Annual Exhibition of Microscopy

Saturday 1st October 2016

There is an extended version of this report in the password-protected Members’ area, with videos of the presentations and links to all of the photos submitted for a Barnard Award.

Public displays | Private displays | Presentations | Eric Marson Awards | Barnard Awards

This was our third exhibition in the PA 135 Meeting Room (formerly the Demonstration Room) of the Natural History Museum in London. Our team of hard-working volunteers set everything up on Friday afternoon and early on Saturday morning, so everything was ready in time for the 10:30 a.m. start. In accordance with tradition, the Club’s President Carel Sartory blew his horn to attract everyone’s attention and formally open the exhibition.

Public displays

The public display in the foyer of the Flett Theatre (with photographs by members, historical items, and activities and microscopes for families) at the 150th anniversary exhibition was a success and so we repeated it.

David Linstead had arranged for the best photomicrographs entered for Barnard Awards to be printed, and they were mounted on panels.

Nigel Williams admiring photomicrographsNigel Williams admiring photomicrographs

Photomicrographs on displayPhotomicrographs on display

The photographs that were not printed were shown in a rolling display on a 50″ wall-mounted monitor.

Dennis Fullwood showed some of his slides on a Nikon Labophot compound microscope and an Olympus SZ4045 stereomicroscope. He also demonstrated how to make dry mounts, and visitors were able to make their own slides to take away.

Dennis Fullwood with visitorsDennis Fullwood with visitors

Jacky McPherson has been researching the slides prepared by E. D. Evens, and had prepared 2 posters, 6 photomicrographs, and several slides on a lightbox. You can read more about the display in Jacky’s blog: E. D. Evens at Quekex 2016.

Eric Hollowday with the E. D. Evens displayEric Hollowday with the E. D. Evens display

Five slides by E. D. EvensFive slides by E. D. Evens

Three slides by E. D. EvensThree slides by E. D. Evens

Stephanoceros from E. D. Evens slideStephanoceros rotifer from E. D. Evens slide

Equisetum arvense from E. D. Evens slideEquisetum arvense from E. D. Evens slide

There was also an assortment of spare copies of the Journal, and books published by the Club on sale.

Ralph Prince browsing the JournalRalph Prince browsing the Journal

Private displays

Downstairs in the PA 135 Meeting Room (formerly known as the Demonstration Room), Quekett members had set up displays of their equipment, specimens and techniques, and we also had a demonstration of a digital microscope.

Exhibits in PA 135 Meeting RoomExhibits in PA 135 Meeting Room

At Quekex 2015, Andrew Monk and Richard Williams from ioLight brought along a working prototype of their portable microscope that sends its images to an iPad.

Richard Williams and Andrew MonkRichard Williams (left) and Andrew Monk holding ioLight microscopes [by Robert Ratford]

The ioLight is now in production, so they brought some examples to demonstrate and to compare images with a conventional microscope (Alan Wood’s trinocular Olympus CH-2 with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II digital SLR camera). The ioLight folds flat for storage, and is easily unfolded for use. Illumination consists of top and bottom rings of LEDs, so it can be used with opaque and transparent objects. It has a field of view of 1 mm and a resolution of 1 µm, so it compares to a 20× objective and a 10× FN 20 eyepiece.

Closed and open ioLight microscopesClosed and open ioLight microscopes

Mike Smith kindly provided us with 3 pairs of almost identical slides, including this section of the ovary of a daffodil, stained with Astra blue and safranin.

Mike Smith’s slide of daffodil ovaryMike Smith’s daffodil ovary slide

Exactly the same part of the slide was photographed with both microscopes, and the results can be seen below. The photographs are shown without and with adjustments in Photoshop Elements. Click any of the photos of daffodil ovary to see a larger version with more information. On the large photo, click < or > at left and right to see the previous and next photos, or click Image gallery Start icon at top right to start a slide show, or click Image gallery Close icon at top right to return to the page.

Comparisons are not straightforward because the ioLight is much less expensive than the Olympus; the trinocular head probably cost as much as the ioLight, and the camera cost more. The ioLight is the clear winner on size, weight, price and convenience, and produced a creditable image. There is no clear winner on resolution. The Olympus wins on colour fidelity, evenness of illumination and flatness of field.

Carel Sartory showed a horizontal photomicrographic bench that he had constructed from a 70-year-old Leitz Panphot. The course focus was used to adjust the camera position, and the fine focus for moving the subject for stacking. Front lighting was provided by 2 LEDs on flexible arms. Rear lighting was provided by a square ceiling downlight. Camera equipment included a Unitor bellows, an Olympus Telescopic Auto Tube, various macro lenses, and an Olympus digital SLR.

Carel Sartory’s exhibitCarel Sartory’s horizontal photomacrographic stand

This apparatus was described in detail in Carel’s talk in the Flett Theatre.

Chris Thomas invited Quekett members to use cider vinegar to attract and trap adults of Drosophila suzukii (Matsumura) (spotted-winged drosophila), a pest of soft fruits such as cherries and strawberries that was first recorded in the UK in 2012. Chris provided details for constructing a trap, illustrations of the male and female flies, and real flies in liquid for viewing with the Club’s GXM XTL3T101 stereomicroscope.

Chris Thomas watching Mark Shephard observing fruit fliesChris Thomas watching Mark Shephard observing fruit flies

Chris Thomas’s fruit fliesChris Thomas’s fruit flies

These fruit flies were the subject of Chris’s talk in the Flett Theatre.

Gwyneth Thurgood showed some of her paintings inspired by crystals under polarised light, slides of asparaginase, barium chloride, copper acetate and glutaric acid for viewing with the Club’s Swift polarising microscope, and copies of her book The Art of Invisible Landscapes.

Fleur White with Gwyneth Thurgood’s exhibitFleur White with Gwyneth Thurgood’s exhibit

Gwyneth Thurgood’s slidesGwyneth Thurgood’s slides

Joan Bingley’s exhibit was all about silk, with a stereomicroscope for viewing cocoons, fabrics and an NBS slide of silk fibres, and a Polarspex for viewing fibres with polarised light. Joan provided photographs of the moth, the caterpillar and the cocoons, raising the caterpillars, cooking, sorting and grading cocoons, and actual samples of embroidery and a variety of fabrics.

Les Franchi admiring Joan Bingley’s exhibitLes Franchi admiring Joan Bingley’s exhibit

John Rhodes’ subject was aeropalynology in the house, and he used one of the Club’s Zeiss microscopes to show slides of material collected from the air in his own house. To collect material, he uses cocktail sticks coated with glycerine and supported in corks, exposed for several days. He washes off the glycerine with water, centrifuges to concentrate, and mounts unstained on slides.

Malcolm Stewart with John Rhodes’ exhibitMalcolm Stewart with John Rhodes’ exhibit

Kit Brownlee’s subject was crystals of calcium carbonate (CaCO3), and the specimens she provided for viewing under the Club’s Prior stereomicroscope included a micromount of witherite and a micromount of malachite (green), chalcopyrite (yellow) and calcite.

Kit Brownlee’s exhibitKit Brownlee’s exhibit

Kit also showed a large brown crystal of orthorhombic aragonite showing columnar habit and a large crystal of hexagonal calcite showing twinning

Kit Brownlee’s crystalsKit Brownlee’s crystals

Kit also brought along a couple of books, Introducing Mineralogy by John Mason and Rocks and Minerals by Chris Pellant.

Maurice Moss brought some pear leaves with an infection that he did not recognise, but it was quickly identified as a fungal gall, European pear rust, caused by Gymnosporangium sabinae Oerst.

Maurice Moss’s exhibitMaurice Moss’s exhibit

European pear rust (lower surface of leaf)European pear rust (lower surface of leaf)

Nigel Williams showed two large framed drawings of Radiolaria by Ernst Haeckel from his 1904 book Kuntsformen de Natur, purchased on eBay.

Nigel Williams’ exhibitNigel Williams’ exhibit

Nigel also used one of the Club’s microscopes to shown a Klaus Kemp slide “An exhibition rosette” of Radiolaria mounted in Canada balsam, using dark-ground illumination.

Norman Chapman brought some of his beautifully-prepared slides of stained pollen, some of his home-made gadgets for making slides, and copies of his book Pollen Microscopy.

Norman Chapman and John RhodesNorman Chapman (left) and John Rhodes

Pam H. picked up a couple of black wave-weathered stones that appeared to be jet at Robin Hood’s Bay during the North York Moors Weekend. After returning home, she polished one of the stones and revealed plant fossil content, suggesting that it is coal, not jet. A streak test showed a brown colour, suggesting that it could be cannel coal. Pam ground a thin section and mounted it in Glass Glue™ (Wilko) and under a compound microscope circular structures that could be plant fossils can be seen. Pam also used a stereomicroscope to show fossils in the polished surface of the stone.

Pam H. discussing her exhibit with Ralph PrincePam H. discussing her exhibit with Ralph Prince

Phil Greaves brought some specimens from the acidic sphagnum pools on Thursley Common in Surrey. Phil brought his Wild M5 stereomicroscope for viewing Cladocera (water-fleas), and his Wild M11 compound for viewing smaller organisms in a compressorium.

Phil Greaves with Les Franchi and Nigel WilliamsPhil Greaves with Les Franchi (left) and Nigel Williams (right)

Ray Sloss brought 2 pieces of Wild equipment for viewing stereo pairs of photographs, and several pairs of photographs to demonstrate their capabilities.

Ray Sloss’s stereo viewerRay Sloss’s stereo viewer 1

Ray Sloss’s stereo viewerRay Sloss’s stereo viewer 2

Tim Newton showed 2 old microscopes, one of which was a brass monocular by Newton & Co., a firm that could have belonged to his ancestors. The other was a De Oude Delft (formerly owned by Ernie Ives) with a reflecting objective that give a magnification of around ×320 with an NA of 0.4. Tim’s slides of Victorian entomological subjects included a mount of a butterfly wing (Papilio ulysses), and he also showed a Klaus Kemp arrangement. Lighting was provided by an Ikea Jansjö and an LED torch.

Tim Newton’s exhibitTim Newton’s Newton & Co. microscope

Robert Muston with Tim Newton’s exhibitRobert Muston with Tim Newton’s exhibit

Tony Dutton used the Club’s black and brass Watson Royal microscope carefully set up with an external lamp to demonstrate Rheinberg illumination with a range of slides including ones by Frank East. Tony used the Club’s black and chrome Leitz Universal Research microscope with a binocular head by Felix Jentzsch, also set up with an external lamp, with a dark-ground stop and slides of diatoms, forams and zoophytes.

Tony Dutton with his exhibitTony Dutton with his exhibit


Wim van Egmond: “The Mysterious Soil Life Video Project”

Wim von EgmondWim van Egmond

Wim kept the audience entertained with stories of how he got started in photomicrography, his equipment and his techniques, leading up to his latest major project “Meet the mysterious soil life” with some spectacular time-lapse videos of life on and under the soil.

Carel Sartory: “Two LED illuminated photomacrographic benches”

Carel SartoryCarel Sartory

Carel described how he had taken parts from a huge Leitz Panphot photomacrographic instrument dating from the 1940s and made two horizontal photomacrographic benches. The stages could be moved up and down, left and right, and backwards and forwards, and could hold a variety of specimen holders and tank. Illumination was of course from LEDs, including flexible arms, ceiling downlights and flexible strips, to provide lighting from the front, top, sides and rear as required.

Chris Thomas: “The Spotted-Winged Drosophila: Tracking an alien invader”

Chris ThomasChris Thomas

Chris Thomas spoke on Drosophila suzukii (Matsumura) (spotted-winged drosophila), a pest of soft fruits that was described in Japan in 1919, spread to Hawaii in 1980, to California, Italy and Spain in 2008, and was first recorded in the UK in 2012, having probably arrived by air. The males can be recognised by the spots on the tips of their wings, and the females by their large serrated ovipositor that allows them to lay eggs inside undamaged fruits.

Crops at risk in the UK include apples, blackberries, blueberries, plums, raspberries and especially cherries. Most of the flies live in forests and hedgerows, providing a reservoir for attacking fruits. For control, tidiness, insecticides, trapping and biological control have all been tried.

Chris asked Quekett members to monitor the flies for a week in October using traps baited with apple cider vinegar and to send him the results for inclusion in a paper for the Journal.

You too can have a go at trapping and recording The Invader, Drosophila suzukii. Download the information sheet here:

To magnify the flies, try photographing and blowing up in size on screen. You can also hold a magnifying glass in front of a smartphone lens to enlarge and photograph these small flies.

Send in your results before December 2016, to Chris,

Eric Marson Awards

The Eric Marson Award of Merit is given to slides of excellent quality at the Annual Exhibition of the Quekett Microscopical Club, where the slides are displayed for other members and guests to inspect and admire. The Award is a celebration of making microscope slides and is designed to provide the opportunity to share good ideas and to develop and encourage the making of slides.

The judge this year was Wim van Egmond, and he gave awards to Pam H., Colin Kirk, Tim Newton, John Rhodes and Lewis Woolnough.

Graham Matthews used one of the Club’s trinocular Zeiss compound microscopes to take photomicrographs of all the entries, and then they were displayed on the large television.

Graham Matthews photographing the slidesGraham Matthews photographing the slides

Wim von Egmond judging the slidesWim van Egmond judging the slides [by Graham Matthews]

Carel Sartory presented the certificates, and Wim van Egmond commented on the slides.

John Rhodes receiving certificate from Carel SartoryJohn Rhodes receiving certificate from Carel Sartory

Tim Newton’s slidesTim Newton’s slides

Bee sting, by John RhodesBee sting, by John Rhodes

Section of car paint, by Pam HamerSection of car paint, by Pam H.

Fungus from cow dung, by Lewis WoolnoughFungus from cow dung, by Lewis Woolnough

Barnard Awards

The Barnard Award for Excellence in Photomicrography is presented annually to those microscopists submitting photomicrographs or video recordings at the Annual Exhibition of Microscopy whose work has, in the opinion of the judges, achieved a high level of technical or aesthetic merit.

The judges this year (Janice Tolley-Hodges and Tim Newton) had the difficult job of choosing the best from a collection of excellent photographs, and gave awards to Chris Carter (Chara fragifera), Julian Cremona (Tanais crustacean, Larval paddleworm), Mike Crutchley (Marine hydroid, Fungus – Pilobolus), Les Franchi (Kidney cortex), Phil Greaves (Bythotrephes longimanus, Acroperus harpae), David Linstead (Moth tongue, Cat tongue), Mark Papp (Periwinkle radula) and Wim van Egmond (Marine amphipod).

Janice Tolley-Hodges and Tim Newton judging the photographsJanice Tolley-Hodges and Tim Newton judging the photographs

Les Franchi receiving certificate from Carel SartoryLes Franchi receiving certificate from Carel Sartory

As usual, the subjects included animal, vegetable and mineral specimens with a wide range of sizes and lighting techniques.

Antheridia of Chara fragifera Durieu, by Chris CarterAntheridia of Chara fragifera Durieu, by Chris Carter

Bythotrephes longimanus (Leydig), by Phil GreavesBythotrephes longimanus (Leydig), by Phil Greaves

Periwinkle radula, by Mark PappPeriwinkle radula, by Mark Papp


And finally, from Paul Smith
To the many people, before, during and after the exhibition who gave their time and expertise to make the exhibition a success.
To the exhibitors without whom there would be no exhibition.
To the Museum Events Management who provided the furniture.
To the technicians who manned the AV controls in the Flett theatre.
To the security staff for their help in the early morning and later.


Report by Alan Wood, photographs by Alan Wood except where indicated

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