievers, but each is unique and beautiful in their own ways!

7 months ago Edited
Melinda J Johnson Replied to Laurie Madsen 7 months ago

YES!  THAT!  
I couldn't help but make the same parallels as I marveled at those little snowflake characteristics.  I'm glad to "meet" someone else who entertains similar musings!  (As a mom of two boys, adopted overseas from two entirely different countries and conditions, my "parallel-radar" was all over the place as I studied those wonderful little flakes.)

Sorry about your hard drive!  That just hurts.... and was a nice reminder that back-ups are on my week's to-do list!

7 months ago Edited
Laurie Madsen Replied to Melinda J Johnson 7 months ago

Musings are what drive my passion for photography-the childlike wonder is aroused and satiated by capturing such marvels.

Please back up your back up! The back up drive is what I lost the files on. 
Thanks for sharing these beauties. We are supposed to get fresh snow Wednesday, I'm hoping it's the marvelous picture perfect type!

7 months ago Edited
Melinda J Johnson Replied to Laurie Madsen 7 months ago

I’ll be watching for the pictures!

7 months ago Edited
Laurie Madsen Replied to Melinda J Johnson 7 months ago

It's snowing today. Tiny little specs. I'm not sure if they qualify as flakes or not, but I will go out a bit and see!

7 months ago Edited
Berckmans Peter 7 months ago

Just love them ,one of nature wonders

7 months ago Edited
Melinda J Johnson Replied to Berckmans Peter 7 months ago

It’s hard for me to stop photographing them.  There’s just no end to their variation, and the way they throw light... 
Is there some kind of group addiction meeting for snowflake junkies?

7 months ago Edited
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