Tom Pickering  

Helix by Tom Pickering

October 2020 - Helix

October 2020 - Tom Pickering


About the Image(s)

Specs: $30 USB Microscope (internal LED lighting) connected to a Moto G Power Smartphone

Though I indicated I hoped to get my DSLR out recently, alas the experiments continue this month with my “toy”, though I decided to leave myself out of the equation this time. This is a section of a very tiny screw (11.5mm) which measured out to around 2 mm. For reference, Original 1 is captured against a ruler app in my old phone. I'm rather fascinated with the plastic threads that I had no clue were there. Suggestions?

10 comments posted

Bill Foy   Bill Foy
I rarely comment this early in the process, but I find this shot really intriguing.
The image's sharpness deteriorates from right left, making me wonder if the planes were equal? The threads, which appear equal in your "Original" images and anything but in the image produced by the microscope, and there's a lot of "stuff" in between the threads. The microscope also magnifies the light, and completely drops the top/bottom areas into a white abyss. How about trying a slice of fruit or vegetable? I'm thinking what might work best is an abstract of an object we're all familiar with?   Posted: 10/02/2020 08:37:27
Tom Pickering   Tom Pickering
The most difficult part of using this gizmo is keeping it steady. Most of the images I capture with it make this image look tack-sharp. The disparity from left to right is from the scope not being level with the subject.

I ordered a stand made for these devices that it clamps into and allows it to be raised and lowered like a traditional microscope. Hopefully I'll have better luck once it arrives.

The stuff in between the threads is most likely plastic, as the screw is left over from the disassembly of a malfunctioning device with a plastic case.

Lighting is a real issue with the scope. It has a ring of LED's that surround the "objective" and their intensity is adjusted by a dial on the cord. The screw was lying on my desk (the white in the background) and, obviously the DOF is extremely shallow.

Fruit will likely make for an interesting subject matter. Now that I can connect it to my smartphone, this may well be a future subject for the device.   Posted: 10/02/2020 09:38:56

Carol Sheppard   Carol Sheppard
Gosh, Tom, here I thought we were looking at another part of your follicles from your head? But this is wonderful...I love the combination of colors, the crispness while still being abstract, and the subtle lighting. Great artistic piece!   Posted: 10/04/2020 18:11:41
Tom Pickering   Tom Pickering
Wow! If this somehow looks like a part of body, my self-image is all out of whack! d;¬{D

All kidding aside, I'm discovering that extreme macro can really change one's view of the world we cannot see with the naked eye (is it okay to say naked?). Today, I received a stand for my 'scope and it's going to change everything. Now it operates more like a regular microscope and my test shots are so much better with it.   Posted: 10/06/2020 22:55:20
Comment Image

Barbara Asacker   Barbara Asacker
Hi Tom
Very interesting. Definitely an abstact. I like it.
Barbara   Posted: 10/05/2020 10:21:47
Tom Pickering   Tom Pickering
Thank you, Barbara. Who would think something so simple as a screw could become a piece of art? Certainly not I. d;¬{D   Posted: 10/06/2020 22:56:35

Nilan Herath
Tom you taking us to another world. This kind of extreme macro is not familiar to me
  Posted: 10/08/2020 11:19:47
Tom Pickering   Tom Pickering
I'm not familiar with it either, Nilan. Not sure what we'll encounter along the way, but it will definitely be an experience. d;¬{D   Posted: 10/08/2020 12:09:29

Stuart Ord   Stuart Ord
As a chemical engineer, I've got to say it looks like the archimedean screw in a screw conveyor! People are getting amazingly able to make nano-manufacturing facilities now, so it could be a micro version of one of those.
Seriously though, I think it's a good, fun photo, and as you say it's opening up details that are not visible normally. Amazing how much plastic was left caught up on it.   Posted: 10/08/2020 12:28:29
Tom Pickering   Tom Pickering
The plastic really surprised me. I'm accustomed to seeing plastic threads when a hole is bored, but had no idea on the micro fibers that a screw picks up.   Posted: 10/08/2020 13:13:36


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