Color in Science: Microscopic Photographs

The Micropolitan Museum exhibits an unworldly spectrum visible only through the lens of a microscope. Painter Wim van Egmond photographs spectacular microscopic masterpieces with ethereal color palettes. To capture these hidden treasures, he uses a Zeiss Standard light microscope and an old Zeiss Photo-microscope. Several methods of illumination are employed: bright-field, dark-field, phase contrast, differential interference contrast, and Rheinberg illumination.

Van Egmond’s Insectarium offers such specimens as the iridescent butterfly wing, whose tiny scales possess a microscopic texture that refracts light. Here we find lavender blue and green.

Butterfly Wing Blue
Butterfly Wing Green

The delicate wing of the mosquito, on the other hand, is covered with ting feather-like structures. Deep greens, golds, and aquas are apparent.

Mosquito Wing Aqua
Mosquito Wing Gold

The Botanic Garden presents the vibrant red of grains of Lily pollen.

Lily Pollen Red lilly_pollen.jpg


The stem of the Mare’s Tail, an aquatic flowering plant, offers dazzling purples and violets.

Mare’s Tail Purple plantcellsbew2.jpg


The pine needle is ablaze with dark blue, light blue, bright red, and orange.

Pine Needle Orange
Pine Needle Aqua

The Freshwater Collection offers such things as the common water-flea (Daphnia longispina), which displays a palette of blues, orange, and green.

Water Flea Green daphnialongispina.jpg


Green Algae (Micrasterias rotata) offer brilliant greens and blues.

Green Algae
Green Algae Blue

The water mite, a relative of spiders, is found in ponds and offers brilliant oranges and browns.

Water Mite Orange watermite.jpg


The Marine Collection offers such creatures as the Obelia, a tiny relative of the jellyfish, with a brilliant yellow center.

Obelia Yellow obelia.jpg


Red algae (Rhodophyta) sport a distinctive, deep red.

cold pizza polysiphonia_nigrescens450.jpg

Thanks to Wim van Egmond for inviting us into the astonishing world of microscopic color.


Craig ConleyAbout the Author, Craig Conley
Craig is an independent scholar and author of dozens of strange and unusual books, including a unicorn field guide and a dictionary of magic words. He also loves color: Prof. Oddfellow

Author: Prof. Oddfellow

15 thoughts on “Color in Science: Microscopic Photographs

  1. This is very interesting, You are a very skilled blogger.

    I have joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more
    of your wonderful post. Also, I’ve shared your web site in my social networks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *