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Amazing macro-photography of individual snowflakes [10 Pictures]

November 18, 2013 | By Kalyn Wolfe | 61 comments

Photographer Alexey Kljatov takes incredible close-up photos of snowflakes in his backyard in Moscow. How is he able to capture the detail? Kljatov discusses his shooting technique

I capture snowflakes on the open balcony of my house, mostly on glass surface, lighted by an LED flashlight from the opposite side of the glass, and sometimes in natural light, using dark woolen fabrics as background.

Crystal

Snowflake 1

Snowflake 2

Snowflake 3

Snowflake 4

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See lots more at Kljatov’s Flickr page.

Similar: Magnificently fragile photos of individual snowflakes [10 pictures]

(Via Where Cool Things Happen)

Kalyn Wolfe

Kalyn wears flip flops year round, because she's a native of the Gulf Coast. She leads a foundation for pediatric patients at a children's hospital and is too adventurous for her own good.

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61 Comments

  1. Susan Latta says:

    These photos are fabulous! Ahhh, the beauty of nature when we just stop and look closely. Thanks for sharing these with us. They were posted on my Facebook Home page.

  2. Cindy Reynolds says:

    How can anyone look at these and say there is no God….the intricate details of something so small that is just going to melt away….fabulous!!!

    1. Jeff says:

      Because this can be perfectly explained scientifically. Just because something is beautiful doesn’t mean it must have been created by a supernatural being. The idea that there can be no beauty or complexity without a God completely invalidates the fact that the world we live in is simply, in and of itself, beautiful.

      1. Jennifer Whitley says:

        Oh Jeff, God is responsible for everything, right down to science. He loves us and that is why he takes the time to make his world beautiful. Hopefully one day you will come to know Him and how much He loves you.Je

        1. Jake says:

          That makes total sense… until you realize all the horrible things in this world. Dead mangled bodies, raped children, diseases… If you claim god made beauty, he also made ugly. If he loves us with snowflakes, why does he hate us with diseases? Merry Christmas!!

          1. ProudToBeAJess says:

            God wanted everyone to have free agency and make their own choices in this life (whether for good or bad). They will be held accountable for those choices some day.
            As for the diseases, we wouldn’t know the good without the bad. You appreciate your health SO much more on the days you feel so sick. How are you suppose to appreciate the good if you didn’t know the bad? Merry Christmas to you too :)

          2. Travis says:

            Yes, there is absolutely a lot of ugliness in the world. Take it from someone who has lived in the slums of Haiti for an extended period of time, I know that this world is jacked up. Look at the book of Genesis where Adam and Eve are in the Garden of Eden… Everything is perfect until their temptation turned into sin, and Eve ate the fruit from the tree, and everything has been messed up since then. The “horrible things in this world” started with humans, not with God.

      2. Mark S says:

        what one calls “God,” another calls “nature” and another calls “life” … it makes no difference.
        God flows through us.
        We are one.
        All is one.
        All is God.
        All is.

      3. Daria says:

        People can believe what they chose to believe. Why is it so incomprehensible that Jeff choses science and tangibility, rather than God and the supernatural?

        I personally look at these photos and marvel at the structural complexity of nature. I don’t believe a divinity is behind it. But that’s just me. I certainly won’t go around criticizing others because they believe differently.

        Stop hating on beliefs, whether they’re religious or otherwise.

        1. Evan says:

          It doesn’t matter if you are an Atheist, Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist..etc. These are beautiful. Someone can sit here and say “God did this, this is amazing”, the next person can say “Nature is amazing in it’s complexity” and others will comment about chaos theory and how drops of 2 hydrogen, 1 oxygen molecules can form amazing shapes. It doesn’t matter what you think. Enjoy the pictures. If someone says it’s God. Let them think it’s God. If someone wants to say nature is amazing. Let them say nature is amazing. The same with science. Don’t take pictures of something amazing and let it devolve into a religious debate.

        2. vegemonsta says:

          this is exactly why religions have no place in a peaceful world. disagreements result in a debate that is completely unrelated to the subject. people who have followed a religion their whole lives may choose to be defensive about it to the point where logic is lost to their steadfast loyalty to their beliefs even if it means going against everything their beliefs stand for. For example, lets take a look at a similar situation where you have a large group of very religious people (any religion) and a large group of non-religious people (atheist, humanist whatever) and a similar thing is presented to them both. The religious group is going to think “wow (insert deity here) is amazing.” And the non-religious people will think “wow THIS is amazing.” Them being human beings and with humans not being perfectly logical, someone will start some debate at some point. And since both sides are going to defend what they believe, it is likely to turn into a battle field. People die. Now lets look at how this can be avoided. There are a couple ways.
          1. they all become religious.
          2. They all share different beliefs.
          The second option is obvious the way to go if you are a Humanist. I would consider myself a Humanist. I am an Atheist as well. I see a lot of people generally assume atheism as a bad thing. Someone who believes in nothing. But that is not true. It simply means you deny the existence of a god. And being a humanist you believe that only humans themselves have the power to change the world, but it does not necessarily enforce you to follow any specific set of rules. It is a belief of spiritual freedom and allows spirituality and atheism to come together. You simply have to look at whats important to yourself and to the rest of the world. Then you will enlighten yourself to truth.

          And as for the first option. I know for a fact that religions were created by humans (ancient or not) to control other people. New religions are typically viewed as cults nowadays. When in its essence all established religions are created for the same purposes. This is why I refuse to see the need for religions anymore. A world where everyone believes the same exact thing is a world dominated by its “god”. No freedom of speech. No freethinking.

          1. Lilium Albanicum says:

            Atheism is a form for religion too. Fanatic atheists are often worse than religious people. Let people believe whatever they want and live in peace!!!

      4. EssGee says:

        I agree with Jeff and do not see this as evidence of a god. It does, however, support many scientific theories.

      5. Omar says:

        I’m not saying the mechanisms behind this can’t be explained scientifically, and I’m not suggesting that there is some all powerful, ‘supernatural’ deity which is separate from our universe and is controlling it as if it is a puppet on a stage… but the very fact that the geometric patterns exhibited here are so elegant, so perfectly structured… the very fact that complex geometry like this exists indicates that the universe ITSELF is operated at all levels by intelligent forces. To say that science can explain these phenomenon is perfectly compatible with saying there are forces in the universe which operate with intelligence and purpose… this seems far more credible to me than the assertion that geometric perfection of this sort is the result of years of random and un-intelligent chaos.

    2. Marge says:

      That’s exactly what I thought when I saw these pix! Especially the ones which didn’t have 6 points-I didn’t relize they cam in other shapes-amazing.

    3. vegemonsta says:

      Why is it that when people see something beautiful in nature their first thought is “God is amazing”? Why can’t we just look at things as they actually are and say “nature is amazing.” -__-

  3. Rian says:

    Macro photography is a passion of mine, and you have just made me realize how much I need to upgrade my lens! Outstanding work, just gorgeous.

  4. Michael Drew Prior says:

    Realize–it is the pull and push, that is to say the force and the majesty and the power, of the entire universe, perfectly balanced around each and every point in this universe, by which awesome creation exists everywhere–and that is what God is.

  5. Myth0clast says:

    Why the hell does it have to right away be about god? And to what god are you referring? Must be the Christian one, who has a name, Yaweh, because only Christians are so blatantly ignorant as to use the informal improper noun to describe their creator. LOOK WHAT JESUS DID! LOOK WHAT JESUS DID!! Please.

  6. Shea says:

    A 3 second google search gives you:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowflake

    This is a good place to start about the formation of snowflakes and why they look the way they do. You can then go and take a look at the actual references cited in the explanation for more info. Whether you beleive in god or not, it doesn’t hurt to keep learning about stuff.

  7. Skye says:

    No one really knows for sure so let’s just respect each others comments without the need to prove anything.

    The snowflakes are beautiful no matter whom or what created them.

  8. Morgan says:

    Still waiting for someone to give the scientific explanation….?
    I’m interested to hear!

    P.S. God is so wonderful and reveals things to us beautifully through science and nature!

    1. Dan says:

      Well as we all should know water is H2O. Two of oxygen’s 6 valence electrons form a bond with the two hydrogen atoms (one electron each). That means there are 4 non-bonded electrons left on oxygen which are in pairs of two. These two pairs of electron sit next to each other on one side of the atom which forces the two hydrogen atoms to be bent at an angle of 104.5 degrees. Now that we have established that a water molecule is bent, not linear, we need to understand the intra-molecular bonds of water molecule. Because of the unique large deference in electronegativity of of oxygen and hydroden atoms they are able to form intra-molecular bonds called hydrogen bonds which are the strongest intra-molecular bonds of all molecules. Only nitrogen, oxygen, and fluorine molecules can have these hydrogen bonds. Since the hydrogen bonds are so great between water molecules and because of their bent shape they form hexagon crystals with an air pocket in the middle (this is also why ice floats). These hexagonal crystals are the basic structure for snow flake. Because of many other factors such as temperature, air pressure, humidity, and wind to name a couple they form many different shapes

    2. david says:

      Still waiting for someone to give the scientific explanation….?

      cause you obviously dont have access to a thing called google to look it up for yourself

  9. Dave says:

    What amazes me and is beyond comprehension is how all snowflakes have six points, and none have been found to be alike. Scientists agree that’s very likely. God is Great :)

  10. Peter says:

    Its very interesting the snowflakes, but something even more interesting is the fact that russian scientists studying DNA have found that it responds to nice words spoken,.different oreaction to bad words,and get this.They can take a dna sample out of your mouth and keeping the sample alive can study it under s microscope.on the other side of the world from where you are and guess what! It responds instantaniously to your behavio eg.fear, happyn ess etc.

  11. Daniel says:

    I love how each snowflake looks so geometric and perfect, even the imperfect ones look perfect. I love seeing the beautiful fine detail in God’s works. The smallest most insignificant thing can stop a crowd even if just for a second to stare in awe and wonder at the power and beauty of nature. Such a simply amazing thing that we hopelessly fail at understanding. A true testament to our own finitude. Science only partially explains this beauty. Science is what keeps us warm at night when we realize that whatever could create such a powerful, magnificent, beautiful, inspiring, terrifyingly tiny crystal of water could also create all the order and form we see around us. I love seeing the arguments that ensue because two people disagree over s puff of ice that melts as soon as it reaches your breath. Speaks multitudes to the horribly broken disposition of our own humanity. Wars are begun over the smallest things. Take the Iliad for example. The entire city of troy laid in ruin because two men loved the same woman. Because of something so ultimately futile thousands of greeks killed one another. How much further are we willing to go over a snow flake. Like a puff of air it is here and gone. So stop bickering about what one person chooses to believe. Stop living in hypocrisy over something that you’ll forget about in a day. Just enjoy the beauty of creation. Or if you choose just enjoy the beauty of happy accidents.

  12. Enough says:

    top labeling people and assuming you know everything. That goes for everyone. Take a lesson from these amazing snowflakes. Each one made from t he same material, each on e unique in design we should celebrate our differences

  13. Lorie says:

    See, this is why we can’t have nice things! Someone can’t even post some wonderful pics without the Bible thumpers coming out in full force.

  14. Maddawgg says:

    I wonder what the children of Allah, the Buddhists, Hindu, or the followers of Mithras and Zeus would think of the symmetry of snow flakes had they all chanced to see them in their microscopic glory. I smile at the condescending permission given by the obviously Christian respondents for we heathens to enjoy the beauty of “creation” wrought by their imaginary overlord even though we, by our lack of belief, are bound for the lake of fire. “One can’t prove god doesn’t exist, but science makes god unnecessary” ” Stephen Hawking “

    1. Jaz says:

      I don’t personally agree that science makes god unnecessary. Just ask any of the hundreds of leading scientists worldwide who believe in God. Science cannot explain everything, it only attempts to explain what it can explain. (And very often scientists don’t agree on the same evidence, so science in itself is rarely absolute). Stephen Hawkins for all his super intelligence is not right on everything and does not know everything. A soundbite is just that; it very rarely explains everything and this is a case in point.

      As one top scientist said about boiling water, science can explain the temperature of boiling water and why it’s that temperature but it can’t explain who put the kettle on, why they put the kettle on or what they’ll do with the water in the kettle afterwards. Nor can science explain things like the origin of information that is required for the universe to exist.

      Whatever your belief (and the same goes for everyone) it’s fair to conduct debate in a scientific manner, or at least a polite manner and not resort to name calling – the very lowest and least scientific form of debate!

    2. Fred says:

      I am inspired by the way the Five Gods were able to co-operate to make six-sided snowflakes, one by one.

  15. Fred says:

    An MIT paper said that the snowflakes vibrate, and the H2O is deposited preferentially in certain areas. Or so I am told.

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