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Author Topic: Photographing faceted stones.  (Read 1069 times)

Faceting Frank

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Photographing faceted stones.
« 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.

Prooz

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Re: Photographing faceted stones.
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2020, 06:47:53 PM »
I struggle with this also, would be very interested in the light box.

Cheers
Prooz

Bucket

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Re: Photographing faceted stones.
« Reply #2 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.
Common sense isn't exactly common

geowork

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Re: Photographing faceted stones.
« Reply #3 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

Ghost

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Re: Photographing faceted stones.
« Reply #4 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.

slomoshun

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Re: Photographing faceted stones.
« Reply #5 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

Prooz

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Re: Photographing faceted stones.
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2020, 01:01:45 PM »
All good information on things to try. Thank you very much.

Faceting Frank

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Re: Photographing faceted stones.
« Reply #7 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.

Bucket

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Re: Photographing faceted stones.
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2020, 06:22:31 PM »
Great job Frank, they are both clear and show the stone off well.
Common sense isn't exactly common

Rusted

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Re: Photographing faceted stones.
« Reply #9 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.

RoughCreations

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Re: Photographing faceted stones.
« Reply #10 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. 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.
Rough Creations - Beauty from rough beginnings

MakkyBrown

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Re: Photographing faceted stones.
« Reply #11 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.


Faceting Frank

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Re: Photographing faceted stones.
« Reply #12 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.

Faceting Frank

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Re: Photographing faceted stones.
« Reply #13 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.

MakkyBrown

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Re: Photographing faceted stones.
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2020, 04:23:19 PM »
Put a sheet of white A4 paper in front of your light.  :)

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