Amici Achromatic Microscope (circa 1850)

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Loes Modderman

Our featured microscopist for Spring 2002 is noted Dutch photomicrographer Loes Modderman. Born in Amsterdam in 1944, Modderman received her first microscope by age 13 and has never lost her sense of wonder at the minute beauties available with this instrument. Many years ago, Loes initiated a series of chemical crystallization experiments, which allowed her to meld longtime interests in nature, art, science, and photography to form her abstract photomicrographs into a colorful celebration of form and structure.

Loes Modderman
Photomicrograph Gallery

Because she is an artist and not a scientist, Modderman's prime objective is to create beautiful images while bringing her audience in contact with the seldom-experienced marvels of the microscopic world. In addition to several photo exhibitions in the Netherlands (in 2000), Loes received an honorable mention in Nikon's Small World Contest, and she won the Fractal Art Museum Enterprise' First Annual Contest (in 2001) in the category of natural fractals, as well as having a second image that received an honorable mention.

In her photomicrography, Loes employs an Olympus OM2 camera mounted on a polarized light microscope equipped with plan achromat objectives. Usually she uses the 10x objective, but some of her images are shot with 5x or 20x lenses. To compensate for the wide variety in chemical crystal shapes and sizes, Modderman composes her images in terms of surface area rather than magnification with every photomicrograph encompassing approximately 1 square millimeter. For color enhancement, different retardation materials are inserted into the optical pathway in addition to polarization filters.

All of the images displayed in this gallery were captured on standard Kodak or Fuji daylight films operating at a speed of 100 ISO. In these days of digital image processing and post-production editing, Modderman's masterpieces depend only on optical manipulation for coloring, and produce a refreshing and almost nostalgic turn back to the 35-millimeter film camera. Additional crystal images can be found at her web site: Microscopic Science - Crystal and Sandbank Art, which also includes dozens of striking photomicrographs of a wide variety of colorful and unique sand specimens from around the world. Current contact information for Ms. Modderman can also be obtained from her web site. Loes is a member of the Postal Microscopical Society and the Lightscapes Webring, and she has published articles on how to grow microcrystals and photograph them in polarized light in Micscape, the on-line monthly magazine from Microscopy UK.


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Photomicrographs are © 2000-2022 by Loes Modderman.
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