A few focus stacked shots from my mineral collection

My wife and I buy a cool mineral/gem every year for our anniversary. I used them as a subject to try out focus stacking for the first time and the results are pretty cool!

Green Fluorite with Galena (lead ore) on Matrix

Bismuth (to be fair, not a mineral)

Cerussite and Barite

Vanadinite on Matrix

My process is editing a middle-focused picture in darktable, then copy/pasting to the others. I export all as a jpeg and use chimpstackr to put them all together. Shot with an Olympus E-M5 MK II + 12-40 Pro.

I was hoping to put these up as a playraw, but my workflow converts to a jpeg before they get stacked. Open to workflow suggestions if anyone has them. And constructive criticism!


Love the bismuth … beautifully sharp at every distance.


I haven’t heard of this package before, but your results from it look good!

The doc doesn’t say what file formats it can take for inputs. I’ve messed around with another focus stacking package (focus-stack), and I fed it TIFF files generated by darktable-cli with the aim of avoiding loss of quality due to JPG.

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Put a sheet of white paper behind them!

Nice results!

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I gave the default settings a shot after exporting my images as TIFF and there is a lot more halo-ing around the edges. Possibly noise it’s mistaking for in-focus areas? Same process on the jpgs I used for my original post yielded the same results.

That isn’t to say focus-stack is worse, though! It has a lot more options than chimpstackr, it’s very possible I could fix it or even get better results… but I have no idea what I’m doing lol

Thanks! I’m planning on trying that next time. I thought a background with some color might make the images more interesting, but maybe it’s just distracting.

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Thank you. That was the one I was a little worried I over-edited, so it’s nice to hear that one get praise

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I’ll have to give chimpstackr a try and see how they compare.

I thought a background with some color might make the images more interesting

Totally with you there.
Great example is Bismuth - the background just fits perfectly for its rainbowish colors.

Also Vanadinite - opaque background is in-sync with the mineral.


Very nice shots, looks very natural and not over done (sharpening and color-wise).

I wonder, would there be some interesting interactions with polarized light and polarizer filter ?

Try also black.

Thank you! I’m trying to look up an example of what you might mean and getting lots of microscopy results. I’m familiar with a polarizing filter, but do you mean a special light that is polarized? Do you have an example that might explain this?

I mean this kind of setup, I guess there’s other variations.

And this kind of interaction

That could be pretty interesting to play around with. There are probably some pretty cool physics going on with the light that could be explored.

Not the same thing, but that green fluorite turns purple in some spots if it’s outside in the shade. And I think it’ll fluoresce if I use something like a UV light, but I don’t have one.

Who needs a colour wheel when you’ve got bismuth!

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