Beauty in every grain: For the first time remarkable photographs reveal hidden charms of ordinary SAND

Viewed at a magnification of over 250 times real life, tiny grains of sand are shown to be delicate, colourful structures as unique as snowflakes.
When seen well beyond the limits of human eyesight, the miniature particles are exposed as fragments of crystals, spiral fragments of shells and crumbs of volcanic rock.
Professor Gary Greenberg who has a PhD in biomedical research from University College London said: ‘It is incredible to think when you are walking on the beach you are standing on these tiny treasures.
‘Every time I look through my microscope I am fascinated by the complexity and individuality created by a combination of nature and the repeated tumbling of the surf on a beach.’
Prof Greenberg, who searches through thousands of tiny rocks with acupuncture needles to find and arrange the most perfect specimens, then uses a painstaking technique to create his images.
He has spent five years searching the globe for remarkable sand grains like these to photograph.
He said: ‘Extreme close up photography normally gives a very shallow depth of field so I had to develop a new process to make the pictures that I wanted.
‘I take dozens of pictures at different points of focus then combine them using software to produce my images.
‘Although the pictures look simple each grain of sand can take hours to photograph in a way that I am happy with.
‘The beach nearest my lab is Haiku, Hawaii but my pictures show sand from all round the world from Japan to Ireland.’
Gary’s pictures are available from his website and his book ‘a grain of sand’ which is available on Amazon.