Home - Photos - Books - Science - Videos    
   Fun Facts About Snowflakes    
   Designer Snowflakes    

This page shows a variety of movies of growing snowflakes. The Designer Snowflakes page shows how these crystals are created, along with some high-resolution still photos.

These are not computer simulations, but are real slivers of ice grown in the laboratory. I photograph the crystals as they grow, controlling their shapes by changing the temperature and humidity as they form. The final shape depends on the entire growth history.

low-resolution :: medium :: high

  low-resolution : medium :: high
These are two movies of the same growing snowflake. The first (far left) shows the crystal illuminated using colored lights from behind, giving a dark crystal on a bright background. Clicking on the image gives a low-resolution movie. Here is a medium-resolution version for more detail, and a high-resolution version if you have high-speed internet.

The second movie is basically a "negative" version of the first movie, with some additional color tweaking, giving a bright crystal on a dark background. Again, clicking on the image gives a low-resolution version; here are medium- and  high-resolution versions.

Here is another nice growing snow crystal. This one took 44 minutes to grow, with a final size of 2.5 mm (0.1 inches) from tip to tip.

What you do not see in these movies is me changing the temperature and humidity as the crystals grow. That is what puts the "designer" in designer snowflakes. If I want to grow plate-like features, for example, I tune the temperature to around -11 C with a low humidity. If I want branches, I tune to -15 C and a higher humidity. I have a set of "recipes" for designing snow crystals -- different growth behaviors that occur in different conditions. I usually design the crystals in real time as I watch them develop, which is part of the fun.

The crystal shapes were not altered in making these movies. However I do tweak the color and brightness, and I shift the crystal positions slightly to take out image drifts. In some of the movies (including this one) I used software to remove the droplets that formed around the crystals (see Designer Snowflakes for a discussion of the droplets).

 low-resolution :: medium :: high

Here are more movies of growing snowflakes (all at medium resolution) ...

This is one of my newer movies, at high resolution, this time showing the droplets surrounding the crystal.