Huffpost Arts

Microscopic Photos Reveal The Secret World Hidden Inside A Few Grains Of Sand

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If you've ever spent time with a handful of sand and let the tiny grains fall through your fingers, you might have experienced a Gulliver in Brobdingnag moment, imagining yourself as a minuscule person watching the oddly shaped pebbles and gems fall around you.

Well, if you haven't, we're pretty sure Dr. Gary Greenberg has. Hence his beautiful photo series of microscopic sand grains.

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"Sand grains from around the world are mixed together like a pouch full of gems. The sand grains are from Maui, Hawaii, Japan, California, Ireland, Bermuda, and Minnesota."

"I started taking photos of sand through my microscope about 12 years ago," Greenberg explained in an email to The Huffington Post. "I am still fascinated by looking at sand, and each beach is different, and always a surprise. The reason I focus on sand is to show people how ordinary things are truly extraordinary when you look from a new point of view."

Greenberg uses a high-powered light microscope to expose the wild forms hiding on beaches and coastlines around the world. The resulting images are astonishingly diverse, revealing an array of colors and shapes that would seem more at home in a Gabriel Orozco arrangement than on a beach.

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Skeleton Beach Namibia

Scroll through a preview of Greenberg's sand revelations below and let us know your thoughts on the art-meets-science experiment in the comments.

For more intriguing microscopic photography, check out Russian photographer Alexey Kljatov's images of snowflakes and German artist Sarah Schönfeld's stunning photos of drugs up close.

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"This image is a handful of sand grains selected from a beach in Maui and are arranged onto a black background. The colors and shapes of these tiny grains of sand are surprisingly different and astonishingly beautiful, each with it’s own individual in character."

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"The tip of a spiral shell has broken off and become a grain of sand. After being repeatedly tumbled by action of the surf this spiral sand grain has become opalescent in character. It is surrounded by bits of coral, shell, and volcanic material."

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Flagler Beach in Florida

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"Sand grains from Okinawa, Japan are made from the skeletons of single-celled forams that produce these beautiful little shells."

h/t Laughing Squid