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Gatorman

Photographing Fossils

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Harry Pristis
ok, because my camera died i attemptedtoday to make some photos using a load of different methods and trial and errors....i dont think they turned out too shabby! what do you guys think....any tips or suggestions for the future?

they are in my vert gallery.....im not sure if i did the pre molar one right :S

cheers chris

Well, Chris, those image-experiments turned out pretty well! What are the new methods you're using?

-----Harry Pristis

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kauffy

thanks Harry

ok heres what i did!

1) opened group shots of fossils in microsoft pic manager, usued the brightness and contrast button /OR/ the "enhance color" button to make the background as white as possible.

2) open the pic in Paint (My photoshop isnt working other wise the magic wand tool would have been very handy!) Draw around the fossil....cut it then paste in a new paint page.....

3) i mooved the around, cropped bits off ect.....then took the scale from the original pic and put it in (no worries there because i didnt resize any of the fossils, they tendedto pixelate way to easily!)

4) added the info..... save to my pic folder!

pretty simple but it took me a long whileto get it looking ok.

any tips harry?

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grampa dino

No Matter what the photo looks like, with out some sort of scaleing what do you lealy have??

I use a green craft cutting board from the Dallor store, it seems to work OK.

The photo end can get a littel deep for some, the best rule is to use natureal lighting (sun light) a refector board made from cardboard and tinfow works well

any spelling misstake is becausr of the beer

beer dinking bone digger

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Gatorman

Hahahaha any misspelled words? How about nearly every word you typed :P How many beers did you put away 20? :P My dad could but down 40 Beers and not even slur, vodka was a different matter though :rolleyes:

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hybodus

Too funny!

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Harry Pristis
thanks Harry

ok heres what i did!

1) opened group shots of fossils in microsoft pic manager, usued the brightness and contrast button /OR/ the "enhance color" button to make the background as white as possible.

2) open the pic in Paint (My photoshop isnt working other wise the magic wand tool would have been very handy!) Draw around the fossil....cut it then paste in a new paint page.....

3) i mooved the around, cropped bits off ect.....then took the scale from the original pic and put it in (no worries there because i didnt resize any of the fossils, they tendedto pixelate way to easily!)

4) added the info..... save to my pic folder!

pretty simple but it took me a long whileto get it looking ok.

any tips harry?

No tips that I haven't already posted in this thread, Chris. Good job! I find that I can often compensate for poor technique by using the brightness and contrast controls. It's useful to find editing software that feels good -- intuitive -- after a few trys, then use that software exclusively. You'll find that the work gets much easier and faster with practice.

-----Harry Pristis

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kauffy

Yep im sure with some more practice it will get a bit quicker and easier! i will attempt to re-do my vert album to start, it wont be easy but i do like the uniform, neat, and aesthetically pleasing images more than a two second happy snap!! thanks for inspiring me to do this! maybe one day mine will look as good as yours! :rolleyes:

cheers chris :)

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Bill

I use a cheap, Kodak Easy Share C433, 4 mp camera. In daylight when possible.

I crop my pic's in Microsoft Picture It Photo Standard 9. I then resize and change resolution to 600 or 1200 dpi.

Here is the underneath of a Cretaceous Echinoid. Micraster sp. Works ok for me and is very easy to use.

post-45-1211317454_thumb.jpg

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Auspex

A timely topic; I just took the first pics with my new hand-held digital microscope. I've already learned that the "hand-held" part is a problem: some kind of adjustable stand is needed. Anyhow, for $130, it's pretty cool; the range of magnification is 10X - 200X, and it plugs right into a USB port. Here's the first trial effort (improvements to follow as I learn my way):

post-423-1211320607_thumb.jpg

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Auspex

Same shot, after "quick-fix" of the contrast. Obviously, I need to get Photo Shop...

post-423-1211322375_thumb.jpg

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Roz

Great ideas on this topic.

Might be a good one to pin?

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Auspex

This time, I tried a tiny bone from a Pleistocene raptor pellet; it's a hair over 3/16".

(I have about a cup of this stuff, and haven't started identifying any of it yet).

post-423-1211325850_thumb.jpg

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jbstedman
I use a cheap, Kodak Easy Share C433, 4 mp camera. In daylight when possible.

I crop my pic's in Microsoft Picture It Photo Standard 9. I then resize and change resolution to 600 or 1200 dpi.

Nice picture. Does the change in dpi make a dramatic difference in details in the photo?

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jbstedman
This time, I tried a tiny bone from a Pleistocene raptor pellet; it's a hair over 3/16".

(I have about a cup of this stuff, and haven't started identifying any of it yet).

Is the bone as smooth as the picture makes it appear to be?

I'd be interested in more info about the hand-held digital microscope you're using.

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Auspex
Is the bone as smooth as the picture makes it appear to be?

I'd be interested in more info about the hand-held digital microscope you're using.

The bone is smooth, but I think the illuminating LEDs in the microscope added highlites that make it appear more "polished" than it is. The bone itself (along with a bunch of other bits & pieces) spent time in the gastric juices of a small owl, and was coughed up when all the flesh was digested. (I say "owl" because their digestive acids are weaker than that of hawks; all the material I have shows only light etching).

Here's a link to the manufacturer's page on the digital microscope:

http://www.telescope.com/control/product/~...BFC465D.ivprod1

I've only begun to scratch the surface of what this thing can do (I haven't dithered with any settings yet, and I don't even have photoshop yet.)

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Bill
Nice picture. Does the change in dpi make a dramatic difference in details in the photo?

Hi jbstedman,

Firstly, I should have written ppi, not dpi, and, after trying a few experiments, no not dramatically. I thought it would though.

Bill.

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Auspex
That is a good company. Their customer service can not be beat, and the quality of their products is A-1.

Yup, Orion is good folks. (Full disclosure: my shop is an Orion dealership).

How 'bout this: if there is enough interest (and financial resource) among the membership, I can place and distribute a batch order, and donate all the profit to the Forum. Would that be OK, Anson?

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Gatorman

umm I guess.. I don't know how well it would do.

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Guest solius symbiosus
Yup, Orion is good folks. (Full disclosure: my shop is an Orion dealership).

Have you tried out the new BT 70?<drools>

Getting one of those is my next goal for glass.

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Maryland Mike

After doing some research on the issue of 72 dpi (dots per inch) and 72 ppi (pixels per inch), I've found that these figures have become essentially myth. Dpi really only applies to images that are going to be printed. Ppi has some relevance for image size on the screen, but really doesn't apply to what we are doing.

What is more relevant is the total image size in pixels. On most newer screens it seems the lowest resolution you can set is about 800 X 600 pixels, so if your image is larger than this, unless your browser resizes it, it will overfill your screen.

Harry has his monitor set at 1024 X 768, so potentially, he should be able to view an image up to that size without overfilling his screen. A video card set to 1024 X 768 would display an image that size across the entire screen whether it is a 13-inch monitor or a 21-inch monitor, so ppi would be different on each screen from the smallest to the largest.

So, even if you take photos at the highest resolution your camera allows, if you use your photo editor program to make sure that the image is not larger than 800 X 768 pixels, just about everyone should be able to view the image on their screen without resizing; at 1024 X 768, most should be able to view the image.

The other issue is the size of the file. I agree with Harry that for most images, 500K to 800K is probably a good limit, so that people with slower connections don't have to wait forever for an image to download. If you really need super-fine detail to show, then a larger file size might be appropriate.

For those who don't have Photoshop and can't or won't spend the money on it, you might try the freeware program Photoscape, available through download.com. Download.com certifies it Spyware free and it is fairly highly rated by the editors of Download.com and the users. Now that I have camera and tripod issues worked out, I am working on editing images with this program and like it better so far than the Kodak Easyshare editing program that came with the camera.

Get info about Photoscape here.

Unfortunately this doesn't address the issue Harry has had with image sizes, but might make some of the issues about how to size photos clearer.

A related thread http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?showtopic=1877

Edit: Link for newly updated version of Photoscape

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Auspex

Good stuff; even I understand it now. Thanks.

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Gatorman

If everyone downsizes or crops their images at or below 1024x768 then no one should have problems with viewing images.

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Harry Pristis
After doing some research on the issue of 72 dpi (dots per inch) and 72 ppi (pixels per inch), I've found that these figures have become essentially myth. Dpi really only applies to images that are going to be printed. Ppi has some relevance for image size on the screen, but really doesn't apply to what we are doing.

What is more relevant is the total image size in pixels. On most newer screens it seems the lowest resolution you can set is about 800 X 600 pixels, so if your image is larger than this, unless your browser resizes it, it will overfill your screen.

Harry has his monitor set at 1024 X 768, so potentially, he should be able to view an image up to that size without overfilling his screen. A video card set to 1024 X 768 would display an image that size across the entire screen whether it is a 13-inch monitor or a 21-inch monitor, so ppi would be different on each screen from the smallest to the largest.

So, even if you take photos at the highest resolution your camera allows, if you use your photo editor program to make sure that the image is not larger than 800 X 768 pixels, just about everyone should be able to view the image on their screen without resizing; at 1024 X 768, most should be able to view the image.

The other issue is the size of the file. I agree with Harry that for most images, 500K to 800K is probably a good limit, so that people with slower connections don't have to wait forever for an image to download. If you really need super-fine detail to show, then a larger file size might be appropriate.

For those who don't have Photoshop and can't or won't spend the money on it, you might try the freeware program Photoscape, available through download.com. Download.com certifies it Spyware free and it is fairly highly rated by the editors of Download.com and the users. Now that I have camera and tripod issues worked out, I am working on editing images with this program and like it better so far than the Kodak Easyshare editing program that came with the camera.

Get info about Photoscape here.

Unfortunately this doesn't address the issue Harry has had with image sizes, but might make some of the issues about how to size photos clearer.

A related thread http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?showtopic=1877

Thank you, Mike, for your thoughtful post.

I hope you don't get too comfortable with Mike's analysis, Auspex and Anson.

There is nothing mythical about "ppi" (pixels per inch). This is one parameter that can (and should be) controlled when you produce an image for the Internet. All the images you can see on this forum have 72 ppi. If you post an image with more pixels, the Internet converts the image for you.

The idea that, "...so ppi would be different on each screen from the smallest to the largest." is, I believe, just wrong. The pixel-number of the image remains the same on each size screen, though the size of the pixels varies. That is a function of the Internet, not of screen-size or resolution setting.

When you are editing an image for the Internet, you can (and should) control the ppi because more ppi means a larger file size. A huge image file converted by the Internet to 72 ppi is still a large file.

Mike agrees that 500 to 800 kilobytes is a reasonable image size for use on the forum. Kilobytes is just another parameter you can use to control the size of your image.

Keep in mind that my six megapixel camera, at its maximum setting, produces an image that is 68 megabytes (that is, 68 thousand kilobytes!) in size.

Let me repeat this . . . That's 800 thousand bytes versus 68 million bytes -- a huge difference. The only way to deal with a ponderous image file like 68 Mb is by re-sizing it with image-editing software.

I'll say again, the only times you'll really need the full megapixel capacity of your camera is if you are printing poster-size photos OR you are cropping an image to produce a close-up of some portion of it.

The assertion that 1064 x 768 screen resolution is any sort of guideline is too facile to pass up. An image of this size is still a big image, and big images are slow to load on a dial-up connection. If an image of that size does fill up a screen, that means it will overfill the window you are using to view the forum.

It's unfortunate that there is no set of uniform guidelines on this forum for making good on-line images. This thread is all we have. It's good to talk about it, because some of us (me included) are sure to learn something. :unsure:

--------Harry Pristis

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