Photographer Alexey Kljatov Captures the Intricate Beauty of Snowflakes with $50 Lens

Baby, it’s cold outside… but there is a great deal of beauty in those chilly little snowflakes. We’ve always known that, but to see it close up brings the message home with even greater clarity.

First, a little back story.

Back in 1885, Wilson Bentley produced the first photograph of a single snow crystal (what most people think of as a snowflake) using a bellows camera attached to a microscope.

In a method similar to Bentley, Russian photographer Alexey Kljatov was able to capture these beautiful, enchanting crystals and their many types using an innovative photomicrographic technique. Kljatov’s setup includes a Canon Powershot A650 and a 44M-5 Helios lens from an old-fashioned Zenit camera.


This ingenious and inexpensive piece of equipment was used to take extreme up-close pictures of snowflakes as they fell through the Earth’s atmosphere. He goes into detail on how to recreate this do-it-yourself rig over on this blog post.

Did you know that a flat, six-sided crystal with delicate filigree patterns of sharp branches occurs in only about one in every 1000 flakes?