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Yet another Australian

 
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McManly



Joined: 12 Oct 2009
Posts: 2
Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2009 4:22 am    Post subject: Yet another Australian Reply with quote

G'day, all! I'm from the municipality of Manly, on Sydney's northern beaches and I'm hoping to garner a bit of help. By training, I'm a biologist (double major in botany and zoology), though I seem to have spent most of my working life doing things other than teaching science, which is what I set out to do.

These days, I have a piece of paper that says I am retired, and I work more than ever, as a writer, covering the range of history, science, technology in varying doses. My real name is Peter Macinnis, and that more or less explains my nickname, if you squint hard enough.

Right now, I'm doing a commissioned book for the National Library of Australia. the title to be 'Australian Backyard Naturalist'. My main aim is to acquire shots that my readers might hope to attain or at least see, if they have a microscope themselves. I have a seven-year-old Canon Powershot G2 that I am about to replace with a G11. I'm hoping that my existing macro and telephoto lenses will go on the new camera: the mount is bayonet rather than screw, but the lenses are said to be good for the whole G series.

I have bought myself a passable (but not luxurious) new monoc and binoc microscope and spent rather more on a weird (possibly Chinese) USB camera, 3 meg in all, which runs under some curious software called Future WinJoe. It has ghastly grubby optics that I can't get clean: I have stripped the lens down and worked on it, but there are always black marks on the shots.

The documentation for Future WinJoe is zilch, so I'm hoping to find somebody else in the same sort of position. I have more or less mastered the controls now, but it was trial and error fiddling with the settings.

Oustide my window, I have tanks that are carrying diatoms, Paramecium, rotifers and more, and I was out last weekend trying to get tardigrades and pseudoscorpions, but without success. The nematodes are doing well.


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Australian biologist and writer
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Aynia



Joined: 01 May 2008
Posts: 724
Location: Europe somewhere

PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2009 6:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome Peter from Oz.

Looks like you'll feel right at home here! Very Happy
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missgecko



Joined: 04 Jul 2009
Posts: 252
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2009 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey McManly - welcome aboard!!! You'll enjoy the atmosphere here - it's brilliant.
Cheers
Sam
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Sam

'To see a world in a grain of sand And heaven in a wild flower. Hold infinity in the palm of your hand And eternity in an hour.' William Blake
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rjlittlefield
Site Admin


Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 18345
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2009 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peter, I have been remiss in not greeting you! Speaking both personally and as Admin, welcome aboard! Very Happy

I was intrigued by your question about Future WinJoe, since I've never heard of it. So I did a Google search on that phrase, "Future WinJoe" (with the quotes). What came back was a page of hits like I've never seen before -- almost empty, and with the heading Results 1 - 9 of about 7 for "Future WinJoe". Apparently it's not a very popular topic for discussion!

Aside from Future WinJoe, are there some particular questions you'd like help with?

--Rik
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Charles Krebs



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 5763
Location: Issaquah, WA USA

PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2009 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome Peter...

Your "black dots" are most likely tiny dust specs on the sensor (or probably the IR filter over the sensor).

You might also try and see if the program MICAM will work with your camera. It's free and pretty nice if it's compatible. Look for it here:
http://members.home.nl/mvanwesten/en_microscope.html
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McManly



Joined: 12 Oct 2009
Posts: 2
Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My apologies for the long silence: I had to get some writing done, and now I have an edited ms for a children's book back to check, plus flitting around the country for conferences and stuff. And there are two adult books in the pipeline. This retirement business is a killer!

The book that brought me here has to be in next March 31, but I will still be doing pics after that, so the photography side took a back seat. I have now completed the first draft of 'Australian Backyard Naturalist', and I am starting to look for bells and whistles, like the use of a Dust Buster vacuum cleaner to collect microfauna from trees.

A lot of the work I want to do is at x20, to allow for youngsters who only have a good hand lens. I have now established that you CAN see tardigrades at that magnification--not well, but once you know what to look for, they stand out. So in part, I need what I might call recognition shots of typical specimens.

Yes, I am almost certain to have questions, ranging from where I might source Gurr's Water Mounting Medium (or an equivalent) these days. Because I am writing for youngsters, I'm VERY fussy about toxic stuff--don't want to kill the next generation off too soon :-)

I am also interested in stains that are safe enough and easily available. It seems that methylene blue is available from pet and fish shops here in Oz. I keep meaning to go and bother the local pharmacist to see if they still sell tincture of iodine.

The black marks on the camera are indeed fine dust on the objective lens. I have washed it, rinsed it, puffed it with a puffer brush, but all my actions just rearrange the dust particles. Lens cloths have been useless as well. Grrrr!

The Future WinJoe software is so terrible that I'm thinking of trying other webcam software. Actually, it's not terrible, just devoid of information.

I am still waiting to see if my existing macro lens that screws onto my Canon G2 can be attached to the planned G11 that I have on order, and I am trying to source LED lights. Right now, I am using two Petzel headlights on jury-rigged stands: these usually attach to the head with an elasticised band. I will probably get a ring flash as well.

I'll return in a week or two, once my current top-of-the-heap editor has been satisfied.

cheers

peter macinnis
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