Original snowflake pictures for sale


Some of the snowflake photomicrographs taken by the man who invented the technique are up for auction at a price of around $5000 U.S. each. “Snowflake” Bentley received a microscope when he was fifteen years old and by the time he was nineteen, in 1885, he had invented a way to photograph snowflakes through the microscope, outside in the cold so they wouldn’t melt.

He spent much of his life photographing thousands of snowflakes. To show other people their beauty, in 1931 he published a book called Snow Crystals. It was re-issued in the 1970s (above) and at one time I had a copy of it.

He told a magazine 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. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind,” he said.

In Jericho, Vermont, where he lived, there’s now a museum with about 2000 of his prints.

Thinkoholic’s pictures

Walnuts

Thinkoholic has some lovely pictures of Europe, including an Austrian salt mine and ripe walnuts on the tree. Like chestnuts, they form inside a thick, green skin, which dries up and splits open. There are also pictures of Venus fly-traps, lakes, mountains, gondolas, biking through Switerland, and a host of other entertaining subjects.

Ancient fertility rite or early football? Bottle-kicking

Bottle-Kicking, originally uploaded by Documentally.

I found this story on flickr in the form of a photodocumentary of an old village custom.

The full story is at “Bottle-kicking in Hallaton.”

What’s killing our bats?

flying bat

Bats have been an unappreciated insect control for many years. Now, last winter and this winter, little brown bats in the Northeastern U.S. have been coming out of hibernation early and dying in the snow.

I have a guess as to the cause. Our autumn season has been consistently longer and finer since 1995. It was especially so that year, but every year since then the oak leaves have hung on long enough to develop bronzy, red, and purplish colours instead of just mud brown. The last two years we’ve had a green Christmas or snow has come just a few days before Christmas. (I’m in Ontario, similar enough to the northeast U.S. and Quebec.)

I think that October, November, and most of December have become too warm for the bats to hibernate but too cold for their insect prey. They are burning energy by staying awake and unable to eat enough to compensate. The result could be starving and early awwakening. It’s just a hypothesis. Can we set up some bat “aviaries” to test it?

dying bats on snow
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