Possibly some of your photographer readers may be glad to know that microphotography of sorts is within the reach of all who possess a microscope with suitable substage-condenser and a camera… One of my earliest attempts was to photograph fluid inclusions in quartzes with ordinary sunlight, and rock sections polarised. The only difficulty was that the sun would not keep still, and without a heliostat the work was most troublesome, not to say aggravating. In one case, a mere movement of the condenser-diaphragm made the bubble in the inclusion fly backwards and forwards… With a little device in the double lantern the motion of bubbles in inclusions can be shown on a nine-foot screen. These negatives were taken with a 1/16th immersion, the camera being extended with a brown paper tube, and the extra apparatus did not cost one shilling… While observing the transit of Venus, I thought I would try a photograph. I drilled a hole in the telescope cap for diaphragm; took off the eye-piece and stuffed the telescope into a common camera, with a red cloth to make it light-tight; exposed six negatives with hand exposure on instantaneous plates. Result: four passable negatives and one good one. This quite unlooked-for success was due to some back volumes of Nature which propped up the camera.

From Nature 24 May 1900.


Twilight in India

This book is well named, for the author has a very dim view of India. In spite of a good deal of interesting and, on the whole, well-informed matter on south Indian castes, the whole book is coloured by an obvious determination to view everything Hindu in the darkest shadow, and all the less creditable aspects of Hinduism, particularly in regard to sex, are enlarged on at the expense of its merits.

There is obviously a good deal of exaggeration in many of the statements made, for the meriah sacrifice is written of — and that in 1949 — as if it continued as a routine ceremonial. Several of the illustrations are borrowed without acknowledgement from Thurston; and, although misprints abound, the fact that “tumeric” is repeatedly used for “turmeric” suggests that possibly it is not the printer who is to blame for “foistered” instead of “foisted” — or perhaps “fostered”.

From Nature 27 May 1950.