13 Perfect Snowflakes Captured in Photos

Snowflake glittering on dark textured background
ChaoticMind75 / Getty Images

Snowflakes — those intricate, one-of-a-kind ice crystals — form when precipitation falls through varying levels of humidity and temperatures in the air. While plenty has been written about the science of snow, we're focusing on the sheer beauty of them.

If you live in a cold climate, you can engage in "snowflake watching" — think bird watching, but for snowflakes. Keep a compact magnifier or jeweler's loupe in your pocket or bag and when you're out in the next snowfall, start looking. You can look on cold surfaces for snowflakes that will last, but you can find many even on your sleeve. Once you're hooked, check out a book like Kenneth Libbrecht's "Field Guide to Snowflakes" to learn about the many shapes, sizes, and other fascinating details.

In the meantime, here are a number of wonderous examples to study and admire.

snowflakes on a back window

Joanna Poe [CC BY-SA 2.0]/Flickr

Snowflakes show their individual flair, even in a group. This photo shows an array of snowflakes gathered on the back window of a car. Glass is a great place to look for snowflakes; but it's also a fabulous place to observe the wild-looking crystal formations of frost as well.

Two starry snowflakes
Saurav Pandey Photography / Getty Images

In the photo above, two snowflakes are captured on a window. Notice the different structures! There are many different categories of shapes, from stellar forms like these, to triangles, columns, and more.

Snowflake lands in a person's hair
Gui Seiz [CC BY-SA 2.0]/Flickr

Snowflakes land where they please, even in a person's hair.

snowflakes close-up
Bobkov Evgeniy/Shutterstock

These look like someone just tossed a handful onto the sidewalk.

Close-up of snowflakes on table
Paul F. / 500px / Getty Images

An intricate snowflake shows off its exquisite delicacy when contrasted against the wooden table on which it landed.

natural snowflakes on snow

Vadim Cherenko / Getty Images

Snowflakes on snow, taken during a snowfall under natural conditions at low temperature.

Macro Shot Of Snowflakes

Mikko Lepisto / EyeEm / Getty Images

As in many of these photos, a macro lens captures the tiniest details, showing patterns and geometry that are harder to see with the naked eye.

Snowflake in eyelashes
Brandy Anderson / Getty Images

You're supposed to catch snowflakes on your tongue, but eyelashes will do in a pinch.


Сергей Бурбона / Getty Images

It is true that the likelihood of two snowflakes being alike is infinitesimally small. The photo above shows just a few of the nearly endless ways a snowflake may appear.

Snowflake on a dark blue background
Mariia Tagirova/Shutterstock

The dark and moody background plays perfect host for this stunner of a snowflake.

Snowflake pile-up
Cristian H. Gomez/Shutterstock

Even piled on top of one another, individual snowflakes still find a way to stand out from the crowd.

Robert Pickett / Getty Images

A microscopic view reveals Mother Nature's artistry at work.