Comparing something to a grain of sand is usually supposed to mean that it’s small or insignificant, but Dr. Gary Greenberg’s microscopic photography aims to turn this stereotype on its head. His photographs of miniscule grains of sands magnified up to 300 times reveal that each grain of sand can be beautiful and unique.
Greenberg’s story is a fascinating one. First of all, he invented the high-definition 3D microscopes that he takes his pictures on, resulting in 18 U.S. patents under his name. He was a photographer and filmmaker until age 33, when he moved from LA to London and earned a Ph. D. in biomedical research. This seems to have given him a unique appreciation for biological and scientific curiosities and for the optical technologies he would need to document them.
Sand composition can vary drastically depending on where it’s located. The coastal sands in Hawaii, where Dr. Greenberg is located, are very likely the subjects of his amazing micro-photography. The sand in his images is full of remnants from various tropical sea organisms large and small. The sand on other coasts, depending on the temperature, surf conditions and marine environment, may include a totally different set of rocks, minerals and organic matter.