Monday, 30 January 2012

Tom Phillips Thin Sections ------ Meteorite & Rock Art --- About Me

Welcome to my meteorite / Rock Art site.
These images are presented as "ART".   Some people may take exception to calling this "ART".  I guess that is up to each person.  I work with a full pallet of colors.  With retardation filters and rotation in cross polarized light I can create just about any color.  It is how the many different colors, present in each image, create the whole that determines the effect that image has on the viewer.  A rotation, and subsequent change in one color, will change all of the colors in an image.  The finished image reflects my choices in colors and how they balance each other, and (in my opinion) that makes it "ART".  This is not a kalidascope!
Do not look at these images as a reference to identify thin section minerals.  I do not alter colors with Photo Shop or color filters but I do manage color and contrast with cross polarized light and light retardation filters. 
Additionally, and I hate to need to go into this, I would love to find alien life forms fossilized in meteorite thin section but I HAVE NOT.  Some sites have used my images in wild and absurd claims.  I am not a part of any of this kind of nonsense.  I may have a few somewhat unconventional views of certain meteorite structure formation processes but these are limited to things like chemical reactions verses shock induced and they do not include finding ET.
The equipment I use is research grade from many decades ago (60's-80's).  My preference in scopes is aus Jena.  The East German part of Zeiss.  I chose these scopes because of my ability to find "special" parts with in my budget.

This site is made possible by Dirk Ross, Tokyo, Japan (LunarMeteorite*Hunter)
 The Latest Worldwide Meteor/Meteorite News and all his help in setting it up and managing it.

A brief run down of my scopes.
My Xpol scope.
It is an aus Jena Fluoval.  It started life as a biological research microscope or AKA "Cancer scope".  I use this frame because I can switch from transmitted light (pass through) to incident light (reflected) with the flip of a leaver.  I can also combine incident and transmitted light.  What this scope looks like on any day varies as parts are frequently changed out to suit the sample / technique being used.
It also has a huge mercury lamp house that can safely handle a lot of heat.  I run a 750 watt photo optic halogen bulb as my light source in one of these hollowed-out housings.  Many of the techniques I use require a lot of light!

My incident light microscope.  
An aus Jena Neophot.  Large samples can be viewed and a thin section is not necessary.  The sample must, however, be highly polished.  I polish samples to a level of 1/4 micron for my close up views.  I can reach magnifications up to 2000X with excellent clarity.  When viewed in this technique the image is largely "True Color".  when I say largely it means some opalescent effects can immerge but most of the image is exactly what the rock looks like way up close. 

This is a polarizing set for the Neophot.
I use it to draw out subtle variations in reflectivity.  Mostly in iron or iron mineral specks.  It is possible to show mineral migration patters similar to Widmanstätten in very small bits of iron found in many meteorites. 

This is an interference microscope. 
It is an aus Jena Interphako.  While it is useful in producing some cool visual effects, that is not what it was made for!  It uses the principle of light wave interference for measurement and it is capable of measuring the distance of 1/500th of a visible light wave. 

Nikon SMZ 2B Stereo Microscope.
It's magnification operating range is from 8X to 50X.  I use this scope to help identify features I want to take a closer look at.  (A thin section is a big open field at 700X when you are looking for a small feature.)  I seldom take any photographs with this scope.  If I do, it is to document where a feature is located within the sample. 

This is a Shinko polarimeter.
I use it to look at a thin section in cross polarized light while adding light retardation filters.  I gives me an idea of what color combinations I can expect and note at what degree of rotation these filters are at when I like the results.
I often talk about control of color and contrast. Dark spots next to bright spots do not photograph well.  A lot of work goes into balancing contrast/colors and this machine helps with that. 

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