The Snow Photographer
Wilson Alwyn Bentley (1865-1931) was a real tinkerer. His nickname was „snowflake Bentley“ and this is how that came about: When he was 15 years old, his mum gave him a microscope and, for the very first time, he could really see the beauty of a snowflake. While all of the snowflakes had six prongs, they still differed from one another. He pondered on how to capture this. First, he tried drawing them, but that was terribly inconvenient and took way too long so the snowflakes melted away before he could finish. Then, he came up with the idea to photograph those tiny things. Never to his knowledge had anyone photographed a snowflake before. Which is understandable, as the flake will just melt away before you can snap a shot. After many attempts, he had the idea to let the flakes snow onto black velvet, of course only after having put in place his huge camera. And then finally, in the year 1885, he was able to capture the tiny flakes before they disappeared.
Of all things, poor Wilson died after hiking through a blizzard, during which he caught a terrible cold.
Snow and ice are not only beautiful, they are also very important. Surprisingly, this is because of their colour; because both snow and ice are white. And everything that is white on Earth, keeps our climate in balance ensuring that it does not get too cold or too hot. Most of it exists around the north and south pole. If it gets too warm overall and it all melts away like “ice in the sunshine”, then this world is in trouble.