The Bridge - Avalanche pro finds art in photographing snowflakes

Engineering alum highlights winter’s beauty

Avalanche pro finds art in photographing snowflakes


Avalanche pro finds art in photographing snowflakesDuring the day, Doug Wewer ’99 works as a civil engineer for the U.S. Forest Service, designing  facilities such as campgrounds, boat ramps and visitor centers. His office covers 12 national forests in Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and a portion of the Sierra Mountains in California.

He also take photographs of snowflakes—something that happened by accident. When he first started, friends began asking him for prints and Christmas cards of his work. Then galleries showed interest.

“Looking back, the timing of things was completely orchestrated by God,” he said, which led to the launch of his business Desert Snow Photography. “I’ve had several shows, attended festivals and expanded to two more galleries.”

How does one make the leap from engineer to artist? As a volunteer for the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center since 2002, he writes up reports and photographs avalanche conditions in the area. During one particular outing, a snowflake fell on his lens, and a second career began.

Photographing snowflakes is no easy task, however. Wewer said, “Snow falls in many different forms, and many of the forms aren’t photogenic.”

Also, if the temperature rises, the flakes melt before the camera can focus. To capture the intricate details, he uses a “snow science” lens and adapters to enhance the image quality.

When people see his work, the most common responses he receives are “These are real snowflakes?” and “They really are all different!” Because no two snowflakes are indeed identical, Wewer says one doesn’t have to look far to find evidence of an intelligent Creator.

“I really want to give God the glory through these snowflake images,” he said. “A quote I include with my artist statement is, ‘Snowflakes are among the most delicate and beautiful illustrations of God’s creativity.’ God designed and created the physical laws that govern how each snowflake forms. I am simply capturing them with a camera, so they can be shared with others.”

— Jake Miaczynski ’20