I am decidedly low tech in my front end. I take my rocks into the backyard and put them on a gray cookie sheet on a brick wall. I use a piece of white poster board to bounce more light on some surfaces.
I use my trusty old Nikon FM 35 mm (circa 1973) with a 55mm macro lens on a baby legged tripod. All the photos are exposed at f32 with shutter durations from 1/4 to 2 seconds with ASA 25 color print film. I send them out to a lab with good resolution enlargers (most don't have good glass so the focus looks soft)
Then they sit around my desk while I try to do my real job. After they start getting a little dusty I throw them on my Microtek Scanmaker IIHR. I usually scan them in at 200 dpi and then reduce the resolution to 72 dpi. They arrive as Photoshop 3.0 files (Mac). I mask out the cookie sheet and the background, substituting black or white. I try to keep the color as accurate as possible which means that sometimes I tweak the color balance and saturation in photoshop. I then use various filters (unsharp mask for example) to make the pictures look crisper. This single step is the most important.
I save all the files as PICT files for import into Claris Filemaker Pro.
I keep my collection as a database (Filemaker Pro) and each selection will (someday!) have its own photo.
Rocks from David Michaels' Collection
Index of Specimen Images
Table of Contents