A photographer records the fleeting but beautiful individuality of snowflakes
INFINITE IN VARIETY AND EPHEMERAL IN NATURE, snowflakes captivate photographer Steve Gettle, who has mastered the art—and science—of photographing some of nature’s tiniest treasures.
Working outside in the cold of a Michigan winter, Gettle catches flakes on black velvet. Then he uses two hairs in an artist’s paintbrush to transfer a flake to a slide, which he mounts beneath a microscope attached to his camera. “Lighting is the trickiest part,” he says, because the ice crystals would melt instantly if exposed to heat. To prevent that, Gettle uses four, fiber-optic light tubes attached to his setup to illuminate the flakes and bring out detail.
“I’ve looked at thousands of crystals and have never seen two alike,” he says. “I love the symmetry, the intricate detail, the beauty.” That beauty is fleeting. After about three minutes, the flakes melt away. Yet these lasting portraits attest to the magic that a droplet of water can create as it tumbles through frigid air.
To submit images for consideration, write to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Nature’s Witness” in the subject line.
National Wildlife Federation calls on Americans to submit public comments to save monarchsRead More
One of America's oldest conservation laws and wildlife successes is under attack.Read More
Read a wildlife photographer's story of the declining Hawaiian i`iwi and the lobelia flower, which depend on one another to survive.Read More
Tell your members of Congress to save America's vulnerable wildlife by supporting the Recovering America's Wildlife Act.Read More
You don't have to travel far to join us for an event. Attend an upcoming event with one of our regional centers or affiliates.