The Department of Microscopic Marvels is in awe of the work by photomicrographer Danny Sanchez, who specifically seeks out and photographs precious gems that have been rejected by jewelers because of imperfections known as inclusions. In gemology an inclusion is a characteristic enclosed within the gemstone, which can effect the clarity of the stone, and whose presence can either decrease or sometimes dramatically increase the stone’s value.

For his project, entitled Gemstone Inclusions, Sanches uses his microphotography skills to capture the beauty of these imperfections and provide a glimpse of the fantastic and alien landscapes that exist inside the gems, much too small for our eyes to see unaided. Each a teeny weeny Fortress of Solitude.

Head over to PetaPixel to learn about how Danny Sanchez stages and creates these marvelous photos. Then be sure to visit his own website to get a look at more of his work at a much higher resolution. He has prints available too.

[via Design Taxi and PetaPixel]

Microphotography as Art
Confocal image
(extended focus Z stack)

Embryo of the dwarf cuttlefish
Sepia bandensis
Stained with phalloidin (F-actin; green), DAPI (nuclei, blue), and anti Pax 3/7 (MAb DP312, red).

The developing cuttlebone (purple) and eyes (yellow) were rendered using the DIC image collected during the confocal scan. The F-actin staining (green) reveals the developing musculature and brain, while Pax 3/7 (red) is expressed in a subset of neurons in the brain as well as two patches of epithelia in the mantle and portions of the arms and tentacles.

The cuttlebone (purple) is a chambered, gas-filled internal shell made of aragonite that provides buoyancy control. Within each eye (yellow), the developing lens is seen as an internal sphere.

Seven of the eight arms are visible along with the two tentacles that have sucker-covered ends.

 (via the Node)

See also Science Daily on dwarf cuttlefish


Today the Department of Awesome Snowflake Photography is examining some exquisite snowflakes that didn’t fall from the sky, but were instead grown in a lab at Caltech by physicist Ken Libbrecht

It’s well known that no two snowflakes are exactly alike and Libbrecht is working hard to figure out why that is.

“In order to do so, he watches the frosty crystals condense from water vapor onto a sapphire substrate, all the while taking high-res images with a digital camera rigged up to a microscope. Over the years, Libbrecht has amassed a brilliant photographic collection, not to mention the distinct honor of being the world’s first designer snowflake artist.”

Prints of his snowflake microphotography are available here. Also, along with his wife Rachel Wing, Libbrecht recently published a book about the science, history, and anecdotes about snowflakes entitled The Snowflake: Winter’s Frozen Artistry [Buy on Amazon].

To learn more about Libbrecht’s snowflake research and view more of his gorgeous lab-grown snowflakes visit his Snow Crystals website.

[via Gizmodo]


Marijuana, [40X]. Weed is just beautiful up close, it is obvious from the photos that the 3rd one is the dankest weed. 

Trichomes are small hairs on a plant, they usually serve to protect the plant and secrete oils. In marijuana the trichome is the area with the highest concentration of cannabinoids, particularly THC. A trichome exists in 3 phases, clear, milky, and amber; the clear phase contains mostly precursor cannabinoids with very little psychoactive compounds, if you’re growing a plant and it is covered in shiny and clear trichomes then it’s too early to harvest. The first picture above is an example of immature trichomes. The milky phase of trichomes is where the party is at, at this point the trichome contains fully realized THC which as you may know is highly psychoactive. Should a plant be covered in milky trichomes, its probably time to harvest. The second photo above is an example of the transition between clear and milky, and the third photo shows some incredibly dank and milky trichomes. The final phase of a trichome is when it turns amber, amber trichomes contain large amounts of the compound CBN, over time, THC degrades into CBN, which represents a 90% loss of potency.