Roger’s Geode Collection

Roger's Geodes

This is Roger’s geode collection that he has amassed over the last couple of visits to Missouri.

Well, three geodes and one bit of pasta for scale.

Geodes are an interesting bit of geological product in that they are effectively little pockets — bubbles really — of gas and minerals that form

The geode fragment in the back was likely a part of a much much larger geode. Size of a basketball kind of large. It has an interesting crystalline structure not apparent in the photo.

The softball thing at the left is the most perfectly round geode I have ever seen. It has fossil inclusions in the surface, but is otherwise just perfectly round. Might be interesting to slice it open, but it is just so… perfectly round and magnificent as is.

The last geode is kinda small. Really really small. I had no idea geodes could be that small.

But, as Roger often teaches me, discovering small is often just a matter of paying attention.

It is actually quite a spectacular little bit of crystalline geological product.

Tiny Geode

The image at the right is a close-up of that really tiny geode.

Quite the surprisingly complex bit of crystalline structure in a very, very small package!

Not surprisingly, this image was shot with the Canon 65mm 1-5x macro lens.

To take this kind of picture with this lens requires a tripod, a stand for the subject and a really good light source.

All of which I happened to have, though some of which was a bit hacked. Click through for details.

Tiny Geode Interior Crystals
  • Tripod
    I have had great success using the Joby Gorillapod SLR-Zoom flexible tripod. It is extremely versatile, though I have found that the SLR-Zoom isn’t really capable of supporting a full-on heavy zoom lens. However, for doing this kind of macro work (or anything involving lighter lenses), the Gorrillapod works great. In particular, the tripod is screwed into the tripod ring of the lens and the flexible bits are pretty much flattened out, leaving the camera/lens fairly parallel and relatively low to the table.
  • Ring flash
    For this shot, my Canon MR-14EX Macro Ring proved to be the better flash. While I am currently borrowing the MT-24EX Macro Flash, the flash elements are significantly further off the center of the lens and, thus, do not light the interior of the geode anywhere nearly as effectively as the 14EX.
  • Subject stand
    With super-macro photography, every millimeter of motion is significant. Not only does the subject stand need to move back/forth and right/left smoothly, it also needs to go up and down smoothly. Kind of like a lens goes in/out smoothly. So, I used a 50mm f/1.4 lens as the subject stand. It extends by millimeters as you adjust the focus and, thus, this rather awesome bit of lens has proved useful well beyond its intended purpose.

Given this combination, I was able to focus on the back of the geode to capture the crystal structure therein.

Tiny Geode Crystal Detail

At higher magnifications, macro lenses have extremely narrow depths of field. That is, the amount of stuff in focus within the image is very much limited to a particular focal plane and a few bits of a millimeter on either side.

This, it is impossible to capture both the edge of the geode and the interior in focus at the same time.

This particular image is a higher magnification capture of the crack along the upper right portion of the miniature geode.

This lens is one hell of a lot of fun. Combined with the right tools, it captures detail at a stunningly small scale.

Next up? Toss bugs in the fridge for 24 hours and they stay motionless, save for tiny signs of life, for about 30 minutes upon removal. Once they warm up, they are totally unharmed. I.e. perfect photo subjects.

4 Responses to “Roger’s Geode Collection”

  1. BWJones says:

    Cooling bugs off in the fridge works great , but another thing you might want to consider for macro photograph is image stacking. I’ve been considering picking up this app when things slow down a little, so that I can take multiple images in multiple planes of focus, then combine them all for amazing macro depth of field. This software with the Canon MP-E lens and a micrometer stage would make for an awesome combination.

  2. annbb says:

    You gotta show the photos of Cody, Rog and Natalya jumping into the pond…geode’s are good….pond jumping is better! I’m just sayin’.

    Isn’t is good all of us being here in MO together??

  3. Charles says:

    Ha.. I have a great geode story. I was going to type it here, but it’s rather long so I posted it to my blog.

    I’ll post a naked link since I’ll probably botch the HTML (it would be nice if your comments had a preview).

    Click here or use this URL:

  4. David says:

    I love all of your articles. These pictures are amazing. It’s kind of funny that I would run upon this particular article of yours because I am in the market for a new camera. It’s really great to see what the camera and lens do not to mention learn something about geods! Thanks!

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