Through the microscope

Anoptral contrast- The meopta has more or less co-operated with me today and we have pictures to show for our efforts. After much huffing and puffing I managed to get the mirror, condenser and objective lenses aligned; sort of, just about, almost.

The Meopta’s condenser  is still a tad out of alignment but I think I have got away with it.

Anoptral phase contrast is much like normal phase contrast as far as set up goes. You need Kohler illumination and you need to use a phase telescope to align phase rings on the condenser turret with phase rings in the objective. The main difference is that with anoptral phase contrast the phase plates are a sooty brown colour. This reduces halos around your phase objects and gives a rather soothing brown background. Very easy on the eyes..

What do you think?

Diatoms, Anoptral phase

Diatoms, Anoptral phase

Diatoms, Anoptral phase

Diatoms, Anoptral phase

Diatoms, Anoptral phase

Diatoms, Anoptral phase


diatoms, anoptral contrast



Diatom, anoptral contrast


Diatom, anoptral contrast


Diatom, anoptral contrast


Diatoms, anoptral contrast


Diatom, anoptral contrast


Diatom, anoptral contrast


Diatom, anoptral contrast


Diatom, anoptral contrast


Diatom, anoptral contrast


Diatoms, anoptral contrast


Diatom, anoptral contrast


Diatom, anoptral contrast

Diatoms, Anoptral phase

Diatoms, anoptral contrast

Diatoms, Anoptral phase

Comments on: "Diatoms with anoptral phase contrast" (12)

  1. Gorgeous! Almost like a background of copper or bronze with golden jewelry floating around; some with agate centers… I’m captivated.


  2. No doubt — it sounded like a huge amount of work. But the results were lovely. 🙂


  3. Beautiful!
    Nice detail Keep up the good work!


  4. Gypsy Kiltbomb said:

    The background is very easy on comfort-challenged eyes like mine, and lets detail through that might be lost on a lighter background. I love that they don’t have to be beautiful to go about their business, but they are, anyway.


    • They do need to be beautiful i a way. The pictures you see are of the diatom frustule, or shell. When they are alive there are little creatures inside. The creatures are dead by the time they make it to a microscope slide.

      The shell is there to protect them, I suppose in their tiny world a thin, delicate shell is equivalent to wearing heavy armour.

      Oh, I thought of you the other night. I was kept awake from 2am until 3am by two owls! Actually, I was kept awake by my dog who was upset by the owls.

      One owl was saying “Twooo” and the other owl was replying “twooodle ooo ooo ooo.”
      For a while I thought it was humans making owl noises, people often signal to each other with bird noises, Especially people who are up to no good! It wasn’t people though, it was definitely owls.


      • Gypsy Kiltbomb said:

        Their shells couldn’t be ugly and still work? *grinduck*

        Owls generally get down to the business of making more owls fairly early in the year, so you may be in for a few more nights of duets, and then probably not much more than the occasional hunting call, which are usually much softer. We have Great Horned Owls here, which are, to quote Stephen King on another subject, PRETTY GODDAMN LOUD in breeding season. The rest of the year, you’d hardly know they’re around.

        I’m trying like crazy to learn the birds where we’re (fingers crossed) headed. Odds are, says my little hoard of books, you have Tawny Owls.


        • Tawny owls! That’s exciting. I know we have Barn Owls in teh area but I haven’t heard anyone mention tawny owls for years.

          I’m off to google their call and find out how common they are around here.


        • I’m pretty sure now that it was a male hooting. Apparently its a myth that one twits and the other twoos in reply. They can be heard together of course, but my owl(s) definitely sound most like a male tawny. It didn’t sound anything like any of the other owls.

          My owl had a fairly deep voice though. Deeper than any of the audio files I just listened to. He must be a big, butch owl 😀


          • Gypsy Kiltbomb said:

            One of my books says the female will echo the male’s call when she finds him fascinating, and that they’re hard to tell apart other than the female’s voice is a little more hoarse-sounding. So if you hear that, he’s found himself a girlfriend. 🙂


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