Jaws of a Spider

Theridion melanurum, a spider with a 3mm body. The image is composed of about 3000 images each taken through crossed polaroid filters with a twenty second exposure.
Deep structures, like hairs, required 250 photographs, at different depths of field with one slice in focus, stacked together to create sharp focus throughout. Then, like a panorama shot, 125 of these were stitched together to create the complete image. The original magnification was x200.

A close up of the fangs and jaws at x400. Here seen with transmitted light.

Fangs and teeth Spider’s fangs and teeth

The fangs articulate (move) outwards and inject venom into the victim. This paralyses and digests the prey. It then uses its teeth, which are not bone but part of their exoskeleton, to cut into their prey before sucking up the liquified tissue.


Same spider, but this time but the spider is between crossed polaroid filters.  Mainly an artistic descision this time, but you can see the hollow of the venom tube more clearly.

Spider venom-tubes

Star Ant

Star Ant Myrmica rubra, a red ant, at x200 with polarised light.

Myrmica rubra shot using transmitted polarised light at x200 magnification. The ant was about 6mm.
A composite of about 1500 images. 33 images stitched together made from stacks of about 60 images. Each image in a stack is taken at a different focus depth through the ant. With transmitted light arthropods I have to stack by hand, effectively painting the image except the paint is one of the photographs. Its a time consuming process.
The polarised light shows the striated muscle fibres inside the ant. The starfield is not fake, but rather small bits of dust etc. in the mounting medium, made visable with polarised light.

Ant Overlord

Ant Overlord

Ant photographed at x80 using several images. Normal reflected light image. The ant was sat on its bottom, or gaster, on a slide that had been blacked out with black plastic. To hold it in position the ant was gently stuck to some double sided sticky tape. Little bits of fluff gave a starfield effect. Type in “insect overlords Simpson’s” to google to watch a clip that seems strangely relevant and gave this image its title.

 Fly neck. Did you know flies had necks? Did you know that they are beautiful? Single shot taken at x200

Fly Neck

Just the shell from a long dead garden snail. Taken using normal transmitted light a 2mm snail shell at x 80 magnification. A composite about 1400 images made up of 20 stacks, each stack about 70 images deep. It can printed up to 85 cm square.



Three Strands of Huxley’s Hair

Three Strands of Huxley's Hair

I can will undertake portraits of hair for £250, I will just need a locket of your or your loved one’s hair.

Three Strands of Jack’s Hair

Three Strands of Jack's Hair Three strands of Jack’s Hair

My son’s (macroscopically red) hair. The image was taken through crossed polaroids. Only light that has been twisted by the keratin in the hair is visible. Hair has three parts, medulla in the middle, cortex around this and cuticle around that. These three parts have been made visible in the three colours of the central hair in the image. The image was originally photographed at x200 magnification and the central hair is 64 microns or 0.064mm wide.

Triangle , crossed polars.

Red Human Hair

A triangle formed by three strands of my hair.

Blue and Gold Maccaw feathers kindly obtained through a collaboration with

Here at x100 via transmitted polarised light.

Blue and Gold Maccaw feather x100

Blue and Gold Maccaw, this time x200, again polarised light, but this time using a wave retarder which shifts the colours illuminating and transmitting throught the feathers.

Blue and Gold Maccaw Feather, x200

Again the Blue and Gold Maccaw feather but this time normal relfected and transmitted light. Here you can see both scales of the barb and its structural (non-pigmented) blue colour this time a close up at x400.

Blue and Gold Maccaw feather x400


Wolf Spider. The eyes have it.

This hunting spider has eight eyes as well as eight legs. Two big front facing to give binocular vision for judging distance. The two on each side of the head are to spot birds and other predators, mainly motion.
As to the small four in a row, I’ve still yet to read good information. They do give it a formidable look though….

Wolf Spider

The spider was about 7mm and the image is contructed from about 1400 images using reflected light.