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 often 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, one in every of his photos actually caught his fancy: a uncommon 12-sided snowflake – double the edges 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 stated he sought out photographing snowflakes to make his snowy Denver winters brighter.

“I believe, like lots of people, the shorter days of winter left me just a little dreary,” he advised FOX Climate. “I noticed a tremendous photographer, Don Komarechka, who was taking snowflake pictures, and I felt that was the following path my images ought to go in. It was a sport changer.”

So how does he do it?

“Lots of people need to understand how I hold the snowflake from melting,” he stated.

It’s a must 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 house.

“It’s a must to catch the flakes whereas they’re coming down,” Persoff stated. “Processes resembling 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)

Meaning bundling up, as all of the images should be achieved exterior through the snowfall. Persoff stated that ideally, the temperature exterior must be from 10-25 levels Fahrenheit.

A budget-minded images set-up

Persoff stated he is targeted on a budget-friendly images 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 stated. “Later, that enables 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 might have the studio,” he stated.


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 immediately. Later, after a little bit of post-processing in photograph enhancing software program, his social media feeds come alive with awe-inspiring magnificence.

“I all the time observe 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, which means snowflakes by no means expertise the very same atmospheric situations throughout their creation. Temperature and humidity contained in the clouds will decide the final form of the flakes, however every has its personal distinctive imprint that acts like a transcript, detailing its personal private journey by means of the environment.


“The atmospheric situations the place (snowflakes) type are within the clouds round -10 to -20 levels Celsius (14 to -4 levels Fahrenheit) referred to as the dendritic progress zone (DGZ),” Persoff stated. “The nearer the DGZ is to the bottom, the extra intricate the designs. The upper up, the extra that snowflakes may be broken or soften on the way in which down. Winds could cause snowflakes to bash towards 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 a couple of 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 inconceivable,” Persoff stated. “What occurs is that early within the snowflake’s genesis, two snowflakes turn out to be adhered collectively. Then, as they fall by means of the clouds, they encounter similar atmospheric situations resulting in the arms of every flake forming the way in which you see in (the) photograph”.


It is the joys of a unique sort of chase – one which requires protecting heat as an alternative of protecting 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 stated.

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