Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cloud number nine

This winter in Moscow starts not too good for snowflake photography: when it's cold, there is almost no snow; when we got snowfalls, it's too warm and snowflakes quickly melts. But one day was cold and snowy, and i was lucky to capture some big fernlike dendrite crystals like this one:

Snowflake macro photo: Cloud number nine, large fernlike dendrite snow crystal with complex structure, standing on edge against clean blue background
Snowflake photo: Cloud number nine

Prints available at: Artist website (mirrors at Pixels and FineArtAmerica), RedBubble.com, Society6.com.
Licenses for commercial use - at Shutterstock.com.

Fernlike dendrites are really interesting snow crystals. If you ever seen the snow, then you probably seen them, too: this is common and very big snowflakes. Usually they are so big, that we can see all their details with naked eye, especially if we catch them on dark backdrop for better contrast. Many "traditional" snowflakes, which are painted by artists and modelled by 3D designers, remind fernlike dendrites or similar type, stellar dendrites.

We can describe fernlike dendrites as stellar dendrites, only with more complex and "chaotic" structure: usually they have more side branches and "icy leaves", and these details are not strictly symmetrical on different arms, and even on opposite sides of same arm. Maybe this asymmetry caused by really big size of fernlike dendrite: often they can be whole centimeter from tip to tip and even bigger! Because crystal is big, changes in air temperature and humidity on it's oppposite sides is not so perfectly synchronous, as on sides of smaller and simple snowflakes, and this causes asymmetrical growth of arms.

Usually these crystals have very small center, but long, large and massive arms, and these crystals are very fragile. Often we can see these snowflakes with broken arms, or even single arms, fallen from the sky: it seems that this is results of collisions in the air.

This time, i've tried slightly different shooting, and was satisfied by achieved results: i collected snowflakes on plastic bag, then transferred best looking specimens on surface of DVD-R disk, using small paintbrush. Moving snowflakes with brush is quite easy task; but then, i've used sharp wooden toothpick to raise crystal by it's edge and make it stand vertically, relying on other crystal. This trick was not easy, but, surprisingly, not impossible mission: within half of hour i've managed to get four crystals standing vertically, and they not fall, when i captured short photo series for averaging. This picture processed from the best of all four source sequences. It was made from averaged stack of 10 identical photos. Background behind snowflake is not sky: this is blue paper.

I've also processed other fernlike dendrite crystals - Winter is coming!, Asymmetriad, Silverware / Neon, and my favourites: Majestic crystal and Leaves of ice:

Snowflake photo: Majestic crystal, large and complex fernlike dendrite with many side branches, icy leaves and petals, glittering on pale gray-blue backgroundCloseup snowflake picture: Leaves of ice, very big fernlike dendrite snow crystal with tree-like arms, containing lots of side branches and icy petals, glowing on dark grey background

This snowflake also available as ultra HD wallpaper:

Snowflake photo wallpaper: Cloud number nine, resolution up to Ultra HD 5K, standard and widescreen, 4:3, 5:4, 16:10 and 16:9, free download

If you want to see more snowflakes, you can browse through all snowflake pictures.