Group of hollow column snowflakes (1024 x 768)
Most interesting detail in these snowflakes is hourglass-like air cavities inside of crystal. As you can see, these hollow regions variable in shape, but perfectly symmetrical on both sides of column, like one half is the mirrored copy of another.
This photo was taken with my usual "snowflake" macro setup, containing compact camera Canon Powershot A650is and external lens Helios 44M-5, reversely mounted in front of built-in camera optics (you can see detailed scheme and example photos of this rig in article about snowflake macro photography). 8 serial shots stacked and averaged, which dramatically reduce noise level. Averaging technique especially important for such small objects as tiny snowflakes or pollen grains: they are close to optical limits of my current setup. These crystals captured in January 2013, Moscow.
Similar to hollow column snowflake type is capped columns...
...and icy needles:
Group of icy needles (1450 x 1088)
Needle snowflakes are much longer than hollow columns, and also contains air cavities in form of hourglass. Sometimes these needles grows very long, so they become easily recognizable with naked eye, without any magnification tools. On this photo, you see "chaotic" variation, but sometimes can be found perfectly symmetrical and very clean needles. I'll try to find some better needles in my snowflake archive and process them soon.
If you want to see more snowflakes, you can browse through all snowflake pictures.
Here you'll find snowflake photo wallpapers in numerous resolutions and screen proportions, up to Ultra HD 4K.