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News & Insight

Macro Photography Of Butterfly Wings Are Mesmerizingly Beautiful

By Kishore Sawh on April 19th 2014


Butterflies, along with their more nocturnal counterparts, moths, are the most numerous family of insects barring beetles. They’re quite incredible creatures, and can be gorgeous to boot. They bring with them an almost universal association with summer and gentle sunshine, and for good reason. Fueled by the nectar of summer flowers, they are actually temperature dependent to a high degree; if their body temp falls beneath 30 degrees celsius they die or enter a state of almost suspended animation.

Their beautiful wing patterns have a purpose mostly in attracting mates, and us humans, as it turns out. The males have iridescent wing scales that reflect UV ight and create a strobe effect that, combined with their pheromone release, enchants the female. But there’s a level of their beauty we don’t truly get to appreciate as they flutter by, but biochemist Linden Gledhill captures it beautifully for us.



Gledhill has collaborated with artists, advertising pros, and filmmakers to make photos of all manners of things, usually of a science persuasion. For his butterfly wing close up photos he gathered specimens and puts them under a microscope. It’s there, under intense magnification, where he uses high powered lights and multiple images to create a sense of depth, do we get to really see what’s been in front of us since childhood. Gledhill told Business Insider

Its always a surprise when you look at the scales at such a high magnification, because you cannot predict the shapes and patterns from just looking at the wings.

[REWIND: ‘Slow Life’ – a Gorgeous Underwater Macro Time-Lapse Created from 150,000 RAW Images]









I can, at times, be a bit of a nerd, obsessed with details, and I knew what these photos were of the first time I saw them. Yet I’ve never seen representations of as high quality as this. It’s quite something to see all the minute differences in shades that make up a single tone, and the different shapes and folds are really strikingly unusual.

Gledhill has a lot more to offer on his Flickr page than I can show here. And it’s not just butterflies, it’s all manners of things you may have previously taken for granted, which he re-casts in a different view – a view down the microscope. It’s macro photography to a new degree.

CREDITS: All photographs shared by Linden Gledhill are copyrighted and have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist

Via: Business Insider

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Orlin Nikolov


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  2. Robin Horton

    And most say this all came about by accident or evolution, evidence of design means it had a designer.

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