Wilson A. Bentley was the first person to photograph a single snow crystal in 1885. In his lifetime, Bentley captured more than 5,000 snowflakes on film. Of course, no two were exactly alike. At the age of 60, Bentley recalled how his lifelong passion to study snowflakes got started:
“I never went to school until I was fourteen years old. My mother taught me at home. She had been a school-teacher before she married my father, and she instilled in me her love of knowledge and of the finer things of life. She had books, including a set of encyclopedias. I read them all. And it was my mother that made it possible for me, at fifteen, to begin the work to which I have devoted my life. She had a small microscope which she had used in her school teaching. When the other boys of my age were playing with popguns and sling-shots, I was absorbed in studying things under this microscope: drops of water, tiny fragments of stone, a feather dropped from a bird’s wing, a delicately veined petal from some flower. But always, from the very beginning, it was snowflakes that fascinated me most.”
Read more about Wilson A. Bentley at www.famoushomeschoolers.net/bio_bentley.html.