Saturday, January 21, 2012

Fractal patterns in nature

Fractal patterns with ice and branch
Fractal pattern of ice cracks
Earlier I posted some pictures of ice cracks that seemed to mimic roots or branches.  I've since learned that these may be defined as fractal patterns.  In the book "The Fractal Geometry of Nature", B.B. Mandelbroth defines fractal patterns as a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a reduced-size of the whole.  Snowflakes perhaps are one of the best examples of this.

Fractal pattern in tree
The tree, pictured right, appears to have a fractal pattern that imitates the veins of a leaf.

I learned of this term from a fellow photographer on the Capture Minnesota website.  These past few months it has been a blast to view pictures uploaded by photographers, both professionals and amateurs, from around the state.  This contest will be drawing to a close at the end of January.  Shortly thereafter a book will be published with a couple of hundred of the top photographs.  I wouldn't want to be the one having to rendering down the amazing variety of pictures portrayed on this site.

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