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Found 35 results

  1. I'm currently experiencing some issues with a brand new central pneumatic air eraser where when I hook it up to an air compressor: 1) air either blows through the air eraser without carrying any powder from the reservoir regardless of whether or not I'm pressing the control button or 2) air simply doesn't blow through it at all I've tried adjusting the screw on top of the reservoir and I've also tried to blow any powder that's stuck on the inside that may be gumming it up but these fixes have not worked. Has anyone else experienced a similar problem? If so, how did you fix it? I've only been using this instrument for two days for spraying MgO powder onto trilobites for photography.
  2. Hello all, I am curious to know about the techniques people use for producing photographs for plates in paleontological publications. I know there are some professional paleontologists on here, so I'm assuming some of you have personal experience in this area. What equipment in general is ideal for this? I have next to no experience with photography outside of taking pictures of my personal collection with a point and shoot. The reason why I am asking is because I will be required to do so for my undergraduate thesis research (photoshoot of some Lower Cambrian trilobites) and I am having trouble finding good resources for this on the internet. Paleontology/biostratigraphy projects aren't all that common at my school, so I don't have very many people that I know personally to ask for advice. I've taken photos of my specimens so that I have stuff to look at in the field using one of the cameras from my supervisor's lab (the make escapes me, I can post it when I'm back on campus tomorrow). These photos were acceptable for my purposes (eye candy and IDing things with some references I brought) but are not up to snuff for publications. Just curious to see what people's experience is with this and whether or not there are any publications on the protocols that are used for doing this sort of stuff. Any and all suggestions are welcome! Thanks!
  3. Filming Conodonts

    Hi! I recently acquired a bunch of microfossil samples for kids to play but did not expect them to be so small. We tried some microscopy but ended up applying a little trick that actually to helped to film them "in action", which was kind of cool. I do not know if this technique is a common knowledge or not but I decided to share. Perhaps, it will be of use to somebody. Here you go: Any suggestions for improvements? Thanks!
  4. Looks like a new set of photography techniques will assist us in determining what is associated and what was added to those drool worthy discoveries. Progressive Photonics
  5. Photographing microgastropods

    I have found a number of species in the Astoria Formation near Newport Oregon that are not in the literature, and I am planning on putting up a web site that describes them and makes proposals for their species names. And several of these are micromollusks.....a few bivalves, but mostly gastropods, with the smallest species being 1.2 mm high (not all that far from the world record of 0.7mm for a gastropod). And my digital camera, even in "macro-mode," can't begin to provide a usable photo of such an object. Does anyone have any ideas as far as photography equipment for small items that is affordable for someone on a strict budget? Dave
  6. Ammonite photography

    I've recently been experimenting with photographing some of my ammonite collection. It can be quite tricky to get creative photos of smaller specimens, so I have been building light modifiers and a miniature studio to see what I could come up with. I recently lost my job, so I'm hoping that perhaps I can sell fine art prints of some of these at some point in the future. For now though, I have a lot more tinkering to do. I won't go into detail naming the species, because I'm way too tired and would probably get it wrong anyway. All of these ammonites are under 2cm/.8 inch wide. Harpoceras? Somerset UK Unknown, Somerset UK Unknown, Russia. Same as above, detail Same as above, detail Unknown, Folkestone UK
  7. Amber insect photographs

    I've recently set-up a little studio in my dining room to make the photography of amber inclusions a little easier. These are the first results. I was going to wait a while and build up a few more to post at the same time, but I've had a crappy day and I'm keen to do anything to distract myself from it. These pictures are both panoramic, each made up of about seven images, I think. Each of those seven images is a stack of photos taken at different distances from the amber at 5x magnification on a full-frame camera. Each stack contains around 100 photos, so we're talking around 700 photos total per image. All of the amber is Baltic. The first piece of amber captures quite a poignant moment from 44 million years ago. Close-up of same image: Close-up of the head, from a different photo (taken at 10x magnification). This isn't such a great photo, but it does show some great details. And the second piece of amber is this fly. I can't remember what type of fly it is, but it's very big. And a close-up.
  8. This thread explores the light hearted history of the dinosaurs in the public psyche. A visually nostalgic tour of the evolution of the very popular toy, the plastic dinosaur . Focusing on film, illustration, sculpture, vintage photography and of course our prehistoric plastic playmates. I hope it invokes some very happy memories from our childhoods Story starts here, Megalosaurus jawbone - in 1824. It was acquired by William Buckland (1784-1856), For the University of Oxford, after being found in a slate quarry in Stonesfield, Oxfordshire. The names of of both Megalosaurus and Dinosaur were coined by Richard Owen. In the UK in 1974 the Megalosaurus figure by Invicta Plastics was the best selling museum dinosaur. The first ever dinosaurs sculptures exhibited in the world are the fantastic Crystal Palace Dinosaurs. Displaying a series of sculptures of extinct animals. However, these are very misguided to modern standards, housed in London’s Crystal Palace, the sculptures were designed by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins under the scientific direction of Richard Owen.
  9. New Amber Photography Setup

    A while back I had posted asking about amber photography. Well, after a lot of research, and some expensive upgrades, I finally figured out a good setup. I am using a Cannon Rebel, with a 200mm lens, a few adapters, and infinity objective lens. The whole setup is mounted to an automated stacking rail and connected to my computer. I will usually take 100-250 photos per inclusion, and then stack them with a stacking software (Zerene Stacker). The end result depends a lot on the quality of the inclusion itself, as well as the clarity and shape of the amber piece, and the position of the inclusion inside it. But with a good piece of amber, I am extremely pleased with the results.
  10. What are those cubes with measurements on them called? I looked at various subforums but didn't see any of them listed and since I don't know their name I can't really search for them!
  11. How to be an Urban Paleontologist

    How to Spot the Fossils Hiding in Plain Sight Traces of prehistoric life are everywhere. by Jessica Leigh Hester, Atlas Obscura, Feb. 23, 2018 https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/find-fossils-urban-geology Meteorite Impactites in London: Irongate House, Houndsditch EC3 Ruth Siddall, Urban Geology in London No. 24, December 2014. http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~ucfbrxs/Homepage/walks/IrongateHouse.pdf London Pavement Geology http://londonpavementgeology.co.uk Yours, Paul H.
  12. Costa Rica

    I know that Costa Rica has a policy of confiscating natural items, so my plan is to photograph them. I read of a tourist attempting to drive fossils she bought and being charged with smuggling items of natural wonder, no bueno. That being said most I have found online is concerned with collecting and the prohibition of it. Does anyone know of any books about costa rican fossils and sites, books about costa rican geology, personal account, etc etc I have heard of some beaches on the pacific coast with petrified wood.
  13. New Scope and Lenses

    Was surprised to receive a few packages very far ahead of anticipated delivery date. The first is an OMAX 3.5x - 90x trinocular scope with boom arm. If I'm going to be doing more detailed prep, a stereo scope with boom arm to position over a blast box is an absolute must. Of course, it came in a zillion pieces and the instruction manual was for an entirely different model that bore very little resemblance to the one I was putting together. But after an hour of trial and error - and some very colourful language - it is all assembled. I've taken it out for its test run, and works great with wide-field eye pieces and a Barlow lens so I can work at a reasonable distance. The magnification is not high, but any higher would not be useful for prep. Blowing up a half inch specimen to a large detailed view is sufficient enough to get at the nooks and crannies. The software it came with was not going to be helpful to me as it came on a CD (Mac discontinued CD/DVD drives on their machines a few iterations ago), and so after some online hunting I found the right software for download. Still a lot to learn about microscope photography as what you see in the eye piece is not necessarily what you see on the screen. It also means pulling out a stop to divert light from one of the eye pieces to the mounted camera. Eventually I'll figure out how to match up the eye view to the camera view (there is some helpful advice online, and a lot of things I can adjust in the software). So pictured here was just a quick and simple (if not fuzzy) first snap of a 5mm Itagnostus interstricta. I know, fuzzy... As I said, a lot to learn! Second item are these handy jeweller's glasses with lenses of different strength to swap in and out as needed. The little LED lights on the side are very helpful. These will be useful when I'm doing sewing needle prep and need my hands free (rather than holding a loupe). Also handy when I need to have a quick look at some detail in the field when I'm away from the scope. Oh, and they also makes me look like a demented 1950s sci-fi villain, which will help frighten door-to-door salespeople or small children. Ah, new toys!
  14. Microfossil photography

    Hey everyone, I am wondering if anyone knows a professional microscope that can be used to photograph microfossils. I need to make pictures of fossils such as bonefish teeth, ptychotrygon teeth, etc, that are 2-3 mm big. Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks for any help.
  15. Lighting for amber photography

    Working on my amber photography setup. Right now, having issues with lighting the insect up properly. Still working on getting the focus correct, just switched to a steomicroscope with a c-mount adapter for my Cannon Rebel. Shooting remotely with the EOS app. Lighting with the scope's backlight and a dual arm microscope light. Any ideas?
  16. Petrified Wood?

    From the album Fossil Photo-Shoot: 1

    Using this image for a post this may be updated depending on the outcome.
  17. Petrified Wood?

    From the album Fossil Photo-Shoot: 1

    Using this image for a post this may be updated depending on the outcome.
  18. Petrified Wood?

    From the album Fossil Photo-Shoot: 1

    Using this image for a post this may be updated depending on the outcome.
  19. Petrified Wood?

    From the album Fossil Photo-Shoot: 1

    Using image for a post at the moment this may be updated depending on the outcome.
  20. Mount Isa photographer shares his tricks for taking photos of sand-grain sized fossils By Harriet Tatham, ABC North West Qld http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-28/how-to--photograph-a-fossil-the-size-of-a-sand-grain/8650976 Yours, Paul H.
  21. Has anyone tried to take a 3D photograph of a fossil that you can rotate in all directions when displayed on a website? If so, what software did you used? What do you recommend for me? I want something inexpensive but am willing to put in the effort to make it work the way it should. I have a background in photography and 3D but not VR and this something I want to exploit. I want to take a bunch of photos of a fossil from all angles and stitch them into something the website visitor can manipulate as holding it in his/her hand. The software I see when I do a web search don't list prices but want me to request a quote. Thanks! Bill
  22. I am wanting to get a digital microscope to image chondrichthyan teeth in the 1mm to 20mm size range. I have been using an iPhone 5s with a15x Olloclip for the larger teeth with decent results, but can't pickup fine details on the smaller teeth. Does anyone have recommendations that won't "break the bank "? Thanks, Carson
  23. Here is some of my storage areas and my prep/ photo work station and my microfossil work station. And a display case.
  24. I decided to do a little experiment yesterday after reading a little about photogrammetry and how it's being used in archaeology for 3D scanning sites. The idea of digitizing fossils in 3D is very, very cool to me. I decided to do a little more research on it and possibly give it a try. For this experiment: All software was completely free. I didn't use an expensive camera....In fact, I used my smartphone to take all the photos. Image size was only 1000x1000px and quality wasn't that great (it's a phone) I didn't have a good light setup. I used the flash on my phone. I had no experience with any of this prior to this experiment. For the subject, I used a whale vert that has some odd preservation. It seems like it was crushed a little during fossilization. The whole thing is off center and cracked in a lot of places. I thought it would be a good fossil to play around with for this. So, I took 46 photos at different angles all around the fossil, making sure to keep the distance the same and tried my best to keep my phone's camera in focus. There were two main steps after the photos were taken. 1. Create a point cloud that could be put into a program and used to make a 3D model from the 46 2D photographs 2. Use the same 46 images to create a texture to apply to the new 3D model. Thankfully, both steps were much easier than I expected them to be thanks to some software created as research projects by different students in a few different universities. I'm happy with the results considering it was done with free software and a cell phone. I could have used higher resolution photos and it probably would have looked nicer, but I didn't for this first test. I plan on messing around with this sort of thing more. There's tons of filters and options in the different programs that I haven't tested to see what they would do...and I haven't even tried a real camera with better lighting yet. I'm guessing that a good camera in direct sunlight would make a huge difference. A couple of things on the model didn't come out right, but that was probably just because I didn't get enough photos from different angles in certain places. Also, the bottom of the vert where it was sitting on the table obviously didn't get photographed, so it's just black. I'm sure you could flip the thing over, do the whole thing again and then put it all together, but that would require a lot more experience with these programs. If anybody is interested in playing around with this themselves, I can post the programs used..or I could write out a tutorial. When some even better software comes out, I can see this becoming a pretty common thing. Imagine a "gallery" full of 3D fossil scans! Whale Vertebra 4½" Tall Miocene Hawthorn Fm. Alachua County, FL Here's an additional two-part scan done using this method and a DSLR camera with more photographs: Titanis walleri Phalanx Pleistocene Gilchrist County, FL Beginner Tutorial The Programs & Configuration First, you need Visual SFM. (This is the program that turns the photos into a 3D point cloud) Next, you need CMVS for Windows or if you're not on Windows, go here. (This is just a few files that we put into Visual SFM that helps create our texture that gets applied to the 3D model) The last thing you'll need is Meshlab. (This is a very powerful 3D program that does all kinds of stuff. We'll be using it to turn our 3D point cloud into an actual model and apply our material to it...among a couple other things) Download Visual SFM & CMVS then extract them. Navigate to the correct folder for your computer and copy the contents of the CMVS folder. I'm on Windows 7 64 bit, so I went to the first folder I extracted, "CMVS-PMVS-master" > CMVS-PMVS-master > binariesWin-Linux > Win64-VS2010 and copied everything in there (minus the Readme.txt). Paste those files directly into the Visual SFM folder (the one with all the .dll files where the application to launch the program is) that you just extracted. Obviously, this is a one time thing. You get those files in the right place and every time you open Visual FSM to make a 3D model, it'll have CMVS right where it needs to be. Photographing When I took my photos, I placed the vert on a piece of newspaper with a lot of different colors, lines, images, etc. It's important that the software has common places of reference between different images so it can map out he point cloud accurately. Here's my vert set up ready to be photographed: Thinking about it now, it probably would have been smarter to elevate the vert slightly above the newspaper on a little block or something. I had a little trouble cropping the bright newspaper away from the vert. I took photos starting at a low angle spaced out as I slowly rotated around the fossil. I'd take a pic, move a tiny bit, take another, move a tiny bit, etc. Here's what four of my photos in sequence look like: I went in a full circle until I was sure that I had rotated around the fossil completely and even overlapped a bit, taking photos of the same angle I started with (better to have too many than too few). Then I angled the camera (well, phone in this case) at about a 45 degree angle and rotated around the fossil completely again. Those photos look like this: As you can tell, this are not great photos. I think that the model would have turned out much better looking if I took better photos in better lighting. After I completed that pass, I took one photo of the very top of the vert, facing downward. I made sure to always get a fair amount of the newspaper for tracking purposes. Then I used a great free program called Photoscape and it's batch editor to apply the same filter and crop to all the images at once. Make sure not to crop out your newspaper or whatever you're using to help with tracking. Do not use images with larger dimensions than 3200px! I read in a couple places that this would cause worse tracking and a lot of other problems. If you want to experiment with larger than that, go for it and see what happens..When I tried it, the program ran for a very long time and eventually froze my computer...but my original images were over 5000px each. Visual SFM When your photos are done, open up Visual SFM by going to the folder you extracted and clicking on the application. This is what it looks like: I wrote out some arrows to the things you'll be using in there. #1 is Open Multiple Images. Just click that, navigate to your images and upload them. You'll see the log window to the right doing some stuff....You should see your image thumbnails in the program in just a few moments. When that's done and there's no more activity in the log window, click on #2, Compute Missing Matches. This is the first thing that some computers could have trouble with. This one can take a little while depending on how many images you have and how large they are. When this is done and there's no more activity in the log window, we can get to the cool stuff. Click on #3, Compute 3D Reconstruction. This part is seriously amazing. It takes all of your images and automatically calculates where you were in relation to the object when you took the photo. Then it shows all the places an image was taken and it displays the point cloud in the center. It looks like this: The squares are everywhere I took a photo...You can see that I did a circle around the fossil down low and then a very sloppy "circle" above it. In the center, you'll see your sparse point cloud. If you want to make the little image icons bigger or smaller, it's ctrl + mouse wheel, if you want to change the size of the point cloud points, it's ctrl + alt. Time for the next step. When you clicked on button #3 and got your point cloud, a couple new buttons showed up. This is the one you need: #4 is Run Dense Reconstruction. When you click this, it's going to act like you're saving something. What you're doing is giving the software a directory to dump the files it's going to create. Make a new folder, give the file some name and click save. When you click save, look at the log window (if it's gone, the show/hide button for it is at the top, far left) and look for this: If you see the highlighted part, it means you correctly moved over the files from the CMVS folder you downloaded into the Visual SFM folder. It'll tell you that "this could take quite some time" and it definitely does. For my project (46 images at about 1.2MB each - 1000x1000px) it took 5 - 10 minutes, but before I resized those photos they were over 5000px each and this step ran for nearly an hour before my computer finally froze. Like I mentioned above in the photography part, I read in a few places that your images should be below 3200px on the longest side. You might want to think about closing down other programs that use up a lot of memory while you run this unless your computer has a lot of memory to spare. I closed out my browser and a bunch of other stuff just in case. When the log window says this is done, you should be able to hit Tab on your keyboard and see your dense point cloud....again, you can mess with the size of the points with ctrl + mouse wheel. This is still just a point cloud even though you'll start to see some color and image coming through. There's no need to save anything after this step is done. The program automatically wrote everything you need into the new folder that you created. And that's it for Visual SFM! Meshlab Go ahead and install Meshlab if you haven't already. It can look a little overwhelming at first, but we'll only be doing a couple pretty basic things. This is what Meshlab looks like: Go up to File and click Open Project (or the second button from the left, #1 in the photo above). Remember the folder you had to create when doing the last step (the dense point cloud) in Visual SFM? Navigate to that folder and you'll see a .nvm folder with the name. Open that file. It'll take a few moments to open. When it does, you'll see your point cloud open up into the program (upside down). Now is a good time to try to learn how to navigate around the viewport. The mouse wheel zooms in and out. Holding the left mouse button and moving the mouse rotates around the center. Holding the mouse scroll wheel and moving the mouse will pan the point cloud (or later, the mesh) around. I usually center it in the middle of the center rotation widget. Holding Alt and scrolling the mouse wheel will change the size of your point cloud points....You may need to do that to make them easier to see since we need to delete some soon. All this might take a little getting used to, but if you're patient you'll get the hang of it. Next, click on Show Layer Dialog, the #2 button in the image above. You'll see the little window on the right pop up. If you're at all familiar with photo editing, this layer window should be pretty familiar to you. Now we need to get our cameras showing up. Go to Render (#3) > Show Camera (#4). From there, go over to drop down arrow next to Show Camera on your side window below your layers (#5) and click it. Check on the Scale Factor here and make sure it's set to something like 0.04 or smaller depending on what you want. When I first did this, the camera scale factor was very high when I first clicked on Show Camera and it made it so I couldn't see my point cloud anymore. Time for bringing in our dense point cloud. First, click the little eye next to your layer in the side bar (#6) and you'll see your point cloud disappear. Next, go to File > Import Mesh (#7) and navigate to the same folder you created in Visual SFM where your .nvm file was. You'll see in the same folder a .ply file with the same name. Click that and import it. Reposition the mesh in the center and zoom in. Under Show Camera on the side bar, you may want to uncheck Show Raster Cameras so they don't get in your way for this next step. We're going to be selecting and deleting the stuff that we don't want in our finished model. Position your model carefully and click the Select Vertexes (#8) button. You can then click with the mouse and drag a rectangular selection around the stuff you don't want (#9). Be careful NOT to delete any of the actual model, only the surrounding stuff that was used for tracking (the newspaper in my case) and any random artifacts that might be hovering above or around the model. This isn't difficult, but it can be a little time consuming. This is why I recommended above that you elevate your fossil on a little block or something. Then you could just change to a side view and delete all the newspaper at once, cutting the block in half. When you drag the box around the stuff you don't want, that stuff will turn red meaning it's selected (see #9). When you have the right stuff selected, click #10, which is a Delete Vertices button. The area selected is gone now. Repeat 8, 9 and 10 changing angles carefully to get rid of everything that you need gone. Sometimes the wrong layer gets automatically selected (the invisible one) and when you hit the delete button, it won't do anything. Just click the layer ending in .0.ply if the top one gets selected and keep going. Don't hit the delete button if even a tiny piece of the model is selected...There's no undo button that I've seen, so if you make that mistake, you may have to go back to step 7 and import the mesh again. Here's another angle I used: Remember that you can hold Alt and scroll the mouse wheel to make the points bigger and smaller. If they're too small, you'll have trouble seeing what to delete and what not to. Next, go to Filters > Point Set > Surface Reconstruction: Poisson (#11) here: Then change the settings in the box that pops up to 12, 7, 1, 1 (or experiment a little, but that's what I used) like this: When that's done, hit apply and let it run. What comes out is a 3D model of your fossil! It's just missing the texture right now, but it's still very cool looking. Click the little eye on the layer that ends with .0.ply to hide it. It'll look something like this: Next, we need to go to go to Filters > Selection > Select Non Manifold Edges (#12), making sure the right layer is selected like so: A box will pop up. Just hit apply, then click the Delete Vertices (#13) button. This is just a preventative measure, you shouldn't notice much happening when you click delete. We're getting close! Just one last step and you'll have a fully textured 3D model. Go to Filters > Texture > Parameterization + texturing from registered rasters (#14). A box will pop up. I doubled the size of the texture and left everything else default. The default is 1024, I changed that to 2048. Go ahead and name your texture whatever you want. This step is taking all those images we took and making a single image file that has all angles on it. Hit apply. And there you go! A fully textured 3D model of a fossil from nothing but images: You can go ahead and export your model now. Click File > Export Mesh, give it a name, select the file type drop down here: I made sure to save in a couple different file formats. I saved in .obj and .dae. When you go to upload the 3D model somewhere, all you have to do is upload one of these files and then find your texture image that you created on step (#14) to apply to it. Keep in mind that this technique is not limited to small objects. You can map out environments in 3D too. Archaeologists use this technique (usually with high tech equipment) to take 3D models of archaeological dig sites. This technique can also be used for very detailed topographic mapping if you had a way of taking aerial pics. I'd love to see if anybody gives this thing a shot. If you try it and have trouble, let me know...I'm still very much a newbie at all this, but I'll do whatever I can to help figure it out. I'll post more in this thread as I make more 3D fossils. If anybody gives this a shot, have fun! It's definitely a learning experience. -Cris
  25. I thought I would share a few cell phone photography tricks I have learned. Back when I had an iPhone and HTC One I would just zoom in the camera and then I would put my fossil in the frame and take the photo. Both phones did an admiral job taking decent up close photos. I've recently downgraded to a Moto G with a fixed focal length and found that it wouldn't take nice close up photos. Then I tried holding my loupe up to the camera lens and lo and behold I was taking close up pictures again. The photo below is a 1/2 inch Triarthrus beckii. By the way, if you forget your loupe you can use your phone camera as one. This trick also works with tablet computers as well.