Thrifty Thursdays feature photographs taken with equipment costing less than $500.

[HP deskjet F4280 printer/scanner - $150]

For capturing two-dimensional subjects like leaves or insect wings, a simple desktop scanner will often suffice. Or not just suffice. Depending on the size of the subject, the lighting requirements, and other factors, scanners can outperform traditional camera gear by delivering clean, crisp, high-resolution files.

The image above shows damage to Aquilegia (Columbine) leaves infested with leaf mining insects. Small flies lay eggs on the plant, and the resulting maggots chew their way through the interior of the leaf with the outer layers left untouched as protection. The tunnels widen as the insects grow.

A more whimsical take on scanned leaves is Christoph Neimann's hilarious Bio-Diversity series.