Aussie Lapidary Forum

LAPIDARY => Gemstone Faceting => Topic started by: Faceting Frank on August 13, 2020, 06:10:25 PM

Title: Photographing faceted stones.
Post by: Faceting Frank on August 13, 2020, 06:10:25 PM
Been looking on You Tube for info on how to take closeup pictures of faceted stones.
The best method I saw was a “light box”, which was a cardboard box with the front missing and very large holes on each side. Desk lamps each side with 100w cool daylight spiral type globes. White paper on the inside of the box with no creases round where the stone is going to be.
My digital camera has a macro and it will stay in focus with the lens as close as 50mm from the stone. So before setting it all up have I missed something, or could it be better than this.
Thanks.
Title: Re: Photographing faceted stones.
Post by: Prooz on August 13, 2020, 06:47:53 PM
I struggle with this also, would be very interested in the light box.

Cheers
Prooz
Title: Re: Photographing faceted stones.
Post by: Bucket on August 13, 2020, 08:01:15 PM
All I could suggest is maybe a tripod or stand for the camera, whenever you're using a camera on zoom or macro, even a slight movement will be magnified so if you can rest the camera on something solid, it should be a better result.
Title: Re: Photographing faceted stones.
Post by: geowork on August 14, 2020, 08:09:58 AM
An inexpensive and effective lightbox, put the following search into eBay:

LED-Light-Box-Photo-Studio-Photography-Shooting-Tent-Kit-6-Backdrops-Portable

Get one with dual LEDs (front and back)

Bill
Title: Re: Photographing faceted stones.
Post by: Ghost on August 14, 2020, 09:05:29 AM
Downloaded instructions, with photos, on how to make a lightbox from a plastic 2 litre milk bottle.
Think I left the printout with the Victor Harbor Faceting Group when I moved to Adelaide.
Never tried it myself, but would certainly be cheap.
Best of luck,
Regards, Ghost.
Title: Re: Photographing faceted stones.
Post by: slomoshun on August 14, 2020, 09:28:30 AM
With the camera mounted on a solid tripod, use 5000 Kelvin spot lighting positioned to shine from behind the camera. Use a no-shine dark or black background under the stone. To get professional quality, take multiple images of the stone (without moving it or the camera) taken at various points of manual focus. Use an image stacking app to combine the photos to create a completely focused image throughout the depth of field.

Without the software, shoot at a closed-down aperture to increase depth of field. Experiment within the f/11 to f/22 range (too small of an aperture creates star sparkles). You will have to determine what point on the stone you want primarily in focus. The shots will required extended exposure times. Do not simply bump up the ISO to correct this, it can degrade the photo quality. Again, experiment because a camera’s sensor and internal processing software varies between brands and models. 

Lightboxes create opacified light from all directions and tend to kill a stone's brilliance. They are best used for detailed objects when you don’t want shadows. But, soft surrounding light from a lightbox combined with the 5K main light mentioned above is a good handshake.

When you buy lightbulbs, check their Kelvin rating because it affects the color of the photo.  You can tweak a photo’s white balance in an editing program for minor corrections, but adjusting one thing tends to influence another.  No free lunch.  :)

Kelvin guide
https://tinyurl.com/yxtlfpg6
Title: Re: Photographing faceted stones.
Post by: Prooz on August 14, 2020, 01:01:45 PM
All good information on things to try. Thank you very much.
Title: Re: Photographing faceted stones.
Post by: Faceting Frank on August 15, 2020, 02:52:49 PM
 Thanks very much for the response and particularly for the detailed info from slomoshun.
Looking through the spare globes I had, I found a “cool daylight” which is 6500k and it produced a near perfect same colour put in my desk lamp. Totally different to the “warm sunlight”, which produced a brownish colour.
The camera I have is only a Sony pocket camera, with auto focus and auto macro. The blue stone picture was taken as close as I could get it using the camera flash and then trimmed up in Microsoft Paint. The yellow one with the light to one side, no flash and trimmed in paint.
Will experiment with light and background colour.(http://aussielapidaryforum.com/forum/gallery/9/medium_120565-150820144836.jpeg) (http://aussielapidaryforum.com/forum/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view;id=9269)(http://aussielapidaryforum.com/forum/gallery/9/medium_120565-150820144650.jpeg) (http://aussielapidaryforum.com/forum/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view;id=9268)
Title: Re: Photographing faceted stones.
Post by: Bucket on August 15, 2020, 06:22:31 PM
Great job Frank, they are both clear and show the stone off well.
Title: Re: Photographing faceted stones.
Post by: Rusted on August 16, 2020, 06:41:48 AM
Great explanation slomoshun, I'm interested in what you recommend for a focus stacking app.
Just curious to have a play, so nothing professional that takes months to learn.
Title: Re: Photographing faceted stones.
Post by: RoughCreations on August 16, 2020, 10:36:24 AM
Great explanation slomoshun, I'm interested in what you recommend for a focus stacking app.
Just curious to have a play, so nothing professional that takes months to learn.
Just to jump in, GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a free and open-source application that runs on many different platforms and is my long-term image manipulation program of choice. There are lots of focus stacking tutorials on YouTube showing the process such as:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGp2OdLrB8Q (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGp2OdLrB8Q). It is a manual process consisting of layering your images in the software and putting "holes" down through the stack to expose parts of the layer with the best focus of your selected area. Your final image is a composite of the best focussed parts, whichever layer they originally presided, if this makes sense. I don't think there are any short-cuts or wonder applications as focus stacking is a fairly subjective operation,
Hope this helps,
RC.
Title: Re: Photographing faceted stones.
Post by: MakkyBrown on August 16, 2020, 10:43:24 AM
You can use Lightroom for focus stacking but I haven't like results. Worth researching the lens you use. The lens I use I can increase to F11 with miniamal loss of detail and F14 is still reasonable good. This is a fairly large stone about 17mm across. For backgrounds to put your gems on I recommend visiting Bunnings and getting a heap of paint samples. My cheap setup in a Canon 1300D and a Tamron 90mm lens. The lens has power focus so I can stack in increments when tethered but I prefer to use manual focus. I purchased the camera new and lens used for about $500 total off ebay. It was the cheapest option I could find including a decent macro lens. It is also worth getting a study tripod that has no wobble, some good options on ebay. I have it all setup permanently tethered to an old i7 latop and a large monitor. It has taken awhile but I am finally getting results I am happy with.

(http://aussielapidaryforum.com/forum/gallery/9/medium_5704-160820102219.jpeg) (http://aussielapidaryforum.com/forum/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view;id=9270)
Title: Re: Photographing faceted stones.
Post by: Faceting Frank on August 16, 2020, 12:38:25 PM
Very impressive, I've got a spray can of matt black, so will spray some paper and give that a go. I know by some of your other photos on here that a black background really makes the colours stand out.
Title: Re: Photographing faceted stones.
Post by: Faceting Frank on August 16, 2020, 04:21:23 PM
Well paper painted with matt black paint looks as black as you can get till shining a light on it. This stone is quartz and 25mm across.(http://aussielapidaryforum.com/forum/gallery/9/medium_120565-160820161400.jpeg) (http://aussielapidaryforum.com/forum/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view;id=9271)
Title: Re: Photographing faceted stones.
Post by: MakkyBrown on August 16, 2020, 04:23:19 PM
Put a sheet of white A4 paper in front of your light.  :)
Title: Re: Photographing faceted stones.
Post by: slomoshun on August 17, 2020, 04:05:33 AM
Black Duvetyne reflects very little light.
https://tinyurl.com/y2fmatyy

Might be available locally.  Amazon.AU doesn’t have it but their US site does https://tinyurl.com/y2fxenpy
Title: Re: Photographing faceted stones.
Post by: MakkyBrown on August 17, 2020, 10:01:55 AM
I tried velvet like cloth(came with a light box) but dust, fluff are a pain. I like the Bunnings colour samples as I can blow the card dust free with a puffer before placing the clean stone on it.

MB
Title: Re: Photographing faceted stones.
Post by: Rusted on August 17, 2020, 12:16:15 PM
This might be the stuff to paint your cards with makky.
A lot more expensive than Bunnings samples though.
https://culturehustle.com/products/black-3-0-the-worlds-blackest-black-acrylic-paint-150ml
Title: Re: Photographing faceted stones.
Post by: slomoshun on August 17, 2020, 05:45:16 PM
...but dust, fluff are a pain...

A stroke or two with a sticky roller for pet hair removes it.

Title: Re: Photographing faceted stones.
Post by: Giel on August 21, 2020, 05:37:33 AM
Quote
A stroke or two with a sticky roller for pet hair removes it.

Yeah, or just use some sticky tape to remove dust and the like, that works well with fabrics.

@Faceting Frank: I love that blue stone, Awesome cut.

I am pretty bad at photography myself so I asked my girlfriend to make some photo's. She was also complaining that she needs a macrolens to get it right. I thought she did pretty good without.
In the end we used no direct light on the stone, that seemed to work best.
The lighter round amethyst is the "star portal" design from Andrew Brown's book.

(http://aussielapidaryforum.com/forum/gallery/9/48179-210820052621.jpeg)

(http://aussielapidaryforum.com/forum/gallery/9/48179-210820052752.jpeg)
Title: Re: Photographing faceted stones.
Post by: slomoshun on August 21, 2020, 10:40:43 AM
Quote
A stroke or two with a sticky roller for pet hair removes it.

Yeah, or just use some sticky tape to remove dust and the like, that works well with fabrics.

The difference being that when all the gear is set up and the lights are on, and you want to make a final pass to remove dust, a roller won’t lift the fabric like blotting with tape will.  Been there and it’s a pita.  :)
Title: Re: Photographing faceted stones.
Post by: Giel on August 21, 2020, 05:47:59 PM
Quote
The difference being that when all the gear is set up and the lights are on, and you want to make a final pass to remove dust, a roller won’t lift the fabric like blotting with tape will.  Been there and it’s a pita.  :)

I can imagine, the roller would be the "pro" solution, but since I don't have any pets.... ;D
Title: Re: Photographing faceted stones.
Post by: Faceting Frank on August 22, 2020, 08:25:14 PM
That looks like Velcro Giel and it looks good, have thought about using it myself.
Done some more work on taking pics of Debbie the Cyclone, got the colour right now and just noticed all the fluff, so thinking of getting rid of it using a clean soft brush and plenty of meths. Meths will evaporate without leaving any trace.

Just a bit of history about that stone. It was one of the stones in the open section of the 2018 AFG competition which I entered. The numbers on my dial gauge had me turning anticlockwise when making spirals. I didn’t read into the rules enough where it stipulated that spirals have to turn according to the diagram. They were kind enough to send me a score sheet back but disqualified my stone. Barry Chapman won with a score of 94.37, I scored 96.79.
(http://aussielapidaryforum.com/forum/gallery/9/medium_120565-220820202252.jpeg) (http://aussielapidaryforum.com/forum/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view;id=9296)
Title: Re: Photographing faceted stones.
Post by: Giel on August 23, 2020, 02:14:42 AM
Quote
Just a bit of history about that stone. It was one of the stones in the open section of the 2018 AFG competition which I entered. The numbers on my dial gauge had me turning anticlockwise when making spirals. I didn’t read into the rules enough where it stipulated that spirals have to turn according to the diagram. They were kind enough to send me a score sheet back but disqualified my stone. Barry Chapman won with a score of 94.37, I scored 96.79.

Ah that's a bummer, that must have been frustrating! Let's just say you won without getting the trophy.
Difficult to see on the photo, but there are frosted facets only on the crown, is that correct?

Beautifulll stone!

Title: Re: Photographing faceted stones.
Post by: Faceting Frank on August 23, 2020, 09:23:32 AM
It was very disappointing and I had another stone “elven Starpaths” disqualified in the same competition as well. It wasn’t a spiral but I was cutting it opposite hand to the diagram. Didn’t do so well with that score though, only 90.91.
I don’t try to make my own index wheels but just buy them. The ones I buy are numbered clockwise and are meant to have the index lever on the top. Mines on the bottom so their number are now upside down, so I make up my own number card and glue it on. Not realising the numbers now have to rotate anticlockwise for me to rotate the index wheel clockwise.

Yes, there are only frosted facets on the crown, didn’t notice they reflected on the pavilion till taking the picture. A very attractive and well designed stone, not sure how it would look in a dark colour though.
Title: Re: Photographing faceted stones.
Post by: Dihusky on August 26, 2020, 05:07:30 PM
I've been playing with a new lighting setup, 300mm daylight led Oyster. Cut a hole in the back and the front dome, fitted a piece of 90mm downpipe, matt black on the inside, now the camera lens looks through the tube. Still tweaking the setup.

Camera is a GH4 with an Olympus Pro 60mm Macro

This is the result, soft, broad light, no flares, I'm pretty happy with the image as I think it shows the stones detail well. The only post production work on this image is re-sizing.

Bit of a story behind these stones, all came from an 88ct rough.

(http://aussielapidaryforum.com/forum/gallery/9/82619-260820165558.jpeg)
Title: Re: Photographing faceted stones.
Post by: MakkyBrown on August 26, 2020, 06:30:02 PM
This is my latest effort, it is stunning in hand. All 366 facets of it, my version of The Flower of Life. Very relieved to finish it without a major fup.
I'm putting detailed instruction together for it and thinking it will be going in book 3. Lighting is front on using two gu10 4.5w LED daylight bulbs from Bunnings, no diffusion.I will do a better pic sometime as this photo is not aligned faceup.
CheersMB(http://aussielapidaryforum.com/forum/gallery/9/medium_5704-260820182326.jpeg) (http://aussielapidaryforum.com/forum/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view;id=9302)
Title: Re: Photographing faceted stones.
Post by: Dihusky on August 26, 2020, 06:33:19 PM
Stunning Makky, I'll have to have plenty of time on my hands before I tackle that beauty when you publish it.
Title: Re: Photographing faceted stones.
Post by: MakkyBrown on August 26, 2020, 09:46:37 PM
I've been playing with a new lighting setup, 300mm daylight led Oyster. Cut a hole in the back and the front dome, fitted a piece of 90mm downpipe, matt black on the inside, now the camera lens looks through the tube. Still tweaking the setup.

Camera is a GH4 with an Olympus Pro 60mm Macro

This is the result, soft, broad light, no flares, I'm pretty happy with the image as I think it shows the stones detail well. The only post production work on this image is re-sizing.

Bit of a story behind these stones, all came from an 88ct rough.

Nice stones/excellent cutting :) Your post made me remember I have a uv filter on the front of my camera with a small doughnut of white paper stuck to it. Leaving just enough opening for the aperture.Helps with head shadow caused by the camera. Your stones might be better on a darker background. To get rid of dust after cleaning I hold the stone in a prong holder and use a puffer to blow the dust off into a retraction hood I have for soldering.MB
Title: Re: Photographing faceted stones.
Post by: Faceting Frank on August 27, 2020, 08:04:11 AM
Wow Makky thats brilliant, where can I buy your books?
Title: Re: Photographing faceted stones.
Post by: Faceting Frank on August 27, 2020, 08:06:58 AM
Added the cutting instructions for Debbie the Cyclone.(http://aussielapidaryforum.com/forum/gallery/9/medium_120565-270820074131.jpeg) (http://aussielapidaryforum.com/forum/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view;id=9303)
Title: Re: Photographing faceted stones.
Post by: MakkyBrown on August 27, 2020, 08:17:11 AM
Wow Makky thats brilliant, where can I buy your books?
Hi Frank
Send me a PM if you decide you'd like to buy one or both. You can see renderings of the designs on my webpage.

https://facetingdesigns.com/
CheersMB
Title: Re: Photographing faceted stones.
Post by: RoughCreations on September 03, 2020, 09:13:15 AM
Lighting is front on using two gu10 4.5w LED daylight bulbs from Bunnings, no diffusion.I will do a better pic sometime as this photo is not aligned faceup.
Cheers MB
How do you prevent glare on the stone's table with your setup, yet still bring out the optical effect of the cut so well in your photos?
RC