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Low-cost microscope photography


Those of you who aren’t retired must think that I have entirely too much time on my hands. So please pardon me for another nerd post. And do keep in mind the importance of always doing and learning new things for as long as we’re living.

My interest in microscopy is closely related to my interest in photography. It’s a new way to see things and a new way to photograph things. When my Nikon Model S microscope was made back in the 1970s, doing photography through a microscope was a pretty expensive operation. These days you can do a passably good job of it with a smart phone and a $14 bracket device that holds the smart phone’s camera lens over the microscope’s eyepiece.

And though my microscope is equipped only for viewing semi-transparent objects with light that passes up from below and through the specimen, I’ve figured out that I can get remarkably good images by aiming a light source down at the object from above. I’ll do more of this kind of photography as I have time. Tiny flowers, which are plentiful this time of year, look great under a microscope. I’ll have some photos of those in the coming weeks. The three-dimensional nature of objects such as flowers presents a bit of a problem in microscopy, because a microscope’s depth of field is very tiny. That is, only a part of a specimen can be in focus at a time. But I’m guessing that the old-fashioned pressing of flowers inside a book, protected by parchment paper, would flatten the flower, making focusing much easier while also preserving much of the color and detail of the flower.

The device that attaches the smart phone to the microscope also will work with a telescope. I have a telescope. So naturally I’ll have to see what kind of photos I can get through the telescope as well. Every photographer wants pictures of an enormous moon rising behind a landscape. To get the moon to be truly, unnaturally, dramatically huge, you need a really long lens — or a telescope. I’ll see what I can do.



One Comment

  1. Jo wrote:

    Very interesting. I am always impressed with a person having a broad knowledge base. Enjoy your posts very much.

    Monday, March 21, 2016 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

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