CORREA or NATIVE FUSCHIA (and a demo of my Digital Microscope)

Finally……….a demo of my newest ‘toy’.

If you’re a nature photographer and own a dedicated Macro lens and/or extension tubes, this demo is not for you.  You already know how to get some macro images with your camera gear.  (Note: I had a Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens but traded it to buy a Sony a6000 ‘mirrorless’ camera in early 2015).

Back to the story…….

I picked up my new(ish) Digital Microscope from the repairers last Monday and finally got to the shops to buy a couple of the tiny (aka minuscule) memory cards on Thursday.   The original memory card was destroyed when I push it in too far and damaged the screen trying to get it out.  All I can say is just as well I have slim fingers.  Just putting the card in the tiny memory slot is a challenge in itself. It has to be flat with the surface of the slot (and side of the digital screen). This afternoon, I was just practising putting the card in the tiny slot and keeping it there.  

The spring that bounces the card back out of the memory slot went into over-drive.

 First, the card bounced out and I couldn’t find it all.  It flew so far, that it landed in my open carry bag and I had to take out all 101 things I carry in that bag before I finally found it in the middle of my wallet.  How a tiny memory card got into a closed wallet is one of life’s mysteries.  

Then it flew out of the slot and landed in the lounge room about 5 feet away.   I’m not joking.   This tiny little memory card uses the digital screen memory slot as a springboard to shoot high into the air and land wherever it pleases.  It’s almost comic to think about.

It never did that earlier in the year, I swear.

I’ve been trying to take some photos with the in-house 3mp camera ever since I bought the memory card(s) on Thursday.   Thank goodness I bought 2 cards because at this rate I’m sure to lose one of them.

I can’t get the damn in-house camera to work and since all you have to do is use the mouse to click on the camera icon on the top left of the digital screen, just how hard can this be?

I also clicked on the SETTINGS icon on the top left of the digital screen and no sub-menu came up?  A mystery indeed!  Looks like I’m going to have to go back to the showroom to find out why (or have a tutorial)?

NOTE: I took a couple of images and transferred them to my iMac photo library when I first bought the Digital Microscope just after Christmas, so I DO know how to do this simple task.  I also looked at the sub-menus easily back then, so I know what they look like.  By the way, I love my new microscope and the head office showroom consultant was amazing.  Both in his advice and help getting started on this new hobby).

I can’t tell you how many times I swore at the microscope in the last 2 days.  Every swear word in the English Dictionary (and then some more words you wouldn’t think I might know) came to mind, and occasionally, mouth.

So this demo of my new ‘toy’ showing a Correa (or Native Fuschia) flower, which is growing next to the entrance of my apartment building, has to be photos taken of the digital screen with my Canon DLSR and Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 lens.

As this is a ‘demo’ post…… that will do.

First up.

I almost forgot.

I bought a little medical dissecting kit online while I was waiting for my microscope to be repaired.  Very handy for picking up tiny things and using the scalpel to cut the tubular Correa flower in half.  There are probes, scissors and other small equipment which I’ve made use of already.

I love the fine-pointed tweezers as much as the larger ‘grasping’ tweezers.

Good choice, Vicki, I said to myself.

The Correa is a native Australian plant and comes in a variety of colours and petal markings.  It’s a pretty little thing and seems to grow almost anywhere.

I took a few leaves off the stem of my sample first.

…and was left with a tiny green stem I wanted to examine.

I eventually turned the up-light on the microscope off (with its 5 levels of brightness) and used the down-light only (which also has 5 levels of brightness).

Please excuse the resolution, but I was taking a photo of a digital screen.  Not as clear as taking a photo in-house from the microscope and transferring it via card reader to my iMac photo library.  You can actually use some in-house editing in the microscope settings, but I haven’t learned how to do that (and probably never will) as it’s so easy to tweak the images/colour and so on, via my Photo Library software on my Mac.

Secondly, apart from the height controller, the scope can be adjusted by the focus ring of course, but unless you’ve got a perfectly flat specimen, the scope only takes sharp 2-dimensional images of a 3-dimensional subject.  Probably like using my 50mm f1.4 camera lens with lots of blur in the background.

Hmmmm.  There are cactus-like spikes on that lovely pink petal.   Who would have guessed it?

Now down to that tiny 2mm stem.  As you can see, you can only get a tiny part in focus and I chose the outline to see yet another lot of spiked cactus-like spurs.  So both flower petals and green stems have spurs.

Let’s turn over one of those green leaves.

The resolution of this shot was terrible, but you can still get the idea.  The wiggly lines of the digital screen totally destroyed the focus on the shot below.

The under-leaf was both beautiful in colour and interesting in texture.

How about we look at the brown stem……


I think I can do better but there is still a lot of practice needed.  The photo below is a bit better.  More cactus-like thorns or spurs.

That’s interesting.

The whole Correa plant – branch, stem, petal and leaves have these tiny almost invisible to the naked eye, spurs/thorns/spike things.  I guess the bright pink petals surprised me the most.

Now, to cut it down the middle with the scalpel.   There are 2 different-sized scalpels in my kit.

…..and we’ll go a bit closer.

Then onto the ‘anthers’.

The anthers carry the pollen. These are generally yellow in color. Anthers are held up by a thread-like part called a filament. The pistil has three parts: stigma, style, and ovary.

And back to that focus problem.  No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get any of the anthers in focus.

So we will end this post with something I could get in focus.   Well, I DID try to take a photo of what was in focus.

Not much.

A bit more….in focus.

And the petal tips….

As you can see, 3-dimensional parts only give a sharp picture of where you’ve put the focus dial.

There is a tiny little container of glass slides about 1 cm. square which I presume are to put on top of your sample to flatten it and store it in the slide box, but in some samples earlier in the week, I just used another same-size glass slide to flatten the specimen.   Are you meant to glue those 1 cm glass slides to the specimen?

Who knows?

I’ll find out one day.

Now, ‘back to the drawing board’.

Sunday and Monday will be fine so I might pop out to the back gate to see if any weeds are in flower.

Or, maybe a shell out of my collection might be interesting?


P.S. I won’t be operating on an insect with my dissecting kit as I don’t really like killing anything, let alone insects and little critters.


12 thoughts on “CORREA or NATIVE FUSCHIA (and a demo of my Digital Microscope)

    1. It’s a whole new world in nature that I can get up close to without the arduous trek outdoors, Peggy. I must say it’s keeping me sane these days. Last Saturday was the first day when I woke up to find my knee pain and swelling had improved.

      I’ve always been interested in the small details in anything in life, so it’s actually no surprise to find this new hobby is absorbing for me.

      So far, every living thing that I’ve looked at down at this magnification has hairs or thorns of some kind. Even the smoothest of leaves seems to have a myriad of components and textures.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. This is fantastic. Congrats on your new toys :-). They help reveal a whole new and fascinating universe of colors and textures. The close-up images look like fine-art photography. They are absolutely amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Alina. Kind of you to say so.

      It’s hard to find new hobbies when you are stuck at home and your eyesight isn’t 100% and fading. I actually have about 7-8 new (small) books to read too, but the digital microscope has taken over most free hours for a while.
      I’m sure one could get the same abstract type images with a camera, but this is more fun to play with.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Despite your disclaimer in the beginning — about those with macro lenses skipping the post — I found this fascinating. I still have my stamp-collecting father’s little magnifying glass in a case, but that’s as far a cry from this as a rotary dial phone from an iPhone. The petal tips are splendid — so pretty! It was interesting to see how much like mosses some of the thorny things on the stem are. As your skills develop, you’re going to be showing us some amazing details.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good to hear you’re fascinated too, Linda.

      The seed pods I looked into (and on), had little spikes too.

      The idea is that whenever I photograph a flower or weed or seed pod, I also cut off a little sample, take it home and put it under the microscope and take a photo in-house (whenever I get that 3mp camera working), transfer it to my computer and then include 1 or 2 images in a post with the photos I take outdoors.

      I can look at things under the microscope every day giving me something to do indoors and something to share with others who are interested in plant life.

      The focus dial magnifies enormously, but then, with a click of the mouse you can roll the cursor to magnify up to 10 more times. I’ve found that after about 2.5 -3.00 times magnifying with the mouse & cursor, the resolution gets too blurred though, so not sure that I will use that extra magnifying ability very much.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t know about digital microscopes until I considered a microscope (for plant close-ups) as a potential hobby now I can’t walk so much outdoors. I knew I wouldn’t be able to see through a microscope eyepiece with my thick glasses, but then I came across the Saxon website. I can put my distance glasses on the end of my nose to see the 9″ digital screen relatively well. Most samples I looked at earlier this year are the size of a pinhead (or hyphen on a typed page). Literally. Not as good as a biological microscope which gets down to cellular level, but still fun to look through and see the tiny details you wouldn’t normally see with the naked eye.

      Except for when it was at the repairers for 2 months waiting on a part from the overseas manufacturing company, I have been glued to the microscope and practising focusing since I bought it Christmas/New Year. The resolution gets blurry if I fiddle with the focus dial too much, but the in-house camera produces a pretty good photo for 3mp. I think my cameras are 24mp.

      If the specimen is too 3 dimensional, you do have to decide what part of the subject you want in sharp focus though, so in order to produce a photo to go with a post on flowers/weeds/seeds/pods, there’s a bit of creativity involved.

      Liked by 1 person

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