Sunday, 20 November 2016

...more of the same, but this time with a microscope

Hannah had the pleasure of going back to Porthkerry today to photograph Southbya (without disturbing it) with my new portable 'DinoLite' USB microscope. With laptop packed we set off, and arriving at Porthkerry we were greeted by a large flood, over topping of the Nant Talwg and the Whitelands Brook into the low lying area of the golf course.  Once we had navigated the flood waters we made it to the beach. The heavy rain from the last few days had manifested itself into mini water falls on the cliff. There was evidence of fresh cliff fall. The section with Southbya was relatively dry and in contrast to the section of cliff next to it which was pouring with water (and has no Southbya) suggests it likes it damp but not too wet. I've used the DinoLite in the office and it works well with dry things, it has internal LED lighting which is useful. However water on the damp cliff created a big reflection, and even when I turned the lights off it wasn't great. It was also a two person job, one holding the microscope and the other the laptop. I also had to tweek the images afterwards. So my conclusion is that its not great for photographing anything where water is involved and even after this attempt they are not as good as Barry's images...maybe ill write to Santa and ask for a good camera.
flooded mini golf course at Porthkerry (view towards the sea)
Laptop and digital microscope (with Southbya location in background) 

In other 'moss news' myself and Jon Graham start a small project for Natural England looking at Tufa springs in Gloucestershire, so feel free to chip in if you know any great sites. We have also started to prepare a paper based on our two winters of fieldwork looking at the chemical micro-habitats of Scorpidum in Wales.  That should keep me out of trouble. 


  1. Au contraire Monster Farr, your images are excellent. I usually gently press saturated samples with a cloth or tissue to reduce the amount of reflection plus it has the added advantage of flattening the subject so more is within the focal plane. The downside in doing this of course is that you're not necessarily taking an accurate record shot - sometimes it's better to forgo photographic aesthetics to get a more accurate record.
    Some interesting observations of the water on these cliffs and that's an impressive amount of flooding down there, which I wasn't aware of.

  2. Oh dear my autocorrect has done me good and proper this time. 'Monsieur' not 'Monster' - that will teach me to stick to plain English in future!

  3. haha I like the title 'Monster Farr' !! Great tip on using bit of cloth ill try that next time. cheers gareth aka Monster Farr