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Snowflakes in Photographs

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For almost a century, W. A. Bentley caught and photographed thousands of snowflakes in his workshop at Jericho, Vermont, and made available to scientists and art instructors samples of his remarkable work. His painstakingly prepared images were remarkable revelations of nature's diversity in no two snowflakes are exactly alike, but all are based on a common hexagon.
In 1931, the American Meteorological Society gathered the best of Bentley's photos and had them published; that work has long been available in a Dover reprint edition. The present volume includes a selection of 72 of the best plates (containing over 850 royalty-free, black-and-white photographs), carefully selected from that larger collection.
An inexhaustible source of design inspiration for artists, designers, and craftspeople, these graceful patterns are ideal for use in textile and wallpaper design, as well as a host of other creative projects. These images will also appeal to anyone intrigued by the intricacy and beauty of design in the natural world.

80 pages, Paperback

First published September 18, 2000

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Wilson A. Bentley

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 22 of 22 reviews
Profile Image for Arlene.
520 reviews23 followers
August 26, 2011
I was working in snowflake research at the Atmospheric Sciences Department of the University of Wyoming in 1969 when I discovered this wonderful book. Bentley had collected snowflakes on glass slides and photographed them over a period of 30 years in the winters of Vermont. He had his large view camera set up in a tent studio in his back yard during those years. Many of the photos were printed first in the pages of the National Geographic Magazine and the Journal of the American Meteorological Society. It is an amazing collection of the beautiful variety of snowflakes.
Profile Image for Addie.
739 reviews
December 7, 2019
What beautifully, exquisite photographs of snowflakes Bentley was able to capture! It was an absolute delight to sit down on a foggy, wintry, Saturday morning and look at page after page of the teensiest of ice crystals! Bentley said this was his gift to the world, and his gift is truly still giving!

Some snowflakes give the effect of standing underneath a chandelier and looking up at it, while some give the illusion of standing on the balcony level of an open room plan and looking down at an intricate ballroom flooring design below.

I'm still in awe at how the ice can form so perfectly symmetrically on all 6 sides, that every edge & delicate design is an exact copy of each other on some snowflakes. And on others snowflakes, the design is an every/other side pattern creating a short side/long side scenario.

It's also fun to find the pictures on some snowflakes: we see luna moths, aliens, raccoons, exploding super novas, angels with wings, sheriff badges, goblin faces, airplanes, tulips, snowflakes within snowflakes, pansies, violins, and even noses! There are muted designs with thick, broad bases. And there are extremely fragile, fern-like designs. There are curves, fleur-de-leis, spikes, diamonds, lines, grooves, gently sloping edges, and perfectly even spirograph designs.

My favorites are the snowflakes that have endless details, snowflakes that interchange solid and ferns, depth of focus, and especially the pictures that capture the detail of "rounded glass" so clearly that you can tell it's really the tiniest of pieces of ice that your looking at.

I purchased several books about snowflakes together: Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, Curious About Snow by Gina Shaw, and Snowflakes in Photographs by W. A. Bentley. Together, the tell a fascinating story about the beauty of snow and snowflakes.

Again, Bentley said this was his gift to the world. And this morning, I couldn't have been happier with a gift given from him 100 years ago! Quite the opposite of how nature works, these beautiful snowflakes melted my heart many times over!
154 reviews1 follower
June 13, 2023
Photographers throughout the entire world consider Wilson Bentley to have been the pioneer of microphotography of snowflakes.
Today, in the third decade of the 21st century, the technologies which enable scientists to take photos of droplets of various liquids which have been frozen at very high magnifications are used in research laboratories in many branches of science throughout the world
In the latter decades of the 19th century and the first 3 decades of the 20th century, the technologies which enabled Wilson Bentley to take photos of snowflakes at high magnifications were all technologies which had been newly developed.
Wilson Bentley died in 1931, and his collection of microphotography of snowflakes was published posthumously.
During his lifetime, Wilson Bentley had intended for his photos of the crystalline structures which are present within snowflakes to be used for scientific research. Meteorologists, chemists and physicists did use his photos for their research.
Today, the lenses which are available for scientists to use for microphotography are many multiples more powerful than the lenses which were available for microphotography 100 years ago, so Bentley's photos of snowflakes have been obsolete for purposes of scientific research for quite some time, but the photos that Wilson Bentley had taken of the crystalline structures which are present within snowflakes are absolutely beautiful works of art.
If you're interested in microphotography and if you're interested in close up photos which show crystalline structures in great detail you will enjoy this book.
You'll also enjoy this book if you're interested in the history of technologies which have been used in scientific research. There is only a minimal description of the equipment which Wilson Bentley had been using for microphotography, but the photos themselves are a piece of the history of modern science. As I've mentioned, before the resolution in microphotography lenses became as advanced as it is today, chemists, physicists and meteorologists throughout the world did use Wilson Bentley's photos of the crystalline structures within snowflakes for their research. Some of the understanding of the processes by how water molecules bond to each other at low temperatures which is still used by scientists who work in numerous branches of science throughout the world today came from the photos of snowflakes that Wilson Bentley had taken during the latter decades of the 1800's and during the early decades of the 20th century.
Profile Image for Tami.
146 reviews
January 3, 2019
Fascinating focus on fractals! Bentley was an absolute genius in his work! I loved studying each flake to find hidden objects and forms in them!
Profile Image for Paula Shreckhise.
1,157 reviews91 followers
February 5, 2017
Wonderful photos of over 800 exquisite snowflakes taken around 1922! No two alike and just beautiful. Reinforces the glory of God's handiwork. Also that He made us unique--- similar but all different! Such diversity but also many are almost symmetrical. A little flawed just like we are and that is why we need. Christ's Salvation-- because we are not perfect--- only He was perfect!
Profile Image for Kim.
403 reviews5 followers
March 24, 2012
LOVE this collection of myriads of snowflakes - such great inspiration for journal designs, and truly inspiring to read about Bentley's history and body of work (in other publications) - a great connector between visuals and science and innovative thinking.
161 reviews6 followers
August 31, 2011
Gorgeous photos, but I was hoping for more detail so I could do it myself. The story of his perseverance to take the pictures is very good.
Profile Image for Pam.
32 reviews
February 16, 2017
Perfect companion the the "Snowflake Bentley" book. Beautiful photographs.
660 reviews1 follower
October 15, 2019
Absolutely amazing photographs of snowflakes taken about a hundred years ago. It's stunning how beautiful they are.
19 reviews
October 11, 2017
Beautiful photos of snowflakes that are so similar in general patterns but so different in the detailed structure.

I am a graduate student in Atmospheric sciences, and when I read this book I think it as a marriage of art illustration and scientific demonstration.
Displaying 1 - 22 of 22 reviews

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