Biological Imaging–Part I

Newborn squid

Retirement has its perks. In my case, I can audit courses at Providence College tuition-free. I decided to take advantage of this benefit during the Fall 2017 semester, and enrolled in Biological Imaging. “What’s that?” I’m frequently asked; “Photography through microscopes” is my answer.

Grass seed head

So far we have used stereo, or disecting microscopes and compound microscopes. How it works is that you remove one of the eyepieces on the scope and replace it with your camera. I have been using a Camranger to control the camera from a computer.

Sand dollar

We have mostly been photographing marine organism, but did get some early practice with prepared slides and flowers.

Scallop eyes

There are several challenges in this type of photography. First, controlling the light and white balance can be difficult. Another challenge, due to the extreme magnification, is that depth of field is extremely shallow. I have found good results with focus stacking, however, which provides one way of overcoming this limitation.

Enjoy this initial collection of images under the microscope!

Fun on a Snowy Day

Thursday in Rhode Island was a very snowy day, with over a foot of snow arriving at my house. I have always wanted to try to photograph snowflakes, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to try. Got out my 105mm macro lens, put it on my Nikon D500 crop sensor camera, stacked on all the extension tubes I could find, and even added two close up filters to the front of the lens. After all, snowflakes are really tiny little things. Well, I discovered that I will need lots and lots of practice with that rig, since the depth of field is practically nonexistent. Will try again another time.

As I was standing in the sunroom, which is not insulated, I noticed that globules of snow had formed on the door. I stripped down the rig to just the macro lens, and illuminated the globules from an angle with a strong LED flashlight. That yielded a couple of interesting photos, which I share with you here. Enjoy.

 

Rainy City Night

Hello, again!  It’s been a long time since my last post.  My computer died, I ordered a new one, it had a bad hard drive, and I just this week got the replacement installed.  So, I’m back in the blogging business!

People walking on Meeting Street in the rain.

People walking on Meeting Street in the rain.

The idea for these images came on a cold, rainy night in Providence as I was waiting to meet some friends for dinner.  Having walked around for a while, I got back in my car, which was parked on a side street.  Behind me (to the left of the camera) was a street light.  People were walking by, some running, some seemingly not minding the rain.  I was struck by the effect of the changing colors of the light, as well as the raindrops on the window.  So I took my pocket-sized camera out of the glove compartment and set to work.  The wall of the building was yellow brick, with an orange inset, but the red, yellow, and green of the streetlight gave different overtones.  I hope you enjoy the results as much as I enjoyed making them!

How Lucky Can You Get?

Double Rainbow

Double Rainbow

A photographer’s dream appeared–a double rainbow, perfectly framing a group of pines!  How lucky can you get?  Until, of course, you realize you do not have a camera, not even the camera on your smartphone.  Not too smart, it turns out.  However, luck does prevail when your sister-in-law has her (creaky, outdated) iPhone.  Having borrowed it, I discovered that the iPhone camera would take panorama shots.  The above image is the result.  Enjoy!

Portland’s Chinese Garden

Recently I was in Oregon visiting my sister-in-law.  We took a day trip to Portland, where we visited Powell’s Bookstore, which claims to be the largest bookstore in the world.  Covering an entire city block and having several stories, the claim may just be accurate!  One thing is for sure, I spent entirely too much money there and had to ship my books back rather than carry them on the plane.

Following the bookstore, we went to the nearby Lan Su Chinese Garden, also covering an entire city block.  What a lovely and inspiring place!  The garden was built by craftsmen from Portland’s sister city, Suzhou in China’s Jiangsu province, famous for its gardens.  Sixty-five artisans from Suzhou completed the garden in 2000, assembling materials brought from and partially constructed in China.  Doorways and windows create an illusion of infinite space.  Each doorway is headed by inscriptions on each side.

Knowing the Fish Pavilion

Knowing the Fish Pavilion

Everything here has a story here.  One of the first stops as one tours the garden is the Knowing the Fish Pavilion.  It is said that two philosophers were talking as they watched the fish in the pool.  The first one noted how happy the fish are.  The second one said: “You are not a fish.  How can you know that the fish are happy?”  The first answers: “You are not me.  How do you know what I know?”

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