Microscopy as a Hobby
While many microscopists work in research, clinical or educational settings, there is also a small group who spend their spare time enjoying microscopy as a hobby. Quite a few submissions for our ZEISS Microscopy Image Contest 2021 came from hobby microscopists.
Enjoy their beautiful images and thoughts on microscopy as a hobby:
Michael Witzke, Germany
Mr. Witzke had a toy microscope as a child, but nothing to do with microscopy for many years after that. It wasn’t until he was retired that he had time to really enjoy this hobby.
He uses an old ZEISS Standard 18 with a polarization device and Epi-Fluorescence Illuminator.
I find pleasure in the wide range of activities associated with microscopy, from collecting the samples, to using the microscope and its technology, from micro-photography to image processing. And, of course, the fascination of being able to discover something new that normally remains hidden.
Microcrystals of Cinnamic acid from water/ethanol solution
Lactic Acid and Epsom Salts
Microcrystals of Lactic acid and Epsom salts from water solution
Microcrystals of Novaminsulfon solution (painkiller)
Pollen of Catsear
Pollen of catsear (Hypochaeris radicata), stacked image
Markus Balint, Hungary
Dr. Balint works as a clinical veterinarian for dogs, cats and exotic animals. He is also a photographer who puts every possible thing under the microscope.
He uses various techniques for sample preparation and for imaging, too. His favorite lightning methods are polarized light, color dark field, and Nomarski DIC.
Sometimes I choose the subject from work (medicines or parasites for example), but more often from my home or from nature.
Transmitted polarized light image of a cat louse (Felicola subrostratus)
Dark field image of a part of a mosquito larva
Transmitted polarized light image of cells of an onion
Ian Jones, Switzerland
Mr. Jones' interest in the ‘micro-world’ has stayed with him and, over time, he has built up a collection of antique and modern microscopes, including three ZEISS microscopes that he uses for photomicroscopy.
I have always been interested in microscopy ever since I first saw pond water under the microscope as a young child, an experience I will never forget.
Crystalized Toilet Cistern Cleaner
Crystalized toilet cistern cleaner (tablet): Polarized light + mica retarder, ZEISS Primostar, x10 PlanAchromat, ZEISS Axiocam 208c Home preparation (tablet dissolved in water and airdried on slide)
Ichneumonidae in Baltic Amber
Ichneumonidae in baltic amber: Epi-illumination, ZEISS Axioscope 5, x2.5 PlanNeofluar, ZEISS Axiocam 208c Stack of 44 images compiled in Zerene Stacker Commercial sample of amber
Butterfly Scale ‘Kingfisher’
Butterfly scale ‘kingfisher’: Epi-illumimation, ZEISS Primostar, x4 PlanAchromat, ZEISS Axiocam 208c 3×2 images stich using Image Composite Editor Arrangement by Klaus Kemp (commercial slide)
Clockwise from top left: BF. DF, DIC: ZEISS Axioscope 5, x10 PlanNeoFluar, ZEISS Axiocam 208c PhC: ZEISS Primostar, x20 PlanAchromat Ph2, ZEISS Axiocam 208c 2×2 grid compiled on Photoshop Arrangement by Klaus Kemp (commercial slide)
Mark Edmunds, USA
Together with his father back in the 1960s, Mr. Edmunds would look at insects and see minute details of their structures. His interest in biological science lagged behind his interests in Chemistry and Engineering.
Upon retiring after a successful career as a chemical engineer, he took up his interest in microscopy once again. Using vintage microscopes that he could acquire and restore, the minute details of biological samples fascinate him once again.
Further exploration of the physics of microscopy led him to acquire both polarizing and phase-contrast equipped microscopes. With the added capability of the polarizing microscopes, he has explored the birefringence of crystals. With phase-contrast, he has been able to see greater detail in many of the tiny organisms which I find in pond water.
The workhorse of his microscopes is a trinocular ZEISS GFL equipped for both polarization and phase-contrast. A simple digital camera inserted in the trinocular objective position is used to capture images.
My father, an entomologist, introduced me to microscopy in the late 1960’s. The power of the microscope fascinated me.
Birefringence of a sucrose crystal