A "Dendrite Star" Snowflakes Photomicrographed by Wilson A. Bentley, by Bentley, W. A (Wilson Alwyn) 1865-1931, c. 1890, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, A microphotograph of a "Dendrite Star" one of the seven basic shapes of snowflakes, photographed by Wilson A. Bentley (1865-1931), known the world over as the "Snowflake Man." Bentley photographed at 17 with a bellows camera that had a microscope inside. He photographed his first snow crystal in 1885. He devoted the rest of his life to exploring these fascinating forms and photographed more than 5,000 snow crystals. A self-educated farmer, he pioneered "photomicrography," the photographing of very small objects. Bentley's interest in snowflakes led to his more recognized profession as a researcher and pioneer in photomicrographical studies between 1885 and his death in 1931. Bentley become the first person to photograph a single, unique snowflake..