A 12-sided snowflake? Colorado photographer captures uncommon snowflake formation

Each six-sided snowflake is a novel piece of nature’s artwork, however their unbelievable designs normally go unseen as they pile up by the zillions throughout winter storms.

Colorado physician and photographer Jason Persoff is taking the time to ensure these hidden gems do not go unnoticed. Treating the sick for his day job, Persoff spends his off time throughout Colorado’s winter storms snapping mesmerizing pictures of snowflakes in all their glory. Final week, certainly one of his photos actually caught his fancy: a uncommon 12-sided snowflake – double the perimeters of a daily snowflake.


A closeup {photograph} of a snowflake taken in Aurora, Colorado. (Jason Persoff / StormDoctor.com / FOX Climate)

Persoff has spent many years chasing the extra conventional supercell thunderstorms and tornadoes however mentioned he sought out photographing snowflakes to make his snowy Denver winters brighter.

“I feel, like lots of people, the shorter days of winter left me somewhat dreary,” he instructed FOX Climate. “I noticed a tremendous photographer, Don Komarechka, who was taking snowflake pictures, and I felt that was the subsequent route my pictures ought to go in. It was a recreation changer.”

So how does he do it?

“Lots of people need to know the way I preserve the snowflake from melting,” he mentioned.

It’s important to be keen to courageous the weather. This isn’t about strolling exterior to seize a pile of snow, then coming again inside and taking pictures amid the heat of your private home.

“It’s important to catch the flakes whereas they’re coming down,” Persoff mentioned. “Processes corresponding to sublimation will trigger the flake to lose its spectacular construction (after they sit) even when temperatures are tremendous chilly.”


A closeup {photograph} of a snowflake taken in Aurora, Colorado. (Jason Persoff / StormDoctor.com / FOX Climate)

Which means bundling up, as all of the pictures should be carried out exterior through the snowfall. Persoff mentioned that ideally, the temperature exterior must be from 10-25 levels Fahrenheit.

A budget-minded pictures set-up

Persoff mentioned he is targeted on a budget-friendly pictures studio for capturing nature’s icy gallery and has even created a step-by-step tutorial on YouTube to share his secrets and techniques. 

“I catch snowflakes on, of all issues, a black wool sock,” Persoff mentioned. “Later, that permits me to subtract the background a lot simpler to get the flakes you see in my pictures.”


His digicam is a model that may be discovered on aftermarket gross sales for underneath $200, and add in some comparatively cheap extension tubes and a macro lens coupled with LED lights and a hoop flash, “and growth, you will have the studio,” he mentioned.


A closeup {photograph} of a snowflake taken in Aurora, Colorado. (Jason Persoff / StormDoctor.com / FOX Climate)

All that is left is to be keen to take a seat exterior in frigid temperatures and see what thrilling creations Mom Nature has in retailer for the sock at the moment. Later, after a little bit of post-processing in picture modifying software program, his social media feeds come alive with awe-inspiring magnificence.

“I at all times follow a catch-and-release philosophy with the snowflakes,” he joked. “So, none are harmed within the course of, to the most effective of my data.”

The uncommon 12-pointed snowflake

The explanation every snowflake is exclusive is that no snowflake takes the identical path from cloud to Earth, that means snowflakes by no means expertise the very same atmospheric situations throughout their creation. Temperature and humidity contained in the clouds will decide the overall form of the flakes, however every has its personal distinctive imprint that acts like a transcript, detailing its personal private journey via the ambiance.


“The atmospheric situations the place (snowflakes) kind are within the clouds round -10 to -20 levels Celsius (14 to -4 levels Fahrenheit) known as the dendritic development zone (DGZ),” Persoff mentioned. “The nearer the DGZ is to the bottom, the extra intricate the designs. The upper up, the extra that snowflakes might be broken or soften on the way in which down. Winds may cause snowflakes to bash in opposition to one another, leading to damaged items and fragments.”

A closeup {photograph} of a uncommon 12-sided snowflake taken in Aurora, Colorado. (Jason Persoff / StormDoctor.com)

Persoff was particularly enthusiastic about his catch final week which featured just a few uncommon 12-point snowflakes as an alternative of the frequent six-sided frozen dendrites.

These 12-sided snowflakes are uncommon as a result of they require an opportunity assembly.

“Water can solely make crystals with angles of 60 levels, so a 12-sided snowflake is unattainable,” Persoff mentioned. “What occurs is that early within the snowflake’s genesis, two snowflakes turn into adhered collectively. Then, as they fall via the clouds, they encounter similar atmospheric situations resulting in the arms of every flake forming the way in which you see in (the) picture”.


It is the fun of a distinct form of chase – one which requires conserving heat as an alternative of conserving warned. It is led to a year-round journey with Mom Nature.

“I chase storms within the spring and summer season, and snowflakes within the autumn and winter,” Persoff mentioned.

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