New Hobby: Microscopy

Looking around for a hobby, I thought I'd give microscope photography, or microscopy, a try.

I don't think I've used a microscope since 6th grade (Jimmy Carter had been recently elected President), so I am pretty much starting from scratch. Here is my current set up:

My microscopy gear

The gear consists of:

So, after about a $450 investment I am ready to go.

Using the Camera's Better Vision

One aspect of microscopy that I am interested in trying is long camera exposures (seconds to hours), a common technique in astrophotography. That way I might be able to get away with not cooking a specimen with highly focused light or maybe see dark details that I cannot see with my eyes.

Modern cameras are getting crazy good ISO levels too (I suspect I will buy a new camera soon). I also hope to use this to capture images using interesting lighting. For example, the $5 bill has an image of an eagle on it. Below is a photo of the eagle's head taken with the normal microscope light shining up from below. The next photo uses a simple desk lamp to light the image from above. The two different techniques reveal different details.

$5 bill lit from below

 $5 bill lit from above (note the colored threaded embedded in the paper)

$5 bill lit from above (note the colored threaded embedded in the paper)

Other Lighting Techniques

I am also interested in experimenting with lighting techniques. For example, when taking photos of landscapes, I love shooting in the morning light. The oblique angle of the sunlight highlights small contours in the land. I am wondering how well light angles can work with microscopy. Here is an early attempt - using a cat laser pointer to highlight the contours of the inside of an egg shell.

Highlighting contours using an oblique angle light (cat laser pointer)

Looking forward to learning new things!