Field of Science

Tools of the Trade

I would like to introduce you to my hand lens or, as geologists like to call them, a loupe. This is a highly useful piece of equipment that I always take with me when on a hike or out looking at plants. It is great for zooming in on the tiny mosses that I love so very much. I guess that I could also use it to look at other interesting tiny things like insects, but they move a lot faster than mosses and thus may be more challenging to catch.

Hand lenses take a little practice to get used to using them. Proper technique is to hold the lens up to one eye and close the eye that you are not using. Usually I touch my hand to my face to keep the lens from wavering. Then holding the lens as still as possible, bring the specimen that you are looking at up to the lens and your face. Bracing your hands together while doing this will help decrease movement. Then you can make minor adjustments to get the part of the moss in focus that you are most interested in.

If you are in the market for a hand lens I can highly recommend those made by Bausch and Lomb. Hands lenses also come in a variety of magnifications from 7X to 20X. Most botanists that I know have 10X lenses, which is sufficient zoom for most small creatures. I have a 14X lens. The added magnification is great, however the trade off is that it has a smaller lens surface and a shorter focal depth. Be sure to put your lens on some type of string or lanyard to hang around your neck. Otherwise this small item can be easily lost.

1 comment:

  1. When I first looked at this picture, I thought it was a cup of coffee. Who doesn't love a hand lens? So much fun ...


Markup Key:
- <b>bold</b> = bold
- <i>italic</i> = italic
- <a href="">FoS</a> = FoS