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Modris Baum's Mindat Home Page

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Ice (Var Snow (Var blanket (Var self-rolling));)

Rockaway Township, Morris Co., New Jersey, USA

Modris Baum's Mindat Home Page

Registered member since 28th Apr 2008

Modris Baum has uploaded:
5878 Mineral Photos
16 Locality Photos
446 Other Photos
I happen to live in a part of NJ (the Highlands or Reading prong) that is laced with granite pegmatites. So I got hooked on collecting by finding some zircons literally in my own back yard. Subsequent exploration of the woods behind my house yielded nice fluorescent zircons as large as 3 cm as well as large (5+ cm) but very altered garnets. Building sites yielded large (10+ cm) blobs of allanite (XRD verified) and nicely fluorescent (and no doubt radon producing) uranium salts.

It was just a matter of time before I discovered nearby Franklin and Sterling Hill. But I never found anything very good in the dumps and only a few good spinels and some decent chondrodite/norbergite xls in the limestone quarries. Collecting via the "silver pick" proved to be beyond my means at the time so I soon lost interest. Yes I know that folks keep finding interesting stuff on the Buckwheat dump even now - thorutite, petedunnite etc. But not me!

That was in the mid 1970s.

I came back to collecting when Dick Hauck opened the Sterling Hill Mine Run dump (around 1992) where I found several good franklinite and willemite xls (up to 4-5 cm). But the easy pickings didn't last long.

So what to do? I tried Maine and had some luck finding a few nice apatites but the "yield" didn't seem worth the travel time and almost everything is closed to collectors anyway.

Then I chanced on some photos of Mont Saint-Hilaire specimens in one of the mineral encyclopedias. Bingo! I had found my true love.

While I still have some FSH stuff, I am now almost exclusively a collector of MSH and nearby Saint-Amable (aka STA or Varennes).

Some leftovers from an unfocused "whatever is pretty" collecting phase in the 1990s rattle around in a couple of boxes ...

I use the prehistoric Russian MBS-10 scope which is OK for viewing but which has really awful chromatic abberation (especially at high power). In addition I struggled for years with the "photo attachment from hell" that I got for the scope. Not only did the photo tube optics distort, they also added a horrible green-to-pink cast on all photos. Only some hand made filters and heavy use of Adobe Photoshop made my early photos tolerable.

I now shoot through the eye tube (using a Canon XTi) and use Helicon multi focus SW. The latter is a wonderful tool but the early versions tended to produce "ghosting" around edges. Recent versions are much better but still have artifacts. And I still have the chromatic abberation. Photoshop is the only way out and I rely heavily on it (along with a few other digital trickery tools).

I have thrown away my "fiber optic from hell" and gone back to the softer light of two desk lamps! In generall I think that works better.

In 2009 I had cataract surgery in both eyes - which revealed that I had been underexposing, oversaturating, oversharpening and "overblueing" my photos. I have been diligently trying to correct the worst of these but at first I think I had an overreaction and overexposed and undersaturated too much. So now I have to fix the fixes! Is it worth it? Well - it keeps me busy and it's an escape from reality.

Note 1: To protect their privacy, I tried to avoid using people's names in my photos. At this point however, many have said it's OK and I don't want to slight the rest so I have been updating most of my photos with source info.
There are several analysts (AMcD, RG, MB, PP in particular) who deserve my thanks. But I still don't want to spell out their names. People who need to know will know! Tony Steede, who has been extremely generous not only with MSH rarities but also with a lot of EDS work, has indicated that he doesn't care so I have mentioned his contribution here and there.

Note 2: If you have problems fusing my stereo shots, try standing back from the monitor. If that does not help, try downloading the images and using a smaller view (or just use the zoom control on your browser). If that still doesn't work, try cutting the photo into R and L halves. If you use a fast viewer to flip back and forth between the images the specimen will seem to rotate and thus provide somewhat of a 3D feel. You can also try to print the L and R images and use some sort of viewer (e.g. the type used for aerial topo maps). But these are not full resolution photos and may not print very well. (I haven't tried this last method.)

Some people find it easier to fuse "walleye" stereo. You can try this by opening two browser windows with the same image. Arrange the windows so that only the "right" images is visible on the left side of the screen and only the "left" image is visible on the right side of the screen. It may be easier to download the image first and then to bring it up in two instances of a viewer such as Irfanview. That will also let you easily reduce the size of the images which may help in fusing.

I don't have a calibrated set up for creating the stereo shots. Hence the stereo effect may be exaggerated in some cases. My view is that stereo is useful for de-cluttering the backround and clarifying crystal shapes. If my photos do that, I'm happy. Life is too short. Humans take note: "reality" cares not a whit about the spacing of homo sapien eyes!

Note 3: Most of the MSH rarity information in my captions is derived from the tables published by Horvath et al in the July/August 2000 issues of Lapis and Rivista. I don't want to sound like a broken record in the captions so this note serves as a general acknowledgment.


Favourite Photos

W75-58MPyrophanite : Mn2+TiO3

Big Rock Quarry, Granite Mountain area, Little Rock, Pulaski Co., Arkansas, USA

Pyrophanite crystal is 0.5 mm wide.

Associated with Aegerine.

This was "collected" from the give-away table at the winter gathering in Feb., 2008. The donor was Jim Musick.

Bob Rothenberg collection and photo. Photo of the Day - 30th Apr 2014
Copyright: © R. Rothenberg      Photo ID: 355051     Uploaded by: Robert Rothenberg   View Count: 1372   Approval status: Public galleries    Type: Photo - 1078 x 963 pixels (1.0 Mpix)

RRK-8PDSpessartine : Mn2+3Al2(SiO4)3, Muscovite : KAl2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2

Wushan Spessartine Mine, Tongbei, Yunxiao Co., Zhangzhou Prefecture, Fujian Province, China

Dimensions: 5.5 cm x 4 cm x 0.8 cm

Orange gemmy spessartine garnet crystals scattered on muscovite.
Size: 5.5 x 4.0 x 0.8 cm. Photo of the Day - 24th Oct 2010
Copyright: © Jiangbin      Photo ID: 326861     Uploaded by: Jiang Bin   View Count: 1096   Approval status: Public galleries    Type: Photo - 800 x 600 pixels (0.5 Mpix)

F8H-GPETorbernite : Cu(UO2)2(PO4)2·12H2O

Le Mazet vein, Échassières, Ébreuil, Allier, Auvergne, France

Field of view: 2mm, Photo & Collection: JM. Johannet.
Self collected with Pierre Le Roch, May 2008. Photo of the Day - 20th Sep 2008
Copyright: © JM. Johannet      Photo ID: 172712     Uploaded by: Jean-Marc Johannet   View Count: 1790   Approval status: Public galleries    Type: Photo - 800 x 600 pixels (0.5 Mpix)

EY7-WEAMuscovite : KAl2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2

Kingsgate, Gough Co., New South Wales, Australia

1mm Muscovite cluster on quartz with secondary growth clusters, first time Ive observed this from the locality Photo of the Day - 1st May 2008
Copyright: © viccloete      Photo ID: 149705     Uploaded by: Vic Cloete   View Count: 1424   Approval status: Public galleries    Type: Photo - 800 x 697 pixels (0.6 Mpix)

L5V-HFFFaujasite Subgroup

Limberg Quarries, Sasbach, Kaiserstuhl, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Faujasite-twin showing twice twinning after the spinel-law. Size of crystal ca. 1 mm. Zeolite Collection of Volker Betz. Most likely a Faujasite-Na but not analysed. Photo of the Day - 28th Jun 2011
Copyright: © Volker Betz      Photo ID: 138121     Uploaded by: Volker Betz   View Count: 3553   Approval status: Public galleries    Type: Photo - 963 x 709 pixels (0.7 Mpix)

M6N-AK9Ashcroftine-(Y) : K5Na5(Y,Ca)12Si28O70(OH)2(CO3)8·8H2O

Multiple photos available
Poudrette quarry, Mont Saint-Hilaire, La Vallée-du-Richelieu RCM, Montérégie, Québec, Canada

this 40 mm specimen is probably the best Ascroftine-(Y) in my collection, from Jean Pierre Beckerich. Photo of the Day - 20th Jan 2008
Copyright: © Jonathan Z. Levinger      Photo ID: 132338     Uploaded by: Jonathan Levinger   View Count: 1539   Approval status: Public galleries    Type: Photo - 660 x 826 pixels (0.5 Mpix)

68Q-A7XHematite : Fe2O3, Andradite : Ca3Fe3+2(SiO4)3

Wessels Mine, Hotazel, Kalahari manganese field, Northern Cape Province, South Africa

Dimensions: 4.2 cm x 2.8 cm x 2.4 cm

A stunning miniature, of this classic combination of species for Wessels. Few are found with such a wonderful and aesthetic combination of the garnet coating on hematite! this is essentially one large,elongated crystal of hematite, complete all around save for small contacts near the base. 4.2 x 2.8 x 2.4 cm Photo of the Day - 15th Mar 2008
Copyright: © Rob Lavinsky      Photo ID: 120684     Uploaded by: Robert Lavinsky   View Count: 2020   Approval status: Public galleries    Type: Photo - 573 x 800 pixels (0.5 Mpix)

R6E-48DQuartz : SiO2

Banská Štiavnica, Banská Štiavnica Co., Banská Bystrica Region, Slovakia

A complex scepter quartz formations, covered with a very thin layer of limonite. Specimen is 7 cm tall. From a private collection in Banská Štiavnica. Photo by Albert Russ. Photo of the Day - 13th Oct 2007
Copyright: © Albert Russ      Photo ID: 109430     Uploaded by: Albert Russ   View Count: 1139   Approval status: Public galleries    Type: Photo - 558 x 850 pixels (0.5 Mpix)

2YC-73CCorundum : Al2O3, Hematite : Fe2O3, Sanidine : KAlSi3O8

Multiple photos available
Wannenköpfe, Ochtendung, Polch, Eifel, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Little white Corundum plates (epitactic) around a hexagonal prismatic Hematite crystal, 0,6mm high.
From the Wannenköpfe near Ochtendung. Photo/collection: Fred Kruijen. Photo of the Day - 19th May 2007
Copyright: © Fred Kruijen      Photo ID: 98254     Uploaded by: Fred Kruijen   View Count: 1830   Approval status: Public galleries    Type: Photo - 800 x 600 pixels (0.5 Mpix)

Q6T-W7DTitanite : CaTi(SiO4)O

Caspar quarry, Bellerberg volcano, Ettringen, Mayen, Eifel, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Picture width 4 mm. Collection Bernd Ternes. Photo Stephan Wolfsried Photo of the Day - 17th Oct 2006
Copyright: © Stephan Wolfsried      Photo ID: 74454     Uploaded by: Stephan Wolfsried   View Count: 2445   Approval status: Public galleries    Type: Photo - 900 x 675 pixels (0.6 Mpix)

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