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Found 41 results

  1. Unknown weird extra tiny things

    I like to use my microscopic camera on small stones that I find and on one such stone I found these I can't really tell their size as they were looked at through my microscopic camera but I will say they are extremely tiny....the stone itself is about an inch and a half....I found a few odd little things and am wondering just what they may be? I found the stone in the gravel drive possibly from a load from the Brazos river west of Houston Texas USA.
  2. OK folks, it's time I update my digital microscope technology knowledge and equipment. I have an ancient Celestron low-end scope that is compatible up to Windows 7 OS. Problem is, I no longer have a Windows 7 OS. So, I'm looking to upgrade my scope to a better one that is Windows 10 compatible. Next problem is, it's been a while since I was in the market for a scope, and technology moves so fast that I no longer know what the best options out there are. Could this esteemed and knowledgeable group of folks please give me some recommendations on what you find to be the good in the market right now. Thank you for your recommendations. Grandpa
  3. A few more of my recent photos of odds and ends, bits and bobs. Microscope Celestron photos of minis! All Cretaceous of Texas (except the trilos which are Pennsylvanian) Two trilo bits from Mineral Wells TX 1/4 inch Crab Claw Pagurus banderiensis 1 inch Ammonite unknown 1 inch Balanocidarid Spinie 1 Inch Three gastropods in cross section. I like how all three are slightly different: Phymosoma echionid with pyrite and small spine. 1 1/4 inch Coral Parasimilia: I inch Gastropod Cerithium bosquensis 3/4 Inch Oyster Illymatogyra with Pyrite 3/4 inch Ptychodus Shark tooth 1/2 inch Heteraster texana echinoid 1 inch: Bivalve Arca texana 1/2 inch Echinoid Spine 1/2 inch
  4. Greetings kind people, I am a complete novice in the field of fossil collecting. Kindly bear with me. My objective for collecting fossils: I want to learn paleontology work. I want to observe the fossils under a microscope, understand their body structure, their food habits.... Basically get a *whole story of the fossil* which I own, something that paleontologists do (I also want to explore all the methods that paleontologists use to study fossil and recreate them at home). So any fossil that will enable me to learn more about itself, I'd surely buy that. And also fossils which are more closer to actuality, rather than rare or good looking fossils. So any fossil that reveals more information is favoured over rare or good-looking fossils So here are my questions: 1) I'm trying to buy a spinosaur tooth. The seller is selling one spinosaur tooth which is red in colour for a higher price compared to a spinosaur tooth which looks almost like a rock. So is the red colour tooth more authentic or more valuable etc? Or is it just the same? My objective is to study those fossils under microscope. So if the red spinosaur tooth will provide more information, I'd buy that. 2) I see some dinosaur tooth still having some enamel. How is this possible? I mean shouldn't enamel be replaced by minerals too? Or is the enamel the only thing that is intact? If it is intact does it mean I'm holding a tooth which might have bit another dinosaur moments before it died and I can see the traces of that activity when I observe under the microscope? 3) I've seen polished ammonites which were split open. They carried a lot of information within, compared to unpolished ammonite. Which among those two types would reveal more information about the ammonite itself? Or which one should I go for, in general? 4)I am also planning to buy amber fossils. Some pointers and what to look for and what to keep away from would be appreciated. 5) Lastly, trilobites. How are trilobite fossils so well preserved? I've seen reedops protruding out of the rock like it's actually alive. But I read something about cast fossils and enhancements. So if I buy a reedops trilobite, does it mean it's been remade using plaster etc, or is it just as it is? Please bear in mind that I want to own fossils which closely resembles actuality Thank you so much for bearing with my silly doubts .I just want to educate myself and be an amateur paleontologist, studying fossils from home. Have a lovely day! P.s- I can upload some pictures and website links if need be.
  5. First attempts at taking pictures with a microscope

    Hey everyone - it's the Amateur Paleontologist After some time, I'm finally back on TFF A while back, I bought for myself a microscope so that I could take more detailed pictures of fossils. The microscope is a Veho VMS-004. Over the past few weeks, I made some attempts at taking some pictures of fossils - what do you think? Nicely preserved, ~10mm tall teleost fish tooth which I collected this summer at the Late Cretaceous chalk of Møns Klint (Denmark). Arm hooklets of a Belemnoteuthis (squid) specimen, from the Jurassic of Wiltshire. Specimen NHMUK 88603, in the Natural History Museum (London) collections. Each hooklet measures 3-5mm long. That's all I've got for now, but I'll take more pics in the future -Christian
  6. I enjoy picking through micro-matrix gravel from a number of localities (though most of my stock comes from places I've been able to collect here in Florida). I'm currently working on a project to try to find interesting micro-chondrichthyan teeth in micro-matrix from Florida and some of the teeth I'm looking for are on the order of a millimeter and finding ways to pick through large amounts of very fine micro-matrix to look for my rare tiny treasures has been a long and evolving process. I've previously written about my first optimization in picking micro-matrix--classifying. Rather than look through bulk micro-matrix, I purchased a set of stackable sifting screens with mesh sizes from 1/2" down to 1/100" (though the 1/50", 1/70" and 1/100" don't get as much use as the others). This has been a big help in sorting the bulk micro-matrix into different size classes which makes picking more efficient. Certain types of fossils tend to show up in different size classes and so you can more easily focus on the types of fossils you expect to find in the different size classes. Having uniform size material also helps to more evenly spread the material out while picking so that larger diameter material does not obscure smaller items. This was my posting from a few years back detailing my picking method at that point in time. I've been picking larger volumes of micro-matrix lately looking for some rarer finds. I've given up my two color-coded cup method of going through a cupful of matrix by pouring unsearched micro-matrix out of a blue plastic Solo cup and pouring the discarded searched micro-matrix into a similar but red cup. Given the larger amount of material I'm now processing, I dump my paper plate directly into a small, cheap, flexible plastic bucket I picked up for a dollar each at a discount store. I still use my 5X large diameter floor-standing magnifying lens with two banks of LEDs for lighting as the most efficient way of picking through the larger material held back by the 1/8" and 1/12" sifting screens. I have the search image pretty well burned into my gray matter by this time and can quickly spot interesting fossils while looking through this large well-lit lens. Having to look down through the lens does have the drawback that it wears on the neck muscles and prolonged picking generally leads to a bit of neck strain and occasionally a bit of a headache (but then Excedrin has always been part of my fossil hunting gear). The finer 1/20" and very fine 1/30" micro-matrix (what I've been humorously calling nano-matrix) cannot really be reliably seen well enough to efficiently pick through using this lighted lens. My various solutions to the problem of picking nano-matrix have ranges from high tech to low tech. I started with an inexpensive "digital microscope" which is little more than a small USB digital video camera with a ring of LED lights and a stand. My paper plate that I use for picking would not easily fit on top of the small stand provided and so I improvised with PVC. With a few connectors and lengths of 3/4" diameter PVC tubing I managed to create a simple stand that would allow the plate to be positioned properly under the camera where it could be focused on the matrix. The biggest drawback with this setup was that the "live" video feed that I could view on my computer monitor was being fed with video data through the USB port. I'm not sure if this was the older USB 2.0 or the much faster USB 3.0 but the bandwidth was still not high enough to present a realtime feed of what was on my plate under the scope. Moving material around with my little dental plate and trying to coordinate my movements by looking at the computer screen was a total failure. The slow frame rate and delay made this method unworkable. This scope mostly views the dark insides of a filing cabinet drawer to the side of my desk in my office. A lower tech approach actually succeeded a bit better but still was ineffective for more lengthy sessions of picking micro-matrix. I have a few photographers loupes back from the days of pre-digital (chemical) photography when slides were more than just something found at a kid's playground. I have a 4X and a 10X loupe. I've found that by looking backwards through a loupe (placing my eye where the slide would have been) that I can use these loupes to get a good close-up view of the details of fossils and other tiny items. I experimented using holding a loupe over one eye while holding my head down near my plate of micro-matrix so that the line of micro-matrix is at the proper focal point. This only allows one hand free and as you can expect becomes uncomfortable and annoying in a remarkably short period of time. This led me to look for a similar technique that was more hands-free. It wasn't too difficult to find an inexpensive pair of glasses frames with flip down lenses for each eye. The product came with a number of different magnification options for the lenses. Using a 10X lens meant that the focal plane was not much more than an inch in front of the lens and so any hopes of binocular vision through these glasses was soon extinguished. There was no way of placing an object an inch in front of one lens so that it could be seen through the other. It wasn't too difficult to pop off one of the lens mounts from one side of the glasses to reduce the weight of the setup (the glasses don't have very curved arms and tend to slide down my nose while wearing them looking down). In order to not be bent over with my nose an inch from my picking plate (an uncomfortable pose to keep for very long), I raised the viewing platform to my eye level while sitting in my office chair. This necessitated pulling a number of large books from the shelves in my library (I have many thick books) and stacking them on my desk to raise the level of the paper plate I use for picking. I used my large lens floor-standing magnifier but only as a light source. It too needed to be raised up as the vertical adjustment for this has a limited range. A copier paper box was enough to bring the light source to the proper level. With this odd looking setup I was able to pick through the 1/20" and 1/30" material while getting a good view of the detail of the tiny bits passing inches in front of my eye. The big downside to this humorous setup was that prolonged viewing of my bright plate of nano-matrix through only one eye focusing so close tended to mess up my vision. Taking a break from this method of picking and removing the glasses while making a trip to fill a water glass or otherwise stretch out left me a bit "snow blind" in one eye where I'd been viewing the brightly lit white plate scattered with bits of matrix. Focusing right in front of your face with one eye tends to keep both eyes from focusing in unison for a disturbingly long period as well. While this worked--it was not a good long term solution going forward. I realized that I'd need a binocular solution and possibly something that would comfortable for longer spells of picking. I started looking at binocular microscopes. There are two basic styles of microscopes (not counting scanning electron microscopes): backlit compound microscopes for viewing slides and top-lit dissecting microscopes for viewing 3D objects. Obviously, the latter is what I started looking at for viewing fossils. The advantage of a nice binocular setup is that the eye pieces are well above the subject and generally angled at 45 degrees so that you are not looking straight down which would become uncomfortable over time. I noticed that the higher end scopes were trinocular in that they included a third port where a camera could be attached. In the lower end scopes you usually need to switch between the binocular eyepieces and the camera port (sometimes requiring refocusing after the switch). The highest end models allow simultaneous viewing (and focusing) through the binocular eyepieces and the trinocular camera port. I then considered that viewing the micro-matrix through the high-eyepoint binocular eyepieces would be an improvement over having my nose to the plate and looking through one eye but that being able to see live video through the trinocular camera port might be even better. Many of the digital cameras sold as attachments connect to what is called a C-mount on the trinocular port. There are a wide variety of resolutions of cameras that can be purchased but most of them transmit video through a USB connector. The faster USB 3.0 models claimed to be able to push video fast enough to support 50 or 60 frames per second but at reduced resolution (like 640 x 480 pixels). Then I spotted something that intrigued me--a digital camera with an HDMI output! This changed my thinking and the trajectory of my online shopping. I started looking at microscope packages that contained HDMI cameras. What's the big deal about HDMI? A camera with an HDMI output is capable of sending out realtime high-definition video directly to a (HDMI-equipped) monitor--by passing the computer completely. This removed the bandwidth bottleneck that resulted in slower frame rates or reduced resolution but also made it so the video could not be processed and stored by the computer--something I had no need for. This new tack of online research led me to an entirely different class of microscopes. It seems that there are many interesting professions that all require seeing something small magnified greatly in real time so that it can be worked on--fabricating dentures and crowns for dentistry, watch construction and repair, jewelry making, smartphone repair, printed circuit board diagnosis and repair. Though none of the industrial digital microscopes I saw with my refocused shopping parameters mentioned picking micro-fossils, I knew I was on the right track with functionally similar tasks being solved by these packages. One of the companies that seems to have a bit of a lock on simple microscopes with digital cameras (and sometimes attached monitors) for industrial use is a Chinese company called Hayear. They have a wide variety of products for all sorts of industrial use. The prices are very inexpensive (compared to the higher end trinocular scopes that I was looking at previously) but shipping costs from China were a substantial addition (in some cases nearly half the cost of the scope itself). Shipping from China to the USA is also less than speedy involving weeks to months for arrival. I wondered if this company had an online store on Amazon.com and was happy to see that they did. They have a reduced set of products that they sell through that marketplace and the cost of shipment is build into the higher prices there (though not as high as buying a single scope--likely due to bulk shipping of products). The nice thing is that 2-day delivery with Amazon Prime is much more instantly gratifying than 2-month shipping with a direct purchase. The model I found for sale looked to have what I needed and was a mere fraction of what I was looking to spend on a trinocular scope with the addition of an HDMI camera and a LED ring light for even illumination. It only took me a few minutes to setup. There are no instructions on how to assemble but if you look at the photo (above) and the parts available in the box, it is a pretty easy puzzle to piece together. The package does not contain an HDMI cable. These tend to be expensive cables and so they've opted not to include one in case you are not making use of the HDMI output (there is also a USB output and a memory card slot where photos or videos can be saved). I robbed an HDMI cable from my DVD player (not used as much these days with streaming) and I was plugged into one of the large monitors on my desktop computer (I use large dual screens). It didn't take very long at all to get things adjusted for best use. One of the concerns that was pushing me away from the more expensive trinocular scopes was the magnification range. I want a relatively wide viewing area with a low actual optical magnification as I need to be able to see a number of granules of micro-matrix at the same time and only need to zoom into a single item if it looks interesting. Theo objective magnification of this setup is only 0.7 - 4.5X but by the time the image is picked up on the digital camera and displayed on a large computer screen the effective magnification is more like 20 - 400X. I was instantly impressed by the snappy realtime video response provided by the HDMI. It was worlds better than I was getting with the Celestron that was futilely trying to push video through a USB cable. I noticed that the high contrast provided by my white paper plate background made the darker phosphatic-black matrix and fossils a bit difficult to see but I was able to override the exposure using the small camera remote control included in the package (there are similar buttons on the back of the square camera block as well). I pushed up the exposure +2.0 stops and this made the black gravel (and fossils) show up better (by over exposing the plate). I found it very easy to coordinate moving the plate under the camera to bring new matrix into view and within just a few minutes I found one of the rarities I had been looking for that was hiding in this 1/20" size-class nano-matrix--a minute Scyliorhinidae (Catshark) tooth just over a millimeter in width. Here's a quick picture of my computer screen with my little point and shoot camera which will give you a feeling of what I see while picking 1/20" nano-matrix with this new technology/technique. I've recently gone further to solve my high contrast issue. I looked at finding gray paper plates (maybe for someone's retirement party ) but was unable to locate any. I had the bright idea of spray painting one of my existing picking paper plates with some flat battleship-gray spray paint. Regardless of how flat the finish looks under normal light, it is still quite shiny when illuminated by 144 LEDs. I had a sheet of thick (construction) paper that I often used for a neutral gray background while photographing micro-fossils and I made a test by putting a sheet of white paper over part of the gray paper and placing some micro-matrix across the edge of these two backgrounds. Under the scope I could easily demonstrate that the reduced brightness of the background resulted in a much better view of the little bits of matrix. A bowl of the appropriate size, a pen, and a pair of scissors were all I needed to cut out a gray circle that I glued to the flat central base of my paper plate. I no longer had to crank the exposure up to result in well exposed micro-matrix bits on the more neutral brightness background. The last optimization that I added to my process yesterday was in the placement of the circular line of micro-matrix that I spread along just inside of the raised rim on the edge of the paper plate. The field of view is still rather narrow through the scope and spreading a line of matrix wider than its field of view (easy to do when pouring out of a plastic Solo cup) meant that I had to move the plate side to side while following the line along the plate as I rotated it. I have a small plastic squeeze bottle with a tapered opening around 1/8" and by filling the bottle with my fine nano-matrix, I'm able to spread a nice continuous line around the perimeter of the plate. A few taps on the plate settles the long line of matrix so that the pieces are not stacking upon each which would make it difficult to see all the bits without manipulation with my dental pick. I can now quickly and efficiently spread out a line of nano-matrix about 90% around the plate (leaving a gap so I know where I start and end). I can position the line of matrix under the scope's optics and see it clearly focused and lit on my computer screen. With the tips of my fingers on two hands I can rotate the plate (like turning a steering wheel) to bring successive portions of the curved line of matrix into view. When I see a bit I'd like to pick out, I use my curved metal dental pick to manipulate the surrounding matrix away from the bit I'm interested in so that it may be easily picked up and transferred to where I wish to store it. Through all of this I'm no longer bent over a magnifying lens or looking like some sort of cheap cyborg with a 10X magnifier propped over one eye and my nose buried into a paper plate. I can sit back comfortably in my desk chair and see in glorious detail as the line of nano-matrix is displayed at eye-easing magnification on my computer screen. I'll never admit that I played with my new toy setup yesterday and picked through a large amount of the fine 1/20" (and a bit of 1/30") nano-matrix for over 12 hours yesterday--and did it without ending up with sore muscles. I wrote this because I hoped my journey for the most optimal method of picking really fine nano-matrix might be of help to any others who might be doing something similar. Cheers. -Ken
  7. Hi everyone I think I just found a new hobby With my latest fossil delivery I recieved quite a lot of microfossils & matrix vials as the world of microfossils was something that I have been long interested in. So a 2 weeks ago I finally ordered my first microfossils for which I reserved a special drawer in my archive cabinet. So here is a recapp of what I all got: 3 vials of permian material from Waurika, Oklahoma 1 vial of permian material from The red beds of Archer County, Texas 1 small vial of Conodont rich Mississippian material from the Chappel Limestone formation, Texas 1 small vial of Cretaceous Lower Gault Clay, East Wear bay, Folkestone, Kent, UK A micropalaeontology slide with Jurassic Blue Lias matrix rich in holothurian material. A thin section of an Ostracods filled Elimia snail from the Green River Formation in Wyoming A thin section from the Rhynie chert of Scotland which should contain preserved parts of the plant Aglaophyton major and perhaps even other species. I also got a lot of Bull Canyon micro fossil teeth and 2 cretaceous mammal teeth from Hell Creek In this topic you will be able to follow my path through this newly discovered hobby as I will post my finds and progress Currently I am only working with a clip-on cellphone microscope, but I do plan on getting a professional microscope in the next few months! (Tips are always welcome) So let's put on our Ant-Man suit and explore the microfossil realm So here are some of the first pictures I made of some of the microfossils Starting with the thin slices! Thin slice with Ostracon filled Elimia tenara snail from the Green River Formation, Wyoming Thin slice with Aglaophyton major from Rhynie Chert in Scotland
  8. What type of microscope?

    I am looking for input on what type of microscope I should get for prepping fossils like trilobites, ammonites from Montana, and other fossils from the Midwest. What magnification I would need. Any suggestions would help me decide. I mainly use air scribes but have done some cleaning with picks.
  9. Like @JohnBrewer , I also purchased a new toy from AmScope. I purchased Item #UHM350-11 "Tabletop Digital Microscope with Variable Working Distance and 11" Articulating Arm". This piece also have two LED lighting rings.This was a great purchase for $270.00 and about 1000 times better that the $20 Plugable USB Microscope that I purchased before. I set it up and unfortunately I do not have an Micro SD card to capture the pics. I am not tech savy, so I will have to study it for a bit and see if I can actually hook it up to mu computer. Right now I have it hooked up to my TV with the "provided" HDMI cable. I took a few pics and will post below- I will use a pic that I made with my I Phone and then I will show pics from the microscope. WARNING- I took the pics off of my TV with my phone, so they will not be as sharp as I am seeing it live. Hopefully they will look great when saved on a Micro card. I Phone Pic Picture shot off of the TV Here is a great example of a Mazon Creek concretion with 2- Sea Cucumber mouths. I Phone Pic-
  10. New toy - microscope

    I treated myself to a binocular microscope just before Christmas. Just showing off some amber inclusions with a little manipulation including stacking.
  11. I’m curious if anyone has any recommendations on cheaper microscopes that would be good for finer prep work. I have seen some very cheap ($30 or so) digital microscopes on amazon that seem to get good reviews. But I’m not sure digital is the way to go. I can’t afford more than around $100 right now.
  12. G'day everyone! My dad and I were interested in investing in a USB Microscope to take photos of our smaller fossils and other things (Mainly small insects). We did some searching about and found this microscope. Before I purchase it I want to see what you all think and if there is a better option. https://www.online.com/p/AmScope-UBW500X0200M-5x-500x-2mp-8-led-3d-Zoom-Digital-USB-Microscope/2255356843 Thanks, Dan
  13. Shocked or Tectonic?

    Something keeps telling me to look further, but I believe this is part of answering how big of an event happened here. This stone was pulled from a vein that was sandwiched in a softer than limestone but more like granite. Sorry no picture of that. I was intrigued by the crystal structure of the crystals that had been knocked free by free range cattle and deer. My first thoughts were of petrified wood since it's literally just about everywhere if you look. But I could not figure out in the world a piece of wood might petrify, #1 clear #2 with opposing angles. These pieces did not seem to fit with the typical crystallization of quartz. The area does have examples of tectonic uplift, whether it was impact or explosive I've yet to understand. By using the scope I can see that there was a whole lot of smashing going on, shockwave from a meteorite would absolutely do it. Would also explain other pieces that still need some up close treatment. I have to change lighting and stage almost every specimen though. I only got through 4 or 5 in a whole day. pic #1 Really thought it was just an interesting piece of quartz, polish one end (soft like calcite, powdered easily, chips into a gazillion pieces) and the clarity is astonishing, you can easily see clean through like glass. With the light just right you can see a what looks like a haze that runs in the center of it. Looks very much like a light layer of smoke. Proximity to the shocked/tectonic pieces, maybe 800ft. pic #2 is a piece of shocked/tectonic quartz that is blackened on the outer surface, I'm guessing a flash of heat but certainly not brush because there is literally almost nothing there. I broke a section clean to analyze under the scope, you can see the opposing grain vs the natural crystallization, with the naked eye. It does take some reflection technique using the sun to illuminate the patterns. Up close under the scope, @80x you can see how the original crystallization was shocked. pic #3 Is the surface of pic #1 also @80x. Really thought the crystallization on the surface was quite interesting, but even more than that. Why is there no visual evidence of similar crystallization on the interior? pic #4 Is the top portion (of pic #2) that was exposed at the surface of the vein. I chipped this piece out with a hammer. @80x, illustrates the burning, sort of looks like it stuck it's face in a blast furnace to me. I have one more absolutely amazing piece that has a shocked/tectonic layer (I think shocked) that you cannot see with the naked eye. It was sandwiched in a "concretion" -lol hates that term. I'm still trying to figure it out though. All I need is a better image. Tomorrow maybe I'll try the good ole' sun and see what I can get of it. Images taken @80x using Nikon D5500 mounted to Amscope T700A via DIGICAMCONTROL (freesource software)
  14. DIY Double-arm boom stand

    I bought an articulated microscope arm a few years ago, but I was never really happy with it. The arm was too wobbly - the parts did not fit exactly and had too much play. While preparing I had to avoid bumping into the microscope, otherwise the microscope started to swing up and down. Now I have built myself a very sturdy double arm boom stand. I used two 16mm ball-type linear bearings and two solid linear motion shafts (16mm diameter, 80cm long). The end pieces and the support are made of aluminium - I had the holes drilled by a local company for 15 dollars. Together, it cost me about $ 90. Works fine! You can buy double-arm boom stands for about $ 200, but the arms are too short for my purposes.
  15. garage sale acquisitions

    I don't know if this is the best category to post this under, or should it go under 'Member Collections' as the items are now part of my collection... A week ago already (Saturday), a couple from the local rockhounds had a garage sale. I think much of the material belonged to the club as these folks had been hosting the club's workshop equipment and it was being moved out to a new place. They said "There are some fossils"... but couldn't say what kind. Unfortunately they couldn't tell me much about the locations, not being fossil people who are careful to record that sort of info. This is the same guy who told me where I might find the source of my possibly-local (Vancouver Island) trilobites that I posted some years ago. I tried pressing him for a clearer idea but I'm hampered by poor maps. I got a slightly better idea but everyone's telling me the gates are always closed now to these backcountry locations and the club looked into getting a key but found out it would cost $1000+ and whatever else. Very frustrating. How am I supposed to solve the mystery now?? Anyway, here's what I got. Nice little Glyptostrobus(?) frond. No location given but it looks like the kind of thing we find around here in our Upper Cretaceous Nanaimo Gp but the rock is a little different than what I'm familiar with. Nice specimen anyway.
  16. Microfossil finds

    Hi all, I just got the studio equipped with a digital microscope, and I've been enjoying looking through the sediments of fossil prep work. I'm finding a lot of micro crystals, and other forms that seem like pollen, or microscopic life I also found 2 insects, which I'm not sure of their origin, they could be contamination from the room, but I'm fairly certain this batch came from caked-on sediments at the bottom of my sample container.
  17. I bought a membrane display frame to display a small mosasaur tooth I found. If you have not seen these before, they are two very thin plastic membranes pressed between a plastic frame that opens up to insert objects. On a whim, I stuck the whole thing under a dissecting scope, and it viewed beautifully! The membrane was almost entirely invisible. The frame makes it easy to move the specimen around on the stage. So it turns out these are not only a nice way to display small fossils, but work great for viewing them under magnification also... I was planning on trying to get some of the special micro fossil slides, but now I won't bother... I expect it would work esp well with amber. They are about $1-2 including shipping on ebay from many sellers- search "membrane display." The only thing I am not sure about is any potential damage to the fossil from long term storage in the membrane. The membrane is made of "Acrylic, PET" so if anyone knows, please chime in.
  18. New Scope and Lenses

    Was surprised to receive a few packages very far ahead of anticipated delivery date. The first is an OMAX 3.5x - 90x trinocular scope with boom arm. If I'm going to be doing more detailed prep, a stereo scope with boom arm to position over a blast box is an absolute must. Of course, it came in a zillion pieces and the instruction manual was for an entirely different model that bore very little resemblance to the one I was putting together. But after an hour of trial and error - and some very colourful language - it is all assembled. I've taken it out for its test run, and works great with wide-field eye pieces and a Barlow lens so I can work at a reasonable distance. The magnification is not high, but any higher would not be useful for prep. Blowing up a half inch specimen to a large detailed view is sufficient enough to get at the nooks and crannies. The software it came with was not going to be helpful to me as it came on a CD (Mac discontinued CD/DVD drives on their machines a few iterations ago), and so after some online hunting I found the right software for download. Still a lot to learn about microscope photography as what you see in the eye piece is not necessarily what you see on the screen. It also means pulling out a stop to divert light from one of the eye pieces to the mounted camera. Eventually I'll figure out how to match up the eye view to the camera view (there is some helpful advice online, and a lot of things I can adjust in the software). So pictured here was just a quick and simple (if not fuzzy) first snap of a 5mm Itagnostus interstricta. I know, fuzzy... As I said, a lot to learn! Second item are these handy jeweller's glasses with lenses of different strength to swap in and out as needed. The little LED lights on the side are very helpful. These will be useful when I'm doing sewing needle prep and need my hands free (rather than holding a loupe). Also handy when I need to have a quick look at some detail in the field when I'm away from the scope. Oh, and they also makes me look like a demented 1950s sci-fi villain, which will help frighten door-to-door salespeople or small children. Ah, new toys!
  19. Hi everyone! Here's my first post on the forum, and I'd like to share an image of a little iron-replaced cretaceous-aged ammonite (unidentified species) which I have photographed recently using a $10 webcam-type digital "microscope". The image is created using a total of 70 individual frames stitched together using an automatic stitching software. The size of the ammonite is about an inch across. As an added bonus, I took the photograph and used it to make some digital measurements to determine how close the shape fits to a logarithmic spiral. The image below gives a visual representation of where I took the data points from (a total of about 12 points). Taking the data points and fitting them onto the logarithmic spiral equation, I get the following result: Note that the axes were incorrectly labelled. The y-axis should be the angle in radians, and x-axis is the natural log of the radius. The close fit to the straight line does indicate that the spirals of the ammonite fossil is close to a perfect logarithmic spiral. Cheers! Ivan
  20. Here is another neat little gadget I thought I would share: A digital microscope / camera video camera that is powered by your computer USB. It has built in dimmable LED lights as well as camera. Images are captured via software that comes with it. Image quality is not as good as the camera on my trinocular scope, or quite frankly my cell phone when taking pictures through the scope, but it has its uses. It's relatively cheap at about $100.00. And if you are a teacher with a "powerpoint projector", you can put items under the scope and project them on the big screen in real time for your class. Also great for close-up photos for the Fossil ID forum . Here is the scope Here are some pictures taken with it: Mississippian Actinopterygii tooth (approximately 1 mm in length) Daphnia Tiny Snail
  21. I'm ready to take the next step in preparation and start using a microscope. What is your method for using it for prepping? Do you use it outside the sandblasting cabinet, and set it up so it looks through the cabinet's glass? Or no cabinet? If that is the case, how do you protect the microscope optics from the abrasive? Also, any recommendations for a starter microscope? $300 or less... Thanks!
  22. Barlow lens

    I have a trinocular boom-arm stereo "dissecting scope" from USA Scopes (SMT-3412 SM), and the working distance is terrible. I want to buy a barlow (reduction lens) to increase working distance. My understanding is that they are attached to the existing objective lens rather than replacing the objective lens. I wrote USA Scopes, and they said they have a 0.5x auxiliary lens, but the thread diameter is the same as the objective lens (where it screws into the scope) and not the same as the "distal" threads on the objective lens. Is my understanding of the Barlow lens correct? I.e. the Barlow should be attached to the objective rather than a replacement of the objective? @Ptychodus04?
  23. Microfossil photography

    Hey everyone, I am wondering if anyone knows a professional microscope that can be used to photograph microfossils. I need to make pictures of fossils such as bonefish teeth, ptychotrygon teeth, etc, that are 2-3 mm big. Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks for any help.
  24. Some focus stacking Experiments

    Greetings all, Now that we have a stationary camera on our new trinocuar stereo microscope, I tried some focus stacks, something I had never been able to do on fossils before! (I do it at work for geological specimens) I used Picolay - a free ware that works very well right out of the gate. you can get it here: http://www.picolay.de/ So here are some initial results. First, a tall spired gastropod that is about 2mm in size. I had 6 levels of focus from background to tip of the spire. First a single normal shot like I wold have had to settle for in the olden days: and now after a 6 step stack: Here is an Aviculopectin rim from the Fort Apache Limestone found recently, a very large and difficult piece to normally photograph. First the single frame: Now a 9 layer stack: I can get used to this! Comments?
  25. I wish to send my friend in the mail some specimens out of the acid bath of some super tiny gastropods that are like fly specks - so tiny that you need a microscope to see them. How should I do this so he can find them when they arrive? Im hoping for something from the hardware store, or locally.