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Photographer Uses Microscope To Capture The Incredible Beauty Of Peacock Feathers

Apr 12, 2016

One thing I've come to realize as I get older and more mature is that the beauty of life is often hidden away in the small details. Try examining a sunflower up close this summer and you'll see that the seeds aren't just packed in the center willy-nilly - there's a beautiful, geometric symmetry to their arrangement. We tend to overlook the beauty of the world around us as we move through it, propelled by the never-ending demands of modern life, but it's there if you look for it.

Macro photography is the art of magnifying small objects to present a stunning new level of detail. Though there are some minute differences between micro and macro photography, for a layman's understanding the two terms can be thought of interchangeably. In fact, Canon's lenses for such photography are called "macro" while Nikon's lenses are labeled as "micro," even though both are essentially the same lens designed for the same purpose. 

Macro photography can also be done using a microscope to provide adequate magnification. As anyone who's ever seen stuff under a microscope can tell you, it looks like an alien world at that level. Anything seen in that much detail looks almost completely new and different, with a raw, elemental beauty to it. That's exactly what you see in photographer Waldo Nell's following series of photographs, in which he used a microscope to photograph a peacock feather.

People have been fascinated by the beauty of peacock feathers for centuries. The peacock is the national bird of India, and their bright, colorful plumage has been associated with royalty and divinity in many other cultures as well. 


Wikimedia Commons

Waldo Nell is a software engineer and photographer who decided to put peacock feathers under a microscope, revealing some truly stunning details. 


Waldo Nell

At this level, the individual fibers on the feather are clearly visible in vivid detail. They look like fields of gold and gems.


Waldo Nell

Nell's images are actually composites from hundreds of photos of the same feather section, taken at varying distances. He then digitally layers them together to create the final image.


Waldo Nell

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The results are singularly vibrant.


Waldo Nell

At this distance, the feathers look completely otherworldly.


Waldo Nell

Almost like dense coils of industrial wiring ...


Waldo Nell

... or some kind of spindly undersea creature.


Waldo Nell

A dense, lush forest of metallic sapphire, gold, turquoise.


Waldo Nell

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The frenzied brush strokes of a master artist, perhaps?


Waldo Nell

Or endless fields of lavender serenity.


Waldo Nell

It's almost hard to believe that something that's already so beautiful could be hiding even more beauty if we get up close.


Mike Boswell

Don’t forget to SHARE these astounding images with your family and friends!

H/T: LittleThings

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