Light and Perception: Using Oblique Angles and Various Light Guides to Explore Everyday Reality
“Although I usually use fiber-optic light guides to illuminate the sand grains, I occasionally use transmitted illumination. Transmitted illumination is light that passes through the specimen that is then observed, as opposed to reflected illumination, which is light that is bounced off the specimen. I also employ crossed polarizing filters when using transmitted light. Polarized, transmitted light penetrated some of the sand grains, creating a different view than traditional reflected light.
Notice how different the same sand grains appear when illuminated in different ways! It’s amazing what you can learn by shedding light on something from a different angle.
When I show my photographs to people, they often ask, ‘Is that what it really looks like?’ That’s an interesting question. There are dozens of different types of microscopes, and each one produces an image of the specimen in a different way, providing different information about the object.
So I guess there is no answer to the question ‘Is that what it really looks like?’ Because the answer…depends on how you observe, measure, and categorize things.
Exploring the world through microscopes has taught me that we can’t know everything about even a simple object….That’s an important lesson: There are multiple ways of looking at reality.”