Capturing Capacity

SNOWFLAKE Photos by Wilson Bentley.


Back in the late 1870’s, a Vermont farm boy by the name of Wilson Bentley became infatuated with “ice flowers” (as he referred to snowflakes).  Only 30 years after photography made its debut on the world scene, Bentley jury-rigged a bellows camera to attach to a microscope so that he could document the “tiny miracles of beauty”.  Running around with a black velvet cloth during snow flurries, Bentley was considered about of a loon back in the 1880’s.  Using chicken feathers to manipulate the delicate crystals on pieces of chalkboard, Bentley had a very brief window of time to capture the snowflake’s form before it deteriorated or sublimated.  Below is a collection of some of his phenomenal work.  Scroll down to the bottom to watch a short video to see the camera he used and the difficulties involved with the process.



  1. Nancy

    Just Lovely, MacGyvers unite…to think that he had no electricity and opened up a world of perfect beauty-very nice way to start the week–Thanks

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