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2.'The Snowflake Man' (a short film about Snowflake Bentley)

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It's magical! You look out the window and you those first snow flakes start to fall and, you can't help it get a little excited that this is going to be a big storm, and... Depending on the weather, the temperature humidity, everything you want to take consideration within, is supposed to be any two alike. In a time before computers, digital cameras, and even electricity, 10 year old Wilson Bentley had a dream to capture the beauty of a snow crystal. Always, from the very beginning, it was the snowflakes that fascinated me the most. The farm folks of this country dread the winter. But, I was supremely happy. How I think the whole thing is... is incredibly strange and special. The idea of this guy running around chasing snowflakes and making these negatives of them, it's just astonishing. It's so obsessive and passionate, and, to make it then a life's work, it's a great story. Bentley was born on February 9th, 1865, in Jericho, Vermont. His father was a farmer. And, his mother was a teacher. His mother had an old microscope, that she used in her school teaching. So, Bentley sat out in the shed, in the back of the house, using the old microscope, and, looking at snow crystals. He did this again and again and again. Bentley was a lover of nature. And, he was infatuated with the symmetry of a snowflake that was a hexagonal beauty in the structures themselves. I became possessed with the great desire to show people this wonderful loveliness. He thought he had to get a camera. This is the actual piece that he purchased; it's a bellows camera. The rest of it, he had to adapt for the camera, and, then add the microscope onto it. One of the problems he had was that the microscope was in the front, and, he had a view of the snowflake from behind and he was unable to reach and focus. So, what he did, he designed this pulley system with a string and some wooden wheels. And, he attached it to the fine focus of the microscope, so that when he was behind the camera, Looking through it, he'll be able to focus the microscope to get a clear picture of the snowflake. At that time, photography was probably only 20 years old, and, most of it was macro photography, so to interface the camera with a microscope was a rather unique thing. The actual making of these photographs couldn't have been more difficult, could not have been harder. We've got this guy chasing around some field with this piece of black film catching the thing on them. You know catching those snowflakes on them, on this piece of black film and then he's manipulating with the feather. They had chickens, and he would get a feather. It was all out there, feathers here and there, at all the place. He picked up a feather and with that feather he could move that snowflake around to get just the ones that he wanted, and just push away the others. He'd bring it back in the shed, and, very carefully look at it. And, if we found a snow crystal he wanted the photograph of, he would pick it up very gently, and then put it on the microscope slide. Then he'd put that in front of the camera, and point the camera out into the storm. So, he gained enough light. He worked with transmitted light. He had no electricity. So, he had to use the natural light that he was able to get. It would take him many attempts, may be 20 seconds to 2 minutes, with exposure. But, that's how he had it. On January 15th, 1885, Wilson Bentley took the very first photograph of a snow crystal. The day that I developed the first negative made by this method, I felt like falling on my knees beside that apparatus, and worshiping it. I knew then that what I had dreamed of doing was possible. It was the greatest moment of my life. They are beautiful photographs, first and foremost. And, I think that that's the product of this sort of single-minded vision, just to get it right, to make them look handsome. This was his obsession for the rest of his life. I think you could compare it to the holy grail. He was searching for that most magnificent of all snow crystals. Over a thousand hands, a thousand cameras, to preserve more of this exquisite beauty, so lavishly scattered over the earth. Bentley was motivated from within, and not from his family who kind of looked down their nose at what he was doing. His father and brother never appreciated what he did. And, they thought it was an absolute waste of time. There was always work to do on the farm, and he sat taking pictures of stupid snowflakes. Inspite of a lack of understanding and support, Bentley went on to take over 5000 photographs of snowflakes. Well, it's remarkable that he was able to photograph as many photographs as he did in a relatively short period of time. I think, on some days, he was able to photograph more than 50 snow crystals in a single day or a single snow storm. I think he was just looking at them, just really getting of on that total wierdness and beauty and specialness of them. It''s not the same kind of world that we had in those days. People would want to spend that amount of time, they don't have time for this, time for that, they've got to do this, I can't have a point with here... No way. In the fall of 1931, after years of effort, Bentley finally convinced a publisher to print a complete collection of his snow crystals images. Two days after Thanksgiving, three copies of his book arrived in the mail. And, I have to believe, he was just overjoyed, at that. However, he did not have too much time to enjoy. Now, a week or so later, I believe he was coming back from Jericho. And I've been told it was pretty cold out and pretty wet due to some snow down, on the ground. And, he got Pneumonia. They had a nurse come in. But, it was too late. He was getting sicker and sicker. And two days before Christmas, 1931, he died. When he died, I felt badly about it, because, I just knew that we had lost somebody that was far ahead of everybody else in this particular science. By and large, I think most people don't realize who Bentley was and yet most of time when you an image of a snowflake, it's either of the actual image that Bentley took or photographed, or it's an artist's reconstruction on that snowflake. I think he is very happy that so many are beginning to appreciate what he had been doing. Really! I hope he is. But, I have an idea.

Video Details

Duration: 8 minutes and 33 seconds
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Views: 12
Posted by: pgtranscribes on Apr 10, 2015

2.'The Snowflake Man' (a short film about Snowflake Bentley)

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