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Mineral Photographyworst photo on Mindat

15th Oct 2012 17:59 UTCTony Peterson Expert

There's too much angst about how good everybody's photos are!! Let's take ourselves less's your chance to suggest Mindat's WORST photo. Except, you can only suggest your own. My contribution to mineralogy's ugliest specimen:

15th Oct 2012 18:10 UTCDavid DeCourcey

Your photo quality is beautiful, the specimen however looks like a turd. (I mean this in a good way) :-)

15th Oct 2012 20:38 UTCRock Currier Expert

Tony, Here is one way worse than yours.

A terrible picture, but a fabulous specimen. I could not resist.

15th Oct 2012 20:49 UTCMatt Neuzil Expert

tony's post looks like a big brown elephant

15th Oct 2012 21:02 UTCMaggie Wilson Expert

Sorry Tony, you have to disqualify yourself from this contest - you are not capable of uploading a junky photo!

I've uploaded some pretty lousy shots - and this is one of my first efforts - all part of the learning curve

it's out of focus, white on white and facet glare .... boooo!

15th Oct 2012 21:49 UTCFrank deWit Manager

OMG... I just selected Oldest Photo First.... I have to delete a lot of pictures. Shame shame shame.....

15th Oct 2012 22:27 UTCTony Peterson Expert

Rock's was probably taken at a was obviously alcohol-challenged :-)

Frank, you are very perceptive....that's a bad pic! can't win with that, you are going to have to try (less) harder.

15th Oct 2012 22:55 UTCMaggie Wilson Expert

no booze, got it....

15th Oct 2012 23:36 UTCLeon Hupperichs Expert

After the serious discussion in the other picture topic today i think this is something we need.

So here is one of my own disaster pictures.

15th Oct 2012 23:50 UTCJake Harper Expert

Brilliant thread to lighten things up, Tony!

My contribution is this nasty little calcite from new melones spillway. If you squint your eyes and use your imagination you can almost see past the damage!calcite, New Melones dam

15th Oct 2012 23:58 UTCDan R. Lynch

The photo itself isn't particularly bad (though the back of the specimen is out of focus), but the specimen is pretty darn ugly:

I added it simply because there wasn't really anything on Mindat for Minnesota's famous taconite ore - one of the most important ores in the US right now. Ironically, it is my most-viewed photo! I think it's because people (particularly Minnesotans) must be doing google image searches for taconite, because my photo pops up when you do.

16th Oct 2012 00:36 UTCTony Peterson Expert

These are excellent contributions! Dan and Leon have reminded me of my own image of lithified crud:

and while this isn't a truly awful photo, I'm sure it must be one of the worst-smelling:

16th Oct 2012 00:41 UTCSimone Boscolo Expert

A funny topic very useful to take less seriously POTD obsessions: my contributions-not all of my possible contributions (choose between :-D )





16th Oct 2012 00:44 UTCScott Sadlocha

Okay, I will contribute to this thread. Some of these specimens I am seeing are pretty nice actually, and I wouldn't mind having them in my collection. Let's move on to some of my contributions, some quite ugly. Why upload them? They are to accompany an article that I am hoping to finish someday soon. Meanwhile, they just sit there looking bad. On a side note, many of these specimens really look great under a scope, because there really is a lot going on with some of them. These are just a few. If you look at my photos, there are plenty others (and with these, I am going for ugly specimens, not bad photos, though these photos aren't exactly good).

16th Oct 2012 01:05 UTCAnonymous User

I have no photo to contribute, but haven't you guys ever seen wad? It's ALWAYS ugly and photographs that way, too.

16th Oct 2012 01:54 UTCJim Chenard

Thanks for posting the ugly pictures. Make mine seem a little better. :)-D

16th Oct 2012 02:24 UTCAmir C. Akhavan Manager

Ahhh - all those beauties - I fell in love with them already :-)

An ugly mineral does not make a bad photo.

An ugly mineral photographed in a way that makes it look nice is a bad photo.

Simone, number 3 is a very good example of a really bad photo, even worse than Rock's blurred cerrusite.

Hats off for having the courage to show it here :)-D

Why did I chose no. 3 ?

Put yourselve in the position of someone who has to approve the photo or someone who just has the photo but no description.

It's not so much that there are technical problems, the photo looks as if it was done almost right (only moderately terrible :-D ) so you think what you see is about right. Now what the h### is the red thing? A red, apparently cubic mineral... With some experience, you might guess it is a pyrite with an oxidized surface, illuminated and postprocessed so it turns out very red. But it is really hard to see that.

If this was some more obscure mineral, a photo of that kind might actually do more damage than good, as it is simply misleading.

16th Oct 2012 02:53 UTCModris Baum Expert

OK Tony, we're on to you. Your worst photos look better than most of my good photos.

But this has to be the winner because it looks like s**t.

16th Oct 2012 03:14 UTCModris Baum Expert

Amir - I actually have a pyrite that has a surface just about as red - or even redder - and very lustrous.

Almost like cochineal. So that color could be real.

16th Oct 2012 04:05 UTCDavid Garske

Being a rare mineral dealer, I have hundreds of "ugly" photos.


16th Oct 2012 05:36 UTCJames Christopher

Bad cyrtolite Not only is it mostly out of focus, but my lens has a big scratch across the glass.

16th Oct 2012 06:38 UTCChris Mavris Manager

I thought I had BY FAR the worst gallery on the database... :)

16th Oct 2012 08:27 UTCRui Nunes Expert

Some very bad photos indeed :-) My contribution is a brochantite from Miguel Vacas.

It's not easy to choose my worst photo ... but this is certainly one of them!.

16th Oct 2012 08:36 UTCJenna Mast

I'm rarely satisfied with the quality of my photos but I'm using a Kodak EasyShare and a desk lamp. With that in mind some of them aren't all that bad.

16th Oct 2012 09:11 UTCSimone Boscolo Expert

Hi Amir, I agree, totally :-)

Yes you're true in your words. The photo in question wait to be substituted by a better; sometimes there is some problem, no with camera (today I've a good camera) but with a problems of "light"; to make photos I've ti wait daylight, but not to much cause it's very difficult for the reflections of the faces of the crystals. Yes, this specimen represent a pyrite with oxides on the surface ;-)

For me the great problem is the illumination: I've not a little studio or room with lights good to make photos: sometimes I'm on the balcony, surrounded by my cats with their typical sweet violence to have my attentions, with the specimen in one hand and the camera in other hand and try to make some good photo :-S

Sometimes there are specimen (like some Selvino crystal, very sharp and lustrous but if has a lot of internal fractures is very hard to represent crystal habit...)

But I swear: in the next month I'll try to make better photos :-)

16th Oct 2012 09:53 UTCFranz Bernhard Expert

Funny topic, indeed! At least (!) half of my photos are ugly. Here we go:

Uuuups - About 800 views??? *gulp*

Franz Bernhard

16th Oct 2012 11:25 UTCJolyon Ralph Founder

This has to be my favourite bad photo

16th Oct 2012 11:55 UTCDan Fountain


I think the locality of that photo might be incorrect. It looks EXACTLY like the stope in the Owl Creek mine where we stopped for lunch.

16th Oct 2012 13:31 UTCRalph Bottrill Manager

It's hard to go past guano for ugly:

16th Oct 2012 14:02 UTCBob Harman

All my mindat Indiana geode photos are fabulous; many of the remainder of my Indiana geodes are distinctly unphotogenic! CHEERS............BOB

16th Oct 2012 21:20 UTCDean Allum Expert

While I specialize in ugly rocks, sometimes other factors conspire to produce a particularly bad photo.

16th Oct 2012 21:54 UTCRalph Bottrill Manager

Dean, nice background, spoilt by the big ugly lump in the middle! (;))

16th Oct 2012 22:20 UTCRock Currier Expert


That's pretty ugly.

17th Oct 2012 01:06 UTCNorman King Expert

I'd like to put this up for consideration. When will the winner be announced?

I have actually taken some that are worse than this, but had the good sense not to post them.

17th Oct 2012 01:18 UTCMaggie Wilson Expert

I'lll take that off your hands, Norm - we haven't got a Saskatchewan salt in the collection... ;)

17th Oct 2012 07:46 UTCAlan Ions

I'm guilty of the "ugly picture" crime, especially the earlier ones when i first came on to mindat, check out the odin mine, castleton, derbyshire page...i'm ashamed of some of those.

17th Oct 2012 12:35 UTCRalph Bottrill Manager

Norm, I like this better than the halloysite!

17th Oct 2012 23:50 UTCMartin Rich Expert

This thread is very inspiring!

I´m collecting minerals and I´m interessted in the science of mineralogy for more of 30 years but I making photographs of minerals since some weeks.

No further comments:

18th Oct 2012 04:29 UTCNorman King Expert


I think I could spruce up that halloysite. Maybe a bright red background? Better yet, perhaps a good solid wham with a hammer?

Which makes me wonder what you think of my macaulayite? I tried to be creative with that one (and snickered as I uploaded it). I mean, what can one do but maybe have a bigger pile?

18th Oct 2012 11:21 UTCRalph Bottrill Manager

Ok Norm, I think you win with that one!

BTW an interesting mineral, one you would think should be quite common, not a one location species. Maybe no one wants too look too hard at such ugly material; the XRD pattern is not far from hematite.

18th Oct 2012 14:48 UTCNorman King Expert


You said a mouthful there, and I think you are exactly right! I'm certain macaulayite is more common than reputed, but it has been documented from only that one site in Scotland. It is a phyllosilicate, and could be present where iron-rich rocks such as basalt or maybe even andesite are being weathered. Interestingly, the NASA group has speculated that macaulayite might be what gives the martian surface its distinctive reddish tint (as the description in mindat reports). I'd bet that if people were specifically looking for it in soil analyses, more of it would come to light elsewhere.

The halloysite is "ubiquitous" (there' s that word again!). There are literally hundreds of reports on the composition of soils citing the presence of halloysite, inlcuding many such reports on Midwestern and Southeastern region soils in the U.S. It is probably mostly the hydrated halloysite-10Å, but above the zone of saturation there would be some of the dehydrated halloysite-7Å. Yet, in the mindat group anyway, no one had halloysite-7Å in their collection. Or no one wanted to admit it, or thought it worthy of photographing and uploading it. In fact, there are only five photos of halloysite-10Å in the mindat file. That's understandable in view of its generally non-photogenic properties, but it's a really important component of the surface layer of the Earth's crust. If you had a chunk of halloysite-rich soil in your collection, however, someone might ask why you collect "dirt" (and yes, I've been asked that!). I guess you really have to be a purist scientific geek (like me) to want some.

18th Oct 2012 16:26 UTCDennis Tryon


An ugly photo of an ugly mineral. I have lots more.


18th Oct 2012 17:37 UTCWilliam W. Besse Expert

Let me add two for consideration...

Brown earthy mineral in gray matrix


18th Oct 2012 21:38 UTCRalph Bottrill Manager


Sometimes in XRDs of weathered Fe-rich dolerite or basalt you get a poorly crystallized hematite-like phase, mixed with clays and other minerals, it may bear further investigation. Halloysites are so common, I photograph many for forensic work etc, but never thought to submit one to Mindat. They are never very pure for starters, though I have seen whiter ones.

It's good to see someone cares about the poor old uglies!

17th Oct 2019 15:55 UTCKevin Conroy Expert

Bump!  An amethyst with goethite from Moselle No. 10 Mine, Missouri.

17th Oct 2019 21:32 UTCRalph Bottrill Manager

About time this thread was resurrected, not enough ugliness on Mindat! ;)

18th Oct 2019 01:49 UTCAngel Nguyen

Hey, I'm new! 

18th Oct 2019 03:51 UTCPaul Brandes Manager

Hi New! ;-)

And yes Ralph, I'm eagerly waiting to see what ugliness appears on this thread.

18th Oct 2019 04:14 UTCTama Higuchi

The funniest ones are certainly the photos with wonderful editing, but with a specimen itself that is awful.  It's like putting a spoiler on a beat-up, old Corolla ;-)

18th Oct 2019 21:21 UTCMartin Rich Expert

Tama, it is an old Corolla, but it run, run, run in contrast to newer ones with a lot of eletronic features. ;)

18th Oct 2019 04:25 UTCKevin Conroy Expert

Yes, this should be fun!  Remember, you can only nominate your own photo.

18th Oct 2019 15:02 UTCKevin Conroy Expert

Since I didn't see a rule about nominating more than one of my photos, here's another. 

Chrysocolla, and perhaps an earlier generation of malachite, has overgrown octahedral cuprite crystals from Sacaton Mine, Casa Grande, Pinal Co., Arizona, USA.

19th Oct 2019 15:05 UTCKevin Conroy Expert

Malachite from the Slater Mine near Eminence, Missouri, USA that has a rather dull luster fills the vug in this specimen. In general malachite is fairly uncommon in Missouri.

Why am I finding so many of my specimens that fit this discussion?   Wait, don't answer that!

19th Oct 2019 17:13 UTCKyle Beucke

Here you go.

20th Oct 2019 06:47 UTCAngel Nguyen

Is that outer space?

20th Oct 2019 00:58 UTCKelly Nash Expert

This was such a great specimen of matlockite from Derbyshire, in the American Museum of Natural History, that it broke my heart when I got home and found it so blurry. I was surprised when it was accepted in the public galleries.

20th Oct 2019 07:47 UTCDon Windeler

Great theme here.  I have a lot of ugly pictures under my profile, mostly because I had no idea what I was doing when I started shooting minerals.  Still don't, really, but at least things are less heinous now.

This is one of my worst,  It's not a beautiful rock in the first place, a "pinite" pseudomorph after cordierite.  There is a mix of light types, with shadowy sunlight leaking in and giving it a weird blue pall.  I didn't hide the Lego brick propping it up on the right side.  And it's sitting on a narrow glass medicine cabinet shelf with beveled edges that is the source of the stripes at the top and bottom.

Yet it somehow is the most-viewed specimen on my page!  For a while it was one of the head photos for pinite, but all I can think of now is that people are  going for the clickbait of an old label as a child photo or simply laughing at it.


20th Oct 2019 07:51 UTCJake Harper Expert

The Newmont "blob".
One of my greatest photo regrets. The Newmont azurite is as fine as any azurite gets but my photo has it looking like a sorry mass of oily black goethite. Heck, the matrix looks better than the azurite!

20th Oct 2019 08:32 UTCAntoine Barthélemy

The largest scorodite crystal I have ever seen, and the best from Tsumeb. But you cannot see that it is a complete 3 cm crystal on a bit of matrix, and you can only guess that is has a rich blue color :)

20th Oct 2019 14:02 UTCJohn Montgomery Expert

I think it was Reiner who, when I was asking for ID info, referred to this as "a dog's breakfast"

21st Oct 2019 01:03 UTCMatt Courville

That does look like dog food - Green Delight!

I have one for the 'Wall of Shame'.  What was supposed to be a nice smokey quartz on matrix, ended-up being what might be described after one too many drinks as  Quarkey Smortz.....

22nd Oct 2019 00:44 UTCChristopher Emproto

I humbly submit this BSE image of a shattered matrix synchysite-Ce from Francon. Most Francon minerals are aesthetically challenged to start, but this is just... Woof. Thankfully my colleague found some less tortured ones later.

22nd Oct 2019 21:35 UTCPavel Kartashov Manager

This was service photo only for needs of topomineralogy of the locality where copper sulphides are extremely rare. I simply haven't another chalcopyrite or bornite from there. In a situation where I was not sure that I would find another (not even better, but just another) chalcopyrite, I decided to document what I have.

2nd Nov 2019 17:14 UTCJohn Montgomery Expert


3rd Nov 2019 00:09 UTCNorman King Expert

We can already list our photos by rating (choices are only 1 to 10), as well as several other orders, like mineral name (alphabetically A-Z or Z-A), but we ought to be able to list them by best to worst, or vice versa.
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