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Re: [beemonitoring] Request for Microscope Information

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  • Crumbling.Deana@epamail.epa.gov
    Hi Gene, I can assist. I am also doing bee surveys with Sam. The set-up I ve created over the past year is assembled from various components, but they seem to
    Message 1 of 3 , Jul 23, 2009
    Hi Gene,

    I can assist. I am also doing bee surveys with Sam. The set-up I've
    created over the past year is assembled from various components, but
    they seem to work well together. Sam says he is very impressed with the
    quality of the photos. He asked me to post information & pictures of the
    set-up and examples of the bee pix on this list serve, but I haven't
    gotten around to it yet.

    I have a Meiji dissecting scope that I bought new about 7 years ago.
    I've been very happy with it. It tolerates being lugged and bumped
    around in the car. It does have built-in lighting, but not bright enough
    for 40X photos of bee anatomy. As far as lighting, I have a jury-rigged
    system using common materials (such as McDonald's drink cups, waxed
    paper, and styrofoam support struts) and desk lamps I already had. It
    gives me a lot of flexibility to move the illumination around until it
    is just right. I have also discovered that the smaller (about 6 inches
    in diameter), opaque white, plastic "shades" of cheap floor lamps make
    great diffusers that can surround the bee on the microscope shade to
    eliminate even the worst glare that the opaque covers on the desk lamps
    sometimes don't eliminate. The plastic can be hack-sawed into a
    configuration that works with the scope. I use a block of child's
    modeling clay to hold pinned bees on the microscope clay so they can be
    at any angle while staying perfectly still.

    For photos, I had gotten the photo tube option when I bought the scope
    (a "trinocular" scope). Last year I purchased a simple digital camera
    for it. The camera inserts into the extra tube. Sometimes you hear that
    those cameras can be inserted through one of the eye pieces. While that
    is technically true, it would be a horrible set-up to work with. Don't
    do it. The extra money for the photo tube is worth it. The digital
    camera I bought was $250--pretty cheap as far as digital cameras go, but
    works just fine for my purposes. It is a DinoCapture microscope camera
    (not the Dino handheld "microscope," which is easy to confuse in
    advertisements, etc.). I did a lot of comparisons on the net before I
    bought this camera, and I've been very happy with it. (I bought the $60
    model first, and was not happy, so I sent it back and upgraded.) It
    plugs into the computer via USB, and does not need a separate power
    source. The software is easy to use, has lots of adjustments for getting
    exposure just right, has features that allow adding text & arrows to
    photos & making precise measurements (very helpful for bee faces, etc).
    With that software, you wouldn't need to buy a reticle to do
    measurements. It has other features I haven't even learned how to use
    yet because I haven't needed them. It will also work with a camera that
    is built into the computer. It will do movies as well as stills. The
    company I bought it from has knowledgeable people who understand the
    product and can help with set-up.

    Sam turned me on to a freeware program (CombineZP) that "stacks" digital
    photos taken at sequential focus lengths. Focal stacking can capture the
    3D features of a bee so they are all in focus in the final picture. I
    thought that the directions for using it were not very clear, but I
    eventually figured it out. I do some touch-up photo editing with the
    software that comes as part of Microsoft's operating system (I have
    Vista). It takes a fair amount of time to process the photos thru
    CombineZ, but the end result is worth it.

    I also have found the SnagIt program is extremely useful for editing
    photos (like adding arrows & text to "finished" photos) & placing them
    into PPT slides, Word docs, and the like. Best of all, it takes
    "pictures" of specific things on the computer screen that can be turned
    into all types of graphics files, or just copied and pasted into Word &
    PPT as an object. With it, I can take pictures of text, etc, on the
    DiscoverLife website to include with a photo layout of the bee
    characters in the DiscoverLife guides. SnagIt is commercial software
    with different versions for sale. The version I bought is only $50, and
    worth every penny for the convenience it offers. Instead of mailing bees
    to Sam for confirming identities, I can take pix of bee features, show
    the guide character in question & email them to him.

    Since you are in MD, and I am in Alexandria, VA, you could come over to
    see the set-up and I could help you get started.

    --Deana Crumbling



    From: "Eugene J. Scarpulla" <ejscarp@...>

    To: "Bee United" <beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com>

    Date: 07/22/2009 11:39 PM

    Subject: [beemonitoring] Request for Microscope Information












    Please forgive the request of an ornithologist turned entomologist. I know
    what to look for when purchasing binoculars and spotting scopes (Leica,
    Swarovski, Zeiss), but I need advice on purchasing a dissecting stereoscope.

    All this year, I am doing bee bowl surveys (a la Sam Droege) on Hart-Miller
    Island, MD in the Chesapeake Bay. I would like to purchase a quality
    microscope for identifying bees and other insects. I also would like to
    have the capability to photograph pinned and live specimens. I would
    greatly appreciate it if anyone could advise me on the following:

    recommended makes/models
    makes/models to avoid
    suppliers
    lighting (I assume cool temperatures are needed for photographing live
    specimens.)
    photographic capabilities
    specifications to look for
    anything else

    If you can assist, please respond directly to me (or to the list if you
    think that the information would be of interest to others). Thank you.

    Gene

    Gene Scarpulla
    Editor, The Maryland Entomologist
    Millers Island, Maryland
    ejscarp@...
  • barbara.abraham@hamptonu.edu
    I would also like to include a good dissecting microscope in a grant proposal. The ones at NCTC (bee course) were very nice. Did anybody get their specs?
    Message 2 of 3 , Jul 23, 2009
    • 0 Attachment

      I would also like to include a good dissecting microscope in a grant proposal.   The ones at NCTC (bee course) were very nice.  Did anybody get their specs?

       

      Thanks!

       

      Barb

       

      Barbara J. Abraham, Ph.D.

      Associate Professor

      SEEDS Ecology Chapter Advisor

      Department of Biological Sciences

      Hampton University

      Hampton, VA  23668

      757-727-5283

      barbara.abraham@...

       


      From: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com [mailto:beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Eugene J. Scarpulla
      Sent: Wednesday, July 22, 2009 11:40 PM
      To: Bee United
      Subject: [beemonitoring] Request for Microscope Information

       

       

      Please forgive the request of an ornithologist turned entomologist. I know
      what to look for when purchasing binoculars and spotting scopes (Leica,
      Swarovski, Zeiss), but I need advice on purchasing a dissecting stereoscope.

      All this year, I am doing bee bowl surveys (a la Sam Droege) on Hart-Miller
      Island , MD in the Chesapeake Bay . I would like to purchase a quality
      microscope for identifying bees and other insects. I also would like to
      have the capability to photograph pinned and live specimens. I would
      greatly appreciate it if anyone could advise me on the following:

      recommended makes/models
      makes/models to avoid
      suppliers
      lighting (I assume cool temperatures are needed for photographing live
      specimens.)
      photographic capabilities
      specifications to look for
      anything else

      If you can assist, please respond directly to me (or to the list if you
      think that the information would be of interest to others). Thank you.

      Gene

      Gene Scarpulla
      Editor, The Maryland Entomologist
      Millers Island , Maryland
      ejscarp@comcast. net

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