Snowflake photography exhibit to open at Portage Hill Art Gallery

WESTFIELD – Portage Hill Art Gallery will host a winter show called “Carol Posch Comstock: Capturing Fleeting Beauty – Snowflake Photography.” This show will include works that Comstock calls “lake effect lace.” Her art pieces are created from photos she takes of fresh snowflakes from the Lake Erie region.

The show is open from Saturday through March 2 at the gallery on Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and including Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. Free refreshments will be available on Saturday as part of the Winter Ice Festival event hosted by the Mayville Chamber of Commerce. Comstock will also be here to explain her work. Other times to view this show are available by appointment or chance at Portage Hill Art Gallery.

This year will mark 40 years since Comstock received her first 35mm SLR as a gift from her father. Photography has been her life’s passion ever since. About a dozen years ago, she discovered a book of snowflake images by Wilson Bentley. In 1885 he became the first person to ever photograph a snowflake. Inspired by Bentley’s work, Comstock decided to pursue snowflake photography and investigated how to do it. She has learned that when one has a passion for something, it is possible to accomplish anything, no matter how difficult it seems at first.

One of the challenges she encountered was that a snowflake is not a frozen raindrop, but rather a single crystal of ice that grows directly from water vapor in the air. The process takes about 15 minutes, as the snowflake slowly drifts to earth. Once it has landed, however, it may disappear in seconds, making it nearly impossible to photograph.

The sentiment “follow your bliss” from mythologist, Joseph Campbell, made a big impression on Comstock years ago. She found this to be wonderful advice that taught her enthusiasm, as well as patience and perseverance that she needed to perfect this photography process.

The beautiful geometry and individuality of each snowflake make them compelling subjects to Comstock. She is driven to stay outside in the cold for hours, eager to see each new flake that she can catch. The optimal temperature for this work is 5 to 10 degrees, and requires her utmost stamina and patience. She is now in her sixth year of photographing snowflakes. This has been a project that she has put her whole heart into, and it has been a true source of happiness for her.

Comstock feels fortunate to have found a way to truly appreciate and celebrate the season of winter. Audrey and Donald Dowling, owners of the Portage Hill Art Gallery, welcome visitors to see how Comstock captures the beauty of snow flakes through her photographic works.

Portage Hill Art Gallery is located on Route. 394 between Mayville and Westfield. Now in its 31st year of business, Portage Hill Art Gallery is open Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the winter with other times being available by chance or appointments. Reach the owners at 326-4478. More information is available about the gallery at www.portagehillgallery.com.