Capturing Snowflakes ~ Beauty and Wonder

Reading aloud and reading in general are very important in our family. Books open up a world of adventure and ideas. Through a book we can travel anywhere we want to, learn whatever we need to, and enrich our lives in so many ways.

Also, this year especially I have been falling in love with winter all over again and looking for new ways to celebrate and enjoy the season. What better way to do that than with a good book!

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snowflake bentleyLast fall I bought a used children’s book called “Snowflake Bentley” by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and illustrated by Mary Azarian. As a companion I also bought “Snowflakes in Photographs” by W.A. Bentley. I was saving them to read aloud with the boys on the day of our first snow. I didn’t even show the boys the books, I simply told them that on the day of the first snow I had a surprise for them! Of course they were quite curious. The day finally arrived near the end of November. I don’t know who was more excited; me or the boys!

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“Snowflake Bentley” is a simple and fascinating true story about a boy who loved snow and grew up to be the first person to successfully photograph snowflakes. We also enjoyed the fact that W. A. Bentley was a farm boy from Vermont! The story is written simply, in a way that my boys could easily understand, while there was extra information and more details included in the sidebar. One of my favorite things about this book are the beautiful woodcut illustrations by Mary Azarian. The watercolor tinted woodcuts are homespun and detailed. They add a great visual charm to the story. My six-year-old listened to the whole book attentively while my three-year old lost interest. 

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After reading the story aloud we all enjoyed looking at the collection of W.A. Bentley’s snowflake photographs contained in the other book I purchased “Snowflakes in Photography”. We were all amazed by the intricate beauty and detail of each snowflake. As we admired each one David suggested that sometime we should try taking pictures of snowflakes. At first I figured that it wouldn’t work, but then I realized we might as well try. So I tucked that idea into the back of my mind for another day.

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Well, life kept moving right along. The holidays came, as well as a trip to California to see family and we still hadn’t got around to trying it yet.

Then a few days ago it was snowing. Huge beautiful snowflakes. We went outside to play in the snow and began catching snowflakes on our gloves, admiring them before they melted. With sudden inspiration we decided that is would be a great time to try photographing snowflakes. I dashed inside to grab my Olympus camera we set out.

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It was completely unplanned so we improvised as we went along. We searched around for a dark, cold, flat surface for catching snowflakes on and finally settled on a dark board out of the woodshed. We caught the snowflakes on the board then I stood in the shed and snapped pictures as quickly as possible. We did this over and over again, capturing a few lovely shots. When we tired of that we ran around with the dog and then built a snowman before heading inside to warm up.

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It was an exhilarating and beautiful experience to see the boys’ eyes wide with wonder at each snowflake. When we were all finished we admired our work and shared the photos with everyone! They are not nearly as close up or detailed as W.A. Bentley’s photos, but I think we captured some lovely images as well as made some wonderful memories.snowflake 3

What about you? What are some special ways you enjoy winter? What is your best memory of wintertime fun? Please share your stories in the comments!snowflake 2

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