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Snowflake-a-Day #1

On December 1st onward for 100 days, I do this little thing where I post a brand new snowflake photograph every single day. It's snowing beautifully outside as I write this, and the spirit of the season is upon us! View large and zoom in!

This year specifically, this 100-day marathon of shooting and editing will be used to give awareness to my new book, Sky Crystals: Unraveling the Mysteries of Snowflakes, which can be found here: - shipping this week!

Each image takes roughly four hours to edit, so this yearly project will take over 400 hours across three months. I'm ready for it!

Today's snowflake is a very good example of inner symmetry and geometry. The beautiful inner pattern is actually created by bubbles in the ice. Bubbles form when the edges of a facet grow faster than the inner portions of the facet, based on the simple logic that the edges and corners stick out farther and collect water vapour at a faster rate. This effect continues, and soon the inner parts of the facet are left behind. The edges grow outward, creating a cavity in the ice. If conditions change to favour slower growth, the crystal edge may once again thicken, recombining the two edges and trapping a bubble inside.

These bubbles are found in many snowflakes to some degree, and occasionally can produce very thin layers of ice responsible for vibrant colours (a result of thin film interference). This crystal exhibits very small amounts of these colours in the lower left of the center. Because the bubbles also create additional surfaces of ice, there is more opportunity for light to be reflected back to the camera. This makes the bubbles appear brighter than the surrounding crystal.

...and I haven't even gotten beyond the center of this snowflake! :) We'll save that for another day.

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