Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated., When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind.
– Wilson Bentley
Magic. How could you describe snowflakes as anything else? Falling from winter skies they seem to bring a stillness and simplicity to the world. Hush now, here they come, thousands upon thousands of little masterpieces, each wondrously unique and sublimely beautiful.
It is no wonder that a young Wilson Bentley, growing up in Jericho Vermont, where the annual snowfall is around 82 inches, became transfixed with snow crystals after receiving a microscope for his 15th birthday. He tried drawing what he saw through the microscope but the snow always melted before he could finish. This led to years of work trying to capture a snowflake through photography. Following many failed attempts, Wilson became the first person to successfully photograph snow crystals in 1885.
The day that I developed the first negative made by this method, and found it good, I felt almost like falling on my knees beside that apparatus and worshipping it! It was the greatest moment of my life.
– Wilson Bentley
Bentley spent over forty years photographing snowflakes and perfecting his techniques. He took over 5000 photos of snowflakes. His passion, what Mary B. Mullet, writer for The American Magazine, called “a dream of beauty”, was remarkable.
When Mary asked him when he became interested in snowflakes? His answer was simple,
“Almost sixty years ago, I guess,” said Bentley, with a whimsical expression. “I was born in 1865, and I can’t remember the time I didn’t love the snow”
Vermont Edition interview with Wayne Howe, archivist for the Jericho Historical Society about Bentley’s imprint on history.
Places To Visit If You Love Snowflakes
See Bently’s original glass-plate photomicrographs of snow crystals.
See Bentley Snowflake photographs and artifacts including Bentley’s original photo-microscope.
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!
Go on a glacier walk at the Fox glacier. Snow falls at the top of the glacier year round!
Every winter, about two million people come to Sapporo to see a large number of splendid snow statues and ice sculptures which line Odori Park.