In 1885 Wilson Bentley catalogued the first photographs of snowflakes. Over 100 years later the images still impress! Via The Smithsonian:
For over forty years, Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley (1865–1931) photographed thousands of individual snowflakes and perfected the innovative photomicrographic techniques. His photographs and publications provide valuable scientific records of snow crystals and their many types. Five hundred of his snowflake photos now reside in the Smithsonian Institution Archives, offered by Bentley in 1903 to protect against “all possibility of loss and destruction, through fire or accident.”
Bentley was a pioneer in “photomicrography,” the photographing of very small objects, especially of snowflakes. Snowflakes or snow crystals are difficult to photograph because they melt so quickly. However, Bentley developed the equipment and techniques to take photographs of individual snowflakes. After many failed attempts at drawing the details of the snowflakes, he connected his camera to a microscope in order to create photos that showed intricate details of each snow crystal. Bentley stood in the winter cold for hours at a time; waiting patiently until he caught falling flakes. Once a snowflake landed, he carefully handled it with a feather to place it under the lens. The apparatus was set up outside so that the delicate specimens would not melt, and after a minute and a half exposure, he captured the image of a snowflake.