Luminous Spacescapes.

by Mike Dingley, Australia


With the common use of cameras on microscopes to record images as documentary proof of specimens I realised that there are not so many images with an artistic ‘bent’ and so I started on a quest for such images.

Having made bright and colourful images of polarised crystals I was searching some chemical crystal slides when I happened upon some very interesting possibilities. What was interesting for me was that I could see ‘crystal space junk’ floating out in space. With many trials at preparing slides I found a method that used tartaric acid dissolved in alcohol, temperature controlled evaporation of the alcohol, some manipulation whilst the alcohol was evaporating and partial rotation of the polarising filters. What I did manage to find out rather quickly was that I only had less than an hour to work as the crystals deteriorated.The manipulation was achieved after making some very fine dissection tools mounted on to wooden dowel for use as handles. Images were manipulated in Photoshop® in so far as making the black background completely black and some sharpening.





I prepared a portfolio of some fifteen images that were shown in my first solo exhibition in 2008 (four are shown above). Each image will be individually crafted from a master file and not saved after I am happy with each result. Therefore no two images are identical.

For more images please see my website

As a separate entry I also photographed two images that were definitely not ‘space junk’ and I have included them for you to have a look at. I am rather pleased with the results.

Monster of the Deep

Photomicrograph of tartaric acid crystals


Photomicrograph of tartaric acid crystals


Comments to the author, Michael Dingley, are welcomed.


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Published in the June 2009 edition of Micscape.

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