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paleoflor

Wood Cell Structure

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paleoflor

Hello Forum,

This week I've been having fun trying to get better at making photographs through the microscope. I currently use a compact camera (Panasonic DMC-TZ25) on a tripod. The following previous threads were quite helpful and I am looking for more tips, tricks and techniques. For example, does anyone here have good ideas on how to photograph specimens with very little contrast/color through the microscope?

Thanks,

Tim

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All: Araucarioxylon* wood from the Triassic of the Chinle Fm., Arizona, United States. Cross-sections showing typical honeycomb-shaped tracheids.

post-2676-0-60440600-1423773039_thumb.jpgpost-2676-0-19793700-1423773041_thumb.jpgpost-2676-0-21349800-1423773042_thumb.jpg

Left: Osmundacaulis leaf trace from the Jurassic of Tasmania, Australia. Just perfect as a copyright-symbol.

Middle: Quercus wood from the Miocene of northeastern Hungary, showing the diagnostic wide rays and ring-porosity.

Right: Quercus? (live oak?) wood from the Miocene of central California, showing the onset of a medullary ray.

* Well, perhaps Araucarioxylon is not the best name to use any more, given this paper. But then, you know what I mean...

Edited by paleoflor

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snolly50

"For example, does anyone here have good ideas on how to photograph specimens with very little contrast/color through the microscope?"


You may be able achieve the desired result via post-capture processing. Contrast and all aspects of lighting and color can be manipulated. I have been very pleased with Photoshop Elements (no real experience with microscope shots). Others might recommend another program. Elements is the scaled down (and much cheaper) version of Photoshop, but I find it as capable as any tool I could ever employ, much less master.



Edit: I think your posted photos are very nice.


Edited by snolly50

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Plantguy

Hey Tim, I dont have any suggestions to offer you but enjoyed seeing the photos! Are you making the thin sections/slides? Regards, Chris

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fossilized6s

I'd say you're doing a fine job already!

As Snolly suggested, i would probably fiddle around with a editing program after you've taken your initial shot/s.

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paleoflor
"For example, does anyone here have good ideas on how to photograph specimens with very little contrast/color through the microscope?"You may be able achieve the desired result via post-capture processing. Contrast and all aspects of lighting and color can be manipulated. I have been very pleased with Photoshop Elements (no real experience with microscope shots). Others might recommend another program. Elements is the scaled down (and much cheaper) version of Photoshop, but I find it as capable as any tool I could ever employ, much less master. Edit: I think your posted photos are very nice.

I'd say you're doing a fine job already!

As Snolly suggested, i would probably fiddle around with a editing program after you've taken your initial shot/s.

Thanks both for the compliments and feedback. Perhaps you are right that post-processing is the way to go, though I'd prefer to not tweak the images too much (besides, my camera does not support the RAW-format, which would leave most post-processing options). Anyway, I need to check and see how much can actually be done with Adobe PS to salvage my poor contrast images (some specimens are entirely made of white mineralization, and very difficult to photograph). If successful, I'll report back here!

Edited by paleoflor

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paleoflor

Hey Tim, I dont have any suggestions to offer you but enjoyed seeing the photos! Are you making the thin sections/slides? Regards, Chris

If needed for identification, I can make thin sections/slides at the university, but the above photographs are actually just images of the polished ends of whole specimens, made using reflected light microscopy. For most identification purposes, this is generally sufficient, I think.

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Sample figured in the first two micrographs shown in the post above.

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paleoflor

Today I tried going to a higher magnification, taking multiple photographs and then stitching these together using Adobe PS to create a sharper (?) image on the scale of the composite image. I really love seeing the cell structure of permineralised plant fossils - so much incredible detail is perserved! Though not direly needed here, I also tried to bring out the color (as was suggested above). Still need to do the "monochrome" specimens...

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Tempskya grandis leaf trace and rootlets from the Lower Cretaceous (Albian) of the Aspen Fm. of southwestern Wyoming, USA.

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paleoflor

Version 2.

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Plantguy

If needed for identification, I can make thin sections/slides at the university, but the above photographs are actually just images of the polished ends of whole specimens, made using reflected light microscopy. For most identification purposes, this is generally sufficient, I think.

attachicon.gifP1050482.JPG

Sample figured in the first two micrographs shown in the post above.

Nice shots and material Tim! Stunning details to say the least. I've got a couple less detailed polished ends--wish I had more but got too much stuff now that I'm hunting verts/inverts. Good problem to have but it sidetracks me! Regards, Chris

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fossilized6s

Wow! The detail in those is a treat to the eyes! Great job on the new pics.

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snolly50

I am enjoying your images. Will you post more detail regarding the technique involved. That is, method of attachment of camera to 'scope, camera settings, focus - camera or microscope?, etc. In other words the "mechanics" involved in obtaining the photos. Thanks.

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paleoflor

I am enjoying your images. Will you post more detail regarding the technique involved. That is, method of attachment of camera to 'scope, camera settings, focus - camera or microscope?, etc. In other words the "mechanics" involved in obtaining the photos. Thanks.

Okay, well, let’s see... This is what I did to make the last image. Step one was to make sure that the polished surface was perfectly horizontal, so that you can move it underneath the microscope without it going out of focus (this turned out to be not so trivial as for thin sections/slides, which are near-perfectly flat). I tried to accomplish horizontality by placing the specimen (which has a rather rough and uneven bottom side) in a flat box, partially filled with sand. This provided the required stability in surface orientation, while the box could easily slide underneath the microscope, allowing me to change the field of view and make multiple photographs (since my microscope has no moving table). After choosing the area I wanted to photograph, I increased the magnification and brought the view into focus using the microscope.

Then the camera. I used a Panasonic DMC-TZ25 compact camera, which has a retractable lens assembly, preventing the camera to be mounted on the microscope directly. Instead, I had it fixed on a tripod, which allows the camera orientation to be maintained once aligned with the microscope’s optics. As for the camera settings, to be honest I used macro-photography Program AE settings for most of them (given my limited knowledge of camera’s, I considered this best). Only two things were set manually, namely flash (off) and zoom (I used digital zoom as a quick-n-dirty way to get rid of vignetting). Optical zoom was not used (after all, I used the microscope for that). I used a self-timer with two seconds delay, to make sure that me pressing buttons could not disturb the camera-microscope assembly during photo acquisition. For the last image, I took about twenty photographs, while slowly moving the specimen around, maintaining about forty to fifty percent overlap between adjacent pictures.

Then Adobe PS. Photoshop CS6 has the option to combine photographs. Normally it is used for panorama’s, I think. In PS it can be found under file/automate/photomerge (perhaps Adobe Elements offers the same functionality?). Within “Photomerge”, I used the options auto-layout, blend images together, vignette removal. Then comes a long wait, as Adobe PS is figuring out how all the photographs fit together (it does a superb job, if you ask me!). After merging the result into one JPG, I applied some filters (sharpen, contrast and color) to the large version (initially some 30000 pixels wide), after which I down-scaled the composite image to 2400 pixels wide, to obtain the result which I posted here.

P.S. Perhaps it is nice to mention the scale of the image: the larger Tempskya grandis rootlets are about 0.5 mm in diameter.

Edited by paleoflor

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snolly50

Excellent, thank you very much.

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Foozil

..... Wow. That is quiet something. Thanks for sharing!

And some people think plants are 'boring' :P

Beautiful shots by the way. Are those specimens polished? (sorry if that is mentioned, I had a quick skip through :o)

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paleoflor

Some people would say the exact same thing about fossils in general...

Yes, the specimens are polished.

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