Citrine necklace

The original

Today was dining room studio day again.  A big challenge with photographing gemstones is trying to get the contours and angles to display nicely without any chunk blowing out or being too dark.  I figured I would do a bit of testing with a polarizing filter to try and reduce some of those blowouts.

A polarizing filter basically removes certain wavelengths of light from making it through.  Generally these wavelengths are the ones coming off glass, so where you would normally see reflections in a window, a polarizing filter will tone down or remove those reflections and let you see what is behind the glass.  I knew it wouldn’t work for reflections on metal, since that’s not the right kind of light that will get cancelled, but I figured I would give it a shot on a stone.

From what I can tell, it didn’t work out.  Part of this could be due to the fact that I was shooting straight on instead of at an angle, but my with/without shots didn’t yield much, aside from cutting out the light a fair bit.

Today’s subject is the pendant that inspired Lauren’s latest collection.  It belonged to her great great aunt, Jesse Whitcher.  It’s from the Art Deco period that started in the 1920’s.  It’s composed of sterling silver, a citrine, and the little grey stones are marcasite.  It was found in her grandmother’s suitcase, wedged between many marriage certificates and land ownership deeds.  Nobody wanted it, so she adopted it.

I haven’t done anything in the way of touchups on this piece, so all in all it’s held up quite well over the years.

This was shot with my 70-200mm f4 lens zoomed in to 200, at 1/8 of a second and and aperture of f14.  I kept the ISO at 100.  I used that lens instead of my 90mm Macro because I can’t get the polarizing filter (that I didn’t need) onto a 55mm filter.  Lighting was with two daylight balanced flourescent softboxes on both sides, and then a diffused flash from behind to help knock out the background and add some more “shapes” on the face of the stone.  The entire setup is still sitting on the dining room table beside me, and I am not excited to clean it all up.

All in all the result vs. my intent classifies this project as a failure.


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