January 22, 2010

Dying for photography, 100 years ago.

Wilson A Bentley made the first photographs of single snowflakes, using a microscope and a bellows camera.
Snowflake expert Kenneth G Libbrecht said the photos did not meet modern standards because of the "crude equipment" Bentley used.

"But he did it so well that hardly anybody bothered to photograph snowflakes for almost 100 years," Mr Libbrecht added....

Bentley, who was known as The Snowflake Man, wrote in 1925: "Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others.

"Every crystal was a masterpiece of design, and no one design was ever repeated. When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost."
After catching innumerable snowflakes and preserving them forever, he "caught pneumonia in a blizzard" and died.

IN THE COMMENTS: Bob_R said: "It's like Hugh Hefner being killed by being crushed by a million breasts."

23 comments:

Marcia said...

I have a couple of Libbrecht's books with photographs of snowflakes. The are incredibly beautiful.

rhhardin said...

He overspecialized.

Dog photos is the way to go.

Palladian said...

"Dog photos is the way to go."

How about photos of dogs chasing snowflakes?

verification word: barks (!!!)

Bob_R said...

It's like Hugh Hefner being killed by being crushed by a million breasts.

jag said...

If nature has no meaning, no design behind it, why such incredible precision within every snowflake? Not to mention beauty.

traditionalguy said...

How shameful that we let these last of their design in existence snowflakes melt? There is a moral high ground to be taken and used here. The rapacious melters of snowflakes should at least have to apply for a government permit and wait years to protect the future generations rights to see these unique designs. At last I understand why drilling in ANWR's postage stamp area reserved for drilling has always been evil... because it melts snowflakes.

ricpic said...

A Good Death

He went out doing what he loved best:
The only way to go;
In service to his creator's behest:
Capturing the snow.

traditionalguy said...

Bobr...Very good point. No two breasts are alike either. Therefore all must be photographed to preserve their beauty. A billion dollar government project to get breast photos made would be the real Stimulus we need to get America growing again.

ironrailsironweights said...

It's like Hugh Hefner being killed by being crushed by a million breasts.

Or me, being smothered by a million strands of women's pubic hair.

Peter

David said...

After catching innumerable snowflakes and preserving them forever, he "caught pneumonia in a blizzard" and died.

How's the Cross Country skiing going, Althouse?

David said...

Nice poem, ricpic!

edutcher said...

The Hefner line is a scary visual, considering that Hef is a walking Dorian Gray (why is that such an apt analogy for so many things, all of a sudden?).

Libbrecht's death, however, is a reminder of how lucky we are today; pneumonia was one of the leading causes of death for a very long time - second leading cause among cowboys, for example. Not to mention another reminder of why BarryCare would be a step back - all those geezers suddenly succumbing to something heretofore so easily cured.

Icepick said...

It's like Hugh Hefner being killed by being crushed by a million breasts.

Hmm, that sounds vaguely familiar. Naaaah, I guess not.

A billion dollar government project to get breast photos made would be the real Stimulus we need to get America growing again.

It's already been done. It's called the Internet.

Synova said...

You don't have to go out in a blizzard to photograph snow flakes.

The article said he was a farmer. He probably went outside to feed the cows.

Bob_R said...

Icepick, I thought of Meaning of Life as well, but it wasn't quite the right parallel. Since Althouse is the breast blogger extraordinaire...well, I'm surprised she and Meade haven't been invited to the grotto already.

Chris said...

I thought this was going to be about silver iodide or some such thing

Methadras said...

No snowflake hate!!!

Methadras said...

Palladian said...

"Dog photos is the way to go."

How about photos of dogs chasing snowflakes?

verification word: barks (!!!)


So damned cute!! [said with a manly voice and not with a high pitched baby-talk voice followed by goober-esque Ann Althouse laughter. Thank you.]

Freeman Hunt said...

More of his snowflake pictures here.

ricpic said...

Thanks Dave.

MadisonMan said...

There is a collection of Bentley photos on the UW campus as well.

Kahlilia said...

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kentuckyliz said...

Cold temperatures don't cause pneumonia. A virus, bacteria, or inhaled foreign substance and the irritation from it can.

That's why it's also ignorant for moms to say, button up your coat, you'll catch a cold!

It's not a temperature!

WV: nonsin
Captcha pronounces absolution.