As any field guide author probably could tell you, the photography in your book is what sells it, as much as we’d like to think it’s the text. From my first book, in 2008, to today, I’ve been honing my rock and mineral photography skills to be able to best represent a specimen exactly as it appears in-person, flaws and all. While some of my first photos were admittedly “rough,” the work I’ve produced in my recent books is, by contrast, quite polished and stunningly accurate; I feel I am able to illustrate the specimens faithfully while highlighting those features and traits that are key to identifying the species.
Choosing which specimens to photograph for a book can be tricky. Of course you want the pieces to best represent the species and give readers a helpful representation of what to look for. But you also want your book to be attractive and show fine examples, both in terms of form and color. Balancing these two concerns within such a small space is something at which I’ve excelled, and my photography has garnered quite a bit of praise throughout my career. Just don’t ask me about that first book...
Apart from my “green background” photos, which are the photos used in my field guides and all use a green backdrop both for contrast and consistency, I’ve also begun exploring mineral “portraits.” These shots, all against a black background, are an attempt to achieve the best possible image of a specimen in extremely high quality with deep focus, dramatic lighting, and, in some cases, artful angles and perspectives. Every facet of these photos, from the color to the reflections, has been carefully calculated and planned, rather unlike my field guide photos (which may sometimes emphasize imperfections). While the presentation and setting may be coldly scientific, it allows the specimens the opportunity to “speak” for themselves, as again there are no enhancements to the color, aside from the polarized lighting used to tame scattered light reflections.
On this page is a sampling of my mineral photography, most of which is already published in one book or another. If you have any desire to use any of these photos on your website, please contact me before doing so.