The heART of Ritual

musings

Snow crystals and the work of Wilson A. Bentley


Individual snow crystals as photographed by Wilson A. Bentley

"The snow crystals come to us not only to reveal the wondrous beauty of the minute in nature, but to teach us that all earthly beauty is transient and must soon fade way. But though the beauty of the snow is evanescent, like the beauties of the autumn, as of the evening sky, it fades but to come again."

- Wilson A. Bentley


In 1885, a man named Wilson A. Bentley attached a microscope to his camera and took what the Smithsonian considers the first image of a single snowflake. Wilson Alwyn Bentley (February 9, 1865 – December 23, 1931), also known as Snowflake Bentley, was an American meteorologist and photographer, who was the first known person to take detailed photographs of snowflakes and record their features. He perfected a process of catching flakes on black velvet in such a way that their images could be captured before they either melted or sublimated.


Individual snow crystals as photographed by Wilson A. Bentley (seen here in the lower right image)