There's nothing like a blanket of fresh snow to make for picturesque scenes around the Pacific Northwest, but among the snowmen and sleigh rides are hidden secrets of the breath-taking beauty of Mother Nature.
But photographer Alexey Kljatov has unlocked some of those secrets, using a unique camera set up to get intricate photos of individual snowflakes, which show off an amazing level of detail that each snowflake carries. They say no two snowflakes are alike, and these photographs show why.
Kljatov lives in Russia -- no stranger to snow in the winter -- and has set up a camera on his balcony to capture each individual snowflake's glory.
"I capture snowflakes at open balcony of my house, mostly on glass surface, lighted by LED flashlight from opposite side of glass, and sometimes in natural light, using dark woolen fabrics as background," Kljatov wrote on his Flickr page that showcases his work.
He says he built a simple macro add on for his camera that allows him to get the super-close ups. If you're interested in the entire camera set up, Kljatov has posted all the details here.
Kljatov has managed to capture several different types of snowflakes, from "Stars" and "Dendrites" to needles, columns, plates and columns capped with plates.
The type of snowflake that falls on your head depends on the temperature and humidity when the cloud formed, but most snow around the main Puget Sound area is from the typical "stars." Also, snow around 32 degrees tends to be larger flakes that snow that forms at much colder temperatures.
You can find even more of Kljatov's work on his main Flickr page.
P.S. if you love this photos, photographer Don Komarechka also is into snowflakes and has an equally amazing gallery.