Log InRegister
Home PageAbout MindatThe Mindat ManualHistory of MindatCopyright StatusWho We AreContact UsAdvertise on Mindat
Donate to MindatCorporate SponsorshipSponsor a PageSponsored PagesMindat AdvertisersAdvertise on Mindat
Learning CenterWhat is a mineral?The most common minerals on earthInformation for EducatorsMindat Articles
Minerals by PropertiesMinerals by ChemistryAdvanced Locality SearchRandom MineralRandom LocalitySearch by minIDLocalities Near MeSearch ArticlesSearch GlossaryMore Search Options
Search For:
Mineral Name:
Locality Name:
The Mindat ManualAdd a New PhotoRate PhotosLocality Edit ReportCoordinate Completion ReportAdd Glossary Item
Mining CompaniesStatisticsThe ElementsUsersBooks & MagazinesMineral MuseumsMineral Shows & EventsThe Mindat DirectoryDevice Settings
Photo SearchPhoto GalleriesNew Photos TodayNew Photos YesterdayMembers' Photo GalleriesPast Photo of the Day Gallery

Why are high quality photos not showing up except when logged in?

Posted by Charles D Young  
Charles D Young June 12, 2019 11:31AM
A year or two back I started uploading photos of my specimens that are admittedly of low quality. I was not surprised that they were not marked for public viewing and were only visible when I logged in.

I am in the process of replacing them with higher quality photos. What can I do to insure that they are now visible to the public?

David Von Bargen June 12, 2019 11:38AM
Please do a white balance of the photos. They are turning out with a yellowish tint that does not reflect the specimens true color.
Kevin Conroy June 12, 2019 02:05PM
Hi Charles, whether you're logged in or not you can see all of your (or anyone's) pictures by going to the photo gallery, then in the "Show" drop down choose "All images" and click the "Filter Search" button.

I looked at your photos, and it's obvious that you like radioactive minerals! Your latest photos show that you have the right light setting on the camera, as the background and minerals seem to show accurate colors. If I may, there are a couple of suggestions that should improve the aesthetics of the photos.

Crop the photo to get rid of the non-essential stuff. Choose a monochromatic color background. Since the dimensions are listed there isn't a need to show a grid or ruler. I've used a carnotite photo of yours as an example. I cropped it, and (rather crudely) edited it to show what just a white background would look like.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/12/2019 02:08PM by Kevin Conroy.
Frank K. Mazdab June 12, 2019 09:31PM
The original image could definitely be cropped (two separate scale bars, both even in the same units, seems like overkill). But personally, I like Kevin's first crop better than than his second one with the background removed. Professional mineral photographers can make minerals look like they're floating in space while still maintaining a sense of depth. But in this case, the second image loses that depth and looks like a 2D painting (and that the original was slightly out of focus doesn't help). Most of us probably don't have the level of skill to make minerals look like those artsy museum photos or something out of the pages of Min Rec.

But that being said, there's a huge divide between those amazing professional photos, and some of the photo-like images some people try to pass off here. I've seen some photos on mindat (not among the set we're discussing in this thread, so this isn't directed at anyone in particular) where the images were so terrible, I thought the photographer should be arrested and sentenced to take an art appreciation class.

I get that 20 years ago or earlier, before the widespread availability of digital cameras when people were still using film, that it wasn't always practical or cost-effective to take dozens of shots of a sample (or of anything, for that matter) to ensure that at least one photo had the best combo of being framed well, sharply focused, properly white balanced, etc. But nowadays, where the only real limitation is time and effort, there's really little excuse for not being able to take decent photos, even with just one's cell phone camera. If all of one's photos are out of focus but the photographer thinks they're fine, it sounds like glasses or cataract surgery are in order. If colors are wildly unrealistic (and I have this problem sometimes), ask a non-colorblind friend/colleague for advice. If backgrounds are cluttered or the framing is weird, take a moment to remind yourself that you're not snapping a quick image of your smashed bumper for the insurance adjustor, but you're trying to show off to the envy of others your hard work (if you collected the sample yourself) or your shrewd purchase (if you bought it) to make the rest of us ooh and ahh. When one's hand is in the photo (as was discussed in a recent thread), we want to admire the specimen; we don't want to feel like we ought to be offering you advice on what moisturizer you should be using.
Kevin Conroy June 13, 2019 12:40AM
Frank K. Mazdab Wrote:
> The original image could definitely be cropped (two separate scale bars, both even in the same units, seems like overkill). But personally, I
> like Kevin's first crop better than than his second one with the background removed. Professional mineral photographers can make
> minerals look like they're floating in space while still maintaining a sense of depth. But in this case, the second image loses that depth and
> looks like a 2D painting (and that the original was slightly out of focus doesn't help). Most of us probably don't have the level of skill to make
> minerals look like those artsy museum photos or something out of the pages of Min Rec.

Frank, I agree! For the second cropped image I loaded the first one into Paint, and just "painted" everything except the specimen in white. I know some folks who could import a photo like this into Photoshop (or an equivalent) and add shadowing, and/or a color graduated background.

The vast majority of my photos are not very good. The backgrounds for most of the specimens are pieces of white printer paper, while the larger specimens are white, black or brown construction paper, definitely low-tech! I'm definitely more focused on the specimen than creating something for an art class. I sometimes wish I that had the equipment and skill to take a fantastic photo like so many others do. Then again, I wish I had more time to go collecting, travel to mineral shows, visit museums, etc, etc, etc..........
Thomas Lühr June 13, 2019 01:27AM
I agree with Frank's opinion. Especially that the 3D impression gets lost when the specimen is shown on an unicolord background. I want to demonstrate that it is possible to come to a reasonable result with not too much effort and give a few hints.

The screenshot of the layers window shows a set of layers generated GIMP or PS.
The upper layer is the separated specimen (edges blurred) on a transsparent background.
The second layer contains only the (drawed) shaddows.
The 3rd layer adds a color to the background and is completely filled with the same color. Be careful with choosing that color, it should be in harmony with the specimen's color and be discreet, not dominating the image.
The 4th layer is filled with black and enables to adjust the brightness of the background.
The 5th layer is a transition from transparent to black and simulated the direction of the light. Note that there is not a discrepancy to the shaddow (like shown in C1.4) and that light from down to top gives not a natural impression (like shown in C1.3).
Finally the 6th and last layer is filled with white.
The adjustment of the opacity of layer #2 - layer #5 gives you the ability to change the apperiance of the image to many different looks.
C1.1 shows the composited image and C1.2 turned to landscape format.

Thomas Lühr June 13, 2019 01:31AM
Two more pictures - that you should avoid

Keith Compton June 13, 2019 04:04AM
Nice photo edit guide Thomas
Benjamin Oelkers June 13, 2019 09:58AM
Personally, I don't really like the method of cutting the subject (here: specimen) out and pasting it onto a new background. You might be forced to do so in some cases, but if you have control over your settings, choosing a suitable background beforehand will usually give better results in my experience.

What I tend to do is to use a black background, which does routinely not give a completely black background colour in the photo - the camera's internal settings are made to avoid that. The photo would then be finalized in Lightroom, including using the brush-like tool to adjust the exposure (only) around the specimen so that is becomes pure black. That way, I don't need to cut out and smooth the edges of the specimen, which in my opinion is a major factor why depth perception can be lost when using monochromatic backgrounds. Basically, the specimen's edges should be sharper in some areas and more blurred in others (the ones further back), which is difficult to achieve by cutting and pasting.

Of course, using Photoshop, GIMP or something similar would allow for the same effect by using a rather soft (maybe partly transparent) brush with the desired background colour - just don't colour in the specimen as well while you're at it! ;-)
Charles D Young June 13, 2019 04:01PM
Sorry that I was not clear. I am in the process of updating my photos but there are still many old ones where I used a grid and ruler, including the one that everyone has been focused on. I had assumed it would be obvious which ones were new. The new ones have a light source from 2 sides and are better cropped. As I am updating I also add a closeup using layer compositing.

David commented that I should do a better job with the white balance. I will definitely do my best going forward.

When I am done updating my photos I would still like them to show up when people do searches and look at my collection. I know there is an option to show them all but I would like them to appear by default. Or are my recent photos still not up to mindat standards?

Uwe Kolitsch June 13, 2019 04:58PM
If you replace an old photo with a newer one, it automatically goes into the waiting list for approval.
So your photos may still be in this list.
Charles D Young June 13, 2019 05:18PM
Ah, so they will eventually get approved or disapproved. I guess if they show up I will know that they have been approved. If they are disapproved will I know why? Or do they just not show up? I am putting a lot of work into my photos and I would like to learn how to improve, such as white balance.

David Von Bargen June 13, 2019 05:43PM
Your photos are all way too yellow. It might be a mismatch between the light source that you are using and the camera settings. It is easiest to fix this in the camera, but you could also correct it some with a photo editing program.

In general you are getting decent photos, but the color needs to be corrected before the photos go site wide.
Charles D Young June 13, 2019 08:26PM
Ok, I think the problem may be the light colored card I have been using under my specimens when taking the full view with my Panasonic DMZ-FC150. If is off-white and I did not realize that would throw off the white balance. Here are photos with the white balance set on auto. One is on a white sheet of paper and the other has the half the card in view. I think the white sheet should do the trick, don't you? It looks more natural to me than the original (also attached).

Jolyon & Katya Ralph June 13, 2019 09:17PM
Part of your problem, and why you can't use auto white balance in this case, is that you seem to have at least two different lights with different colour temperatures (or possibly you're mixing artificial and natural light)
Jolyon & Katya Ralph June 13, 2019 09:21PM
Here is your photo colour corrected for white balance.

As you can see, there are some bluish tones in the shadows to the right of the specimen which indicate that at least one other light source is a different temperature.
Charles D Young June 13, 2019 09:59PM
My light source is a Streppel Halolux 90 halogen source with dual gooseneck fiber illuminators. They are place above and to the right and left of the specimen. There is a little sunlight coming in from the window behind and that may be the bluish tones you are referring to.

I see you color corrected the image with half the off-white card. Does that make a difference?

At any rate, I redid the photo with the blinds behind the specimen closed. Does that help? To my eye it seems to make it more like your color corrected version.

Jolyon & Katya Ralph June 13, 2019 10:54PM
You still have a yellow cast on your photos. It may be that your monitor is not well calibrated too, this can throw things off when editing photos.

Halogen light is a difficult light to use for photography, it is very strong in yellow. You would be much better to choose a broader spectrum light source, even modern daylight-rated (5000K) Compact LED bulbs (such as these) would be good:

Charles D Young June 13, 2019 11:13PM
Ok, in Windows 10 if you double click on a photo and then click on Edit and Create it takes you to the editor to make adjustments. Would I be able to make the adjustment using the color slider? Could you make the adjustment to my last photo and tell me what slider number you use?

I really don't see the yellow tinge now that I am using a white background and I closed the window blind. If I could easily make the adjustment with the color slider then I would do it at the same time that I am cropping.

Thanks for your patience.


Charles D Young June 13, 2019 11:58PM
Hm, not really because it does not explain what changes need to be made to my photo. In my eyes the last photo I attached looks more like the actual specimen than the one you color corrected. At least the blue tinge seems to be gone because I closed the blinds on the window. Oh well, I guess it is all in the eyes of the beholder.

Thanks for your help and hopefully my photos will start to be approved now that I have made improvements to the white balance!

Amir C. Akhavan June 14, 2019 08:35AM
If the white background looks like a neutral white or gray to you, then your monitor's color settings must be off (color temperature set too high probably).
It's not in the eye of the beholder, it can be measured:
If you use a color picking tool you will find that in your screenshot the user interface is in neutral gray, the RGB values (red, green and blue) of the different grays are 34,34,34 and 43,43,43 and 85,85,85, and they look like a "boring" neutral gray on my monitor, just as they should.
Your white cardboard background has a strong reddish tint, you can read values like 151,125,97 or 228,203,147 or 252,237,211, so they are not properly white balanced.
Jolyon & Katya Ralph June 14, 2019 08:52AM
Compare the 'white' of your card under the specimen to the white of the background text on this mindat page. If you don't see any big difference then your monitor has problems!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/14/2019 08:52AM by Jolyon & Katya Ralph.
Charles D Young June 14, 2019 09:02PM
Ok, so what I hear you saying is that the color of the white sheet under my specimen should match the color of the border of the mindat page. In general I find that difficult to accomplish even after white balancing. Perhaps I need to white balance my camera on a small intensely bright spot.

I did find one of my photos that seems to blend with the mindat border in the lower right corner. I have tried adjusting the color in the Windows 10 editor and it just makes the specimen look bad. I'll continue to experiment.

Amir C. Akhavan June 14, 2019 09:41PM
It is no good to white balance just to white.
If you take a photo of a spot light on a white background, the colors should grade from 255,255,255 (white) in the center to values like 55,55,55 (gray) and 20,20,20 (dark gray)

The values for the upper right corner of the mindat page are indicated in the next screenshot.

In your photo the white is correct, but everything else is still completely off, as if the photo had been taken with a daylight white balance setting.

Charles D Young June 14, 2019 09:44PM
Ok, I zoomed in on the center of my illuminated area on the sheet of paper and manually set the Kelvin to 3700. That is what looked as white as possible on the camera screen. I think the results have improved.

Thomas Lühr June 14, 2019 09:45PM

Sorry to say, but the white color of the sheet (in the middle of the bottom) is only due to an oversatureation/overexposure (that is to avoid in general).
On a white sheet, the shaddows have to be a transition to grey and not yellow or brown like in your photo(s).

What was the white balance setting ("light setting") on your camera ? Normally you can choose 'sun', 'cloudy', 'fluorescent', 'tungsten/bulb'.
Make sure that this setting fits your actual light source. The photos should come out already almost correct, at least not so far off.

Some better cameras allow to enter the "color temperature". If you are able to do that then try to enter 2700 if you use tungsten light.

While i was writing you already did what i suggested. The first photo of your recent set looks already quite good. You may change still to a bit lower values ...

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/14/2019 09:49PM by Thomas Lühr.
Amir C. Akhavan June 14, 2019 09:58PM
> That is what looked as white as possible on the camera screen.
The photos look much better now, but camera screens are rarely calibrated (they are only "o.k." on very expensive cameras).
You have to check on the computer if the photos are o.k. (by checking the actual color values with a color picker).
This means measure what works best.
The values will never be "perfect grays" (all numbers same), but that's o.k. and slight deviations look more natural.
Jeff Weissman June 14, 2019 09:58PM
Usually you set a white balance, not with a white paper, but with 18% photo-grey card, which is a flat (not shiny) uniformly tinted true neutral grey color; you can get these for a few dollars from Amazon or Walmart, etc. I also recommend multiple light sources, which judging from the shadows you are using two; and using some form of diffusion to avoid harsh shadows, blown-out highlights, and muddied dark areas. Thin white paper, translucent white plastic, or white tissue paper can all work, positioned between light source and subject, but not close enough to the light to catch fire. I suggest taking a look at some photo galleries here on MinDat and see what you like and don't like in terms of specimen orientation, lighting, backgrounds, etc. Doesn't need to be fancy as long as the details of the specimen are clearly observable.
Thomas Lühr June 14, 2019 11:19PM
Regarding the second part of Jeff's post ...
You may also do a google search for images or videos with "DIY light box" and will get a lot of inspirations.
Charles D Young June 14, 2019 11:42PM
Thanks all for your patience and wisdom. Back in the day when I did a lot of video I would just point at someones white t-shirt and hit the white balance button. Things are little trickier than I realize but I think I am getting there.

Closing the blinds to avoid daylight was the first trick. After that adjusting the Kelvin to 3700 to produce the whitest background (which I have read corresponds to halogen) made a big difference.

I'll look at some sort of diffusion to soften the harsh shadows and highlights. The dual fiber goosenecks are cool to the touch. I may be able to tape gauze over them.

Timothy Greenland June 15, 2019 01:34PM
Charlzes, I am no photographer but I have had success with simply putting a translucent white plastic coffee cup over my cool goosenecks. It is a simple solution and seems to atenuate the shadows for me...


Jeff Weissman June 15, 2019 08:17PM
Empty yogurt cups work also
Jolyon & Katya Ralph June 15, 2019 09:30PM
Much better Charles!
Charles D Young June 16, 2019 03:14AM
Thanks, guys! If any of you are coming to Tucson mineral show in 2020 let me know. We have a guest bedroom.

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login

Mineral and/or Locality  
Mindat.org is an outreach project of the Hudson Institute of Mineralogy, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. Public Relations by Blytheweigh.
Copyright © mindat.org and the Hudson Institute of Mineralogy 1993-2019, except where stated. Most political location boundaries are © OpenStreetMap contributors. Mindat.org relies on the contributions of thousands of members and supporters.
Privacy Policy - Terms & Conditions - Contact Us Current server date and time: June 26, 2019 15:54:08
Go to top of page