Heather* Flowers Up Close

* Probably actually Erica, but who has heard of that?

I spent a little time today gather things from the front yard that I might be able to photograph with the macrophotography setup: some winter blooms that looked like heather, pine cones, maple tree bud, and a few other things. The heather seemed the most urgent, as it would wilt sooner than the rest.

I find the details really strange looking—nearly black stuff, a rifle-barrel pistil, gorgeous pink/white/purple petals… I also suspect this is more likely a species of Erika, rather than heather, partly due to color and partly do to when they are blooming (winter). Not an expert, though. Wikipedia seems to think that we can just call of them heaths. OK, then.

Here is a photo of mye setup, in case you have wondered how these shots are taken. Just a quick photo with my iPhone, nothing elegant for sure. This is a typical looking setup, but the details can vary substantially (without looking much different at all).

You can see part of the microscope objective on the right side of the black tube; the camera is out of the shot to the left. The tube is just a spacer to put the objective in the exact right place for a sharp image.

Technical details: Shot with the LOMO 3.7X objective at its nominal focal distance, 160mm. 46 shots were taken, with a gap of 40microns between them. That is a bit too large of a step size; you can see some places in the final photo (if you look extremely carefully!) where that step size didn’t work out. Mostly, though it worked fine. I will probably use a 30-micron step size in the future as insurance.