Word to the Wise: Lessons Learned

Do you have any microscopy questions, which you are afraid to ask? This is your place.
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KurtM
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Word to the Wise: Lessons Learned

#1 Post by KurtM » Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:53 pm

Since there seems to be bunch of new folks coming in lately, which is always a good thing, I thought it might be well to post a couple things that really helped me a lot. If anyone else has a lesson learned, by all means chime in!

First, this video, which really helped me better understand how our microscopes work:

https://archive.org/details/imaging_a_hidden_world

Second, I particularly hope to prevent anyone from being unpleasantly surprised by a messy and heartbreaking slide box disaster. Please be aware that sometime the mountant used on permanent slides, even some that were professionally made, never totally sets up solid; and when the slides are stored in vertical, upright, orientation the cover slips can ... well, slip, and the mountant ooze out, and you can just imagine the mess, aside from losing possibly precious slides! I have learned, then, to store my (inexpensive) slide storage boxes on end, like books, which keeps the slides inside safely horizontal. This habit has the side benefit of reducing the shelf space occupied by these boxes.

Image

PS: That picture was made to illustrate my homemade slide ringing table, if you want to know more about it, just ask.
Cheers,
Kurt Maurer
League City, Texas
email: ngc704(at)aol(dot)com
https://www.flickr.com/photos/67904872@ ... 912223623/

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75RR
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Re: Word to the Wise: Lessons Learned

#2 Post by 75RR » Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:10 am

Like your idea.

This is mine:

Always have a notebook next to your microscope.
I inevitably regret it when I get carried away and blithely tell myself that I will remember the settings. I never do, not completely anyway.

Use a spiral bound notebook as they lie nice and flat, draw several columns.
Column headings should/could include:

Date: - The photos will have this information but this keeps it handy.
Sample: - Jar number or area it was collected
Objective: - Magnification + details such as NA (Numerical aperture).
Optovar setting: - (magnifier if used)
Illumination: - Brightfield, Oblique ...
Size: - as accurately calculated as possible
ID: - Name of the subject if known. (Order, Genus, Species ...)
Colour: - Number based on a Colour Chart (Helps accurate rendition in post processing - particularly useful with algae - there are many shades of green)
Image #: - Having the image numbers links the images to the notebook. If a sequence of shots are taken, I write down first and last.
Folder Number: Location of the images taken.
Notes: - This is the last and widest column - includes anything else. I sometimes make a little drawing to refresh my memory.
Zeiss Standard WL (somewhat fashion challenged) & Wild M8
Olympus E-P2 (Micro Four Thirds Camera)

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Nance
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Re: Word to the Wise: Lessons Learned

#3 Post by Nance » Tue Feb 27, 2018 3:09 pm

TIP FOR BUYING ON EBAY - RE: SHIPPING FRAGILE ITEMS

Don't forget to always communicate with the seller regarding the manner they will ship.
Insist that heavy pieces w/fragile parts be suitably packed.
Do not just assume it will be packed correctly - ALWAYS inquire and give direction.
Consider suggesting double-boxing, bubble-wrap, etc. replacements.com has
a great video on packing techniques.

I have been sadly dismayed lately with several purchases - it is surprising how
many people will throw a 7lb lamp or a 17 lb microscope into a
cardboard box with no material to absorb shock - write 'FRAGILE' on
the outside and consider it well packed - then blame the shipping company.

One person told me the lamp was too heavy to break - it was a mess.
I had one guy respond that he has shipped 80 scopes and people always
hate it when he uses bubble wrap or popcorns... so he used nothing. really??
then he almost had my fedex guy suspended for a week - I prevented that.

There are great packers out there, but Assume Nothing -
always discuss shipping materials w/the seller.

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KurtM
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Re: Word to the Wise: Lessons Learned

#4 Post by KurtM » Tue Feb 27, 2018 3:33 pm

Excellent -- keep 'em coming! 75's post reminded me of another quickie to add:

If you prepare permanent slides, never put off labeling because you WILL forget, and few things are so useless as specimens without context.
Cheers,
Kurt Maurer
League City, Texas
email: ngc704(at)aol(dot)com
https://www.flickr.com/photos/67904872@ ... 912223623/

Hobbyst46
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Re: Word to the Wise: Lessons Learned

#5 Post by Hobbyst46 » Tue Feb 27, 2018 5:33 pm

A tip to would-be diatom collectors:

Read two 2016 posts "Doing Diatoms" and "Doing diatoms a Different Way".
First, they are examples of scrupulous, methodical, creative labor that yielded remarkable results.
Second, IMHO, the challenges of collecting, cleaning and purifying diatoms, as described in the posts, exist not only within hobby missions but also within professional research missions with diatoms.
My compliments to the contributors of these posts.
Zeiss Standard GFL+Canon EOS-M10, Olympus VMZ stereo

MicroBob
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Re: Word to the Wise: Lessons Learned

#6 Post by MicroBob » Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:53 pm

Storing the slides this way has one more advantage: The specimens don't sink down from the cover slip to the slide. This is very important for diatom slides. So storage always flat with cover slip down.

My DIY - ringing table looks very similar. The two disks are guide wheels from an elevator.
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MicroBob
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Re: Word to the Wise: Lessons Learned

#7 Post by MicroBob » Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:02 pm

Hi Hobbyst46,
thank you for the recommendation of the two threads. I tried to search for the two threads you recommended. It looks as if "Diatoms" is an illegal search word in this form? 8-)
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Crater Eddie
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Re: Word to the Wise: Lessons Learned

#8 Post by Crater Eddie » Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:15 pm

The forum's search feature is a little odd. Try typing this into your browser's address bar: (or copy and paste)

doing diatoms site:microbehunter.com/microscopy-forum/

CE
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Hobbyst46
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Re: Word to the Wise: Lessons Learned

#9 Post by Hobbyst46 » Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:08 pm

Actually, it is easier to reach the posts from the Google's search engine - just input the post name and it will find it
Either I do not know how to search inside the forum or the search engine ignores scripts - even when I put two words between "" marks.
Age takes its toll.
Zeiss Standard GFL+Canon EOS-M10, Olympus VMZ stereo

Charles
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Re: Word to the Wise: Lessons Learned

#10 Post by Charles » Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:23 pm

Doing Diatoms is here: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=3036
And Doing Diatoms a Different Way is here: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=3036

MichaelG.
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Re: Word to the Wise: Lessons Learned

#11 Post by MichaelG. » Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:42 pm

Thanks for posting the links, Charles
... but unfortunately they are both the same.

MichaelG.
.
Edit: Presumably the 'Different Way' link is:
viewtopic.php?t=4227
Too many 'projects'

MicroBob
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Re: Word to the Wise: Lessons Learned

#12 Post by MicroBob » Wed Feb 28, 2018 6:29 am

Thank you for the help with the search engine!

This is the correct link to the "Doing Diatoms a Differnet Way" -thread:

viewtopic.php?t=4227

I guess that it is possible to exclude words from search to reduce server load. In some forums you can't search for words under 4 or 5 letters like DIC, LOMO, Apo, Oil etc.. :lol: Probably there is also an option to exclude very popular words....

I had seen these threads before but have not yet read them from end to end. I will catch up with this now!

Hobbyst46
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Re: Word to the Wise: Lessons Learned

#13 Post by Hobbyst46 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:59 pm

I read them end to end after having read several articles about the subject in peer-review journals related to paleontology, ecology etc.
Zeiss Standard GFL+Canon EOS-M10, Olympus VMZ stereo

charlie g
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Re: Word to the Wise: Lessons Learned

#14 Post by charlie g » Wed Feb 28, 2018 6:49 pm

Thanks, Kurt ( OP), for the thoughtful posting of tips for microscopists. I strongly suggest: 1) a small LED torch/light by your setup...in dim light this light is very useful with specs on objectives, working distance between slide and objectives , side lighting a specimen jar while looking for objects to pipetup for examination...etc..

2) A simple rubber camera 'air-bulb' to frequently puff-blast your oculars when you first uncover your stands for an observation session.

Nice comments in this thread! Charlie Guevara

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Re: Word to the Wise: Lessons Learned

#15 Post by KurtM » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:42 am

Here's a tip rnabholz posted some time back, that I have been using constantly ever since: eyepiece dust covers using repurposed coin container tubes.
ep dust covers.jpg
ep dust covers.jpg (53.55 KiB) Viewed 4217 times

eBay link: https://tinyurl.com/y92hk6f6

I second the last tip given by charlie g, the "simple rubber camera 'air-bulb'", it's another bench item I use every time I park myself in front of my scopes. Don't forget to blow the condenser off too!

Search for: Giottos AA1900 Rocket Air Blaster

Amazon link: https://tinyurl.com/ybce2c7h
Cheers,
Kurt Maurer
League City, Texas
email: ngc704(at)aol(dot)com
https://www.flickr.com/photos/67904872@ ... 912223623/

GaryB
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Re: Word to the Wise: Lessons Learned

#16 Post by GaryB » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:38 am

Great tips!

For those wishing to understand illumination and how the light microscope works, this video is great.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60_jgZtyR6U

A tip for excessive lens CA.
I've discovered that if I place a piece of white plastic, like a small piece of a ping pong ball on the top of the condenser lens, a lot of the offending CA vanishes. You can add an oblique stop to the condenser to improve contrast.

A tip for Phase Contrast
Place a black disk with a pie quarter cutout (think Pacman) under the condenser so that only a quarter of the phase ring is lit you'll get relief phase

Polarizer tip
Though not designed for it, a lot of microscope heads or in the body just above the objective turret, there is usually some space around to place a polarizer, this allows an easy way to get simple Pol by adding a second polarizer over the light source or in the condenser, rotate to suit. For added colors, put the polarizer over the light source and a crinkled up piece of clear plastic or piece of a CD case over that and move/rotate for different colors.

Quick oblique tip
For a quick and rough oblique, you can move the objective turret just off it's notch a little to either side. It offsets the objective from the axial plane and points is more to the outside of the condenser beam. Works better below 40x

billbillt
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Re: Word to the Wise: Lessons Learned

#17 Post by billbillt » Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:37 pm

KurtM wrote:Since there seems to be bunch of new folks coming in lately, which is always a good thing, I thought it might be well to post a couple things that really helped me a lot. If anyone else has a lesson learned, by all means chime in!

First, this video, which really helped me better understand how our microscopes work:

https://archive.org/details/imaging_a_hidden_world

Second, I particularly hope to prevent anyone from being unpleasantly surprised by a messy and heartbreaking slide box disaster. Please be aware that sometime the mountant used on permanent slides, even some that were professionally made, never totally sets up solid; and when the slides are stored in vertical, upright, orientation the cover slips can ... well, slip, and the mountant ooze out, and you can just imagine the mess, aside from losing possibly precious slides! I have learned, then, to store my (inexpensive) slide storage boxes on end, like books, which keeps the slides inside safely horizontal. This habit has the side benefit of reducing the shelf space occupied by these boxes.

Image

PS: That picture was made to illustrate my homemade slide ringing table, if you want to know more about it, just ask.
I think your slide ringing practice is one of the coolest projects to do..
BillT

billbillt
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Re: Word to the Wise: Lessons Learned

#18 Post by billbillt » Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:01 pm

Nance wrote:TIP FOR BUYING ON EBAY - RE: SHIPPING FRAGILE ITEMS

Don't forget to always communicate with the seller regarding the manner they will ship.
Insist that heavy pieces w/fragile parts be suitably packed.
Do not just assume it will be packed correctly - ALWAYS inquire and give direction.
Consider suggesting double-boxing, bubble-wrap, etc. replacements.com has
a great video on packing techniques.

I have been sadly dismayed lately with several purchases - it is surprising how
many people will throw a 7lb lamp or a 17 lb microscope into a
cardboard box with no material to absorb shock - write 'FRAGILE' on
the outside and consider it well packed - then blame the shipping company.

One person told me the lamp was too heavy to break - it was a mess.
I had one guy respond that he has shipped 80 scopes and people always
hate it when he uses bubble wrap or popcorns... so he used nothing. really??
then he almost had my fedex guy suspended for a week - I prevented that.

There are great packers out there, but Assume Nothing -
always discuss shipping materials w/the seller.
I got to where I would caution the seller to pack it very well because "the post office loves to break microscopes"... I felt this reminder would cause them to realize that I expected it to arrive as it was listed..

BillT

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rnabholz
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Re: Word to the Wise: Lessons Learned

#19 Post by rnabholz » Sat Aug 18, 2018 2:38 am

Since Kurt invoked my name above, I will return the favor.

Kurt taught me that the best thing to use to clean immersion oil is Saliva. That's right just spit on them there slides and wipe off gently.

Plus it keeps others out of your slide boxes. ;^)

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