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GeneralPOTD: Clara Predominance, Micromount Supremacy

1st Dec 2017 21:12 GMTOlivier Mével Expert

Today, a new beautiful photography of a Clara mine micromount. This year (till December 1), it is the thirtieth picture concerning this locality!

Congratulations for the talent of the photographers who bring us such nice shots.

There are more than 297300 localities listed in Mindat database (Clara mine represents 0,00033% of those localities) and this year "Clara" was rewarded with 8,9 % of the Photo of the Day. What a feat! Are the minerals there more peculiar ? Is it the conjunction between talented photographers and special minerals? Or else?

Anyway, congratulations to Michael and Edgar for their pictures. However i'm struck with the contrast between such nice micromount shots and the poor photogenic locality photos chosen to illustrate the Clara mine page!! One can not have everything! Can it be improved?

More nice photos from "Clara" are expected in the following weeks and sure the Black Forest will never be blacklisted!!

Those Clara mine photos also show the micromount photography supremacy in the POTD. It deserves such honour as the work to capture such nice shots is hard and everyone knows that this tiny mineral planet reveals so many treasures... This year, micromount photos have represented 64% of the POTD (215), macromineral (> 1 cm) pictures 24% (81) and locality or other photos 12% (39). Are macrominerals less "sexy" ? Beautiful locality picture aren't they worth? Have managers a weakness for micromount photos when they select the pictures for the POTD lottery?

A suggestion for a fair competition would be to create a POTD TRIPTYCH with a micromount photo, a macro mineral shot and a locality (or other) picture, every day. It would have the merit of sharing more beautiful pictures with the Mindat community and encourage those who do not have the opportunity to devote time and resources to micromineral photography.


2nd Dec 2017 22:02 GMTRalph Bottrill Manager

Good points Olivier. This mine has produced fantastic micro minerals and attracted some of the best micro photographers, and I have selected a couple images myself, but agree we should aim for more diversity! But most of us cannot compete with this photo quality.

2nd Dec 2017 22:40 GMTRalph Bottrill Manager

I have been through today's new photos and about 90% were micros. Including a few lovely, tempting Clara mine ones! Most of the normal photos lacked pizzaz to me, so I agree we need everyone to start taking more interesting photos, of more unusual minerals and locations, well lit, with good backgrounds and informative descriptions please!

3rd Dec 2017 03:16 GMTNorman King Expert

My suggestions about the merits of some of my photos must be regarded as “quaint” by managers at Mindat (and others?), but I think I have a lot of interesting and unusual photos from the field that many people would find interesting and out of the ordinary, hence worthy POTD’s. Like this Precambrian limestone in which thin layers were broken and rotated to form “strings of diamonds” due to tectonic compression.

Here’s another one: I took this photo of Sweet Home mine in September of 2015, and suggested in my original comments that the activity revealed here could indicate that the mine wasn’t closed for good after all. On November 27, 2017, The Collector’s Edge announced on their “blogs” that a new adit was being prepared to allow continued mining for rhodochrosite at the Sweet Home site. The new operations are to be called ”Detroit City mine” because they will not connect with any of the Sweet Home diggings. Nevertheless, you heard about the renewed operations here on Mindat first through this photo I uploaded.

3rd Dec 2017 05:51 GMTChristian Auer Expert

Why do you put so much emphesis into the POTD? I really dont understand it. On most days I dont even watch it.

In my opinion the only reason of it should be to support beginners and nothing more.

As we have a debate about it almost every week I would suggest to stop with it.

3rd Dec 2017 09:18 GMTOlivier Mével Expert

"As we have a debate about it almost every week I would suggest to stop with it."

Debate is the essence of this messageboard.

If there is an iterative debate maybe it is because there is matter of question concerning the POTD and that some members feel concerned.

The POTD exists, that's a fact.

Mineral photography is the beating heart of and the POTD is supposed to be a daily expression of mineral photography quintessence (extreme quality pictures or original breathtaking shots).

For a majority of members photography can't be separated to their mineral passion and that thanks to Mindat.

A large amount of members love sharing their pictures and spend time, accuracy (and money) before uploading what they feel their best shots to be worth entering the database.

An immediate expression of this proof is the "Best photographs of specimens larger than 1cm" thread following this present one on the messageboard today. Rudolf, who created this fantastic thread said in 2013: "I can see lots of excellent photographs of micro mounts but not very many of larger specimens". So many of those photos in this thread are potential POTD and few of them have been.

What i mean, and that's a straight interest of the POTD, is that we have a direct access on the front page to "special" quality photos with the POTD and, what i also meant, as Ralph said, "we should aim for more diversity". And a triptych POTD could be a solution...

Kind regards. Olivier

3rd Dec 2017 14:23 GMTEd Clopton Expert

My impression is that POTD is meant primarily to be interesting and perhaps provocative, not necessarily "the very prettiest/rarest/finest/highest-quality picture we could find today". Interpreted this way, I have no problem with the plain grey LIDAR image from a few days ago that caused such a stir: not much on aesthetic or decorative grounds, but certainly interesting to one who doesn't deal with such things day to day. Diversity is good, and interesting oddballs such as Norman's string-of-diamonds limestone (way cool!) certainly have a place in the POTD queue.

I don't know about a POTD triptych--the home page is pretty full as it is, and three little POTDs would end up being less effective than the current one POTD.

3rd Dec 2017 14:41 GMTNorman King Expert

I think POTD’s are fun. They are what I look at first when I bring up the Mindat page. Then I look at those from previous days if I haven’t been to the site for a while. When I lose this child-like enthusiasm for the Earth, it will be time to take me out and shoot me.

So, many people want more variety in POTD’s. So do I. An issue for some of mine is that they are more “rocky,” rather than focusing on minerals. OK, here are some of mine that discuss the minerals more. But. of course, those minerals all form rocks, don't they?

This one shows dark green phenocrysts in metamorphosed mafic igneous rock. The phenocrysts are surrounded by thin whitish reaction rims. Their blocky shapes suggest a pyroxene group mineral, but close inspection shows they are intergrown amphibole and biotite group minerals, apparently formed during the metamorphism. Exposed along Canada Hwy 17 between Hemlo and White River.

This one shows a complex fabric in blueschist suggesting pillow lava, with glaucophane-dominated “pillows” separated by apparent hyaloclastic matrix now altered to muscovite and/or actinolite-tremolite series amphiboles. Exposed at the Bandon Jetty near Coos Bay, Oregon.

Blueschist with possible remnant lava pillows, Coquille River Jetty

Tupper Rock, Bandon, Coos Co., Oregon, USA

Quite a few of my field photos (probably a better term than "locality photos") have plenty of geological impact. In fact, that is why I took the photos, in the first place. Of course, especially for our group, photos of important mineral collecting sites (or just run-of-the-mill sites) for minerals are also important. In my lectures I tried to show people how the Earth talks to me, and what it says. That shows in the often lengthy stories I tell to accompany photos of outcrops and even for the specimens in my collection at the house.

4th Dec 2017 00:20 GMTHarjo Neutkens Manager

We try to choose POTD candidates from all categories. Whether they be micro or macro photos, SEM photos or locality shots.

The last 20 days saw 5 photos of full view photos of specimens, 9 photomicrographs, 5 locality photos (of which one was a LIDAR scan) and 1 SEM photo.

I think that this is not a bad score regarding diversity. The reason why photomicrographs usually score a bit higher in the count is that the pool with excellent photos is much bigger than, for instance, the pool with excellent full view photos of specimens. This in turn can be explained by the fact that making microphotographs is a specific hobby where people tend to go through great lengths to create an aesthetic and technically good photo of highly photogenic objects. Some people do the same when taking full view photographs from specimens but the amount of 'snapshots' is far greater in this category.

The fact that there have been a good deal of Clara photos can be explained by the fact that the Clara mine happens to produce an enormous amount of very beautiful (micro)minerals, in many cases the most beautiful examples of some mineral species in the world. This combined with the fact that a few very talented photographers show an interest in photographing these specimens results in outstanding mineral photos.

I'd like to encourage everyone who would like their photos, whether they be photomicrographs, full view photos, locality photos or whatever, of minerals from localities they favour to go the extra mile and invest time, study, creativity and, how mundane it may sound, money (some photographers have invested tens of thousand dollars in their equipment, although I'm not saying money can or should buy excellence, excellent photos can be made on a shoestring budget as well!!) in making great photos. If a photo stands out (and this does not at all mean that it should be a 'sexy' photo) it will be selected for POTD.



4th Dec 2017 02:03 GMTAlfredo Petrov Manager

I agree with everything Harjo wrote, and I'd like to add another factor: The mining company that operates Clara very kindly regularly puts out fresh material for collectors to work on. They should be thanked and congratulated for supporting collectors in this endeavour. If not for this happy circumstance, there would be a lot fewer Clara photos on line.

4th Dec 2017 03:20 GMTTony Peterson Expert

I can provide another answer to Olivier's question. A thumbnail, or miniature, with a good population of very small crystals can yield spectacular photos of choice crystals surrounded by undamaged matrix or other minerals. Such pieces are affordable (or personally findable) and don't take much storage space. And as noted by other photographers in other threads, microcrystals frequently have complex or delicate features that never survive in larger crystals, if for no other reason than that they break under their own weight. The surface to volume ratio is much larger for small crystals, which leads to some bizarre crystal habits that are strongly affected by surface energy.

Cabinet specimens of comparable scaled-up quality are much rarer and would drain most bank accounts quickly! Sadly, only dealers* and itinerant professional photographers get to work with many of those. The former are mostly too busy to help us and the latter need to sell their images.

Jolyon is trying to move Mindat into petrological images (i.e., specific rock types) and I think this should work well. And mines are so vital to our hobby that site pictures are important. But pushing further into tectonics, structural geology, etc. I would judge to be a mistake, unless it is relevant to mineral assemblages or features. There are other sites for this, e.g.


* Which leads me into another of my pet peeves, the zillions of dealer-generated poor quality, low-resolution images of terrific cabinet specimens on this site. I realize many of these are essentially "historical" (many were probably originally analog photographs! quelle horreur!!) and were vital to get the site started.......but it always frustrates me when I try to zoom in on one to see details, and all I get are fat pixels. I do note with satisfaction that the recent work of some dealers, such as Fabre and Quebel, is much better in that regard and I for one thank them for uploading their images. I even manage to own one or two of them :)

4th Dec 2017 16:08 GMTDonald B Peck Expert

I agree with Harjo's reasons for the dominance of micophotographs in the POD. I think that two other reasons are that micro crystalline specimens exist for a far larger number of minerals than for larger specimens; and aesthetic micro specimens are much easier to find and collect.

4th Dec 2017 20:03 GMTJeff Weissman Expert

To assure some variety in POTD selection, how about an informal rule that says no one locality, mineral, or photographer can be repeated within a certain time interval, say once every 30 days?

4th Dec 2017 21:13 GMTHarjo Neutkens Manager

That's a good idea Jeff. We have been trying to do something like that.

The choice which photo gets selected from the pool of POTD candidates is a random one, and we like to keep the random aspect because we think that's the most democratic process. We do however try to catch the instances where the random program selects two consecutive photos from either the same photographer, mineral or locality, but every now and then one or two might escape our attention.

5th Dec 2017 00:45 GMTTony Peterson Expert

OK I know this is mostly a self-serving question, there some reason a stereo image has never been selected as POTD? Are they not allowed into the queue?

5th Dec 2017 06:56 GMTDavid Von Bargen Manager

".is there some reason a stereo image has never been selected as POTD?" - we've had two. Photo of the Day - 22nd Jan 2015 Photo of the Day - 23rd Jan 2016

5th Dec 2017 07:40 GMTPaul De Bondt Manager

For the moment, we have 23 images in the queue for POTD. That mean 23 days.

If we put 3 POTD's on the front page, we have only one week to go.

Or do we need to select some pics who are not good enough to satisfie the demand.

Not a good idea I think.

5th Dec 2017 13:29 GMTOlivier Mével Expert

Only 23 images in the queue at the moment selected for the POTD ?! Indeed, I didn't imagine so few photos in the random program and such a drastic selection! In that way of course there is no possibility for a trio of pictures everyday (macro, micro, locality). But how do you explain that today nice POTD (by Tomasz) was added to the database in 2009 and yesterday POTD in 2008 ? I thought the program contained hundreds of selected photos added for the lottery day by day by the managers... Isn't that way ?

5th Dec 2017 13:46 GMTJohn Collins

Hi All,

I love this discussion/debate!

In my opinion, there are only a handful of sites that fall into the category of having a diverse list of different minerals: Clara Mine, Tsumeb Mine, Poudrette Quarry, etc. Many of their mineral members only occur in tiny quantities. (Cudos to Clara for making "wild" specimens available to collectors).

When viewing fist sized specimens from these or any other mine site, the possibility of seeing the magnificent fine crystal structures as seen in micromount photos is fleetingly remote due to extraction breakage etc.

As well, due to the formation processes, many of the delicate and beautiful fine crystal growths seen in these photos are microscopic in size with few exceptions.

I love showing my (macro) collection to my curious friends (there are not enough of them it seems

5th Dec 2017 20:37 GMTRalph Bottrill Manager

I have added a number of varied new photos to the list but they are not listed, maybe a bug?

6th Dec 2017 06:20 GMTGeoff Van Horn Expert

How exactly does POTD selection work? I don't really understand the current uproar, but it has made me curious of who or what chooses the POTD.

6th Dec 2017 08:41 GMTHarjo Neutkens Manager

The management team of Mindat, which is quite a large group of very experienced mineral collectors, mineralogists, geologists and one artist (hidihi :-) ), can choose whatever photo they think fit for POTD. These photos are collected in a pool from which a program randomly picks the POTD.

There is no bias whatsoever and the diversity of tastes represented within the management group warrants a diverse offer of POTDs as far as I'm concerned.

One important thing I would like to say about the POTD discussion: Come on folks, it's just a daily fun photo.

6th Dec 2017 09:26 GMTMario Pauwels

When the photos are collected in a pool the way like Harjo said, and finally there are only 23 photos selected or good enough to be in the queue (or in that pool...) like Paul said on a total of 859500 photos. Then I think we are all uploading the wrong pictures.

Best regards,

Mario Pauwels

6th Dec 2017 09:48 GMTAlfredo Petrov Manager

Well, Mario, there are only 365 days in a year, and I can't remember any time when Mindat ran out of POTDs and didn't have one on a day, so I'd say the managers were selecting enough.

So, with 859,500 photos, and tens of thousands more coming every year, and the number of days in a year remaining (almost) constant, the vast vast majority of photos can never be POTD, regardless of how great they are. It's time for people to stop worrying about it. Or should Mindat perhaps have a "Photo of the Hour", so more of them get a chance?

6th Dec 2017 10:04 GMTPaul De Bondt Manager

Mario, from this 859500 pics, there where already 4294 choosen for POTD.

So I think our estimated members don't upload the wrong pics.

6th Dec 2017 10:05 GMTMario Pauwels

Alfredo, this is a normal discussion. But you are absolutely right, you always are! It seems that there is only one truth, the Alfredo thruth.

Best regards,

Mario Pauwels

6th Dec 2017 10:18 GMTTimothy Greenland

Sort of reminds me of the "Yuppie era" (anyone else remember that?): 'He who dies with the most POTDs, wins'...

I just enjoy looking at them. I sometimes learn things, and I am sometimes frustrated by the paucity of the mineralogical information given, but I enjoy the daily surprise...



6th Dec 2017 12:54 GMTHarjo Neutkens Manager

Exactly, Tim, and that's why I wrote above "Come on folks, it's just a daily fun photo"

Apart from that my friends, rest assure, I added a couple more to the POTD pool :-)

6th Dec 2017 13:43 GMTJohn Collins

Timothy, I agree with you about the paucity of details accompanying some POTDs. I really don't care that much about the camera and equipment used.

I want to know about the geological processes that formed the specimen. I know others feel this way as well. Perhaps one of the selection criteria for the POTD might be the length of the text included with the mineral description followed by a visual check by a member of the selection committee.



6th Dec 2017 15:27 GMTUwe Kolitsch Manager

Going back to what Olivier wrote

> A suggestion for a fair competition ...

REMEMBER: This was never a competition and never intended so. Enjoy it and feel free to suggest POTD candidates (not your own, if possible).

6th Dec 2017 16:01 GMTOlivier Mével Expert

Thanks Uwe for the proposition. I didn't mean a competition between photographers, not my purpose, but as Paul just says only 0,005% of Mindat photos manage to be POTD. It's a natural "competition" where 64% of the pics prove to be of micromineral inspiration. I just evoked a "fair" final count where there will be a third for each "category" (macro, micro, locality or other) hence the triptych idea. Thanks a lot for this enjoyed debate, i've had more than an answer. Let's have our daily fun! Cheers. Olivier.

6th Dec 2017 21:21 GMTKevin Conroy

I would like to suggest this one for POTD:

It's interesting, rare (on Earth found only at the type locality), and ugly (for those who like such minerals...).

6th Dec 2017 22:36 GMTPavel Kartashov Manager

You should to understand, that choice of POTD is largely accidental event. Editors choose pictures in the POTD queue from those, that they see. But they do not see all the pictures simultaneusly. Omniscience isn't immanent property of editors.

When I was a beginner on mindat, I was very surprised at the choice of my photos for POTD - they were not the best from simultaneusly uploaded photos of the same material. Compare for example with and with It is quite clear which photos are better.

Now I am the editor myself and understand, that the editors are also people. Moreover, they are people so much, that I must repent - I removed from POTD queue by my own hand tens of microphotographs of the Italian anatases. Each of them was beautiful individually. But their total number exceeded all the limits of decency and common sense.

Therefore, I repeat, you should understand that the formation of a POTD queue is a dynamic process that comes from the interaction of the tastes and preferences of many people. The excesses of some editors are leveled by the activities of others. And the result is generally not so bad.

My advice to you, think less about this subject and happiness will be to you. As an editor, for example, I have the opportunity to know which photo will be tomorrow's POTD. But I very rarely take this opportunity. It is much more pleasant for me to receive every morning a small surprise. Sometimes I see my pictures as POTD. This is pleasant, because I am not photographer, and aesthetics with photo-skills aren't the main things in my pictures. I can only hope that people reading and my captions to them also. (What I do not see, unfortunately, in the views statistics of the most wiewed my picture - which was shown 8680 times, while key-sketch of phases position was only 722 times opened. :-( )

7th Dec 2017 01:01 GMTNorman King Expert

Very interesting discussion, ladies and gentlemen.

So I won’t post any other photos that I took.

But I wanted to show that there should be plenty of photos that aren’t run-of-the-mill micros from Clara or anywhere else. Below is one more of mine, just because I think it is fun. I don’t know what the conversation was between these two people before I documented their activity, and that’s probably best. Yes, I did manage to sneak this into my gallery! It's the child of a serious photo, showing the local setting which cannot be determined from the parent. Sometimes you gotta lighten up.

7th Dec 2017 11:45 GMTHarjo Neutkens Manager

Before I suggest we end this discussion there is one observation I would like to share here:

The choice of POTD can never be an exact science because taste just can't be measured and can't be quantified. Nor can it ever be a completely democratic process because we'd discuss for a year which photo should be the best choice for one day.

In this case there's an analogy with my job. I'm a classical musician and a professional artist by trade. As a musician I'm part of an orchestra under the baton of a conductor. The conductor makes choices and we as orchestral musicians make our own choices as well and by doing so we try to create music that the audience will appreciate. As a professional artist I make my choices in my studio and show my work in galleries and museums.

Every single visitor to the concerts where I play is entitled to their own judgement. One may or may not like the concert. The same goes for visitors in galleries or museums where I exhibit, one might like it or not.

In both cases there can be endless discussions about individual tastes but it'll only serve it's own purpose, the discussion, and nothing else.

Exactly the same applies to the choice of POTDs on Mindat. One might like the choice or not and that, well, is basically it.

Of course, one can discuss like we do here, but in my view such a discussion is quite pointless.

7th Dec 2017 17:19 GMTNorman King Expert


Your analogy is a good one. Thanks to you folks at Mindat for doing that job. POTD may be the main attention-getter on the Mindat home page.

18th Jan 2018 13:40 GMTEddy Vervloet Expert

OK guys, we had 50 POTD's without one from Clara now, and to be honest, I had a lot less 'wow moments'...

Can someone lift the ban on Clara please?

Just my two cents of course...

18th Jan 2018 13:55 GMTDebbie Woolf Manager

There's no ban ;-) and several in the queue.

18th Jan 2018 15:11 GMTOlivier Mével Expert

December 01, 2017: " More nice photos from "Clara" are expected in the following weeks and sure the Black Forest will never be blacklisted!!"

18th Jan 2018 15:42 GMTDonald B Peck Expert

I don't know what it is about the Clara Mine, but it certainly produces a lot of mineral specimens . . . and it seems most of them photogenic.

18th Jan 2018 16:05 GMTMatt Neuzil Expert

I love the POTD. I think they are useful. They show some things that I might not look at otherwise if not for the POTD. Sometimes something is so intriguing I will go to the locality page for more info, browse more pictures, sometimes they make me want to add a piece to my collection if budget or supply of material exists. Some POTD surely don't interest me when they are thin sections or polished sections on microscopic level. I don't have any equipment to study, collect or take much interest.

POTD are likely to interest some but not always everybody.

Sometimes I feel almost as those that take offense are those that do have some great photography. I'm sure there is no offense or nothing personal that more of those persons pictures are not featured. We still do appreciate those contributions very much!

18th Jan 2018 18:53 GMTEddy Vervloet Expert

Couldn't agree more, Matt.

18th Jan 2018 21:27 GMTDonald B Peck Expert

POTD is the first thing in Mindat that I check each day. And, Matt, I follow the links, too.

24th Feb 2018 14:44 GMTEddy Vervloet Expert

This is getting rather silly...
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