Sunday, December 25, 2011

Snowflakes for a Very Merry Christmas Time!

I am up and about early this Christmas morning greeting Santa and waiting for my family to wake.  When I think of Christmas time I think of the hustle and bustle of shopping, decorating our home with festive family treasures, and the tremendous joy of family gathered together to celebrate the season.  I am so happy to be able to spend this time with my wonderful family!

I have always associated Christmas with hot chocolate, warm fires and snow.  It rarely, if ever, snows where I live.   Oh, we can find snow alright, but  to do so we would have to take a two hour drive to the mountains.  Alternatively,  there are plenty of paper and plastic "snowflakes" hanging in all of the local stores.  Some of these "snowflakes" are really beautiful, and some...not so much.

Although real snowflakes are ephemeral, they are beautiful and mesmerizing in their complexity.  In 1885, Wilson A. Bentley of Vermont produced actual photographs of snowflakes.  "Snowflake" Bentley, as he became known, created a process using an old microscope, a bellows camera and a black velvet surface to capture over 5,000 images of snowflakes during his lifetime.

W. A. Bentley Snowflake, 1890

Bentley described snowflakes as "tiny miracles of beauty" and "ice flowers".    I have included a few selected images on this page.  You can view many other Bentley snowflakes, however,  by browsing The Bentley Collection website here.

Sadly,  "Snowflake" Bentley died as a result of his work.  He contracted pneumonia after walking for miles through a blizzard to capture more photographs of snowflakes.  He passed away just two days before Christmas in the year 1931.

"Snowflake" Bentley at work



Nate Maas said...

Merry Christmas, Mary!

Rob From Amersfoort said...

Cool story, sad ending. I didn't know there are that many different types of snowflakes.

Just Stuff From a Boomer said...

Photos of real snowflakes. To me that is capturing a miracle. So sad he lost his life doing this beautiful work. I had no idea.

Anonymous said...

I'm actually traveling to the OC this Christmas and I'm searching for Huntington Beach hotels. Being that you live there, do you have any good recommendations?

mary said...

Walter, I'm not sure I can recommend any specific hotels in Huntington Beach, however, since it is best known as "Surf City USA" I would try to stay somewhere near the ocean front in Huntington Beach or nearby Newport Beach.

Rob From Amersfoort said...

Happy New Year, Mary!

Rob From Amersfoort said...

Mary, on behalf of Amersfoort and surroundings a happy and healthy 2014!

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Rob From Amersfoort said...

Happy 2015 Mary!

Rob From Amersfoort said...

It's hard to believe it's already 2016. The best of wishes!