Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Yay! A new toy!

Rain, rain, and more rain. No beach outing today. I went out in the afternoon and bought a cheap digital microscope from London Drugs, one that downloads photos directly to the computer, and I've spent the night (and a good part of the early morning) setting it up and learning how to use it. It's slow going; the manual is standard-issue, describing software that doesn't match what they gave me, missing out important steps, telling me I can edit the photos, and not giving me editing tools ...

So I'm learning by trial and error, as usual. Good thing I like tinkering.

Here's a sample of what it might offer me:

A piece of dried ribbed kelp from Boundary Bay beach is spotted with patches of an encrusting bryozoan. I soaked it to soften it, and took a few photos with the camera:

The bryozoan colonies are not circular, nor orderly like the kelp-encrusting bryozoans I found earlier; these individuals are clumped together higgledy-piggledy. And they are like none I have found in my books.

This is what the microscope produced:

Unidentified bryozoans.

The other bryozoans were box-like, but these look like some sort of breakfast cereal, or maybe an enameled colander. The open end is the lophophore, where the tentacles of the live animal would be extended, waving food towards the mouth.

As I figure out the best way to set up the microscope, the photos should get better. For now, I'm happy. And I'm going to bed before it's time to get up again. G'night!


  1. I've often wondered about these little digital microscopes. I'll be looking forward to your future posts on this.

  2. Stunning pictures - and despite the brochures I always like new toys

  3. Neat. I bought an adapter for my SLR a few years ago. It is a little more work than the digital microscopes, and looking / focusing through the viewfinder can be difficult at times. But I really enjoy the pictures I capture.

    And, don't be surprised if you find you soon have a room with peanut-butter-jar-ecosystems obtained from nearby ponds so that you can take a water sample at a moments notice (plus, it is amazing to me how some of those systems have thrived for nearly 2 years now).

  4. Ooooh, I can see a Christmas pressie on the horizon...

  5. Oh wow, never even thought they had those available but now the old brain is ticking...just may need one of those soon!

  6. I am so glad you persevered. Amazing shots. Maybe I should ask for one for my birthday!!!


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