The joy of microscopic photography and video is that it lets you discover an entirely new world in something seemingly mundane and ordinary. Scientist James Weiss found beauty and life in something most of us will avoid – puddles. In his video, he shows you just how much life there is in just a single drop of rainwater found in the street.
“When was the last time you saw a puddle?” James wonders. “Was it recent — perhaps some time in the past week, fresh from a downpour? Or has it been a long time since you’ve seen rain, and so an even longer time since your path has crossed a puddle?” For me, it was quite a while ago, considering that we’re going through yet another heatwave. I’ve been craving rain and jumping into puddles like a child.
This is what James also asks – what did you do when you last saw a puddle? “Did you hop around it, trying to keep your clothes as pristine as possible? Or did you have the complete opposite impulse and jump right in the middle of it, and splashing water everywhere?” Or maybe, like James, your impulse was to lean in closer and wonder what was in there. Well, this is always his first thought. So, he collected samples from puddles in Warsaw, Poland, two days after it rained. He brought them home and observed them through a microscope. He recorded it too, showing the richness of life in something as “boring” as muddy water from a puddle.
In the video, you’ll see algae, pollen, and spores. You’ll see microorganisms like ciliates or flagellates. All of them dance around and do their thing, enlarged up to 630 times. I’ve lately been watching tons of these microscopic videos, so this one from James really came at the right moment. I also like that there’s narration and explanation of everything you see, considering that microorganisms aren’t something I’m too familiar with.