Peacock Feathers Look Amazing Under a Microscope

Andrew LaSane
Waldo Nell
Waldo Nell / Waldo Nell

When it comes to elegant birds, the peafowl has pretty much every other avian species beat. They're known for their plumage above all else, but what's less known is that the beauty goes much deeper than what we see with our naked eye. Colossal recently shared a set of images by photographer Waldo Nell, who captured the feathers through a microscope. The hyper-detailed results are almost more stunning than the macro view.

Each image is a combination of hundreds of other photos taken at different focal lengths which, according to Colossal, widens the depth of field and puts the entire colorful composition into focus. The photos were captured with the Olympus BX 53 microscope—a piece of equipment far more advanced than your high school science department could afford. At 10x magnification, the feathers look like florescent cables woven together into uniform rows, with segments of greens, blues, oranges, and purples flowing into one another. At 40x, more of the feather structure is revealed, with each barb (structures made of melanin and keratin) more vibrant than the last. 

All images courtesy of Waldo Nell.

[h/t Colossal]