seeking advice - photographing agates

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by nannabug, Jun 2, 2004.

  1. nannabug

    nannabug TPF Noob!

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    Using a Canon Powershot G5. My first attempt at shooting agate stones and jewelry was pretty much a failure. Out of about 66 shots, only one or two are even half decent. The problem seems to be primarily a lighting issue. I want to get the light through the stone, and not just reflecting off the stone. Too much light washes out the detail of the engraving on the silver settings. Direct light results in glare and reflections. Many of the items are quite small. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
     
  2. Bird

    Bird TPF Noob!

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    Hey,

    Well, I am far froman expert, but, I do photo a lot of glass which is very similar it seems from your description.

    The few pointers I would have that trial and error have learned me --if you are not trying them already-- would be to get rid of all light sources except a defused light from above and use no flash; use a tripod, and a remote if you have one; place the stone(s) on a backdrop that curves up at the back so the diffused light on top pointing downward will make it look like it,s fading into darkness in the background, and the agate and floor will be light and hopefully glare free, that is if you are looking for a clear indoor shot of that type, you might want much more going on in the shot besides just the agate I dunno. Window sunilght is also usable but less predictable and only available at certain times of the day unfortunately.

    Again, this is very general info and I am really here to find info on the same kind of thing so take what I say with a grain of salt, as I am about as far form an expert as possible. I hope someone else can help more about more detailed settings for the camera itself.

    ..............Bird
     
  3. Bird

    Bird TPF Noob!

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    Oooops, double post...
     
  4. nannabug

    nannabug TPF Noob!

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    Thank you, bird. I appreciate your efforts to assist me. And welcome aboard!
    Most agates are an opaque milky color with dark flecks or bands of dark colors in them. What color background would you recommend?
     
  5. Rainman

    Rainman TPF Noob!

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    I'm just brainstorming here, but I can envision a setup such as Bird describes with either a tiny mirror or a white LED on a flexible stem that could poke through a tiny hole in the backdrop to put a tiny beam of light right into the back of the agate. Maybe something like this:

    http://jcsonlinetoolshed.com/product.php/14740/0/

    It's only about $20, but you could experiment with a mirror or something else to see if the concept is practical. Digital sure makes that easy.

    If you used a black backdrop it should be nearly invisible.
     
  6. Bird

    Bird TPF Noob!

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    Hey,

    At first started using a black velvet background, then switched to grey velvet, then went to black formica, and now am setting up a new booth using T.V. grey paper which is what I believe to be the stuff the pros that are getting the shots I want are using, or at least very similar.

    I have used an aquarium flourecent light rigged up with two sheets of white paper and one strip of black paper in the middle covering it, to simulate two soft boxes up until now, but am moving towards the set-up with better lighting and reflection. Still learning in that department.

    The formica that is in my current set-up is black from Home Depot. I have linked a photo below using this set-up to get into a marble I made that has to be seen into to be apreciated, as does most glass, and I imagine rocks to be the exact same thing. In effect they actually are the same thing. Again, this is my current set-up, and if I liked eveerything about the way it works I would probably not be here trying to learn how to get better myself...

    Also with glass at least, you do need some kind of reflection or it just doesnt look real, for me it is trying to control where the glare is, how much of it is there, and what shape it is... Anyhow, here,s the link...

    http://daysbetweenworkshop.com/glitterorb.html


    ...............Bird
     
  7. Bird

    Bird TPF Noob!

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    Hey,

    I think this one might be better to explain what I was talking about as that other shot was taken on top of an upside-down wine glass, here is a shot of a jar on my current set-up as I was talking about for shooting your agates. I still think this shot needs the light moved to directly above the jar to reverse the fade in the background but the jar is still pretty glare free, though I need to do some dusting it seems...:oops:

    http://daysbetweenworkshop.com/j44.html

    .........Bird
     
  8. nannabug

    nannabug TPF Noob!

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    What a nifty idea! Thanks for the link Rainman. I never thought of using a gadget like that. It just might work!

    Black plastic laminate, Bird? Hmmmm, interesting. Must have a matte finish to prevent glare. Oh yeah, that second shot is the effect I'm seeking! The patterns in the jar seem to glow from within. Now if only I can duplicate what you've done. Going to give it a go. Thanks!
     
  9. Bird

    Bird TPF Noob!

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    Hey,

    In that shot it is just the stuff from Home Depot made for countertops that comes in 4' x 8' sheets and is very thin, and yes it is a mattte finish. I am not sure if it is the same stuff as you are talking about I was just walking around in Home Depot and saw it and decided to give it a go one day. It is very brittle and hard to cut. I just used scizzors to cut it, but the edges are very sharp once cut, so be cautious if you choose to use that stuff.

    Mirror sounds good to me too, can,t wait untill I have time to re-do the set-up and give that one a try as well...

    ............Bird
     

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