Picture This!

MARTY SAGENDORFPhotographing Science

by: Martin Sagendorf

It’s Easy:

To take neat photos of little things.

We Think:

That our digital cameras, web, and cell phone cameras can only take ‘life-size’ photos… but…

We’re Lucky:

These cameras can also photograph images provided by other optical devices…

Such As:

Microscopes and spectrographs.

Because:

These devices provide collimated images (i.e. focused at infinity) and an ordinary digital camera device can photograph these images.

The Images:

Are much smaller than ‘full frame’ – a photo-handling program is an absolute necessity – to enlarge and enhance the images.  For the camera images shown, the camera used is a Panasonic DMC-TZ4.

For Example:

A slide-mounted hibiscus stem cross-section – through a 5X loupe.

This is the full image as it is captured by the camera:

PHOTO - 688 - FULL SIZE - LOW RES - EYE-242

The same image after partial cropping and enlarging:

PHOTO - 688 - PARTIAL CROP - EYE-242

And the same image after full crop and enlarging:

PHOTO - 688 - TIGHT CROP - EYE-242

Three More Photos Of The Same Slide:

Through a 30X hand-held microscope:

PHOTO - 684 - TIGHT CROP - MIC-30

Through a 30X single-eyepiece microscope:

PHOTO - 679 - TIGHT CROP - MIC-500

Through one eyepiece of a Bausch & Lomb binocular microscope @ 19.5X:

PHOTO - 685 - TIGHT CROP - B and L

And Another Slide:

A slide-mounted fish scale photographed through a 30X single-eyepiece microscope:

PHOTO - 689 - TIGHT CROP - FISH SCALE - MIC-500

The same photograph enlarged even more:

PHOTO - 689 - EXT. MAG. - FISH SCALE - MIC-500

Using A Web Cam:

Photo of a slide-mounted Aves Feather taken with an H.P. Webcam 3100 into a 30X microscope:

PHOTO - IMAGE97 - TIGHT CROP - AVES FEATHER - MIC-500

Through Spectroscopes Using A Camera:

Sunlight through a hand-held adjustable slit spectroscope:

PHOTO - 692 - TIGHT CROP - SUNLIGHT - ROY-100

An 18 Watt yellow Compact Florescent Lamp through a hand-held adjustable slit spectroscope:

PHOTO - 715 - TIGHT CROP - YELLOW CFL - SPECTRO - ROY-100

Sunlight through a hand-held spectroscope with scale:

PHOTO - 640 - SUNLIGHT - SPECTRO - SPC-100

An 18 Watt bright white Compact Florescent Lamp through a hand-held spectroscope with scale:

PHOTO - 636 WHITE CFL - SPECTRO - SPC-100

It Takes Some Patience…

To align the camera to the device being used and to find the optimum exposure (light) level.  Fortunately, using a digital camera allows one to immediately see the image and make adjustments if required.  And using a small piece of black cardstock (with a ½” hole) will act as both a light block and protection for the camera and device lenses – sometimes it’s advantageous to tape the cardstock in place.

The Images On The Photos…

Will be quite small – a photo-handling computer program must be used to enlarge and enhance the images.  Photoshop, or any of the many other image-handling routines will do this.  The images in this blog were handled with Corel Paint ® Version 8 – it provides enlargement as well as changes of contrast and other photo characteristics.

Actually Doing It:

Cardstock piece:

PHOTO - 754

Using a digital camera to photograph a slide-mounted object through a 5X loupe.  An LED flashlight illuminates the white paper under the slide.  Note that the slide is supported on two pieces of wood – this avoids a shadow of the object mounted on the slide:

PHOTO - 228

A 30X hand-held microscope and digital camera:

PHOTO - 230

Photographing through a 5X loupe with an iPhone:

PHOTO - 765

A webcam shooting into a microscope’s eyepiece:

PHOTO - 758

An iPhone taking a microscope photo:

PHOTO - 759

A digital camera taking a ‘spectro’- photo:

PHOTO - 232

And through an adjustable-slit spectroscope (note use of the cardstock piece):

PHOTO - 234

Great for…

Individual or group investigative activities incorporating actual images either as single entities or as collages.

CAUTION !

Never point any optical device towards the sun!

Remember to:

Experiment for the best results – especially light levels.

bk460Marty Sagendorf is a retired physicist and teacher; he is a firm believer in the value of hands-on experiences when learning physics.  He authored the book Physics Demonstration Apparatus.  This amazing book is available from Educational Innovations – it includes ideas and construction details for the creation and use of a wide spectrum of awe-inspiring physics demonstrations and laboratory equipment.  Included are 49 detailed sections describing hands-on apparatus illustrating mechanical, electrical, acoustical, thermal, optical, gravitational, and magnetic topics.  This book also includes sections on tips and hints, materials sources, and reproducible labels.

facebook-resized-154

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *