I have been lurking the forum for a while and done a few posts so I think it is time I "came out"
I started microscopy in my early teens with a turn of the century (19th to 20th) brass monocular scope. I spent many enjoyable hours with it and it solidified my interest in biology and microscopy. If anyone wondered where I was it was either at the lake, or the pond, or with my microscope looking at some stinky water!
When I later became employed as a research assistant in an insect endocrinology lab microscopes were a general feature of the landscape. But they were peripheral to most of my duties with the exception of stereo scope work. We mainly worked with old modified AO Spencer scopes which were outdated even at the time. But there were some new Wild's around and I had opportunities to work with B&L and AO Stereo zoom scopes of modern era.
After too many years I obtained a position as manager and operator of a service lab with a brand new state of the art AMRay 1000a scanning electron microscope. This was when SEM was a pretty new field, there were no trained operators and it was a perfect time for those (like me!) who had no previous experience to sneak in. Luckily I received great training at the factory.
The lab was open to use by the entire research community in the Boston Massachusetts area and so I photographed everything from deep sea vent bacteria to x-ray telescope diffraction gratings. There was always something new and I met and learned from many wonderful investigators. Truly a great employment experience.
Later I also got to learn and use an Hitachi 3000 TEM and did microphotography with a Zeiss Photomic III. (As we called it).
In all those years though, almost twenty, no one ever brought me any fresh water protozoa, my first love!
So now, some twenty years into retirement, I have forgotten most of what I learned so I am going to start all over again but this time with an AO20 phase microscope. Back to getting my feet wet foraging in ponds like I did when I was thirteen.