Snowflake wallpaper: Cloud number nine

Winter is coming, as House Stark motto says, and i've created ultra HD wallpaper from picture of very big fernlike dendrite snowflake "Cloud number nine":

Snowflake photo wallpapers: resolution up to Ultra HD 5K, aspect ratio: standard and widescreen, free download

This monstrous crystal available in screen proportions 4:3, 5:4, 16:10 and 16:9, resolutions from 800x600 pixels (SVGA) to 5120x2880 (Ultra HD 5K).

Article about snowflake macro photography reached 1 million views

This milestone means a lot for me. All blog pages and posts (including that article) reached only 1.5 million views by now. Currently, i work on third major update of snowflake article (russian update already done, translation to English in progress). In a few days, article will be bigger, more accurate, and, i hope, my terrible English will be slightly more readable, thanks to Google translate (it helps me often).

Snowflake macro photography: how to take closeup snowflake pictures with simple compact camera setup, tips and tricks, snowflake images gallery

Kenneth Libbrecht and Rachel Wing. "Snowflake: Winter's Frozen Artistry"

From ten thousand feet above the Earth, a snowflake begins its fall. Its journey starts when ice forms around a nucleus of dust and is blown by the winds through clouds where the crystals blossom into tiny ice stars. Because it weighs next to nothing, a snow crystal may take hours to fall--finally landing where Caltech physicist Kenneth Libbrecht can use microphotography to record the tiny, intricate, frozen artistry of the snowflake.

«In a snowflake, just an ordinary snowflake, we can find a fascinating tale of the spontaneous emergence of pattern and form. From shapeless water vapor, complex structures emerge in an airborne symphony of meteorological morphogenesis. Snowflakes are the product of a rich synthesis of physics, mathematics, and chemistry -- and they're fun to catch on your tongue.»

-- Kenneth Libbrecht and Rachel Wing. "Snowflake: Winter's Frozen Artistry"

Kenneth Libbrecht and Rachel Wing. Snowflake: Winter's Frozen Artistry - illustrated book about snowflake formation, physics and photography

Besides of very interesting content, i was impressed by quality of snowflake photos in the book. Kenneth Libbrecht's snowflake photography is real inspiration for me.

In new revision of the book (2015), authors also introduced other snowflake photographers (including my mom and myself) with examples of their work, showing different approaches to snow crystal macro photography. We both very proud of it!

Kenneth and Rachel's book can be ordered at
More books available on Kenneth's famous website

Also, don't miss excellent snowflake book by Don Komarechka - Sky Crystals: Unraveling the Mysteries of Snowflakes:

Don Komarechka. Sky Crystals: Unraveling the Mysteries of Snowflakes - illustrated hardcover book about snowflake photography, formation and physics, written by professional Canadian photographer

Under the grey sky

Under the grey sky, dark collage with grid of square tiles, containing real snowflake macro photos on blurred background
Snowflake collage: Under the grey sky. Full size: 3661 x 3661 pixels

For this collage i used special variants of four snowflake photos. When processing each snowflake, i draw by hand precise mask, which separates crystal from background (i need it for processing object and background with different sharpening and noise removing settings). Drawing these mask is time consuming work, and requires lots of patience; but automatic methods of edge selection, which i've tried, do not provide enough quality. Now masks was used to blur background around snowflakes.

I'm not sure that these variants are good, though, because original background is visible through transparent crystals. You can see original snowflake photos: Rigel, Leaves of ice, Alioth and Vega on unchanged background.

Dark grey woolen fabric looks quite strange on high magnification, and i cannot say that wool fibers looks beautiful. On the other hand, these thin and rigid fibers are works really well for shooting process: they effectively trap snowflake and prevent wind to blow it away; also, snowflake usually hangs in the air above wool fabric, touching fibers only at few points. This slows down melting, which is very important in warm days, when temperature is too close to freezing point.

You can see visual difference in size of crystals in this collage, and it is real: all four snowflakes was captured at same distance from the lens and with fixed magnification, and i do not re-scaled photos on post-processing stage.

Prints available at: Artist website,

This is bigger variant of collage, twice wide and tall:

Under the grey sky (2x variant), dark square collage with grid of real snowflake macro photos on blur background
Snowflake collage: Under the grey sky (2x). Full size: 7600 x 7600 pixels

Prints available at: Artist website,

If you want to see more snowflakes, you can browse through all snowflake pictures.
Here you'll find snowflake photo wallpapers in numerous resolutions and screen proportions, up to Ultra HD 4K.
And here is article about snowflake macro photography.