More Stitching

Last time, I went on about my fitting pictures together when my microscope doesn’t have a low enough power. That’s when the object is too big to fit into the field of view at my lowest power – with best image settings (least distortion, best resolution etc.) I take pictures of portions of the object then electronically paste them together to get an image of the whole item – usually a large chondrule.

There are probably a lot of programs that will fit puzzle pieces together for you. I use two that came to me by chance. One was free with my first digital camera, a Canon. It’s called PhotoStitch. The other is Adobe’s CS4 high power Photoshop. This was a gift from my kid(!). As you’d expect, CS4 is pretty sweet. But sometimes it gets confused when there is a lot of black space in the pictures. Then I fall back on PhotoStitch.

I also use stitching / merging with higher magnifications. Again, I am compensation for not having high grade optics with a variety of magnifications. In this case features in images at my “regular” magnification are too small. That is, when you enlarge them to fill the viewing frame they’re blurry. My fix is to up the microscope’s power (which too often over fills the field of view) and take a set of pictures to cover the feature in question. Merge, trim and show off.

Let me show you.


At my normal magnification the field of view is about 3 mm wide. This chondrule in a CK5 meteorite looks interesting to me.

When that image is enlarged the thing is blurry.

My fix is to use a higher microscope magnification. My next power up won’t accommodate the whole chondrule so I took four shots. This is one of them.

Those four shots merged with CS4 look like this.

Cropped and corrected it looks pretty good. Without seeing other sections through this barred olivine chondrule we can’t be sure, but to me it looks like the section does not cut close to the center of the chondrule. Thinking of it as a hardboiled egg, the shallow cut exaggerates the thickness of the white (the igneous rim) and just barely catches the yoke (bars).

The brightly colored feature in this CK3 needed a closer look.

But simply enlarging that picture doesn’t get it.

Merging four higher magnification pictures gave me this.

This barred chondrule in a CV3 is not terribly small in this shot but I wanted to see more detail that it hinted was in and within the rim.

I took four higher magnification pictures of the top right quarter of the chondrule then chose this portion for interest. It looks like the glass interstitial to the bars is partially devitrified. Paul and Jim have been good enough to host a larger version of this picture. Click on the picture to see it.


About the Author

John Kashuba
John is a natural history enthusiast living in Oregon.