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Thread: A new learning curve - coins . .

  1. #1
    xpatUSA's Avatar
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    A new learning curve - coins . .

    Selling off some coins, so needed some web shots. "Just like shooting watches" was the thought, so set up the lighting the same as always. Imagine the shock and horror when a flat, lack-luster image appeared on the monitor.

    Horrible:

    A new learning curve - coins . .

    Hmm . . , too much [light source] diffusion? So moved the lamps closer
    to the tracing paper and up a bit higher:

    A new learning curve - coins . .

    More contrast, but it still looks like a negative. Turned one lamp off, and
    tilted the coin so that it reflected the light [from the diffuser] straight into
    the lens . . . "Say what?", we hear.

    Voila
    :

    A new learning curve - coins . .

    Even more contrast and the phabulous phoveon 3D look appeared.

    LO res images, in descending order: f/5.6, f/5.6, f/16.

    Would be happy to hear from seasoned coin-shooters!
    Last edited by xpatUSA; 9th August 2012 at 07:17 PM. Reason: clarified lighting source

  2. #2

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    Re: A new learning curve - coins . .

    Nice progression of improved quality!

    I'm surprised that you mentioned the diffuse reflection of such a highly reflective surface. That would normally be called a direct reflection, which has different characteristics that require a very different approach than when dealing with a diffuse reflection. You might want to consider purchasing Light: Science and Magic. It explains how to treat the two types of reflection.

    I am only a beginner at this stuff but I have been closely following the book. You might be interested in my thread replicating an exercise in the book that demonstrates how a shiny, reflective metal surface can produce a black, white or grey tone depending on the physical relationship between the light source, the subject and the camera: Lighting really makes a difference!

  3. #3

    Re: A new learning curve - coins . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    Nice progression of improved quality!

    You might want to consider purchasing Light: Science and Magic. It explains how to treat the two types of reflection.
    Looking real good to me!

    I have been reading this book also, only about 1/3rd of the way into it and it is awesome. Learning a few things about light and how to use it. Just from what I have been through so far I would highly recommend this book. I did cheat a little and thumbed through it to see what all was there, now I can't wait to read the whole thing.

    My other hobby is metal detecting and when I wanted a coin to look good when I posted it I would take it out onto the porch into shaded (not dark shade) light and then find just the right spot to take the shot. I did not have any lights to set up so that worked very well for me. I was using my Canon A710IS PowerShot set on marco no flash. Most of the time I got very good feedback on my photos.

  4. #4
    xpatUSA's Avatar
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    Re: A new learning curve - coins . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl in Louisiana View Post
    Looking real good to me!

    My other hobby is metal detecting and when I wanted a coin to look good when I posted it I would take it out onto the porch into shaded (not dark shade) light and then find just the right spot to take the shot. I did not have any lights to set up so that worked very well for me.
    Thanks Carl,

    Shoot, I bet you even looked through the viewfinder to assess the potential for a satisfactory image - which is more than I did on the first shot! Having been dealing with specular reflection from curved surfaces for many years, not to mention combined specular and diffuse reflection from the same surface (PVD plating), I just threw the coin under there and took the shot . .

    On the second shot, I used the viewfinder to focus but still failed to look for the problem. Only after viewing that image onscreen, with it's bas-relief look, did the penny finally drop, duh. The flat shiny surfaces providing an accurate reflection of the large black shadow above, namely the camera. Not that I've ever seen that on 500+ watch movement surfaces and had to fix it ;-)

    The third shot came out good enough for government work. Hopefully subsequent shots will improve. Like yourself, I used continuous lighting.

    Will you be posting any coin shots? Anybody else?
    Last edited by xpatUSA; 9th August 2012 at 07:26 PM.

  5. #5

    Re: A new learning curve - coins . .

    Quote Originally Posted by xpatUSA View Post
    Thanks Carl,

    Shoot, I bet you even looked through the viewfinder to assess the potential for a satisfactory image - which is more than I did on the first shot! Having been dealing with specular reflection from curved surfaces for many years, not to mention combinations specular and diffuse reflection from the same surface (PVD plating), I just threw the coin under there and took the shot . .

    On the second shot, I used the viewfinder to focus but still didn't see the problem. Only after viewing that image onscreen, with it's bas-relief look, did the penny finally drop.

    Third shot came out good enough for government work. Hopefully subsequent shots will improve. Like yourself, I used continuous lighting.

    Will you be posting any coin shots? Anybody else?
    Naw I was too lazy, just looked at the LCD screen.

    I will have to dig out my foreign coins and see what I can come up with. I sold all my silver coins a while back. I should have a couple of Indian Head pennies around some where

  6. #6

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    Re: A new learning curve - coins . .

    Quote Originally Posted by xpatUSA View Post
    did the penny finally drop
    Great pun!

  7. #7
    Loose Canon's Avatar
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    Re: A new learning curve - coins . .

    Great set, Ted.

    But would your final tilt do with a bit of counter-clockwise rotation to get the date centered at the bottom?

    Just a Theory!

  8. #8
    xpatUSA's Avatar
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    Re: A new learning curve - coins . .

    Thanks chaps,

    Tilting will be the next skill to consider: watches are too easy with clues like 9 and 3 o/clock, etc.

    Maria is looking a bit snooty in this one, an Austrian Thaler, I got fooled by the "S.F." which shouldn't be at the bottom, actually. Oh well . .

    A new learning curve - coins . .

    Doesn't even stand for San Francisco - no idea what (blush).
    Last edited by xpatUSA; 10th August 2012 at 03:49 AM. Reason: duh . .

  9. #9
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: A new learning curve - coins . .

    Quote Originally Posted by xpatUSA View Post
    I got fooled by the "S.F." which shouldn't be at the bottom, actually. Oh well . . . Doesn't even stand for San Francisco - no idea what (blush).
    It is the Mint's Signature.
    One letter will be first letter of the Family Name of the Mint Master and the other the Mint Warden.

    WW

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