I’m just an amateur botanist and lichenologist, as well as an amateur in many other things. Since leaving the finance industry several years ago I’ve been semi-retired, living out of the back of my truck and helping out friends all over the country.
I’ve been working with Nathan on this site since about 2008(?) I’m also working with the lichenologist Trevor Goward on his upcoming book Ways of Enlichenment and associated website waysofenlichenment.net.
Other places you can find me on the web:
- contact: jasonphollinger [at] yahoo.com
My equipment is very primitive. I mostly just use a $100 10x-30x dissecting scope I bought off of “precision*world” on eBay. For higher magnification I use a 40x-1000x compound scope also from precision*world, but it is very poor quality and I definitely do not recommend it except perhaps as a good way to learn an appreciation for high-quality scopes!
My camera is just a point-and-shoot Casio Exilim EX-Z1080 (does a great job on macros IMHO, although doesn’t give great depth of field). For microscopic shots, I use the jury-rigged setup in the photo below to stack 20-40 images at different focal depths. I use the free software called CombineZP (runs only on Windows XP and Vista, and will run under Linux readily using VirtualBox).
Setup for taking “stacked” micrographs.
I use the Gimp for post-processing. For scale-bars you see on almost all of my photos, I’ve written a simple Gimp plug-in which I’ve calibrated for a few cameras including my own Casio Exilim. The source-code for this plug-in can be found at http://bornnaturalist.org/gimp/scale-bar.zip.
For lichenology and mycology, I think you can get by in a pinch with just 3 reagents: bleach (C), lye (K) — both readily available in supermarkets — and Melzer’s or Lugol’s solution (sometimes abbreviated IKI) — possibly available from local pharmacies if you’re a smooth-talker. The mildly-carcinogenic paraphenylenediamine (PPD, PD or just P) also comes in handy frequently with certain genera of lichens, but is more difficult to come by. If you are looking for a supply of any of these, please contact me.