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                                                          Anthony Thomas

As an entomologist I spend much of the warmer months photographing and collecting insects. When the weather is

cold and insect activity ceases, late Fall to early Spring, it is time to take off the dust cover and get down to some

microscopy. My favorite subjects are the aquatics. Locally there is a spring-fed lake with a small outflow that remains

unfrozen for most of the Winter. The few aquatic plants, dead leaves, detritus and bottom sediment supply enough

organisms to keep me busy. I normally collect a few samples and place them, in pond water, in an all-glass aquarium

which I keep indoors next to a window. The extra warmth of the house and the light awakens any aquatics that had

been ‘sleeping’.                                                     Fig. 1. Olympus

Equipment                                                            BH2-BHS and
An Olympus BH2-BHS with a trinocular head fitted with a 2.5x
                                                                     with camera

NFK projection eyepiece. A Nikon full-frame DSLR is mounted

above the NFK on a separate stand so as to reduce/eliminate any

vibration during exposure (Fig. 1). The Nikon camera is

connected to a TV monitor via an HTML cable which allows me to       Fig. 2.
get a critical focus on the camera’s sensor (via Live View) and      Olympus lamp
then to see the captured image on a large screen.                    box removed,
I also have Olympus accessories for phase contrast, polarization,    flash used to

and DIC.                                                             make the
I use the microscope’s 100W halogen lamp for observation but         image

turn it off and use a wireless remote-control flash to capture the

image (Fig. 2). Care needed to use the lamp at low power and

not to have the flash too close to the lamp; the 100W halogen

gets very hot and will melt the plastic front cover of the flash.

For many of my subjects I photograph them alive in water on a

slide. For the active ciliate protozoa, and some amoeboids, I add

a drop or two of Protoslo. On rare occasions I will fix and stain a

specimen using a mixture of formaldehyde and malachite green;

such a formulation can be obtained from a tropical fish pet shop,

it is sold as a cure for white-spot disease in fish.
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