“I’m melting! Melting!
Oh, what a world! What a world!”
– Wicked Witch of the West
In a winter as warm as this, every snow is like the first snow. Wet flakes land on warm ground, melting on the sidewalks and streets but sticking on the grass. Last night’s snowfall proved to be no exception, as the temperature outside hovered just a few degrees below freezing… And inside the garage where I shoot snow crystals, the residue of the last few warm days kept the temperature right at the freezing point.
Well, at least it was snowing… I tried a few shots and the snow crystals quickly melted, before I could take any photos. Back in December, 2009, I took an usual shot of a snow crystal just as it melted away - or maybe it was a photo of a drop of water, just as it emerged from a crystal. I don’t remember… Well, with all these melting crystals, maybe that is something to try again…
So - here is one of the first shots of the evening - a rather nice stellar dendrite that had already begun to melt when I snapped the first image of it. Here’s the first shot, where the structure is still more or less intact -
(With all images - click for a larger view.)
Here’s a shot about 45 seconds later - the last wafer thin remnant of the crystal floats on (or presses into) the drop of water, which is the melted remain of the rest of the crystal…
Well, that’s interesting. I tried some more… Here the lingering remnants of a crystal’s heart twinkle with color. It was a large dendrite that melted before I ever got the glass plate beneath the lens. I speculate the some sort of partial dark field effect accounts for the colors.
Maybe the same thing happened with this shot -
There was no opportunity to tweak the lighting for these shots - in a manner of seconds the crystals melted away to nothing. Here is another crystal that I was able to capture just as it was starting to melt - the lighting is so dead-on that it looks virtually like a B&W shot:
The crystal was not well formed, and even in the first shot it was melting in the upper right. About half a minute later, it looked like this -
Finally - the bones of two crystals that melted together, floating on their co-joined watery remains:
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