Snowflake photography brings you up close with ice crystals

Alexey Kljatov took this image of a snowflake on a balcony in Moscow. His spetacular images show the ice crystals in perfect detail. (Courtesy Alexey Kljatov)

WASHINGTON – You’ve never seen snowflakes like this before.

Alexey Kljatov set up a snowflake studio on his balcony in Moscow last winter and snapped images of frozen crystals of water, better known as snow. The results are magical.

He used a stool and a piece of glass to capture some of the images and a piece of dark wool fabric to capture others. Kljatov has been perfecting his snowflake photography the past five winters and uses a Soviet-era lens attached to a modern digital camera to magnify the crystals. You can learn more about his technique and the camera equipment he used in this blog post.

The images capture standard snowflakes like the kind you created in second grade with construction paper and a pair of scissors. But others look like columns, are hollow or are hexagonal. One shot shows what looks like a hexagon about to become a multi-pointed snowflake.

In an email, Kljatov tells WTOP that the hexagon crystals are his favorite. Although the outer edges of the flakes are simple, they form intricate designs in the center of the crystal. The tiny flakes tend to be just 1 to 2 mm and are difficult to capture.

No scientist, Kljatov is a school assistant for computer and chemistry classes. But the amateur photographer has discovered that medium and small crystals have a lot more shapes, details and inner patterns than larger crystals.

Take a wander through his winter wonderland.

WTOP’s Amanda Iacone contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.

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