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DIY Dark Field Macro Illumination

Discussion in 'Exhibition Lounge' started by daft_biker, Apr 21, 2009.

  1. daft_biker

    daft_biker Action Man!

    Recently I found a springtail which I can't ID properly under normal lighting so have been messing about with dark field illumination to try to bring up the hard to see features needed for a proper ID. The subject is about 2.5mm long so there's no chance of seeing the things I want by eye.

    No idea if you can buy setups to do this in macro but I had a go at building something to do it on anyway.

    The aim is to get a hollow tube of light to converge on a point then go outwards so the flash doesn't shine directly on the lens:
    [​IMG]

    You put the subject where the light crosses and take pics from the dark space above.

    Took a bit of messing about and loads of ciggies to get it working but I think as a 1st go it worked out not too bad :)
    The images and setup is here. There's notes on the gear pics to what does what but the materials included a 10p piece, some sticky tape and some cardboard....no expense was spared :D

    [​IMG]

    Think I need to work on getting the subjects where I want them without squishing them though :eek: (these live in the soil of your garden BTW...probably!)
     
  2. sey

    sey Well-Known Member

    Hmmm, it's a pity that ET has gone home and R2-Q2 hasn't been around lately neither, I'm sure they could solve these unwordly things for you! ;)
     
  3. snowqueen

    snowqueen Well-Known Member

    You put the subject where the light crosses and take pics from the dark space above.......


    Ok, im no doubt being a bit thick here, how do you suspend the springtail where the light crosses???

    :D
     
  4. daft_biker

    daft_biker Action Man!

    Nah, he just moved to Scotland ;):D
    [​IMG]
     
  5. daft_biker

    daft_biker Action Man!

    I used a UV filter and some cardboard but am going to make something proper so I can use the tripod to hold the camera.

    UV filter and cardboard thingy :)
     
  6. sey

    sey Well-Known Member

    with all due respects, 2.5mm and no chance seeing etc., so how the heck did you find it in the firstplace?

    :eek:
     
  7. daft_biker

    daft_biker Action Man!

    These ones are quite easy to spot....I lifted a rock in my garden and these are the little white things that wriggle about. They show up quite clearly against dark soil thankfully :)
     
  8. sey

    sey Well-Known Member

    you need to be careful looking under rocks and things! ;)
     
  9. clanny

    clanny Active Member

    Absolutely brilliant. I love the home sciencey feel of it all. It's exactly this sort of "I can do anything at home" attitude that has produce some of the best discoveries and inventions man has. How good would it be to discover an undescribed species in your own back garden?

    Hats off to you.
     
  10. daft_biker

    daft_biker Action Man!

    Cheers....I think it's about to get even more "sciencey" :D....

    Advice from an expert on springtails:
    As for discovering an undescribed species.... I can but hope :) Apparently there has been 11 new species described this year so far and there's 567 years left of people still finding new ones :D
     
  11. Barney

    Barney Well-Known Member

    What worries me is that link shows that between 1939 and 1945 there were 376 new species identified. Didn't they know there was war on?
     
  12. daft_biker

    daft_biker Action Man!

    Fearless researchers? :D
     
  13. AGW

    AGW Well-Known Member

    Part of the war effort......they were looking for highly trained killer springtails capable of being droped in behind enemy lines.....fear is the mother of invention!

    Graeme
     
  14. Mr_Geoff

    Mr_Geoff Well-Known Member

    I did something similar a while ago - can't remember what the subject was though.

    The setup was a little simpler - I used a plain glass sliding door from a wall cupboard supported between two small tables with a black velvet cloth on the floor underneath. I placed a piece of black card with a circle removed from the centre on the glass. The camera was on a tripod pointing down over the hole in the card and the flash units were on the floor, pointing up at either side of the hole in the card.

    So the flash beams crossed at the glass, and the back ground was the black velvet.

    Hope that explains it sufficiently, if not (and anyone's interested!) I'll see if I can set it up again & take a picture.
     
  15. daft_biker

    daft_biker Action Man!

    Aye, and soldiers digging fox holes was a good way of finding them.....had nowt to do with not getting shot :D
     
  16. daft_biker

    daft_biker Action Man!

    Might have to try that too...ta :) (but wouldn't say no to pics if you get around to it :) )

    One of the reasons I built it (mostly) out of stuff I have in my camera bag was so that it is portable. To identify this species(Deuteraphorura inermis) of springtail properly I need to be able to show; "The pseudocelli located on the surface of the cuticula at the posterior margins of the segments." Pseudocelli look like little dark patches and each species has them in a different place. In the below pic of a different species there is 3 of them at the base of each antenna:
    [​IMG]

    ....and the reason I want to be able to identify the white ones properly is because they've not been recorded north of Edinburgh. I want to find them up north :cool:
     
  17. AGW

    AGW Well-Known Member

    Stuff the beastie...just look at the fungi! What species of leaf was that? I might be able to get you a name.

    Graeme
     
  18. daft_biker

    daft_biker Action Man!

    Most of the leaves where that was taken are beech I think but it's a mixed forest and I think the surface of that leaf is too rough and it's more dark brown than dark orange. A bigger thicker leaf....one of the sycamore shaped ones I guess. I need to learn my trees :eek:

    Am fairly sure this was growing in the husk of an old beech seed though:
    [​IMG]
    Need to go back for better shots....I like those ones :)
     
  19. AGW

    AGW Well-Known Member

    A a cracking wee Dasyscyphus...probably virgineus, proper macro photography a last!

    Graeme
     
  20. daft_biker

    daft_biker Action Man!

    Cheers Graeme....am gonny practice focus stacking in photoshop with them. See if a I can make them look like a futuristic city or something. I may be sometime :D
     

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