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Make It Shine': Biologist and Microphotographer Highlights Tiny Creatures With Dye and UV Light


"...most of them are completely invisible to the naked eye."

Some of the world's tiniest organisms can appear rather bland whether viewed by the naked eye or through a microscope. One biologist and "microphotographer" though is jazzing them up a bit using chemical dyes and turning them into educational art.

Using fluorescent dyes and UV light, Daniel Stoupin puts an artistic spin on the micr0-biological world. In his latest blog post, Stoupin explains that he uses the dyes to capture images of things that otherwise would be "very unlikely to catch your attention":

What would you do if you look through a microscope into a Petri dish full of dead stuff and find a rotten, mutilated, and disgusting looking underdeveloped embryo of a water flea being consumed by fungi and ciliates? That's a weird question! Of course the best thing to do is to put some fluorescent dyes in that ugly mess to make it shine!

The Daily Mail explains that Stoupin, a biologist whose hobby is bringing us his different viewpoint of the microscopic world, has to take several shots at different focuses through the microscope and then layer them together to create a single image. The Daily Mail has more from Stoupin on his work:

"The single issue that motivated me into doing this kind of photography was that most images made through the microscope are bad in quality, have poor resolution and are hard to make even though what you see through oculars is very spectacular.

"Fluorescence adds more challenges and after many struggles and trials I started practicing on random creatures from the pond, then I got totally absorbed by that activity.

"I take pictures of everything that I see, and life through the microscope is amazing as you get to see the most bizarre and peculiar creatures.

"All of the creatures are freshwater or invertebrates such as rotifers, water fleas and worms and most of them are completely invisible to the naked eye.

"A microscope can be used like a regular photography lens, and you attach a camera, turn on the ultra violet light and press the shutter button.

"But, you can get in-focus areas and blurred ones so I use a technique called stacking.

"I make many shots of the same object and then combine the pictures in software on the computer."

This process, Stoupin explains, can take days to weeks. A few months ago, Stoupin released a video explaining the world "we don't see," showcasing organisms under high magnification. Watch "Microscopic World: Life That We Don't See":

Stoupin doesn't always capture the microscopic world using flurescent dyes. He also takes shots au naturel.

Check out more of Stoupin's images here.

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