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Big Cottonwood Canyon   |  Angie Payne
A Photo Essay

Winter Magic, Magnified

Enjoy snowflakes with fresh eyes through macro photography

Photography By Angie Payne

Photographer Angie Payne visited Salt Lake City on the hunt for snowflakes and other wintery scenes. “There was a fair amount of uncertainty involved with planning a trip around the idea of photographing fresh snow,” says Payne, “but Utah came through.” (Read: "How to Photograph Snowflakes — Nature’s Fleeting Work of Art")

For Payne, it’s the impermanence of snowflakes that speak to her most. “These little pieces of beauty fall from the sky and grace the world with their mesmerizing presence for a few moments before melting away or being buried under other snowflakes and incorporated into the chaos. On the rare occasion that I get to enjoy and photograph the intricate beauty of a single flake, it feels like time stops for a brief moment. There is a focused awareness and excitement that comes in those few fleeting seconds before the flake, in all its individual and absolutely unique beauty, is gone forever.”

Meet some of Utah’s fleeting, but precious, tiny ones.

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Because snowflakes are small (really, really small), photographer Angie Payne uses a macro lens to capture the intricate details. A true macro lens offers a 1:1 magnification ratio, meaning that the size of the snowflake in real life is the same as the size of the image projected onto the camera’s sensor.

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"I realize I have an abnormal obsession with these little pieces of frozen perfection, but I swear there’s just nothing quite like these miniature works of art," says photographer Angie Payne.

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Working with these teeny tiny frozen works of art is incredibly frustrating, because micro movements, a rogue breath, or any amount of wind can instantly destroy the scene. Luckily, the payoff is always worth it, and every once in a while a shot works out.

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Fuzzy wool fibers catch flakes and keep them elevated for easy viewing; the wool also acts as an insulator to keep the snowflake from melting immediately.

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When it isn’t snowing, look for other forms of frozen microscopic beauty, such as ice crystals and hoar frost that forms on plants when the humidity is high and the temperature is low.

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Winter in Utah

Here in Utah, winter is a beloved season. As the snow falls, our spirits rise. We gleefully anticipate frost on our cheeks, powder on our ski runs and a blanket of white spread across the mountain ranges. You don’t have to be from here to belong here. Welcome to Utah’s famous winter.

Discover winter in Utah

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