Why take macro photography when you can take micro photography and achieve results like Eckhard Völcker? It might take a bit of practice, but by taking a super high magnified picture of your subject you open yourself up to a hidden world that even your macro lens stacked with extension tubes is never going to reach. You can also inject the cells with coloured ink beforehand, as Völcker does, to get something even more spectacular. His talent produces a melange of shapes and patterns brought alive by explosions of saturated colour. These vibrant and uplifting images are a sight to behold in the grey winter months. If you are looking for inspiration for prints, textiles or anything else, there is no need to look further than nature.
Photomicrography or microphotography are the names given to the process of taking photographs with the microscope. Like HDR imaging, what used to be a highly-specialised skill and the domain of trained scientists, it has been made more accessible with the decreasing cost of digital cameras and microscopic equipment.
If you a fancy a go, the simplest method is to take a picture by holding your camera to your microscope’s eye piece. If you want something more professional you will need to invest in some serious equipment, such as a sophisticated digital camera, a microscope adapter, a quality microscope and some image processing software. A microsope adapter will allow you to hook up your camera to the microscope instead of a normal lens. In addition, you may want to purchase some specialised equipment to help you prepart the tiny plant material. Völcker first uses a machine called a microtome to create sections (extremely thin slices) and specialised florescent dye to stain the sections before shooting on a carefully lit microscope slide.
A range of equipment can be found on the Nikon Small World website. Here you will also find galleries of its yearly competition winners. Plants are just one type of organism that are represented here, giving you a chance to see a whole range of different subjects.
A selection of Eckhard Völcker stunning light microscope photography of plant parts can be seen below. Species rendered in order of images below are – Corylus avellana, images 2,3 and 4 Aesculus hippocastanum (Horse chestnut), Salix sp. (Willow),Abies sp. (Fir), Trifolium pratense Red clover, Urtica doica (Stinging nettle).