Sand Collection by Robert Maronpot

Photographing sand under the microscope is a hobby I started in late 1999 with samples I collected or received from friends. As a veterinary toxicologic pathologist I have access and working knowledge of microscopy equipment and that, together with experience in photomicroscopy, has provided an opportunity to learn about geology and marine biology in examining different sand samples. My interest as a novice in sand has remained keen and I have basically emulated existing and well established professional and active sand related websites to help share the variability and beauty of microscopic features of sand. Creating is also my way of thanking those who have provided sand samples by featuring their contributions.

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Olympus Digital Camera

Recommended Books

Bagnold, R. A. 1935. Libyan Sands. Eland, London. 228 pages.

Bagnold, R. A. 1954. The Physics of Blown Sand and Desert Dunes. Dover Publications, New York. 265 pages.

Greenberg, G. 2008. A Grain of Sand. Voyageur Press, Minneapolis. 112 pages.

Greenberg, G., Kiely, C. and Clover, K. 2015. The Secrets of Sand. Voyageur Press, Minneapolis. 128 pages.

Hobbs, C. H. 2012. The Beach Book. Science of the Shore. Columbia University Press, New York. 195 pages.

Pilkey, O. H., Neal, W. J., Kelley, J. T. and Cooper, J. A. 2011. The World’s Beaches. A Global Guide to the Science of the Shoreline. University of California Press, Berkeley. 283 pages.

Siever, R. 1988. Sand. Scientific American Library (Distributed by W. H. Freeman and Company, New York. 237 pages.

Welland, M. 2009. Sand. The Never-Ending Story. University of California Press, Berkeley. 344 pages.

How the Sand is Photographed

I use a stereomicroscope to obtain each magnified view of sand. The sand is place in an opaque laboratory weigh boat and photographed using polarized lighting to reduce reflections as much as possible. Because of the shallow depth of focus with this method, I create a sequential stack of individual digital images by slowly adjusting the focus from the top to the bottom of the sand sample. By this method a given individual image will have one level of depth in focus and typically several levels out of focus. The stack of images can be imported, aligned, and compressed using Adobe Photoshop software such that only the in-focus images make up the final compressed photograph using the Photoshop software. After that there may be some white balance adjustment and adding a magnification bar to finalize the photo.

Stereomicroscope Set Up For Photos Of Magnified Sand 2

Stereomicroscope Set Up For Photos Of Magnified Sand

Recommended Websites

Please visit these well-established sand related websites that have fostered my interest in this hobby: