Merits of Microscopy

One of the things I have been looking forward to since the beginning of the course has been the microscopy module. Now, I am in the second week of this module and find myself swaying between frustration and awe when peering down the microscope.

Frustration, as despite having the use of microscope adapters and step-up sleeves for my DSLR, taking photos with the microscope has not become much easier. Light seems to be the major issue and I push the ISO up to seemingly ridiculously high values – especially when trying to take photos of life subjects, like this week, when we were photographing inhabitants of leaf litter, mainly worms, millipedes and woodlice. The next problem is movement of the camera, thus I was experimenting with the timer this week. I will be looking into the locking up of my mirror for next weeks session, as it feels as if even the flipping of the mirror is enough to unsettle the camera resting on the microscope.

Nevertheless, I love exploring these small worlds under magnification – for the same reason that I enjoy looking at Haeckels enlarged drawings of small creatures. I tend to find myself in awe, when looking at the intricate forms that nature can produce on such a small scale.

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Millipede legs and reflection (Julidae) (length of the entire animal about 2 cm)

 

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Head of a Millipede (Julidae) (length of the entire animal about 2 cm)

 

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Exoskeleton of a Woodlouse (Armadillidae) (length of the entire animal about 1 cm)

 

Afterthought: Further things of awe for me microscopy are the different levels of technology, which are available nowadays. Shortly after the microscopy session on Monday, we had people from Keyence come into the uni to show us their new 3D-microscopes. Considering how much time it takes to set up a “normal” microscope with köhlern and finding of the subject on the slate under the right magnification etc, it is impressive but also makes me contemplate the future of the “classical” microscopy-techniques, when looking how just a few pressing of buttons and turning of levers can bring up a perfect image with the wanted enlargement on a screen in a question of seconds. I am guessing that working with a digital microscope will become a more common thing, not only at universities, in the future – making microscopy a skill, which one can rather learn in a few minutes, instead of something that requires practice and technical knowledge.

3 comments

  1. How cool! 3D digital microscopes? I hope I get to at least see those in some of my classes ^.^ Have a beautiful day sunshine!

    Like

    • Hi there,
      thanks for commenting. 🙂
      Yes, it’s a pretty great technique. It basically is automated image stacking that the microscope does. Much quicker than having to do the image stacking manually (and I’m guessing that it’s more precise in the end too).
      Hope you have a great week! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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