Snow can be beautiful

Winter's Hidden Treasure

Snow. It’s all around us this time of year. We shovel it, plow it, & brush it off our cars and don’t really see the beauty in it sometimes.
On these cold & snowy February days, artist & photographer John Stacey of Chenango Bridge turns his camera lens in search of the hidden beauty of snowflakes. A custom made camera with a microscope lens attached makes it possible to see and photograph the crystals close up. “You have to like working for hours on end in 15 degree weather and colder”, says Stacey. “All the equipment has to be kept cold and even then, a single snow crystal might only last 30 seconds before the camera lights evaporate it”. Through special lighting, color is added using filters to bring out the detail from the colorless snowflakes. The whole family, naturalist Kate, and kids Jack & Anna, love helping collect snowflakes using tiny paint brushes and join in on the photography too. “It’s like finding hidden treasure when you get that perfect crystal”.
Not all snow is formed in perfect crystals and conditions have to be just right. The good snow days are when you can hear the crunch under your feet and when the snow sparkles under the streetlights. “I think I’m the only person who watches the weather and actually looks forward to the zero degree temperatures”, says Stacey. The technique of collecting & photographing snowflakes is an art in itself. Many are caught right out of the air on glass slides and rushed to the camera. Once the images are collected Stacey uses them in different printmaking projects to make fine art prints or just to print as photos. There are so many beauties to be found in nature if we just slow down and take the time to look and enjoy.

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