Monday, June 1, 2015

The aliens live amongst us

Looking at the weird and wonderful world of beetles has been a revelation to me. It' s just over a year ago that attended a course by Brian Eversham on the identification of Carabid beetles and since then I've become well and truly hooked.

It's humbling to learn how little I know and I've made plenty of mistakes working my way through keys but it has been a really enjoyable experience, and something that has so many possibilities close to home.

I purchased a binocular microscope on ebay and have been working through some of my IDs using this. I have also have begun a small reference collection of the more common species that I come across so that I can improve my in-the-field identifications.

One of the things I have been trying to do is to take images down the microscope. I've been wanting to snap key features and then use these as another reference. However, my set up involves poking my Nikon Coolpix down an eyepiece and vaguely hoping for the best.

I need to investigate better ways to do this or take the plunge and invest in a more 'professional' microscope set up.

I start by trying to take a standard image. Here of a Notiophilus rufipes...

...then I try and focus in on a particular feature. Here the 2nd elytral interval which is as wide as the next three combined. Highlighted in red.

All crap photos but it helps me to memorise key features. Finally a shot of the head. I showed this one to my kids who thought the eyes were amazing. 

"Daddy, it looks like an alien!"

1 comment:

  1. Microscope photography is as much about lighting as optics or camera. In the case of black beetles the white background dominates the exposure so the subject is well under-exposed - try either over-exposing or using a grey or black background.