Posted by: Alan Pitts | October 26, 2011

Up Close and Personal

Here are a few shots that I took using my new, super-cool USB microscope which I purchased from EmCal Scientific. I first saw this unit on display at GSA a few weeks ago, and after playing around with one, I decided I had to have it.

Here is the unit at work, it’s about the size of a small flashlight, but has some serious zoom power.

Here is a dime. The detail around the eye/brow region is pretty impressive.

I wrote a post last year about using my camera phone+hand lens to photograph some pretty small items. This is so much better than that. This powerful little USB microscope connects to my Macbook (or PC) and takes some pretty sweet pictures and video.

Here is some beach sand I collected last year on the Southern coast of Puerto Rico, near Ponce.

A lot of sub-rounded quartz grains but also some strange shell and coral fragments. For scale is the 0.7mm lead from my mechanical pencil.

Here is a closer view at one of the more interesting shell fragments with the microscope on full zoom.

This next sample of sand is from a different beach. There are some clear differences with this one and the first sand sample. This one seems to have more rock fragments and also some different shell and coral fragments.

I took a few other pictures of things around me at the time.

Here is the shirt I’m wearing today.

I actually had no idea that there was any yellow in this shirt. But whatever, it works.

Here is another closer shot. 200x zoom.

Here is the beard I’m wearing today.

Yikes !  Is that really what my face looks like ?

I’m really excited about this new toy of mine and have several samples that I’m looking forward to sharing in the near future.



  1. Whoa, look at that beard! Let’s see some close-ups of Jeb!!! Stoked to see more samples

  2. Alan….Great pics…..guess what I will be buying real soon…Uncle Ray

  3. The first of the interesting shelly fragments (white, spiral, lots of little windows) is a benthic foram. The second one (longer, striated purple rod) is an echinoid spine, probably sea urchin. Nice photos! Sand is fun.

  4. Really neat! What model is this?

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