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Video and Scientific Photography

Posts Tagged ‘photomicroscopy’

House Fly’s mouth

Posted by wildwatertv on June 8, 2010

This creature is the common house fly, musca domestica. When you see them sitting on a piece of bread they are using that fearsome mouth to scrape and suck food from the bread, cheese, or anything else they might like…  It excretes a sort of liquid enzyme which digests the food on the surface before sucking the pre-digested liquid up though the tube.  These mouth-parts are always a bit grubby.  Pays to keep them off your food in the first place.  Now I’ve seen one up close I think I’ll be more careful.

Taken through a light microscope with a Nikon x10DIC .25 objective and stacked using a stack of thirty-four images.


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Nigella seed

Posted by wildwatertv on January 22, 2010

This shows two different magnifications of a single seed, genus Nigella, known as love-in-a-mist.  The seeds are sometimes used in Indian cookery as a spice, and are individually about 1mm long.  they have the most extraordinary texture and a surface almost like crocodile skin. I’m working on a catalogue of microscopic images of seeds and this is so far the most beautiful one I’ve seen.  Zeiss Luminar, light microscope, Nikon 10x/2.5x Objective/photo-eyepiece.

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Vinyl record

Posted by wildwatertv on December 16, 2009

This is a photograph showing how the sound is made on a vinyl record.  The needle is made to vibrate as it runs along the grooves.  The more wobbly the line, the higher the pitch of the sound.  It was a great system, and vinyl is still favoured by many for the distinct tone it gives. This portion of the record is about 1mm long, so a split second of sound is all that is shown here.  Thanks to Thor Haugen for the idea (and the record).  It’s a pointer sisters track, by the way, I wonder which bit?

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Compound Eyes 3

Posted by wildwatertv on November 18, 2009

This is the closest I’ve got so far to anything.  Taken through a Swift Microscope with a Swift 10x objective and Nikon 2.5x Photo eyepiece, this is the same eye as in the post below but this time it’s plain that the structure of a wasp’s eye is made up of hexagonal elements.  the hexagons are not perfect, but the shape of the eye determines the shape they can be at any one point.  Lighting was achieved by the use of a tracing paper diffuser held around the objective with a rubber band and encircling the head of the wasp.  I’ve finally nearly got rid of chromatic aberrations at this magnification.

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The pen is mightier than the sword

Posted by wildwatertv on October 23, 2009



Slightly more prosaic subject matter, but ballpoint pens are really a miracle of engineering.  When you use them they pick up small pieces of paper and fibres.  These eventually go inside the ball and clog up the mechanism, but considering the balls are far less than a millimetre in diameter it’s amazing they work so often.  I’ve spent all morning seeing the differences between brands and they vary enormously.  Lighting them is also a challenge.

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Posted by wildwatertv on October 2, 2009





Lepidoptera are butterflies and moths.  Although we generally just see their wings they have interesting faces too.  The top image is a night flying moth caller the silver y moth, or Autographa gamma.  It is so called because on the dark brown wings there appears to be a small letter as in the picture below the face.  The bottom image is the face of a painted lady butterfly (Vanessa cardui). The fascinating thing about these animals is the way they gather food.  They taste with their feet and use the long rolled up tongue to reach the deepest nectaries of flowers.  The tongue is just a drinking tube really.

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Jumping Spider

Posted by wildwatertv on September 28, 2009


This wonderful creature is a jumping spider (Salticus spp).  These are often seen on walls in the summer and autumn hunting for insects.  They have a black and white zebra pattern on their backs.  Far from having the compound eyes of insects spiders have very good vision and highly developed eyes.  This family is unlike most other in that it has specialised binocular vision in order to hunt, as well as two larger peripheral eyes.  The whole spider is about 5mm in length, but if you were smaller than that you could be fairly sure is was going to see you.  Those jaws are pretty impressive too…

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Posted by wildwatertv on September 23, 2009







This is a female Anopheles mosquito.  It’s only the females that have the proboscis for biting through skin.  Very close up these creatures display extraordinary colour and vitality.  Seems a shame to just squash them really.  The scales on the head are similar to the scales on a butterfly’s wing, and the head is full of receptors including a very advanced heat sensing system which helps mosquitos find their victims. As well as the two antennae the mosquito has a pair of short palps just above the proboscis. These are the first pictures taken with the microscope I’ve just made in my engineering workshop.  The lens is the ubiquitous Zeiss luminar and the lighting was a mixture of transmitted blue light and incident white light.

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Posted by wildwatertv on September 3, 2009



This strange world is pollen on the stamens of a rock rose flower.  It’s possible to almost feel the sticky nature of the individual grains.  Each cell of the stamen is also visible.  Photographed through a microscope using a Zeiss 10x planachromatic objective.

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Posted by wildwatertv on July 30, 2009

I just published an article about how to make a simple macroscope for Danylo at Helicon Focus.  Read it here.

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