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Photographer looks to spark interest in microscopy

Robert Berdan's presentation at the Cochrane Public Library will include a wide variety of photographs and movies of micro-organisms found living in ponds, rivers, streams, moss and fields. Photo Submitted/For Rocky View Publishing

Nature photographer Robert Berdan will share his passion for microscopy and photography during an upcoming presentation at the Cochrane Public Library May 21.

“My hope is that I might be able to promote microscopy as a hobby,” he said. “Hopefully, we'll get a few people enthusiastic about this world that is all around us.”

Glenbow Ranch Park Foundation is hosting the free event, which runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Those in attendance will have the chance to listen to Berdan as he presents photographs and videos of the ‘micro-universe.’

The presentation will feature photographs and videos of close-ups of different microorganisms, such as arthropods, protozoa and tardigrades (water bears). The presentation will also feature videos.

“I took a bunch of pictures and I even have videos of them dancing to some music. They're cool little creatures,” he said. “I've got about 10 movies of these creatures swimming around and showing how fast some of them move.”

Berdan said he has always had a passion for microscopy. He spent many years as a research scientist at the University of Alberta and pursued other forms of nature and wildlife photography before returning to his long-standing hobby.

“I've photographed about 90 per cent of the things in this area, so a couple of years ago, I started to get interested in the microscope again and my passion just returned for it,” he said.

When Berdan was 13 years old, he said, he got his first microscope. By the time he finished Grade 8, he said he’d upgraded to a better model.

“I saw this amazing world in pond water, and I wanted to share that with people,” he said.

Berdan writes articles about his passion for capturing the world through a lens. He said he often receives messages from people – including youth – who have an interest in microscopy and photography. Recently, Berdan received an email from middle school students in New Brunswick, who sent him photos of pond water samples they were evaluating in their classroom.

“They sent me pictures and asked if I could identify it, and I did. I also asked them permission if I could use their picture in my presentation,” he said. “It was nice to see that they're interested.”

To reach more people interested in microscopy, Berdan said he offers private classes to children and their parents. He added he hopes to start a microscopy club to share his hobby with others in the area.

For more information on Berdan’s presentation, visit the Glenbow Ranch Park Foundation’s website or Berdan’s website,

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