Jump to content
Pumpkinhead

"Publication Quality" Fossil Photographs

Recommended Posts

Pumpkinhead

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!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pumpkinhead
14 minutes ago, snolly50 said:

A quick search yielded this PDF, which may be of value to you. If I were you, I would approach the media arts department at your University and find a human resource to advise you and set up the output of the camera you will be using. My daughter was photo editor of the student magazine while at University. They put out a magazine with glossy, full page photos. Your University may have a similar publication - make friends, and you are home free. With the proper guidance, your equipment will be properly set up to achieve your goal. Now will come the hard part - making good images. Good luck, have fun.

 

Image_resolutions.pdf

 

@CBchiefski

 

Thank you for the advice, much appreciated!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mark Kmiecik

You need a digital camera body that allows you to change lenses and a macro lens for the close-up small stuff shots. After that it's a matter of reading the entire owners' manual and familiarizing yourself with using the various features of the camera, and learning how to shoot close-ups from above without casting a shadow on your subject. Sometimes done with mirrors. You can get a used set-up online for under $500, or you can contact your local photographer who has a studio and ask if he has any used equipment he wants to sell. Pro photographers frequently upgrade and end up with excess cameras they seldom use and will sometimes sell them cheap to a student who is getting into it. He'll probably have lenses you need that he'll throw in with the deal, and will probably show you how to use the equipment.

 

P.S. -- and a tripod to keep the camera absolutely still as you shoot.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Plantguy

Back when I was in school in the mid/late 70's, Trilobites A Photographic Atlas by Riccardo Levi-Setti came out and stunned us. You may have already seen it...I dont remember if he outlined techniques in the book and whether they have any relevance now but some might still apply.

 

Scott is always playing with bugs/pubs he might have some current insight/recommendations...

@piranha 

Good luck on the the thesis work!

Regards, Chris 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mark Kmiecik
15 hours ago, middevonian said:

That explains it well and is looks more intimidating than it actually is. Once you physically run through the procedure a couple of times it's not as scary. It's still a pain in the butt, but not scary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pumpkinhead
On 8/2/2019 at 5:24 PM, Mark Kmiecik said:

You need a digital camera body that allows you to change lenses and a macro lens for the close-up small stuff shots. After that it's a matter of reading the entire owners' manual and familiarizing yourself with using the various features of the camera, and learning how to shoot close-ups from above without casting a shadow on your subject. Sometimes done with mirrors. You can get a used set-up online for under $500, or you can contact your local photographer who has a studio and ask if he has any used equipment he wants to sell. Pro photographers frequently upgrade and end up with excess cameras they seldom use and will sometimes sell them cheap to a student who is getting into it. He'll probably have lenses you need that he'll throw in with the deal, and will probably show you how to use the equipment.

 

P.S. -- and a tripod to keep the camera absolutely still as you shoot.

 

 

On 8/2/2019 at 8:46 PM, Plantguy said:

Back when I was in school in the mid/late 70's, Trilobites A Photographic Atlas by Riccardo Levi-Setti came out and stunned us. You may have already seen it...I dont remember if he outlined techniques in the book and whether they have any relevance now but some might still apply.

 

Scott is always playing with bugs/pubs he might have some current insight/recommendations...

@piranha 

Good luck on the the thesis work!

Regards, Chris 

 

On 8/3/2019 at 12:38 AM, middevonian said:

 

23 hours ago, Mark Kmiecik said:

That explains it well and is looks more intimidating than it actually is. Once you physically run through the procedure a couple of times it's not as scary. It's still a pain in the butt, but not scary.

 

Thank you all for your time, this is very helpful

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
CBchiefski

Sorry for the delay @Pumpkinhead, I have little to add, just ensure you have good lighting which is not colored since some lights can emit a colored hue and this can misrepresent whatever is your subject.  I personally find full spectrum lights to be the best. Should a picture need color enhancements, do so with computer software so others can both duplicate your method plus can ask to see the original. Finally, always be sure to have a physical scale in the picture as it can help tremendously in accuracy and in detecting distortion errors.

 

Edited by CBchiefski
Typo and clarity

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bob Saunders

Back in the 1980's I did a lot of butterfly and insect, and spider photograph with slide. Belonged to a camera club. I still have my Mamia RB67, and full Nikon film gear and a bellows. Sitting unused. Many today still use film and scan the negatives, which I do not have a scanner. Many buy a or make a light tent, or black box.  Many LED lights are now full spectrum. I never learned Photo Shop, which I believe works best with Apple type computers.   also we used to stack neutrodensity filters on the lens with two or more strobes. and a reversing ring for a Nikon lens to the front of the bellows for  micro shots. Digital can get expensive but nice to just review the shots delete bad ones, V's film developing for color. As said used makes good sense but I find rechargeable batteries can get expensive for replacements.  Best to have a wall adapter and look for one that will connect to a tablet or PC, some now by USB. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pippa
On 8/4/2019 at 1:48 PM, Pumpkinhead said:

You need a digital camera body that allows you to change lenses and a macro lens for the close-up small stuff shots. After that it's a matter of reading the entire owners' manual and familiarizing yourself with using the various features of the camera, and learning how to shoot close-ups from above without casting a shadow on your subject. Sometimes done with mirrors. You can get a used set-up online for under $500, or you can contact your local photographer who has a studio and ask if he has any used equipment he wants to sell. Pro photographers frequently upgrade and end up with excess cameras they seldom use and will sometimes sell them cheap to a student who is getting into it. He'll probably have lenses you need that he'll throw in with the deal, and will probably show you how to use the equipment.

 

P.S. -- and a tripod to keep the camera absolutely still as you shoot.

Along with the tripod, it helps to have a remote shutter release, as with extreme close-ups, even when pressing the shutter ever so carefully, one can cause slight vibrations which result in blurry photos.

Edited by Pippa

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mark Kmiecik
On 9/13/2019 at 3:19 PM, Pippa said:

Along with the tripod, it helps to have a remote shutter release, as with extreme close-ups, even when pressing the shutter ever so carefully, one can cause slight vibrations which result in blurry photos.

Most of today's digital cameras have a time delay feature, the same as most decent SLR film cameras did. You set the delay at 10 seconds, press the shutter and nothing happens until 10 seconds later once you've had more than adequate time to get your hands off of the camera. No need for a remote shutter release unless you have more money than you need, in which case you should send it to me. :D 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bob Saunders
On 9/14/2019 at 5:12 PM, Mark Kmiecik said:

Most of today's digital cameras have a time delay feature, the same as most decent SLR film cameras did. You set the delay at 10 seconds, press the shutter and nothing happens until 10 seconds later once you've had more than adequate time to get your hands off of the camera. No need for a remote shutter release unless you have more money than you need, in which case you should send it to me. :D 

I have used tripods and even small bakeing racks for time delay and shake. Also a small plastic storage container with my cell phone propped at needed angle with my wife's unopened bags of dry beans and rice, dry split peas etc. to support/angle it. You can also make little sand bags. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×