AES Annual Exhibition

Saturday 12th October 2019

As a contribution to the Quekett’s outreach programme, Dennis Fullwood and Alan Wood manned a stand at the Annual Exhibition and Trade Fair organised by the Amateur Entomologists’ Society at Kempton Park Racecourse in Middlesex, promoting microscopes and microscopy to young and old entomologists. There were lots of stands spread over 2 floors.

We had lots of visitors to our stand, with all sorts of questions about using microscopes, buying microscopes, and taking photographs through microscopes. We hope to see some of the visitors again at Microscopium (Saturday 19th October, St Albans). Visiting Quekett members included Sam Christofi, Martin Hinchcliffe and Andy King.

Dennis Fullwood with a visitorDennis Fullwood (right) with a visitor

Dennis Fullwood brought his trinocular Nikon Labophot compound microscope with lots of slides of whole insects and parts of insects by several famous makers including Richard Suter, Amos Topping, J. B. Howard, H. W. H. Darlaston and Frederic Enock.

Nikon Labophot microscope and slidesNikon Labophot microscope and slides

Slides of insectsSlides of insects

Slides of insectsSlides of insects

Dennis showed several visitors an easy way to take photomicrographs, using a Canon EOS M body, an adapter to take Nikon lenses, a Nikon 50 mm f/1.8 standard lens, a 52-28 mm step-down adapter, and a Leitz Periplan eyepiece that has a 28 mm thread (intended for a screw-on eye cup). The Periplan eyepiece (with the lens and camera attached) is inserted instead of one of the Nikon binocular eyepieces.

Dennis also brought a Chinese inspection camera to display insects in Baltic amber (40 million years old) on a monitor.

Insects in amberInsects in amber

Termites in amberTermites in amber

Dennis also brought his trinocular Olympus SZ4045 stereomicroscope, and Alan Wood used it to demonstrate a simple system for shadowless illumination using an LED ring-light shining up into an inverted kitchen bowl with its base removed. This setup provides clear images of insects and also worked very well with an insect in amber.

Shadowless illuminator with a stereomicroscopeShadowless illuminator with a stereomicroscope

Bluebottle (Calliphora vomitoria) using shadowless illuminationBluebottle (Calliphora vomitoria (L.)) using shadowless illumination

Small weevil using a desk lamp and a shadowless illuminatorSmall weevil using a desk lamp (left) and the shadowless illuminator (right)

Construction of shadowless illuminator from LED ring-lightShadowless illuminator, showing (top left) specimen pinned into a Plastazote disc, (top right) tube of white paper, (bottom left) inverted bowl with base removed, and (bottom right) the complete illuminator with a baffle of white foam-board

Some visitors were fascinated by this, so Alan took it apart to show the paper tube that stops direct light from the LEDs entering the microscope (or camera) lens, the white bowl that reflects diffused light from the LEDs onto the paper tube, and the white baffle that reflects light down onto the top of the specimen and reduces stray light entering the microscope (or camera) lens.

There were not many microscopes on other stands, but the Natural History Museum had a Leica EZ4 stereomicroscope, the AES had a couple of simple stereomicroscopes, one young exhibitor had a simple stereomicroscope, and the One Stop Nature Shop was selling some microscopes.

Natural History Museum exhibitNatural History Museum exhibit

AES exhibitAES exhibit

One Stop Nature ShopOne Stop Nature Shop

There were lots of insects (and millipedes, tarantulas and giant African snails) for sale and on display.

Butterflies and pupae for saleButterflies and pupae for sale

There were also stands selling pot plants suitable for rearing various insects.

Pot plants for salePot plants for sale

A few dealers were selling equipment for collecting, examining, rearing and storing insects.

Watkins & Doncaster standWatkins & Doncaster stand

There were also lots of new and used books for sale.

New books for saleNew books for sale (Pemberley Books)

Used books for saleUsed books for sale

Bargain books for saleBargain books for sale

There were also photographs and drawing for sale.

Photographs for salePhotographs for sale

Richard Lewington and his drawingsRichard Lewington and his drawings

One of the Bug Club members had an exhibit about invasive species in the UK, and provided a stereomicroscope for examining specimens.

Invasive species exhibitInvasive species exhibit

Another Bug Club member had some photographs of insect and other creatures from Sulawesi.

Following in the footsteps of Alfred Russel WallaceFollowing in the footsteps of Alfred Russel Wallace in Indonesia (Layla Shaw)

The next Annual Exhibition and Trade Fair will be at Kempton Park on Saturday 17th October 2020.

Report and photographs by Alan Wood

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