With iridescent colours and intricate wing patterns, it's not really surprising that butterflies and moths have been popular artistic subjects for thousands of years. But modern technology takes this fascination to a new level. In a series of images taken using a microscope, photographer Linden Gledhill gives us a seriously close look at the wings of these insects, capturing all of their tiny scales in startling detail.

To take these incredible shots, Gledhill uses an Olympus BH-2 microscope fitted with a high-speed flash, LED lighting, and a StackShot drive that allows him to take a series of selectively focused images that are later compiled in post-processing to create the super-sharp images you see here. 

A biochemist by training, Gledhill sources most of his butterflies and moths from an online outlet that sells farmed insects. "I've looked at a wide range of species and I select those with interesting colouration or scale shapes," Gledhill told the Mother Nature Network. "The wings are typically taken from damaged specimens often from farmed-raised butterflies and moths."
His superb image series gives us unique insight into the beautiful structures underlying the delicate wings of these much-loved insects. For more, check out Gledhill's Flickr profile.