The Diatomist’s Guide to Arranging Diatoms For Web

by Alessandra Suchodolski

My dream of arranging diatoms started when I was a senior in high school. The final project in Mr. Baier’s A.P. Biology class at Webster High School was to choose a topic to photograph and present our results to the class. This is when I first discovered the beautiful world of diatoms. At the time, I wanted to learn about what types of diatoms lived in the different water samples. I started by collecting a water sample from the stream that flowed on the school property. I also collected water samples from other types of water all around Webster. I examined the water samples under a microscope and photographed them with the built in camera attached to the microscope. I also did a little research in order to determine what organisms lived in each type of water. While I was doing research, I came across the diatomist Klaus Kemp. After watching a video about him on Vimeo, I was determined to some day make a diatom arrangement, as well. When it came time to choose a topic for my senior capstone, I already knew what I was going to do: finally accomplish my goal of creating a diatom arrangement.

My capstone allowed me to combine everything I learned as a biomedical photography student at RIT. I learned how to properly light and photograph subjects in a studio during my first year photography class. The Science Photography and High Magnification classes helped me to develop the skills and techniques necessary to handle delicate samples and photograph specimens through a microscope. This book is an all-encompassing resource for people who have basic microscopy skills and are interested in learning how to work with diatoms

AlessandraSuchodolski_The Diatomist’s Guide to Arranging Diatoms For Web

Writing Exercises and the Students in the Class

writingRelevant practice is required to become good at anything and practice can come in many shapes, forms and activities. I cannot imagine that any of the students who enrolled in this course( back in April 2016) imagined they would be writing every week. I am sure that writing is not one their favorite activities. One thing I hope is the subject of photography and imaging remains of strong interest to them.

When designing this course, it seemed only reasonable that if I could combine their interests in photography and to tie writing to developing their writing skills, they might have useful content for their future job searches. When I was their age, I was not a very good writer and I did not have an interest or reason to work at improving my writing. Little did I know how WRONG I would be. The Internet also was not invented  in 1978 when I was their age   :(.

This class, I hope will create a greater awareness of the importance of effective writing and each student might develop a willingness needed to advance their writing skills. For me, the end goal of improving their writing is to advance their career opportunities one step at a time.

When RIT converted its quarter based curriculum to a semester based system, it required all degrees to include several courses that were defined as writing immersion courses. To receive a BS degree, all students at RIT would be required to take a program upper division course that was writing intensive(WI) to satisfy the requirment. The faculty of the photographic sciences department identified PHPS 401 Capstone I as this course. To be a WI course, a significant percentage of the course’s work must be writing.

For the class’ writing warm-up assignment, I asked the students to create a 200 word biography. It was my hopes their biographies when finished would be paired with their resume or other materials and used as they begin their job searches. The first submissions were reviewed and comments offered by classmates. Draft one was written in first person They were then asked to write a second version.

Shared below is the class’ version two. I hope you will enjoy “meeting them”. More to follow as we progress through other activities.

DanBeim_HeadshotDaniel Beim
Second Draft
Dan Beim is a fourth year biomedical photographic communications major at RIT. His focus is ophthalmic photography. Last summer, we worked as an intern at Northwell Health, a Long Island based health system, and assisted the studio team with various marketing/P.R based assignments including environmental portraits of staff for magazine distribution and studio portraits for the employee intranet. He also volunteered time at the Manhattan Eye, Ear, & Throat Hospital shadowing the ophthalmic photography team, which added more patient interaction to the experience and solidified his interests in the field of medical photography.

During the summer of 2016, he spent a week as an event photographer for the BioCommunications Association’s annual meeting. This provided an up close opportunity to be an event photographer as well as a deeper look into the biomedical communications field.

Every day Daniel tries to bring a lighthearted attitude to work and develop  unique ideas that can be used for solutions. He is always seeking new challenges. He most enjoys working with a team, but has the confidence to take the lead and work through the problem. When he is not in class or out photographing, he enjoys biking or reading. He shared, “Escapism lets a little fresh air in and clears my head.”

Boland_IMG_1638Alexandra Boland
Second Draft
Alexandra Boland is from Rochester, New York and a fourth year Photographic Sciences student at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She majors in photographic and imaging technology and her interests include photomicrography as well as medical and clinical photography. She enjoys learning about the technology and the changing landscape of photography. She is also a travel nurse, enjoys interacting with patients, and is incredibly passionate about discovering new things. In her free time, she likes to mountain-climb, watch documentaries, play golf, and spend time with family. She is seeking a career that will challenge her to use her technical, and life skills  providing opportunities for growth and advancement. Ideally, she would enjoy working for a company that allows her to continue to grow and develop new levels of competences. One of her strongest attributes is her perseverance. With a strong background in science and a commitment to achieving her goals, she looks forward to graduation and what the future holds.

Broderick_headshotKatherine Broderick
Second Draft
Katherine Broderick was born and raised in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. She attended Methacton High School where she developed an interest in both photography and biology prior to her graduation in 2013. Currently,a senior at Rochester Institute of Technology, she is majoring in biomedical photographic communications. While at RIT, she has developed proficiencies in German and completed a certification as an open water diver and underwater photographer.  She will graduate with honors in May of 2017 and plans to find a job as an ophthalmic photographer.  She has completed two work study assignments. One at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, where she worked on  building an archive of mission film from the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions. She also worked  at Columbia University Medical Center’s Department of Ophthalmology, where she performed diagnostic and documentation imaging on patients, primarily using OCTs and fundus cameras. Her education and work experiences allowed the development of many skills including leadership, communication, organization, and patient management.

Headshot_MeghanConnorMeghan Connor
Draft two
As soon as Meghan began to talk, she started asking questions, and hasn’t stopped since. Meghan has been curious about how things work, but it wasn’t until age 13 when she discovered her father’s  Canon AE-1 SLR where her interests in photography really became  enhanced. The camera became an instrument for her curiosity to devour, instilling a new found passion for photography.

Meghan Connor is from Clifton Park, New York. She began her college career at the Rochester Institute Technology as a photojournalism major and later switched to imaging and photographic Technology, and there is still so much she wants to learn.

Immersing herself in both the artistic and technical realms of imaging has enabled her to understand the field as a whole from two different, important perspectives. She continues to be intrigued by how imaging works: the electronics and optics involved, and how they can be modified to better suit specific applications.

She has pursued every opportunity in her field from the moment she started college, and as a result, has become a very versatile worker. She has worked as a teaching assistant for two photographic technology courses, a photographic assistant at imagine photography and design, a research assistant at the Image Permanence Institute, and a marketing intern at Edmund Optics.

She is an articulate and receptive communicator. She always asks questions, visualizes possibilities, and thinks critically. She hopes to use her knowledge and passion for imaging to help, assist, and teach others. By remaining fully invested in each and every task, she strives to be thorough and helpful as possible.

dinelli_headshotJason Dinelli
Second Draft
Jason Dinelli is a fourth year Photographic and Imaging Technologies student. When he first came to at RIT, he was interested in photography and and finding a career where he could take pictures. As the years have passed, he has become more interested in the biology.  His skills include photography, microscopy, slide/sample preparation, refining optical pathways as well as cellular and molecular biology. When he is not taking pictures or doing scientific experiments, you can find him skateboarding, playing hockey or snowboarding. He loves being outside and shares, ” it is nice to get a breather from the lab to see the sunlight”.

Jason plans on working in a laboratory as an assistant/technician to start his career and then move onto becoming a microscope specialist or technician. He likes the idea of working in science labs and dealing with biology, but is really infatuated with microscopy. “Picking the Biomed Photography specialization of the Photographic and Imaging Technologies major was a good choice for me because it can be very biologically centered, and not necessarily just about taking pictures”. Jason likes to understand why we do an experiment, or what kind of data will be acquired and used, or for what purpose it was collected. Imaging is a major part of modern biology, but as a scientist, he is learning to  understand why pictures are needed and what kind of data can be extrapolated from them.


Justin Gerard
second draft
Justin Gerard is a twenty-two year old photography student at Rochester Institute of Technology, pursuing a degree in photographic and imaging technologies. Justin is expecting to graduate in the spring of 2017, with a minor in imaging systems and a concentration in history. Justin initially came to RIT to major in medical informatics but found that what he really wanted to pursue was the subjects taught in the photographic sciences program. He decided to switch majors because he liked the fusion of technical knowledge, problem solving, and creativity. He loves his major,  what he is doing, and has dedicated himself to putting a 100 percent effort towards being the best student he can be everyday.

He is very passionate about using new technology, the inner workings and technical aspects of cameras, trying and learning new things, science, flight, and meeting new people. He primarily photographs using Canon, Mamiya medium format and 4×5 film, but is constantly trying to expand his knowledge to other systems.

Since his love of photography began, his curiosities have always been focused on mastering the operation of cameras in challenging situations, and understanding how different aspects of imaging systems work together and affect the final image. This curiosity has taught him to approach every problem with prior knowledge of the situation and what factors can affect an imaging outcome. He believes this attitude is pervasive in everything he does from troubleshooting a camera, to seeking employment.

His primary areas of interest are image quality assessment, qualitative and quantitative analysis of imaging systems, technical writing, documentation, schlieren/shadowgraph imaging, aerial imaging using drones, teaching, and large format film photography. Since coming to RIT, he feels fortunate to have worked in a few interesting places, such as a technical support company located in Boston, in the School’s photography equipment cage, in the Imaging Systems Lab, and at a local car dealership.

guthry_HeadshotCharlotte Guthery
Second Draft
Charlotte Guthery is beginning her senior year as a student at Rochester Institute of Technology, where she is majoring in imaging and photographic technology with a minor in mathematics and a specialization in Optics. Math and science always interested her as much as photography, which was a reason she chose this major. Imaging and photographic technology combines the sciences with photography that is focused on the scientific application. Hers strong interests in optics began after participating in a summer REU in Tucson Arizona. There she learned how to program to create an image processing system used by an astronomer. The system included image alignment, high dynamic range processing, and filtering. Additionally, she also worked on calibrating the sensor that was used in the project. Although this focused on programming and astronomy, she was introduced to optical systems in the observatories themselves and there is where she found her calling. Having worked in astronomy research center, she is interested in expand her knowledge into optical engineering, and  will be applying to graduates school in that field. To prepare, she has been taking more classes in math, physics, optics, and programming. Her dream is to eventually work in optical engineering for telescopes.

Reilly Hogue HeadshotReilly Hogue
Second Draft
Reilly is a photographer and imaging specialist. He is pursuing a Bachelors of Science in imaging and photographic technologies at Rochester
Institute of Technology. This major provides insight and knowledge about optics, psychophysics and image processing and allows students to explore practical uses of cameras as well. When he first enrolled at RIT, he was studying fine art photography which taught him to think creatively about photographic processes. Now he is interesting how those ideas can interact with a technical understanding of imaging. Combining this creative energy with a technical understanding of imaging systems has sparked a passion for creating new tools and techniques to expand the capabilities of photography. Ideas such as creating paper from grass or making a printer that uses wax to print and the technical challenges that accompany them are examples of things that interests him. During his time at RIT, he has worked at the Schools photographic cage – sort of equipment lending library for students – that taught him about customer relations, providing service, and the ability to work as a team.

MARAVI_WD7A9828-1Jana Maravi
Second Draft
Jana Maravi is originally from Baltimore, Maryland and currently a fourth year student at Rochester Institute of Technology, where she studies photographic and imaging technologies with a focus on biomedical photographic communications as well as a minor in Environmental Science. Additionally she has interests and has completed numerous courses in environmental studies. She has studied photography for six years researching how in the sciences, imaging can be used as not only an aid to research, but as a form of data itself. During this time she have worked primarily on the macro and microscopic scale, using various lighting and photomicrography techniques to showcase life using a scientific point of view that would otherwise might not be seen. She has also been expanding her photographic skills in underwater photography and recently achieved her first of many scuba diving certifications in Key Largo and now is certified up to the Rescue Diver level. Jana completed a co-op work study block at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural history where she used photomicrography to digitize collections of beetles. While her interests lie both in entomology and marine sciences, she does hope to further her studies in marine biology. By combining this new knowledge with her skills in scientific photography and diving, she hopes to work in a field where she can contribute to science using imaging and the furthering the   reach of research in this critically important area of our world.

MARTINKirsten Martin
second Draft
Kirsten Martin is currently a fourth year photographic sciences student at RIT. She is an avid learner and in her free, time enjoys cooking from scratch and studying Japanese. She hopes to be able to move to Japan shortly after graduation for a few years. Ideally, she would like to work for a company where she can interact as a correspondent between Japanese and English speaking branches. She believes one of her strongest attributes is her ability to be diplomatic and to listen to all sides of a story before reaching conclusions.

If she were to divulge a weakness that she is working on improving, it would be her tendency to be reserved in new or stressful situations. She wants to be able to help people, values team unity, and tries to create cohesiveness. Ultimately, she is excited to see what the future will bring and hopes she can bring a balanced, logical viewpoint to her career.

aaeaaqaaaaaaaaspaaaajdu3ztqwzjuwltiyzjatngnkms1izdjiltgxmtjingqzytrhnw1 Andrew Palmer
Second draft
Andrew Palmer is studying imaging and photographic technologies major at RIT. He was born and raised in Chesapeake, Virginia and has been involved in photography since he was a senior in high school. Andrew spent several years at a community college studying photography, graphic design, and multimedia. He graduated with associates degrees  and then worked as a photographer for Jacobs Technology at Aberdeen Proving Ground, where he produced still, video, and high-speed imagery of military testing. He also worked as a student lab manager at Cecil College and taught workshops in stop motion video for their Summer Scholars program.

Andrew shares his experiences while at RIT have been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. Through the instruction of my professors, a caring community of students, and strong connections to industry leaders, I have been able to push myself to create, learn, and teach as much as possible.” Andrew is working on a capstone project required for graduation and will be building a device that takes live camera views and transforms them to sound if if successful will synthesize vision for the visually impaired. In his spare time, he enjoys music, making art, and coffee.

AnkaAnka Parzych
Second Draft
Anka Parzch is from a small town near Albany, New York called Niskayuna. She is currently studying at Rochester Institute of Technology where she is working on completing a Bachelor of Science degree in biomedical photographic communications. She will also complete a general educations immersion is psychology. She is a member of the RIT Women’s Soccer team. With a strong knowledge of photographic technology, she understands camera usage in non-tradition situations, can empathize with her subjects to find unique ways to make compelling and successful photographs. She like to be outdoors and tries to integrate when possible opportunities where her subjects are able to experience what their environments are like. She believes that if you can empathize and get to know your subjects, your project and outcomes will be stronger.

She recently had the opportunity to broaden her skills and worked as an intern at Spectrum Productions in Tampa, FL. It helped open her eyes to new ways of communicating; her love of video, and working as a production assistant and learning what they do. She learned a lot about teamwork and became more confident, something necessary to thrive in the new opportunities that she will encounter. My primary goal upon graduation is to build a career in nature and field photography and/or video productions.

Redburn_HeadshotKelsie Redburn
Second Draft
Kelsie Redburn is studying biomedical photography and applied statistics as a double major at RIT. She is a competitive and ambitious person, as well as compassionate and encouraging. After completing  four years of tennis at RIT where she was captain for two, she became an assistant coach for her last two. In this role, she found herself as a dedicated and natural leader. She have also learned how important mediation and patience can be when dealing with last minute schedule changes or difficult people. She is no stranger to being under pressure and works to find ways of succeeding without cracking or losing the quality of her work. She completed a photography internship with the Rochester Red Wings baseball team and has worked with athletics taking photos for their websites or promotional purposes. She hopes to have the opportunity to complete  another internship prior to graduation that focuses on statistics. She is competent in ophthalmic photography as well as underwater photography, having recently received her advanced open water certified through Padi. She is never afraid of challenges, and strives to find ways of being more successful and more prudent. She hopes to find a career where she can use the drive and ambition that are locked inside of her!

alessandra_MG_4048Alessandra Suchodolski
Second Draft
Ever since she was a child she has been creating things, whether it be art, photographs, or DIY crafts that she sees on Pinterest®. Alessandra grew up in Webster, New York, twenty minutes outside of Rochester. She is currently attending Rochester Institute of Technology and working on a Bachelor of Science degree in photographic and imaging technology with a concentration in biomedical photographic communications. Studying photography at R.I.T. has helped to develop her problem solving and technical photographic skills. She genuinely loves learning, because she is naturally curious. Besides her photography classes, she also enjoys studying psychology. In her free time she enjoys hiking, kayaking, and traveling. Studying abroad in Italy was one of the best experiences she has ever had. For one month she explored the beautiful cities of Rome, Florence, and Venice, while learning about Italian culture both in and out of the classroom. Traveling made her more culturally aware, and gave her a deeper appreciation of her own country and the many cultures that make it unique. After college she hope to enter a field that involves aquariums, museums, or forensics. She is always looking for her next adventure.

MeganWoodrow_HeadshotMegan Woodrow
Second Draft
Megan Woodrow  was born in Singapore but grew up in Washington State. She moved to Washington because she was born deaf. Her parents wanted her to have a better life and education, and she is grateful they provided an opportunity to learn and develop a curiosity for new things. Currently, she is a senior at Rochester Institute of Technology and majors in imaging and photographic technologies with a specialization in biomedical photographic communications. Her general education concentration is in psychology. Additionally, she is looking forward to taking the ophthalmic photography classes this year. In this class, she will learn about anatomy and physiology of the eye and how to photograph the eye and its components using a camera. Along with a plenty of photography experiences, she is familiar with use of camera in challenging situations including   photomicrography, motion imagery, digital video technology, and graphic design. Beyond scientific photography, she enjoys water sports, such as kayaking and swimming, and exploring new places where she has not visited. After graduation, she hopes to put her skills to use in a photography related field in an aquarium, museum, hospital, or research lab where she can use her experiences in scientific photography to assist with the preserving of scientific information.

Zgoda_portraitTeri Zgoda
Second Draft
Living above an animal hospital definitely has its downfalls, but for Teri it sparked her interests in biology and photography.  Teresa Zgoda, or Teri for short, is a senior at Rochester Institute of Technology and is majoring in imaging and photographic technologies with a specialization in biomedical photographic communications. Upon graduation she will complete a  minor in biology, ecology and evolution. Her interests include ophthalmic photography, medical photography, underwater photography, and nature photography as well as both light and confocal microscopy. She grew up in Campbell Hall, New York, which is a small town in Orange County not too far from New York City. There she lived above her father’s animal hospital, surrounded by animals and scientific knowledge. This biological environment along with wanting to learn more about all the interesting things she was exposed to, spurred her interests in exploring photography and biology in college. When she learned of RIT’s biomedical photography program, she knew it was perfect for her. RIT combined these two interests cohesively and appropriately. In the summer of 2015, she  worked as an intern at the Westchester County Department of Laboratories and Research. There she shadowed and assisted the forensic photographer, adding new skills to her growing repertoire.

madi headshot ccMadison Zic
Draft Two
Madison Zic is an imaging and photographic technology student at Rochester Institute of Technology.  Madison has always been fascinated with photography and when she arrived at RIT, she really wanted to understand how imaging worked.  She is most interested in image processing, image quality and color.  While at RIT, she has focused her learning on the image quality pipeline, programming in Python and Matlab, basic geometric optics knowledge, and the science behind how cameras function.  She has been a hands-on person for as long as she can remember.  She enjoy building things, something that first started in high school where she joined her school’s FIRST robotics team.  This team helped develop build teamwork skills and basic wood and metal fabrications skills.  She works well in groups and held a management position at Grace Watson dining hall at RIT for almost three years.  She also gained customer service skills while working at three different food service jobs.  Along with photography and in her downtime, she enjoys video games, cooking, fashion, and films.


Practice Makes Perfect

One of the primary educational objectives for the Photographic Sciences Capstone class is to improve a students critical thinking, research skills, problem solving and writing skills. To achieve those outcomes, I decided to develop a few exercises targeted to start dialogues with the industry that my students are trying to enter. On only the second day of the course, I had them submit a 2oo word or less biography. We had some spirited conversations about writing and how to create the proper treatment of their message within this biography. I had the class break up into groups and they read each others submissions and offer reactions to the writing. Next we talked about the type of words and phrases that industry expects. I suggested including words like passionate, leader, project management, works well without supervision, seeks challenges, works well with new technology and operates at a high level of integrity can be very meaningful sharing who this person is. Next week,  I will receive the second draft of this short writing assignment  and I will publish them

Shared in this post is draft one and version two as submitted from Anka Parzych.  You can email Anka by clicking this link


First Submission
I currently study at Rochester Institute of Technology where I am working on my Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Photographic Communications. Along with a strong photography background, social media, advertising, writing and design sum up my main communication and study tracks. I understand the camera, sense and empathize with my subjects to find ways to make my photographs unique and compelling. I like to be outdoors and also like to be where my subjects are to experience what their environment is like. My primary goal upon graduation is to build a career in field photography and/or videography productions.

Second Submission
I grew up  in a small town outside of Albany, New York called Niskayuna. I am finishing my studies at Rochester Institute of Technology where I am working towards completion of my Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Photographic Communications. My immersion is psychology. I am also a member of the RIT women’s soccer team. In addition to strong skills in photography, I can understand cameras, can empathize with my subjects needed for photographs to be unique and compelling. I like to be outdoors and also like to be where my subjects are to experience what their environment is like. I believe if you can empathize with a person and get to know them, your results will be much stronger. I had the opportunity to broaden my skills and worked as an intern in the summer of 2016 at Spectrum Productions  in Tampa, FL. It helped open my eyes to new ways of communicating; my love through the camera through video, also working as a production assistant and learning what they do. I learned a lot about teamwork and also became more confident in my abilities to thrive in new opportunities that I encountered. My primary goal upon graduation is to build a career in Field Photography and/or videography productions.

Surgical Photography fall 2016


Tuesday August 23rd for the 8th consecutive year, students began their experiences in possibly America’s only class in surgical photography. This class is the result of a collaboration of RIT and Rochester General Hospital. In 2008 at the invitation of chair of the surgery department, Dr Ralph Pennino, I created the course that is now team taught with Dr Pennino and alum Lynne Tseng. It is a complicated class to organize and deliver because of all the obvious things. HIPPA, RIT photography students visiting a hospital, coordinating the hospital’s surgical schedule and a student’s schedule are but a few of the realities that have to be coordinating and managed. After 8 years we have  optimized what is possible and this class remains one of my favorites. Watching the students grow and experience a whole new world is terrific. The change and improvement of their photographs after only one visit to the OR is tremendous. Students are able to take this class multiple times. Taking classroom activities out of the classroom and allowing self discovery is a bit unpredictable and requires we all keep an open mind to opportunity. More to follow

Photographic Sciences Capstone Class – Fall 2016

Teaching continues to be a fascinating challenge and something I derive great joy from. For more than 3o years, I have continued to try new things in my classes with the ultimate goal of pushing students to grow and discover who they are, and where they want to go in life. I believe in experiential learning and create classroom activities that foster curiosity about the world of photography and technology and science.

This semester (August 2016) I am teaching a new course, PHPS 401. I have spent the last few weeks developing the course’s syllabus and my mission. I think it will be fun and a lot of work for me and them  :).

Course overview 
This course is the first of a two-course sequence designed for students who will begin to work on a major year- long project. The subject of the project may relate to any aspect from the photographic sciences curriculum however it does not have to be limited to traditional subjects such as photomicrography, image testing and quality, ophthalmic imaging, or color management or measurement.

In this course, students will conceive and design a long-term project or experiment, including researching the subject, writing a proposal that shares a complete description of the work, discussed the goals of the project, shares the production timeline, project resources, and funding sources (if necessary). Students will thoroughly research the subject before starting the work needed to construct and refine the project’s proposal. The program’s faculty and invited guests will share ideas and their research achievements in the class to assist students in selecting a mentor. Drawing from the program’s faculty, they will identify and propose the selection of a faculty advisor needed to build the project for the Capstone II PHPS-402 taught in the spring.

The fall class will focus on self-directed goal setting, writing, project planning, and sharing in-progress reports of work in the form of casual but professional presentations.

The first assignment  was to write a 200 or less biography using the first person voice. I am hoping in all the classroom exercises students will become more aware of themselves and the skills that they can bring to their career and communities they live. We will take only one step at a time on this journey of identifying personality traits and ways to describe strengths and skills.

Another new assignment will provide a small research component but more importantly provide a public speaking opportunity. Each member of the class will share “a picture of the week”. This exercise has been added to improve confidence in front of peers, to perform some low level but interesting research about imaging and image makers, and to simply enjoy photography.

I came up with the idea after reading about Adam Summers work. Summers is  a professor of biology who has embarked on a life long project to make CT scans of all the world’s fishes.

Summers is quite well known for another body of work that he has been creating for decades where he clears the soft tissue from the skeletons of the fish and then stains and counterstains. His images are nothing short of remarkable. They are such a blend of science that can become something else.

Share below is an example of Professor Summer’s extraordinary scientific photographs.

This image of the butterfly ray (Gymnura crebripunctata) helped scientists study the joints in its wings. Photograph by Adam Summers

To learn more about Dr Summers, you can follow this link. 




The Wild Cherry/Sweet Cherry Tree


Prunus avium, commonly known as the wild cherry or sweet cherry, is a species of cherry tree native to regions within Europe, Anatolia, Maghreb, and western Asia. The species is widely cultivated, and has become naturalized in both North America and Australia.

Poster_Final copy
A widefield sample of wild cheery bark. Notice the different cell sizes change over a given area.

The wild cherry is one of two species of cherry that supply the world’s cultivators of edible cherries.

10x magnified area of the sample. Here complex structures are more visible, giving a more in depth look into the cells.
Interesting components are sometimes present within the sample. This foreign structure appears to have become part of the sample.
Different cells make up the sample of the wild cherry tree. Each cell has a given purpose to maintain health and continued growth.

The tree is also cultivated as timber, and is a highly valued hardwood that is used for woodturning, to create furniture cabinets and musical instruments. The wood is also used for the smoking of meats in North America, giving a distinctly pleasant flavor to both pork and poultry.

Color In Microscopy

Microscopy allows people to view the world on a significantly smaller scale, and although many of things we see are dyed by people, there are still many subjects that are not or simply cannot be.

There are some subjects that, under certain methods and conditions, can actually show immense amounts of different color without having to dye it. I selected three methods that I captured in these photomicrographs to display just a small idea of what colors can be found.

Each method has their own way to “extract” these colors, and sometimes it can produce more varieties of color paterns than just what’s shown for the same subject.

The three sets of images use fluorescence, differential interference contrast, and cross polarization, respectively. Each of the methods rely heavily on what the subject is to exibit the different colors shown in the image. Some subjects, such as autofluorescent organisms, will have more profound colors than others.

These images show that color can be found in even the smallest of subjects, it’s simply a matter of just finding what method exploits these colors.

Contreras_20160224_1 Contreras_20160224_2

Sambucus Lenticil at 10x magnification. Left image is from blue excitation fluorescence and right is from green excitation fluorescence.


Silicon semiconductor wafer at 10x magnification. Image was taken using the differential interference contrast method.


Dyed hair at 10x magnification. Image was taken using the cross polarization method.

Darkfield Illumination


Darkfield illumination is one of the various methods of lighting used in microscopy to capture the small, and make it large. This method illuminates the subject through the use of oblique angle lighting to create a glowing and unique presentation of a subject. Oblique lighting eliminates the zero order of illumination which is what sets this method apart from Brightfield illumination. The visible light consists of rays refracted from the subject into the imaging system.


In order to create Darkfield illumination, a microscopist requires a Brightfield objective and a Darkfield condenser. When executing Darkfield, it is important to have the disc stop equal to the numerical aperture of the objective at the location of the aperture diaphragm exit pupil. Additionally, one must open the field stop fully to ensure the the light is unfocused. Then the operator will raise and lower the substage condenser until the apex of illumination reaches the sample plane.

IMG_9089Advantages of Darkfield Illiminated Photomicrographs

  • Effective for semi transparent subjects
  • Useful for delineating edges of subjects
  • Can reveal internal structures not seen with Brightfield illumination


Botanical Samples

Botanical samples tend to, on average, have an increased width compared to human specimens due to the differing cutting techniques used. Observing botanical samples through the use of photomicrography allows researchers to observe the development of plants. There are a plethora of plant species, and all of them grow differently. This differing growth can be observed through cross sections of plants through the microscope and microphotography. Through various techniques, distinct features of plants can be illuminated and brought forth. Two examples of these lighting set-ups are darkfield (Fig. 2) and fluorescence (Fig. 3). The darkfield lighting technique uses scattered luminance to light only the subject, therefore producing a dark background and bright subject matter. The fluorescent method takes advantage of the naturally occurring fluorescent aspects of the plant life, thus lighting up the parts of the sample that reflect this specific area of the spectra.


Figure 1: The image above visualizes normal Kohler Illumination.


Figure 2: This image shows the darkfield technique.


Figure 3: The image above illustrates fluorescence.

Wide Field Imaging

Kugler_20160229_IMG_0814 PanoramaThe image you see in the above was taken by a procedure called Wide Field Imaging. Wide Field Imaging can be accomplished by taking several images of a subject of your own choice. This is generally done to obtain high amounts of detail and the whole subject at the same time. Many photographers tend to use 10x objectives for their choice of magnification so that the images taken say around 100, causing the final compile to have a smaller file size. After obtaining the images, there are several ways to process them, Photoshop, PTGui, or any other panoramic photo stacking application. For the best results have a 50% overlap in subject matter between each image.Kugler_20160229_IMG_0907

The subject is a Nymphaea water lily. The piece above is a Sclereid. It is a type of stone cell. They help support and conduct water through out the plant.

The piece below is a vein. Unlike humans, it doesn’t carry blood. Instead it transports water and food to keep the plant well nourished.Kugler_20160229_IMG_0911-4 copy