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A general guide for using the Forum with some rules and tips
Taking great photographs
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  Index -> Micros & Macros - Images of Minerals
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Duncan Miller




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PostPosted: Feb 25, 2020 14:48    Post subject: Re: Taking great photographs  

fuss wrote:
Duncan, your pentax should have a manual white balance setting where you can adjust the temperature in kelvins. Try starting at 5-6k and adjust up or down as needed. Might save some time/frustration I find auto WB can be inconsistent even in a controlled setting.

Thanks for the advice, but I don't use the automatic white balance. I have tried setting the manual white balance to the appropriate rated colour temperature of the light globe and alternatively setting it manually before each exposure with a standard grey or white card. None of these produces a satisfactory result with the camera's automatic exposure metering. It requires adjusting the exposure by up to 2 exposure values, depending on the depth of colour of the specimen, and then also a colour adjustment on the computer. I am not happy with my Pentax K50 - it has a faulty capacitor that seriously compromises its functionality, but that is a different story - but posted my former and current photographic set-ups just to show that one can take perfectly acceptable photographs with quite rudimentary equipment.
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marvinlewinsky




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PostPosted: Feb 25, 2020 17:06    Post subject: Re: Taking great photographs  

FMF input has been phenomenal – thank you all.

The next obstacle is how to take great photos of large-cabinet to Museum size specimens. I have a beautiful Calcite specimen that is about 14 inch by 14 inch by 6 inch in size. I would like to get a full view photo, rather than a group of individual photos. I do not think photo stacking would be an option here, but I could be wrong.

Anyone ever taken photos of minerals in this size range, and here I am excluding photos taken at a Museum.
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basti




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PostPosted: Feb 25, 2020 17:19    Post subject: Re: Taking great photographs  

Duncan, if you use a LED light source, that might be the problem. There are 4 things which often ruin the colors - of course I tried all of them :D

1) Most LED lights except some pricy pro photo equipment cause problems with color calibration. The source of this problem is the color spectrum of LED itself. Normal lights have very broad spectrum of colors which are mixing together into one final color. Many LEDs have just very sharp and narrow peaks in the color profile. (see attached picture)

2) Other very common issue is with cheap fluorescent bulbs/LEDs, which have color temperature bellow 3500K. All camera sensors have big issues with rendering proper colors under 3000K, resulting in strange hues and/or dull colors.

3) Make sure you have no color reflections on your specimen. I have very bad experience with shooting in bright colored T-shirt. Even the very pale brown painted walls somehow managed to ruin the color calibration. This is likely not your problem, light tents solve this.

4) Mixing various light sources, like daylight + LED or halogen + LED etc. Even if the LED/other bulb is "daylight", it does not mean that daylight has the same color temperature. Try shooting in the complete darkness with only one light source and you will see if that helps.

All these things are technical limits of lights and camera sensors. Getting reliable and good light source is often very challenging - unless you use a diffused daylight of course :D

Duncan Miller wrote:
fuss wrote:
Duncan, your pentax should have a manual white balance setting where you can adjust the temperature in kelvins. Try starting at 5-6k and adjust up or down as needed. Might save some time/frustration I find auto WB can be inconsistent even in a controlled setting.

Thanks for the advice, but I don't use the automatic white balance. I have tried setting the manual white balance to the appropriate rated colour temperature of the light globe and alternatively setting it manually before each exposure with a standard grey or white card. None of these produces a satisfactory result with the camera's automatic exposure metering. It requires adjusting the exposure by up to 2 exposure values, depending on the depth of colour of the specimen, and then also a colour adjustment on the computer. I am not happy with my Pentax K50 - it has a faulty capacitor that seriously compromises its functionality, but that is a different story - but posted my former and current photographic set-ups just to show that one can take perfectly acceptable photographs with quite rudimentary equipment.



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basti




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PostPosted: Feb 25, 2020 17:34    Post subject: Re: Taking great photographs  

Yes, that is fun :) So first example: I had big calcite cluster about 30 cm (13") large. I needed a daylight photo and also UV light photo, as it is fluorescent.

Both shots were made from tripod from decent distance. For daylight, I simply put several white printer papers on the floor and used 2 lights from sides. Then I had to swap the background in Photoshop.

More fun was with shooting UV fluorescence. I did that in bathroom, where I put it on the (non-fluorescent) floor tiles - unfortunately the spacing between them was filled by pale filling visible in UV. So I made my best to remove the dust from the specimen, used a self-timer and hand held UV lamp. Then I swapped the background in Photoshop too. Result is attached.

marvinlewinsky wrote:

The next obstacle is how to take great photos of large-cabinet to Museum size specimens...

Anyone ever taken photos of minerals in this size range, and here I am excluding photos taken at a Museum.



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basti




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PostPosted: Feb 25, 2020 17:44    Post subject: Re: Taking great photographs  

Second example: Long elbaite crystal about 28 cm (12") shot at Munich show, directly at the dealer stand. KARP Minerals should be mentioned for their hospitality.

I used a light tent (40 cm), my headlamp as a backlight and then small reflection plate made from cardboard and alu foil. The tourmaline was very dark and quartz pale - and I had only one light source. So I used a headlamp for backlight and then also from the other sides. And because of the size, I had to focus-stack the tourmaline. So pretty complex problem.

I used a tripod of course, so all shots taken were then merged in Photoshop into layers. In the end, I used 8 shots to cover the focus stacking and various light angles and "mapped" everything into final picture. The background is Photoshop made of course.

This is a pretty extreme example of course, but sometimes you do not have a proper studio available. Where the HW is missing, the SW (and some tricks) can help.



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marvinlewinsky




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PostPosted: Feb 26, 2020 19:33    Post subject: Re: Taking great photographs  

basti wrote:
Yes, that is fun :) So first example: I had big calcite cluster about 30 cm (13") large. I needed a daylight photo and also UV light photo, as it is fluorescent.

Both shots were made from tripod from decent distance. For daylight, I simply put several white printer papers on the floor and used 2 lights from sides. Then I had to swap the background in Photoshop.

More fun was with shooting UV fluorescence. I did that in bathroom, where I put it on the (non-fluorescent) floor tiles - unfortunately the spacing between them was filled by pale filling visible in UV. So I made my best to remove the dust from the specimen, used a self-timer and hand held UV lamp. Then I swapped the background in Photoshop too. Result is attached.

marvinlewinsky wrote:

The next obstacle is how to take great photos of large-cabinet to Museum size specimens...


What recommendations for Calcite (white) on Calcite on Quartz? It would appear that taking pictures of ‘white’ minerals always presents extra challenges. Any examples (with setups) would be appreciated!



Anyone ever taken photos of minerals in this size range, and here I am excluding photos taken at a Museum.
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marvinlewinsky




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PostPosted: Feb 26, 2020 19:35    Post subject: Re: Taking great photographs  

What recommendations for Calcite (white) on Calcite on Quartz? It would appear that taking pictures of ‘white’ minerals always presents extra challenges. Any examples (with setups) would be appreciated!
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Matt_Zukowski
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PostPosted: Feb 26, 2020 22:16    Post subject: Re: Taking great photographs  

I do not shoot through glass like many others because i find that edges of the glass limit how i can stage the shot. I use two backgrounds: black and white. I generally use black backgrounds for white minerals, white for black minerals, and then generally whatever i have up for colored minerals. The backgrounds i use are Savage Seamless Background Paper.

I attach the background paper to the edge of the desk in the foreground and then curve it up to attach to the wall behind the desk. The curve keeps any creases or seams from appearing in the picture, and sometimes adds something of a gradient to the background. Some examples of my results are attached.

BTW - i am not saying that i am a good photographer. I am just telling you what i do and showing you the results. Perhaps the info will be useful to you. Good luck.



2D17-30 1a 0005 Pyrite Nanisivik (Copy).jpg
 Mineral: Pyrite
 Locality:
Nanisivik Mine, Nanisivik, Baffin Island, Nunavut Territory, Canada
 Dimensions: 8.8 x 7.1 cm
 Description:
 Viewed:  2216 Time(s)

2D17-30 1a 0005 Pyrite Nanisivik (Copy).jpg



4F06-70 0039 Manganite Ilfeld (Copy).jpg
 Locality:
Ilfeld, Nordhausen, Nordhausen District, Thuringia/Thüringen, Germany
 Dimensions: 8.7 x 6.2 cm
 Description:
 Viewed:  2209 Time(s)

4F06-70 0039 Manganite Ilfeld (Copy).jpg



3A08-10 0091 Fluorite Jaimina, Asturias (Copy).jpg
 Mineral: fluorite
 Locality:
Jaimina Mine, Obdulia vein, Caravia mining area, Trechorio, Carrales, Caravia, Comarca Oriente, Asturias, Principality of Asturias, Spain
 Dimensions: 12 x 7.1 cm
 Description:
 Viewed:  2218 Time(s)

3A08-10 0091 Fluorite Jaimina, Asturias (Copy).jpg



4D01-10 Amethyst Piedra Parada (Las Vigas), Veracruz 1 (Copy).jpg
 Mineral: Quartz
 Locality:
Piedra Parada (Las Vigas), Municipio Tatatila, Veracruz (Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave), Mexico
 Dimensions: 12.4 x 9.5 cm
 Description:
 Viewed:  2210 Time(s)

4D01-10 Amethyst Piedra Parada (Las Vigas), Veracruz 1 (Copy).jpg


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Bob Harman




Joined: 06 Nov 2015
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PostPosted: Feb 26, 2020 22:17    Post subject: Re: Taking great photographs  

Mr Lewinsky,

Here are 2 examples from my collection. Both self-collected and previously pictured on this site. Both are white calcite on white quartz. Both self-photographed; altho not great, they get the message of my very large specimens across to the viewers. For the 2nd example, using a flat dark background would have been a help for me. But still they were adequately photographed!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. For me it is time for a few pictures of your specimens to help get further suggestions. Without further discussions, some pictures now please! BOB



fullsizeoutput_2318.jpeg
 Mineral: Calcite on Quartz
 Locality:
State Route 37 road cuts, Harrodsburg, Clear Creek Township, Monroe County, Indiana, USA
 Dimensions: Calcite is 5.5 cm in a 16 + cm geode
 Description:
 Viewed:  2209 Time(s)

fullsizeoutput_2318.jpeg



fullsizeoutput_2ff7.jpeg
 Mineral: Calcite on Quartz
 Description:
Locality: Private land, Washington County Indiana
Area of Calcite is about 15 cm in a 25+ cm geode
 Viewed:  2211 Time(s)

fullsizeoutput_2ff7.jpeg


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marvinlewinsky




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PostPosted: Feb 27, 2020 15:02    Post subject: Re: Taking great photographs  

Bob Harman wrote:
Mr Lewinsky,

Here are 2 examples from my collection. Both self-collected and previously pictured on this site. Both are white calcite on white quartz. Both self-photographed; altho not great, they get the message of my very large specimens across to the viewers. For the 2nd example, using a flat dark background would have been a help for me. But still they were adequately photographed!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. For me it is time for a few pictures of your specimens to help get further suggestions. Without further discussions, some pictures now please! BOB



Dear Mr. Bob:

Thank you for your contributions.

My mother often told me, as probably did your mother tell you – ‘all good things come to those who wait' and wait you must. I have ordered a light tent and a few lights. The estimated TOA is the first or second week of March. I am uneasy about uploading photos that most would consider second-rate! I strive for perfection. I am waiting for approval to post the vendor’s pictures, but these will not appear on my collection page for obvious reasons.

I could upload some videos if that is OK, but how do I go about doing it?

ML
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Jordi Fabre
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PostPosted: Feb 27, 2020 17:15    Post subject: Re: Taking great photographs  

marvinlewinsky wrote:
...I could upload some videos if that is OK, but how do I go about doing it?

Now we can add videos
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