These gorgeous close-up photos of snowflakes will give you a newfound appreciation for winter

With winter in full swing in many parts of the world, now is the time for playing in the snow. (Or avoiding it at all costs.) Well, whether you love or hate cold weather, these gorgeous close-up photos of snowflakes will make you love winter. Or at least give you a newfound appreciation for it.

According to Mashable, photographer Michael Peres, a photography professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology, takes looking at snowflakes to a whole new level. As you may remember from geology class — or from art class when you made DIY snowflakes out of paper — snowflakes have six points. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), snowflakes are formed “when an extremely cold water droplet freezes onto a pollen or dust particle in the sky. This creates an ice crystal. As the ice crystal falls to the ground, water vapor freezes onto the primary crystal, building new crystals — the six arms of the snowflake.” Voilà!

You may also remember that no two snowflakes are alike, which never ceases to amaze us. The NOAA explains that the phenomenon happens because they all take different routes down from the sky.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to miss the unique beauty of each individual snowflake when it’s snowing non-stop. So to show you just how beautiful snowflakes are up close, Peres photographs them and shares them on Instagram.

It’s hard to believe these are real, right?

And each one really is different.

We could look at these all day.

Even with part of it missing, this snowflake is still beautiful.

How does Peres capture such close-up shots of the snowflakes? Here’s a behind-the-scenes video.

Nothing short of mind-blowing, right? Nature is incredible.

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