Modify my microscope or just give up???

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TareqPhoto
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Modify my microscope or just give up???

#1 Post by TareqPhoto » Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:04 pm

Hey all,

It has been a while since i used my microscope, last year was interesting or before that, but this year it was like i barely touched my microscope, maybe only once or twice.

I am feeling like i am no longer interested in microscopy because i can't afford a better one and i am not only spending on microscopy as i have many other hobbies or passions and activities to spend at, so i keep thinking about that i have one of two options, either i try to enhance my current microscope as much as i can, or just forget this microscopy field completely and stay with other things.

So, if having a cheap or normal average microscope, what things can be done to make it good enough for long run? I keep only watching the prepared samples i bought online, i don't know if that is something i can really judge my microscope performance with, i still didn't prepared good enough samples by myself to give it a try, many say go bring pond water, in fact i don't get that anywhere and even if i don't like to collect water from there by myself, but i was thinking maybe if i can find something around my house, or even in my garden, maybe trying plants samples at least although i really wanted to see something like bacteria and living cells as much i can, so what do you recommend i can do to my microscope?

I did started before and posted something, but that was at the beginning when i started, now i feel like i have nothing to show, and those i showed before are nothing much to be shared or posted around, i mean any microscope can do fine with very simple samples either prepared previously and sold or by hand from simple things at kitchen for example, i will never dream about those high quality images or results i see around as those needs high quality items that i may not be able to buy, or even if i can then it will take over my other hobbies, i want to see how far my microscope can go before i can decide what i have to do next.

BramHuntingNematodes
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Re: Modify my microscope or just give up???

#2 Post by BramHuntingNematodes » Wed Aug 12, 2020 1:35 pm

Well you know in this hobby you have to have a passion for looking at very small things. This should more properly direct the improvements, should any need to be made (and I think your photos looked pretty good really). The ancients did much with far cruder tools! Anyway, yeah specimen preparation is a necessary endeavor to get the most use from your microscope. If you want to look at plants you might look into sectioning. I think you ought to have access to marine diatoms in the UAE. You could start a protist aquarium for looking at living things. If you want to look at bacteria, you could try culturing some. There have been few or no global surveys of small arthropods that live in human dwellings. You could document all the bugs in your home.
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Zuul
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Re: Modify my microscope or just give up???

#3 Post by Zuul » Wed Aug 12, 2020 2:51 pm

A salt water aquarium will bring a huge variety of microscopic subjects into your home, as well as being a hobby on its own. It is actually quite shocking at times what diversity of critters is found.

I think for most hobbyist, the desire to have a better microscope is just for the sake of having it, not because the results are wildly better. We all like having the best available, but it’s not going to allow you to see anything “new” in most cases. Some of the more exotic contrast techniques require specialized equipment (phase, DIC, etc.) but there are lots of things to try that are easy with your existing microscope. Dark field (low power), oblique, Rheinberg, and evening polarization techniques can be DIY’d on almost any equipment.

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Re: Modify my microscope or just give up???

#4 Post by BramHuntingNematodes » Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:39 pm

Also take a page from our own DonSchaeffer's book. His shots are not the clearest nor his microscope the fanciest but he is looking at everything he can get his hands on under there, cutting up vegetables with a razor, making pond muck with dried grass. His aims are more spectatorial or even artistic than scientific maybe, but he seems to really enjoy it!
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DonSchaeffer
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Re: Modify my microscope or just give up???

#5 Post by DonSchaeffer » Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:52 pm

Microscopy is tourism for me. I want to see as much of the world as I can. A microscope is much cheaper than a world tour and much more fruitful. There are new worlds right under your feet. My advice is that you play with your microscope. Try new lighting techniques. Control of the light is the most important part and the most fun.
.
Photomicrographs are art. A collection of my photos are being sold to raise money for a charity run by a friend. People are interested in novel images. I call them abstract real. They are abstract and real. This is the real world even though it is strange in form and color. I have published two volumes of poetry including photomicrographs. One is called "Dust". The other, available soon, is called "Time."

MicroBob
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Re: Modify my microscope or just give up???

#6 Post by MicroBob » Wed Aug 12, 2020 4:05 pm

Hi Tareq,
for dwindling interest in microscopy activity the most common reason is probably a lack of slide preparation activity. Ready made slides are only interesting for a short while and it is always a somewhat passive occupation. So I would suggest to follow some of the slide making threads shared here in this forum and try to investigate your environment. Pollen, diatoms, water life, soil life, hairs, insects - there is so much to look at. If all this doesn't sound appealing to you this is probably not the right hobby for you.
It is possible to make quite nice micro photos with cheap equipment, it only is a bit more cumbersome and the range of topics is a bit narrower. But you have to develop the know how and there is a lot to learn.

Bob

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Re: Modify my microscope or just give up???

#7 Post by PeteM » Wed Aug 12, 2020 6:19 pm

What keeps some people interested in microscopy is that it supplements some other interest. Perhaps one of your hobbies has that potential as well?

For some it's photography or art - witness the many stunning photos revealing hidden aspects of nature. For myself it's doing science programs with kids - and satisfying some of my own curiosity (and tinkering spirit) along the way. For others it's a hunt for diatoms or some other species - sort of like bird watching around the world on a micro scale. I know families that make microscopy a complement to cooking, farmers markets, camping, beach trips, machining, circuit board work, geology, archaeology, gems, biology, pets, their aquarium, fun with grandkids, etc. etc.

As far as quality goes, if you have or can find a decent stand then upgrades of objectives, condensers, eyepieces etc. bought from overseas can be shipped somewhat easily and affordably - at least once we're past the current pandemic glitches to shipping.

TareqPhoto
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Re: Modify my microscope or just give up???

#8 Post by TareqPhoto » Wed Aug 12, 2020 7:20 pm

Thank you very much all for those kind words, i appreciate it.

Well, i did buy few objectives that i don't believe it but i bought it which says "Plan" on it, and surprisingly, it is way "Heavier" than the stock objectives that came with the microscope, but i won't hold much hope on those to give me high quality results anyway.

I also got Dark field, one as filters from Rheinberg version i think and one as DF condenser, also doing great job, but i need to test it more to make sure it is really doing the job perfectly as it should be, and i am thinking about getting Phase Contrast kit, but i still think about if that will be a good idea with a normal average microscope anyway.

I think my main problem for now is lighting, and i have to admit or confess but without offensive and rude meaning to any here, i could never understand any topic or article talking about illumination and lighting control for microscope, sounds long explanation is what making me to get lost, and thus i feel like i will never know how to make lighting good enough then, and maybe this is one reason that i am getting away from microscopy more and more by the time.

My main hobby is photography, and then just since 2017 i got into astrophotography, so that was the background that led me to microscopy as well, and i was happy with images of those prepared specimen i bought, but i felt like nothing more i did, no real specimen by my hand and from real world, i once tried to prepare a sample by mixing materials in a bottle, something from the garden like soil leaves dead and fresh water dust,....etc, but the person who did it for who come around to clean my house tossed it away since i didn't use it for nearly 3 weeks, so he thought i will never use it, and honestly speaking, i didn't try to make another one again, but sounds i got lost between astro and table tennis and photography and microscopy issues and life in general so the victim here was my microscope, but i won't give up for sure.

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Re: Modify my microscope or just give up???

#9 Post by TareqPhoto » Wed Aug 12, 2020 7:25 pm

For now, i think i will forget about the lighting issue for a while, but i should start about preparing few samples at least simple one and test them, it will be so thrilling to make samples by myself, i remember once or twice i made samples from blood [my daughter], expired banana juice, and i think a rotten fruit, i saw something, something moving really, but not as crowded in the field, they move fast around, and the best thing i really saw so far was with the dirty banana juice using dark field, at 40x objective power, i saw a darker subject i think it is the juice getting dark while the transparent area was full of cells in battle, definitely fighting over a food, that was the thing that got my attention and blowing mind, then didn't try much again.

Are there places where i can order a real good enough specimen samples that i can really learn from and can watch for long time? i don't know if those i have are good enough, i feel they are large scales samples and not tiny unseen ones, so i hope to get those kind of specimen where i can see the unseen really and test my microscope performance or quality really.

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Re: Modify my microscope or just give up???

#10 Post by BramHuntingNematodes » Wed Aug 12, 2020 7:41 pm

https://www.doctordirt.org/teachingresources/berlese

If you have a handful of dirt you should be able to look at a great number of things. You might even find the reason your lemon tree is wilting!
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TareqPhoto
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Re: Modify my microscope or just give up???

#11 Post by TareqPhoto » Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:00 pm

BramHuntingNematodes wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 7:41 pm
https://www.doctordirt.org/teachingresources/berlese

If you have a handful of dirt you should be able to look at a great number of things. You might even find the reason your lemon tree is wilting!
How did you know that i have a lemon tree?!!! :o :D :lol:

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Re: Modify my microscope or just give up???

#12 Post by BramHuntingNematodes » Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:03 pm

Well everyone should have a lemon tree. It's the best little tree-- I built a whole greenhouse just for mine.
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TareqPhoto
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Re: Modify my microscope or just give up???

#13 Post by TareqPhoto » Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:13 pm

BramHuntingNematodes wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:03 pm
Well everyone should have a lemon tree. It's the best little tree-- I built a whole greenhouse just for mine.
Well, my garden is small, and i live in very hot climate, but i do have few trees, lemon, almond, mango, pomegranate, berry kind of and something else i don't know, just i don't take care of any plant, needs lots of care and i really feel that i don't care even about my life itself.

I will see what can i find around in my garden, i don't want to just go with plants cells.

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75RR
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Re: Modify my microscope or just give up???

#14 Post by 75RR » Wed Aug 12, 2020 9:48 pm

... many say go bring pond water, in fact i don't get that anywhere and even if i don't like to collect water from there by myself,
but i was thinking maybe if i can find something around my house, or even in my garden, maybe trying plants samples at least although
i really wanted to see something like bacteria and living cells as much i can, so what do you recommend i can do to my microscope?
The overflow trays of houseplants are a good source of animalcules as would be an overflow ditch in the garden.

If you want to be more adventurous then you can collect some seaweed from the sea, lots of interesting things live on it.

For all these suggestions you will need to prepare a wet slide, see link below:



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TareqPhoto
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Re: Modify my microscope or just give up???

#15 Post by TareqPhoto » Wed Aug 12, 2020 10:32 pm

75RR wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 9:48 pm
... many say go bring pond water, in fact i don't get that anywhere and even if i don't like to collect water from there by myself,
but i was thinking maybe if i can find something around my house, or even in my garden, maybe trying plants samples at least although
i really wanted to see something like bacteria and living cells as much i can, so what do you recommend i can do to my microscope?
The overflow trays of houseplants are a good source of animalcules as would be an overflow ditch in the garden.

If you want to be more adventurous then you can collect some seaweed from the sea, lots of interesting things live on it.

For all these suggestions you will need to prepare a wet slide, see link below:



Very nice, i will try to collect samples, i hope to find pond water around as it sounds the best sample to use to see something.

I just tried three samples by my own and with help of my daughter, one is the air condition dirty water, and second is my pee water, and last my daughter "Per....." blood, and that blood is definitely has something in it, but we couldn't see anything, as i must use a dark field but i don't know where i put my DF filters or condenser, and i don't know why i always see green things even with yellow pee and reddish blood.

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Re: Modify my microscope or just give up???

#16 Post by TareqPhoto » Wed Aug 12, 2020 10:42 pm

It is really very difficult, i am using 20x eyepieces, i do have 10x eyepieces too, and honestly speaking, i could never see anything moving with that 10x EP even with 40x objectives which is not good enough and need to be cleaned maybe or modified, while using 20x i can barely see something moving at 40x but still very tiny, only using dark field, so what are the size of those living cells then? i mean should i go up to 1200x or even 2000x until i see something which means i need to buy an oil immersion?

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Re: Modify my microscope or just give up???

#17 Post by BramHuntingNematodes » Thu Aug 13, 2020 1:50 pm

The oil immersion objectives are useful if you want bacteria to be your focus. They are likely more trouble than they are worth for looking at amoebas, worms, ciliates, rotifers, essentially all those pond creatures. A difficulty may be in your samples

Air conditioner water is distilled, so it might not have anything living in it. Urinalysis is a specialized field, and I wouldn't expect much to found in there unless you knew what you were looking for. The blood likely has the largest individual objects of any of those samples with red blood cells being a tad under 10 microns wide. If you used a soil sample and found a rotifer in it, you would be looking at an animal roughly 20,000-100,000 times the volume of the largest thing you're trying to look at now.
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TareqPhoto
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Re: Modify my microscope or just give up???

#18 Post by TareqPhoto » Thu Aug 13, 2020 3:39 pm

BramHuntingNematodes wrote:
Thu Aug 13, 2020 1:50 pm
The oil immersion objectives are useful if you want bacteria to be your focus. They are likely more trouble than they are worth for looking at amoebas, worms, ciliates, rotifers, essentially all those pond creatures. A difficulty may be in your samples

Air conditioner water is distilled, so it might not have anything living in it. Urinalysis is a specialized field, and I wouldn't expect much to found in there unless you knew what you were looking for. The blood likely has the largest individual objects of any of those samples with red blood cells being a tad under 10 microns wide. If you used a soil sample and found a rotifer in it, you would be looking at an animal roughly 20,000-100,000 times the volume of the largest thing you're trying to look at now.
I will think more about what i should use or collect as samples, maybe that is what making it difficult maybe, i mean i have 2 boxes full of samples, 200 and another 10 extra, i can see them all clearly really, even among of the samples there are paramecium/Euglena/rotifer cells, so i don't know if they are really an actual size or they only mimic it somehow.

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Re: Modify my microscope or just give up???

#19 Post by TareqPhoto » Thu Aug 13, 2020 3:45 pm

Here is one of those samples

Image

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