A 12-sided snowflake? Colorado photographer captures unusual snowflake formation


Every six-sided snowflake is a unique piece of nature’s art, but their incredible designs usually go unseen as they pile up by the zillions during winter storms.

Colorado doctor and photographer Jason Persoff is taking the time to make sure these hidden gems don’t go unnoticed. Treating the sick for his day job, Persoff spends his off time during Colorado’s winter storms snapping mesmerizing photos of snowflakes in all their glory. Last week, one of his pictures really caught his fancy: a rare 12-sided snowflake – double the sides of a regular snowflake.

A closeup photograph of a snowflake taken in Aurora, Colorado. (Jason Persoff / StormDoctor.com / FOX Weather)

Persoff has spent decades chasing the more traditional supercell thunderstorms and tornadoes but said he sought out photographing snowflakes to make his snowy Denver winters brighter.

“I think, like a lot of people, the shorter days of winter left me a little dreary,” he told FOX Weather. “I saw an amazing photographer, Don Komarechka, who was taking snowflake photos, and I felt that was the next direction my photography should go in. It was a game changer.”

So how does he do it?

“A lot of people want to know how I keep the snowflake from melting,” he said.

You have to be willing to brave the elements. This is not about walking outside to grab a pile of snow, then coming back inside and taking photos amid the warmth of your home.

“You have to catch the flakes while they are coming down,” Persoff said. “Processes such as sublimation will cause the flake to lose its spectacular structure (after they sit) even if temperatures are super cold.”

A closeup photograph of a snowflake taken in Aurora, Colorado. (Jason Persoff / StormDoctor.com / FOX Weather)

That means bundling up, as all the photography must be done outside during the snowfall. Persoff said that ideally, the temperature outside needs to be from 10-25 degrees Fahrenheit.

A budget-minded photography set-up

Persoff said he’s focused on a budget-friendly photography studio for capturing nature’s icy gallery and has even created a step-by-step tutorial on YouTube to share his secrets. 

“I catch snowflakes on, of all things, a black wool sock,” Persoff said. “Later, that allows me to subtract the background much easier to get the flakes you see in my photos.”

7 FACTS ABOUT SNOW

His camera is a version that can be found on aftermarket sales for under $200, and add in some relatively inexpensive extension tubes and a macro lens coupled with LED lights and a ring flash, “and boom, you have the studio,” he said.

A closeup photograph of a snowflake taken in Aurora, Colorado. (Jason Persoff / StormDoctor.com / FOX Weather)

All that’s left is to be willing to sit outside in frigid temperatures and see what exciting creations Mother Nature has in store for the sock today. Later, after a bit of post-processing in photo editing software, his social media feeds come alive with awe-inspiring beauty.

“I always practice a catch-and-release philosophy with the snowflakes,” he joked. “So, none are harmed in the process, to the best of my knowledge.”

The rare 12-pointed snowflake

The reason each snowflake is unique is that no snowflake takes the same path from cloud to Earth, meaning snowflakes never experience the exact same atmospheric conditions during their creation. Temperature and humidity inside the clouds will determine the general shape of the flakes, but each has its own unique imprint that acts like a transcript, detailing its own personal journey through the atmosphere.

SNOW 101: THE BASICS OF SNOW

“The atmospheric conditions where (snowflakes) form are in the clouds around -10 to -20 degrees Celsius (14 to -4 degrees Fahrenheit) called the dendritic growth zone (DGZ),” Persoff said. “The closer the DGZ is to the ground, the more intricate the designs. The higher up, the more that snowflakes can be damaged or melt on the way down. Winds can cause snowflakes to bash against each other, resulting in broken pieces and fragments.”

A closeup photograph of a rare 12-sided snowflake taken in Aurora, Colorado. (Jason Persoff / StormDoctor.com)

Persoff was especially excited about his catch last week which featured a few rare 12-point snowflakes instead of the common six-sided frozen dendrites.

Those 12-sided snowflakes are rare because they require a chance meeting.

“Water can only make crystals with angles of 60 degrees, so a 12-sided snowflake is impossible,” Persoff said. “What happens is that early in the snowflake’s genesis, two snowflakes become adhered together. Then, as they fall through the clouds, they encounter identical atmospheric conditions leading to the arms of each flake forming the way you see in (the) photo”.

THE SOUND OF SILENCE: WHY IT’S QUIETER AFTER A SNOWSTORM

It’s the thrill of a different kind of chase – one that requires keeping warm instead of keeping warned. It’s led to a year-round adventure with Mother Nature.

“I chase storms in the spring and summer, and snowflakes in the autumn and winter,” Persoff said.

Read more from FOX Weather



iPhone 15 Gaining ‘State-Of-The-Art’ Image Sensor From Sony For Better Low-Light Photography


Apple’s upcoming iPhone 15 handsets will reportedly get a new image sensor that will allow for improved performance in low-light conditions.

The new sensor, built by Sony, will reportedly offer double the situation signal of each pixel, allowing more light to be captured even at night time.

That should ensure that images will be more accurately exposed. Nikkei reports that the new sensor should ensure that difficult lightning situations won’t be a problem for the iPhone 15, using portrait photos with strong backlighting as one specific example.

Sony’s new image sensor roughly doubles the saturation signal level in each pixel compared with conventional sensors. In other words, the sensors can capture more light and reduce overexposure or underexposure in certain settings, enabling a smartphone camera to clearly photograph a person’s face even if the subject is standing against a strong backlight.

The report doesn’t make it clear whether the new image sensor would be used for only the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models, with their expected 48-megapixel cameras.

It would stand to reason given Apple’s continued work to differentiate the Pro and non-Pro models from each other, with camera features being one good way to do that.

Apple is expected to announce the new iPhone 15 lineup in or around September 2023, meaning there is still plenty of time for things to change between now and then.

You may also like to check out:

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  • iOS 16 Hidden Features: 100+ Changes Apple Didn’t Tell Us About
  • Download: iPadOS 16.1 Final OTA Profile File, IPSW Links Released
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You can follow us on Twitter, or Instagram, and even like our Facebook page to keep yourself updated on all the latest from Microsoft, Google, Apple, and the Web.



Cosmic curiosity : Gulf Weekly Online



By Mai Al Khatib-Camille

BAHRAINI astro-photographer Yusra Abdulqader Taj was over the moon when National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) featured one of her celestial images on their website, and hopes her photography will inspire young astronomers to shoot for the stars.

The 40-year-old Information Technology professional at the Interior Ministry turned her love for space into her passion during the pandemic, snapping up images with two dedicated cameras (ZWO ASI 533 one shot colour camera and ZWO ASI 294 monochrome camera) and 10 filters.

Her image of the SH2-132 Lion Nebula, taken in August, was featured on Nasa’s Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) site, that posts photographs of the cosmos captured by professionals from all over the world.

“I have been fortunate to represent Bahrain in the Nasa APOD,” Yusra, a resident of Riffa, told GulfWeekly. “I hope my images will encourage young astronomers from Bahrain to pursue this hobby and to represent Bahrain’s skies to the astro-community worldwide.”

An amateur astro-photographer for two years, Yusra’s love for the moon and stars started from a young age and her hobby was ignited by her laptop.

“I love gazing at the moon and I love the fact that the night sky is unique, in the sense that it is the one place we, as humans, share equally regardless of where we are on Earth,” she said.

“But, I decided to take up this hobby quite recently when a random Windows wallpaper of the Rosette Nebula, by Hubble telescope, popped up on my laptop lock screen.

“This was the first time I had seen a nebula and I was amazed by its beauty. I went down the rabbit hole of astrophotography. The curiosity of the cosmos and the possibility of capturing something not visible to the human eye prompted me to delve into this hobby.”

While astrophotography is both challenging and fun, it does require a steep learning curve, and one should be prepared to spend his/her time to learn how to use the equipment and the software, and develop their skills to process images.

Yusra started her cosmic journey with a normal DSLR full frame Canon 6D Mark ii and a Canon 75-300mm lens. She also used Samyang 24mm and 135mm prime lenses for wide field photography. However, for imaging deep sky objects like the nebulas and galaxies, she used a William Optics telescope, that comes with an apochromatic lens with a focal length of 478mm and a focal ration of f/5.9, that can be reduced to f/4.7 with a focal reducer.

“Light pollution filters also reduce and block the glow of city lights and capture the emission signal of the object in the cosmos,” said Yusra.

She also advises in investing in the right mount, which is pivotal for astrophotography.

“The process is not as straightforward as normal photography,” she said. “It requires planning, patience, and image processing skills to get the best results. It is also important to know the weather forecast before starting any imaging session.

“Bahrain, in most part, has clear skies throughout the year, but heavy light pollution, hot weather and humidity make astrophotography a daunting process. It requires astrophotographers to spend many hours collecting multiple images of a specific object.”

Over time, she has captured star clusters, bright nebulas, emission nebulas, planetary nebulas and galaxies. All her images have been taken from her backyard.

Her favourite photograph is of the M31 – The Andromeda Galaxy, which she said ‘was very challenging’ as it took more than 4,000 shots (27hours and 70GB data). She now plans to shoot the IC 434 – The Horse Head Nebula in the Orion Constellation with a monochrome camera.

Her astro images are published on the Astrobin website, a community where astro photographers from all over the world showcase their work.

For details, visit Yusra Q’s gallery on AstroBin or @astronumb on Instagram.

Personal trainer photographed topless without her consent on a Sydney beach


A personal trainer is furious after a photos of her sunbathing topless were taken without her consent and shared by a group of men – with police powerless to do anything about it.

Lily Cook was secretly snapped with her sister on a beach in Sydney’s eastern suburbs on November 12 and only learned about the photographs hours later.

When she tried to complain to police, no charges were laid because it is not a crime to photograph people in public.

Ms Cook said finding out a photo was shared on group chats ‘had a profoundly detrimental effect upon her mental health’.

‘It is a moment in my life that will haunt me forever,’ she said, vowing to speak out after other women told her the same thing happened to them.

Lily Cook, from Sydney, (pictured) was secretly photographed while sunbaking topless on a Sydney beach earlier this month 

‘The capture and distribution of [an] explicit image of a woman without her knowledge or consent is both abhorrent and illegal. I am standing up to this issue.’

Ms Cook said she saw three men, two of which she knew socially and had many mutual friends with, when she arrived at the beach and they were later joined by their girlfriends.

She always tanned topless, but didn’t feel comfortable doing so with the men around and waited until they were leaving.

The fitness instructor received a message from a friend later that night asking if she had been topless at the beach, followed by a ‘close up’ photo of her laying on the sand.

‘The person who sent me the photo confirmed who sent him the photo,’ she wrote, on Instagram, detailing the her horrifying experience. 

‘This is when I realised a photo had been taken of me without my consent and had further been distributed.’

Ms Cook contacted the men and their girlfriends in a group message and they claimed she was accidentally caught in a wider landscape photo posted to an Instagram story by one of their friends.

She claimed this turned out to be a lie because in that image both she and her sister were lying down, but, in the photo that was shared, her sister was sitting up

‘Due to the quality of the image and the angle, it was clear one of the males had snuck closer to me to get a close-up of me topless,’ she wrote.

The images covertly taken of Ms Cook, who gave Daily Mail Australia permission to publish them. The differences between the two images unravelled a fake story she was told claiming she was accidentally caught in a wider landscape shot

Ms Cook said a man finally owned up to taking the photo off the phone of the man who originally took it, and then sent it to two friends who distributed it further.

But the man refused to make a statement to police.

‘I can’t help but think of how different this whole process would be if they had the strength and dignity to own their actions and how it can impact a woman,’ she wrote.

No one involved in the incident ever apologised to her for the ‘disgusting, perverted, and juvenile’ act, she said.

Chantelle Otten, a sexologist and girlfriend of tennis star and 2022 Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott, gave her support on Instagram.

‘This is so violating and disgusting, I can’t imagine your feelings over the days of this unfolding,’ she wrote.

‘We are all behind you, they are the problem, you are so brave in writing this post. I hope this is not swept under the rug, but adequately dealt with.’ 

Ms Cook told the Daily Telegraph she reported the incident to police but charges were not laid against the men allegedly involved.

‘I’m disappointed because I trusted that something would be done,’ she said.

Though there are laws in place to protect victims of ‘revenge porn’ – the distribution of sexually explicit images of an individual, typically by a former partner, without their consent – that doesn’t apply to her case. 

Police said it was ‘generally not an offence’ to take a photograph of any person in a public place, and only a crime if taken in private. 

‘Of course people should be able to express themselves however they want to, but unfortunately in this social media day and age, others get a kick out of either daring to take pictures when people are unsuspecting, or for the thrill of uploading,’ a senior officer told the Telegraph. 

Another officer, who works in the sex crimes field, said the outcome depended on the circumstances within each individual case, with, for example, instances of children being photographed by strangers warranting further investigation.

Ms Cook said she hoped sharing her story would empower other women who have had similar experiences 

Criminal lawyer Matt Ward said the law needed to catch up with changes in how people were using technology, as the division between public and private became blurred by the increased sharing of content on social media platforms. 

RMIT Professor Nicola Henry, an expert in imaged-based sexual abuse, agreed, saying the nuances of consent were yet to be reflected in law. 

She cited the incident in March this year when Married At First Sight contestant Domenica Calarco’s OnlyFans photos were shared among the cast without her consent.

Professor Henry said posting intimate images on a website did not necessarily equate to giving consent for them to be shared elsewhere.

Ms Cook said she struggled to understand the motive behind taking and sharing the photo, but believed those involved may gain some sense of power.

She now felt empowered sharing her story and advocating for other women who had similar experiences.

‘I am sharing my experience because I know there are women and girls out there who have experienced this same violation and like me feel overwhelmed by hurt and the burden of societal stigma,’ she wrote. 

‘I want them to know we share a bond and can draw on each other for strength.’

NSW Police said: ‘Distributing images, particularly of an intimate nature, to others without permission can have a serious impact upon a person’s health and mental wellbeing, and may lead to criminal action.

‘Images of this nature can be distributed and viewed with increasing ease and can go viral in minutes, with long-term damaging consequences for victims.

‘Even in a public setting, the privacy of others should be respected and if someone feels unsafe due to the actions of others, they should report it to police.’

Ex-boyfriend ‘got his mother to send explicit photos of his ex to the girl’s father


Ex-boyfriend ‘got his mother to send explicit photos of his ex to the girl’s father the day before her birthday in revenge porn attack’

  • Matthew Cooper-Collyer, 29, allegedly sent naked pictures of ex to his mother
  • Court heard his mother then sent them to the ex-partner’s father by phone
  • Elderly parent received the unwanted images the day before victim’s birthday 

A son shared naked pictures of his ex with his own mother in a bid to get revenge on her when they split up, a court heard today.

Matthew Cooper-Collyer, 29, of Monkton Deverill, Wiltshire, is accused of threatening to disclose private sexual photos with the intent of causing distress.

His mother, Lynda Cooper, 41, has previously pleaded guilty to the same charge as well as a second offence of malicious communications after sending the images.

Helen Easterbrook, prosecuting, told Winchester Crown Court the defendant had recently split up with his girlfriend when his mother suggested in a Facebook conversation that he send images to her to which he agreed to do.

Ms Cooper had also posted: ‘Happy Birthday’ followed by the initials of the victim.

Ms Easterbrook said Ms Cooper had written that she would ‘give her drama like she loves’ and referring to the images she added: ‘Love them, perfect shots, you should have been a photographer’.

Ms Easterbrook said Cooper-Collyer had shared two intimate photos and a video with his mother who then sent them to the father of the defendant’s ex on the day before the victim’s birthday.

She said that the father ‘checked his mobile phone and found he had received two photos and a video which showed his daughter in sexually explicit poses’.

Helen Easterbrook, prosecuting, told Winchester Crown Court the defendant had recently split up with his girlfriend

Explaining the charge, Ms Easterbrook said: ‘The allegation is Mr Cooper-Collyer has shared these photos and video, they were of a private nature.

‘He did it without her permission and when he did it, he did it not by accident but intending that it would upset her, it would cause her distress.’

In police interview, Cooper-Collyer said his mother had access to his phone and had sent the images without his permission.

He said: ‘I left my phone for five minutes to go to the toilet, when I got my phone these pictures had been sent and I questioned her.

His mother suggested in a Facebook conversation that he send the images to her to which he agreed to do

‘I said ‘Why did you do this?’ She was annoyed, she said she (the victim) was going to ruin my life with things I hadn’t done, she (Ms Collyer) said ‘If she is going to do it to him, I am going to do it to her’.’

Giving evidence in court, Cooper-Collyer denied sending anyone private sexual photos or videos.

He said that in the Facebook conversation, he had posted that he had sent them but he told the court that he had not done so.

He said: ‘She has got bipolar disease and she can be very difficult to come to terms with and talk to if she is having a bad day, which she was, sometimes it’s easier to agree to a certain extent, to keep her quiet.’

He added: ‘I know the extent of what revenge porn does so I would never myself put someone through that.’

Giving evidence, Ms Cooper said that she took the images from her son’s phone without his permission and added: ‘He is innocent through this whole thing. He didn’t agree to any of the pictures.’

The trial continues.

Ashton pupil scores certificate of excellence for birding photography


One Ashton International pupil is showing huge promise in photography.

Grade 7 pupil Haydn Mc Clure has been doing nature and bird photography for about 18 months, and is a member of Ballito Photo Club, where he has recently been promoted to a two star.

He is also a member of PSSA.

Haydn with his PSSA certificate.

Photographers can apply twice a year to the PSSA for a Certificate of Excellence.

Haydn applied for his COE in September to the PSSA Youth mixed panel, and was awarded the certificate of distinction.

Red-billed Quelea. Photo: Haydn Mc Clure.

His passion lies with bird photography and he is a passionate birder, as are his mom and dad.

His birding life list is on 350 and he has become adept at identifying birds.

 


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See the winning shots from a photo contest that showcases Utah’s vast beauty


The winning photo of Scenic Utah’s “Off the Beaten Path” category features Ostler Lake in the Uinta Mountains. (Spencer Sullivan)

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — The Beehive State has long been lauded as a top destination for its outdoor opportunities and surreal natural beauty.

Earlier this month, seven photographs that encapsulate Utah’s best features rose above a field of more than 700 to win the first annual Scenic Utah Photo Contest.

Scenic Utah, a statewide nonprofit advocating for the protection of the state’s scenic resources, launched the contest to celebrate Utah’s “natural beauty, its historic rural character and our unparalleled – and increasingly threatened – scenic vistas and skylines,” a release from the organization said.

The photo contest featured 734 submissions, all gunning for a top spot in one of the seven available photo categories:

  1. Off the Beaten Path
  2. Scenic Night Skies
  3. My Rural Roots
  4. Town, City and State Parks
  5. Visual Pollution We Wish Would Go Away
  6. Community Character
  7. Audience Favorite

“These winning images highlight Utah’s extraordinary scenic resources and the importance of protecting them,” said Ralph Becker, former Salt Lake City mayor and chairman of the board at Scenic Utah.

Below are the winners from each category of the contest.

Off the Beaten Path

This category features pictures from “remote or hard-to-reach places in our beautiful state,” according to Scenic Utah’s website.

“We know and love Delicate Arch, but we’re looking for the lesser known.”

The winning photo of the “Off the Beaten Path” category features Ostler Lake in the Uinta Mountains. (Photo: Spencer Sullivan)

This picture — titled “Ostler Lake” by Spencer Sullivan — is certainly off the beaten path, as Ostler Lake is only accessible by backpacking into the Uintas.

Scenic Night Skies

Scenic Night Skies is the category for “astrophotography of all types,” according to Scenic Utah, which continued, “Long exposures or quick shots of the stars with captivating silhouettes — and everything in between.”

This photo, titled “Magic Bus,” certainly fits the prompt, featuring a breathtaking view of a clear night sky. (Photo: Dave Koch)

One could say that the stars aligned for “Magic Bus,” Dave Koch’s incredible shot of a starry night that many Utahns have come to admire.

My Rural Roots

While Silicon Slopes and the Salt Lake Valley explode, Utahns can still take solace in the more rural, wild parts of the state.

This barn in Newton, Cache County, certainly captures the rural spirit of the state. (Photo: Hans Christian Ettengruber)

Hans Christian Ettengruber perfectly captured the essence of the rural category in “Barn with Yellow Flowers,” which could make the most seasoned city-dweller daydream about spending a day in the yellow meadows surrounding the barn.

Town, City and State Parks

This category takes us all the way down to Sand Hollow State Park in Washington County, just north of the Arizona border.

This image shows a beautiful rainbow over Sand Hollow Reservoir in Washington County. (Photo: Nathan Hanson)

Nathan Hansons’s shot, “Rainbow in Sand Hollow,” also paints a picture of how quickly the weather can change in the desert.

Visual Pollution We Wish Would Go Away

With the rapidly growing nature of the state, this category pays homage to the visual impediments that Utahns are seeing more of these days.

This image shows power lines in the foreground, obscuring the view of mountains in the background. (Photo: Steve Wise)

“High Power Interference,” by Steve Wise, perfectly depicts the juxtaposition of Utah’s development industry and scenic beauty.

Community Character

From Cache Valley to the red desert of southern Utah, the Beehive State is full of communities overflowing with character.

This image of a sign that says “Westside” won the Community Character category of the photo contest. (Photo: Kirk Anderson)

Kirk Anderson’s “Westside Sign” looks like something out of an old western movie and creatively showcases the character found throughout Utah.

Audience Favorite

Of course, the people of Utah should also have a say in what they deem their favorite photograph.

When it came down to it, Utahns decided on Shauna Hart’s “The Boys are Back.”

“The Boys are Back” shows bison roaming the grounds of Antelope Island. (Photo: Shauna Hart)

The dramatic image showcases the wild nature of the state that is admired by so many.

Photos

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Logan Stefanich is a reporter with KSL.com, covering southern Utah communities, education, business and military news.

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The Art of Place in Space


Bruce Presents Astrophotography – Virtual Zoom Webinar 

The night sky has long held us captive with its beauty and wonders, only to disappear with the coming of the sun. But photography, beginning with the first pictures of the Moon in the 1800s, has enabled us to see into the dark reaches of space, capturing a moment that can be shared anytime. Advances in photographic technologies have given way to Astrophotography, the imaging of astronomical objects, celestial events, or areas of the night sky. Modern Astrophotography is not only dazzling to behold, but also provides important data and research support on objects invisible to the human eye such as dim stars, nebulae, or galaxies. 

 

Reservations at Brucemuseum.org

 

Carina Nebula, photo by NASA’s James Webb Telescope

 

Support for Bruce Presents is generously provided by Berkley One. Learn more here

 

 



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