Note: I think the confluence of weather, time of year, and, especially, the recent Talk of the Town (All Alike by Adam Gopnik) mentioning "Snowflake" Bentley, demands a repost of one of my favorites.
Wilson Alwyn Bentley (February 9, 1865 - December 23, 1931) was born in Jericho, Vermont, in a farmhouse that remained his lifelong home. He was home-schooled and never ventured far from Jericho. At 19, after he combined two treasured presents– a microscope and a bellows camera–Bentley succeeded in capturing the world's first photomicrograph of a snow crystal or snowflake. Working outside, of course, he caught each crystal on a black board and transferred it rapidly to a microscope slide. Doing this he was able to create about 5000 images over the course of his life.
In town, Bentley was considered odd and was known to many neighbors as the "Snowflake Man" because of his quiet demeanor and unusual preoccupation. Although he was a gifted musician– he played piano, organ, clarinet, coronet, and violin, as well as composed music –he devoted himself to his photography and study of snow.
In 1931 Bentley worked with William J. Humphreys of the U.S. Weather Bureau to publish Snow Crystals, a monograph illustrated with 2,500 photographs. After picking up his copies of the newly published book he walked home in a snowstorm. He died of pneumonia at his farm on December 23.
. . . . .
"The rare delight of seeing for the first time this exquisite lineaments under a microscope, the practical certainty that never again will one be found just like this one... To perpetuate each masterpiece the image of each of each rare gem in the photograph, before its matchless beauty is forever lost (to us) is an experience is so rare so truly delightful that once undergone is never forgotten...Was ever life history written in more dainty hieroglyphics!"– Wilson Alwyn Bentley
. . . . .Bentley donated his collection of original glass-plate photomicrographs of snow crystals to the Buffalo Museum of Science
*Bentley's description of a snow crystal's trajectory
Thanks to the wondrous Herbert Pfostl/Blindpony for alerting me to Bentley.