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A general guide for using the Forum with some rules and tips
Lighting and mineral photos
  
  Index -> Micros & Macros - Images of Minerals
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dontgogreen




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PostPosted: Nov 05, 2016 18:07    Post subject: Lighting and mineral photos  

Hello,

I have a question about lighting when taking images of small cabinet-sized pieces. When is it appropriate to diffuse the light from your lamp? I use two 5500K bulbs and when I began photographing with them, I noticed very bright reflections, so I placed a sheet of white paper between the bulb and the mineral. Now I am beginning to try to refine my technique and I am wondering if there are situations when they are or are not appropriate. Do you use them as a general rule, or in a specific scenario?

Thanks for your responses.
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Matt_Zukowski
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PostPosted: Nov 05, 2016 19:15    Post subject: Re: Lighting and mineral photos  

I almost always put a sheet of semitransparent paper (vellum) in front of any side lights, and rarely put any such diffuser in front of my top light. But the key is experimenting. Try something, see how it looks, adjust, see how it looks, repeat. Once you have the specimen framed in the camera you adjust the lights (their tilt and distance from the specimen) to get light around the specimen and highlight things you want highlighted. Once the lights are set up, then you place white index cards around the specimen to reflect light into otherwise under lit areas, for additional backlighting, and to highlight xtal faces. To do this right, you look through the viewfinder of the camera and tilt the index cards back and forth until the right amount of light is hitting the specimen from the right angle. Using cards to highlight individual faces is especially useful with bright metallic or lustrous gemmy minerals because otherwise it is hard to see the individual faces without blowing out the sensor on the camera. It can take a lot of time to properly light a specimen, and sometimes I have to stop, take all the cards down and start again because I see problems that more cards won't fix. Proper lighting is probably the hardest but most artful part of taking a good mineral photograph. It can be very satisfying when you put that one card in and then get just the right amount of light off of some xtal faces so that they show just right in the final picture.
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