Dark field microscopy is one of my favorite imaging techniques (as a viewer). A single tiny barnacle larva, pollen grain, or diatom is there in stark neon detail, seemingly embedded into an infinite corner of deep space.
Recent images captured of the first “glowing” sea turtle during a night dive in the Solomon Islands reminded me of this technique. When I briefly saw those images scroll up my Facebook feed, for a moment I assumed I was looking at one of these intricate bits of dark field flotsam instead of a large, complex reptile in flight.
Biolumenecence is what the technique invokes, even for creatures not so lucky to glow on their own. The process merges conventional light microscopy with the same low-light photographic principals one might employ for night sky images, a few of my favorite things. Apparently you can get pretty nice results even using a student or even toy microscope.
I feel an experiment coming…