Colorado CR 69
A few years ago, when I moved into the high country of Colorado, I developed this real passion for photographing snowflakes. They are so stunningly beautiful when viewed from up close and come in millions - probably billions - different shapes. But getting good images of snowflakes comes with a high price: Even at my house at an elevation of 9,000 feet, there are actually surprisingly very few days during an entire snow season, when you can find good, perfectly shaped snowflakes drifting down from the clouds. Most of the time it is only tiny icy cones or fragments. That's why I usually drop everything else, when a snowstorm happens to dump iconic, six-armed snowflakes in my neighborhood. A rare event, which seems to occur strangely enough almost always at night and demands to be completely prepared for at all times: Several layers of clothes and heavy boots that make it possible to stand still for hours in below zero temps, special gloves with extra liners and multiple, fully charged handwarmers, frequently a warm face mask to bock the windchill, several (charged) camera batteries, a solid tripod for extreme close-ups, headlamps, a few LED lights on stands, plenty of coffee in a thermos bottle, a kneeling pad and much, much, more - just to list a few of the essentials. And, frankly, no matter how good my clothing is, I always freeze my fingers to complete numbness from occasionally taking a glove off and adjusting some equipment and I am completely exhausted by the end of the long, freezing night, where a hooting owl or a hauntingly howling coyote are often my only companions for hours. But in the end it is all worth it. Especially when I am lucky enough to find and photograph a highly unusual snowflake like the attached photo. Just when I think I've seen them all, such a bizarre shaped, multi-colored artwork of Nature drifts down and puts a big, fat smile on my frozen face.