Color in Science: Microscopic Photographs

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.

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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
butterflywing.jpg

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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
mosquitowing.jpg

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

Lily Pollen Redlilly_pollen.jpg

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

Mare’s Tail Purpleplantcellsbew2.jpg

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

Pine Needle Orange
Pine Needle Aqua
pineneedle.jpg

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

Water Flea Greendaphnialongispina.jpg

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

Green Algae
Green Algae Blue
mrotata.jpg

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

Water Mite Orangewatermite.jpg

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

Obelia Yellowobelia.jpg

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

cold pizzapolysiphonia_nigrescens450.jpg

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

 

Craig ConleyAbout the Author, Craig Conley
Website: http://www.OneLetterWords.com
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


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21 Comments
Showing 1 - 21 of 21 Comments
These are such vivid and beautiful colors. I would never have expected a mosquito wing to look so pretty.
great article!!!
microbes
Bacteria Party
Beautiful!

A palette for that top photo --

Microscopic
Phosphoric Plankton
Anton the Plankton
Lovely selection of images & colours! I really enjoyed the article. But I can't resist making a picky language comment. Wouldn't a "microscopic photograph" be a very tiny photograph? I think "micrograph" or "photomicrograph" would be the better term to use in your title.

Another palette for tiny life forms:

algae
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great post

Last year I made my xmas cards using pictures taken w/my USB microscope.
Steph6!!! When I saw the title of this article I was thinking of the same exact pictures you posted. XD Love the colours on those ones.
Hip and vulgar

Hippuris vulgaris that is.
very cool article.
My buterfly wings:
vuela mariposa
I've run across some photos like these before and marveled at their beauty! It's like they are meant to be made into color palettes. Great article! :)
i'll never throw my leftovers out again ^_^

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