To be relative or not to be. That is the question.

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To be relative or not to be. That is the question.

#1 Post by The QCC » Thu Nov 20, 2014 12:55 pm

Does a microscope photo have to be relative and have meaning or is it enough just to be pretty.
I found one of my first attempts at making crystals. The slide was a discard and not labeled but I believe it is ASA* (Aspirin).
I could not identify anything for certain, but Photo 1 looks pretty.

In photography, many people talk and write about Bokeh**. Is Bokeh relative in microphotography?
I did not have to try very hard to achieve it in Photo 2.

If Photo 3 is in fact ASA, do you really want this in your stomach?

* ASA, acetylsalicylic acid
** Bokeh is the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image produced by a lens.

Unknown specimen crystals
Canon 5D
Nikon PL 2.5x eyepiece
Labomed LB-592
Obj.: 10x & 20x Inf. Pol Plan
Stacking: CombineZP
Post processing: Adobe Lightroom

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Crater Eddie
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Re: To be relative or not to be. That is the question.

#2 Post by Crater Eddie » Thu Nov 20, 2014 1:45 pm

Dang! Looks pretty good to me.
Olympus BH-2 / BHTU with Olympus E-P1 MFT camera mounted
LOMO POLAM L-213 / BIOLAM L-211 hybrid
LOMO Multiscope (Biolam)

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Re: To be relative or not to be. That is the question.

#3 Post by JimT » Fri Nov 21, 2014 12:13 am

Depends on the intent. Lab work should be "Relative" and of interest to technicians. Microscope images can be "Pretty" and enjoyed by many. However, both can be both. JimT

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Re: To be relative or not to be. That is the question.

#4 Post by gekko » Fri Nov 21, 2014 2:41 pm

Very pretty.

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Re: To be relative or not to be. That is the question.

#5 Post by Oliver » Sat Nov 22, 2014 8:51 am

If you look at the photo contest winners (Nikon, Olympus have microphotography contests), then I think both aspects count. The images are pretty, but also are able to illustrate interesting scientific concepts or unusual perspectives or views. So they are "absolute" (i.e. absolutely pretty, a picture for its own sake) and "relative" (increasing our knowledge) at the same time. Absolute pictures are important, because they help to increase the interest in the sciences and make science accessible to the wider public. ... ompetition

I think that the discussion is quite fundamental to the arts in general. Should art serve a purpose or should it just be there for its own sake? Quotes from Oscar Wilde comes into my mind here: "Beauty is the only thing that time cannot harm." and "All art is quite useless". So he is more on the "absolute" side of the scale. And who would have thought that Oscar Wilde even has quotes for us microscopists? "The secret of life is in art." and "Nature constantly imitates art.".

I have pictures of vitamin C and citric acid crystals under polarised light hanging in my living room and I like to look at them. They are more on the "absolute" side of the spectrum. But the "purpose" is the same for absolute and relative pictures: Both knowledge (relative) and aesthetic appeal (absolute) serve to achieve personal satisfaction. Microscopy widens our horizons, both on an artistic as well as on intellectual level.

Having said that, I think that there are now two new terms in scientific photography: "absolute" and "relative"! And I better quit now, before I get totally carried away.....

Microartistic greetings,
Image Oliver Kim - - Microscopes: Olympus CH40 - Olympus CH-A - Breukhoven BMS student microscope - Euromex stereo - uSCOPE MXII

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And add another word to scientific photography.

#6 Post by The QCC » Sat Nov 22, 2014 5:29 pm

Irreverent. As in almost sacrilegious.

I read Oliver's reply several times and really like what he wrote.

But to paraphrase Oscar WIlde "Art is made to be loved, not understood."

The posted image has no relevance scientifically and is absolutely not beautiful and probably sacrilegious to a hard core microscopist.

We have a Calico cat that is the darling creature of my wife. Whenever she sees one of my microscope photos she says "It would look better with a cat in it."

At the time I was showing her a photo of Safranin. Trying as hard as I could, I could not find a place in the Safranin photo to put a cat.

But, a Safranin photo folded, mirrored and layered with a DarkField photo of Safranin and other manipulations in Photoshop produced what I envisioned as cat faces.

She was not impressed.


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