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Everything posted by Russel

  1. Another, although a little more subtle.
  2. I took several photographs of a cent with different aperture settings in an attempt to determine what f-stop produced the sharpest photograph. I placed the cent at an angle to eliminate focus; depth of field would cover is entire range from close to far, the center of which should be in good focus. Anyway, to get to the subject of striations, I noticed that sometimes the lines are a quite subtle. In this photograph you can see the "flow" markings on the surface of the field to the left, but also notice the vertical striations on the right at Lincoln's collar.
  3. Looking at the image attributes, it appears that you used F5 for your aperture setting. Focusing that close with such a fast aperture means a shallow depth of field. Do you use F5 to shallow the depth of field so that the slab casing is more out of focus? I frequently shoot macro photographs at F16 to F32 if the lens,a 60mm macro, is within 4 to 10 inches in order to maximize depth of field. Granted coins are quite flat, I find myself using F8 at 1:1 when photographing coins.
  4. I certainly believe that it is genuine, but I am no expert. (I now know that this thread title should be cents, or at least pennies, not pennys!) Here is a photograph of the reverse.
  5. OK, I think I understand what you mean. The problem, as I understand it, occurs a shutter speeds higher than 1/60 of a second. That explains why I have never encountered a problem with it. When I have used fluorescent lighting for photography I use a fairly small aperture F8 being the fastest, and quite often F16, F22, or F36. That requires me to use a slow shutter speed and a tripod. I appears that slower shutter speeds don't have a white balance problem with fluorescent light. Thank you for the information! It is alway good to learn something new. Here is a link I found: Problem with fluorescent lighting and sutter speed P.S. Now I have another reason to prefer natural light.
  6. If the light source is consistent then the white balance should also be consistent. When using artificial light I use flourescent exclusively. I've never noticed any shift in white balance. I have run across inconsistent white balance if there is sunlight as well as fluorescent in the image. If two light sources with different color temperatures are illuminating the subject then is it practically impossible to get a consistent white balance. Did the gymnasium you spoke of have any sunlight shining into it?
  7. If the light source is consistent then the white balance should also be consistent. When using artificial light I use flourescent exclusively. I've never noticed any shift in white balance. I have run across inconsistent white balance if there is sunlight as well as fluorescent in the image. If two light sources with different color temperatures are illuminating the subject then is it practically impossible to get a consistent white balance. Did the gymnasium you spoke of have any sunlight shining into it?
  8. I don't concern myself with ownership. Photography is a hobby for me. At this point I prefer to leave my photographs without watermarks, copyrights, or signatures. I really don't like the word "modify" for adjustments to make the photograph look more natural. Although modify is correct, I try to set the exposure so that the subject is captured as natural and accurate as possible with little or no modification. I usually use full manual mode because this allows me total control of depth of field and shutter speed, and use an 18% grey card to figure exposure and calibrate the white balance. While I've done stuff with Photoshop and other software to adjust poor images, I find that I get the best result with a good photograph at the camera. As far as special features, I find lately that I like to use a black background, and if photographing a coin, raise it somewhere between a half and one inch off of a black felt surface with chunk of plastic cylinder as a stand, to blur the background. Although, some of the photographs here at coinpeople.com have inspired me to try some other stuff.
  9. I usually prefer natural sunlight for photography mostly because of the high light level. I usually use artificial light for small subjects when I don't have much choice, or I want to control the direction that the light is coming from. That goes to show artificial light does have it's advantages, you can use it any time of the day and you also have more control over it. Both natural and artificial light usually work better if the light is soft. That is one of the reasons that many photographers like to shoot outdoors at sunrise and sun set, when the sunlight is soft. Cloudy days also work, but requesting cloudy days from the weatherman isn't very effective. This is where there is an advantage to photographing small subjects like watches, jewelry, and coins. The subject is small enough that you can easily soften the light. The most common method that I use for small subjects like coins is a light box. There are two basic types of light boxes. Boxes that are somewhat transparent (like a milk jug) that allows light to pass through it being defused by the material, the other being a box with reflective surfaces on the inside that reflect light around inside the box defusing it. Here is an example of a transparent type light box that you can make: How to create an inexpensive photography light box. Keep in mind that this type of light box can be used on a window sill with sunlight shining on it or with artificial lights. A very inexpensive way to make this kind of light box is to cut out the side of a plastic gallon milk jug and use sunlight or artificial light to light up the plastic. Here is an example of a reflective type light box: Homemake light box for product photography I haven't yet tried reflecting light on glass like Bill illustrates in the privious post. It look like a good method. When it comes to photographing coins, I find that the same method doesn't alway work with every coin. So, it helps to have as many techniques as possible in your photographic arsenal.
  10. I would suggest investigating your camera first, assuming that you haven't already, before looking for a replacement. What model is your Sony camera? It appears that your camera chose different white balance settings even though you used the same light. I may be able to look up the user manual and help you with the settings if I know the model. One thing that I have noticed with point and shoot digital cameras that I've used. If the light source is good and bright I usually get consistent settings when using automatic modes. I don't know if it will make much difference with your camera, but it may be worth a try.
  11. First of all, I want to say that I'm not trying to criticize anyone. My intention is to help point out ways to improve coin photography. I'm going a little off topic with this thread (the subject of my post is white balance) because I think it will help some of us to better understand one important aspect of digital photography. I also want to say that I wish I had a coin like this one! Very nice! One aspect of digital photography that requires careful attention is white balance. If the white balance is off, the colors will appear off. I notice digital photographs quite often that have a brownish cast to them. That is what can happen if your camera has the white balance calibrated to sunlight and the light source for the photograph is incandescent light. Notice the difference in the background color of the photographs take with florescent light (the two lower photographs) There is a slight shift in white balance between them. The white balance isn't too far off in the florescent light photograph, that is why it looks more like gold rather than copper. If you look at the histogram for each color element of the photographs with florescent lighting you can see how the peaks in color information line up. If you look at the photographs taken in natural light, you can see that the color information peaks don't line up. That is a good indicator that the white balance setting was not correct for photographs taken in natural light. Histogram for upper photographs taken in natural light (white balance is off) Notice the tallest peaks don't line up. Histogram for lower photographs taken in florescent light (white balance is good) Notice the tallest peaks do line up In any event, be sure to check that the white balance of your digital camera is set correctly for the type of light you are using. Many digital cameras these days allow you to calibrate the white balance for the light you are using by taking a photograph of a white or 18% grey card. If the digital camera doesn't have such a calibration mode, there is usually a preset you can choose for the type of light you are using to photograph with, such as Daylight, Daylight - cloudy, shade, florescent, incandescent, etc. Here are some examples of what white balance can do: This was taken with sunlight with cloud cover and the correct white balance (about 5000°K): This is the same photograph with white balance set incorrectly for florescent light (4100°K): And just for fun, with white balance incorrectly set for incadescent (3100°K):
  12. I found another coin with striations, although not a penny.
  13. Today it was completely overcast: So, I decided to try some photographs with the ultimate light box, the entire cloud covered sky: The result wasn't too bad. These two photographs of a silver eagle were taken from a window sill with unobstructed light from outside, full overcast sky.
  14. Here are some photos of Silver Eagles in different lighting. Defused light: (Note: I'm not sure why the obverse view looks almost milky.) Defused light with some reflected from about 45° up and to the left: Defused light with some reflected from the top of the coin about 70° from horizontal: From what I can tell, the best lighting really depends upon the coin. This silver eagle has an almost frosted look to the surface. Not too shiny, so it tends to look better with softer light.
  15. Corrected link: VAMworld
  16. Wow, ScottO, those are some great examples! I wonder if these variations in copper alloy used to mint coins are not given too much concern by the mints because the result is not altogether undesirable. It may be that the effort to eliminate all variations in the metal reaches a point of diminishing returns. As I understand it, these days anyway, the metal for coins minted in the US is a private, for profit, company. In any event, it definitely give coins character. After looking through several hundred pennies that I have collected from pocket change, I find that I like pennies with a good patina rather than shiny.
  17. A little more experimentation: These are taken with sunlight from the upper right with white plastic to soften the light. This time I set the coins on a half inch riser so that the black felt background would be out of focus. Still haven't found the best way to photo shiny coins. This is the best that I've been able to come up with for a new penny. The soft light works well with toned pennies. Not too bad with silver coins. (I was carefull with the white balance, but the quarter still appears a little bluish.) Adding a little angle adds to the photo sometimes. Although it complicates things a little by adding depth of field to the equation. I also tried a close up with this lighting. Not too bad, but I'm not totally happy with the result. I've got to figure out the best way to light the reflective field of the coin so that it doesn't get that strange dark look. Still plugging away at it... I want to make a jig to hold a SLR UV filter at 45°, so that I reflect light coming from the side straight at a coin and also have the camera pointed straight at it.
  18. Here are some of the interesting pennies I found: This one looks like the die was worn. Also: notice the striations in on the surface. Another worn die? This one appears to have an incomplete stamping.
  19. After examining several dollars of pennies that I have collected from pocket change, I have noticed tha quite a few have striations. Not only in color or toning, but in texture as well. Both in copper pennies and zinc with copper plating. It is really interesting what you can observe if you really look at something. I found a handfull of pennies with interesting flaws. Nothing spectacular, but still interesting. Flaws in the zinc planchet, pennies formed with what appears to be worn dies, slightly off center strikes. I'll post some photographs later. I have always loved Damascus steel! The stuff is expensive! Here is a photo of my favorate knife.
  20. It sure caught my eye. Made me curious if it is common. Looks like the 1980s, at least with the pennys that I have, is where this happened the most.
  21. As I was placing pennys in a Lincoln Momorial Cents coin folder, I notice a number of pennys have strange looking striations on them. The photograph is one of the pennys (from my pocket change) with the most noticable striations. Does anyone know anything about this? When I noticed it on several pennys, I began to wonder if it has something to do with the penny, rather than what the penny has been exposed to.
  22. It seem to me that shiny coins are a lot harder to photograph well. Here are a couple more attempts: This is with defused light, using a single sheet of plastic rather than a light box. This is direct sunlight: I want to try reflecting light off glass between the camera and lens as soon as I get some optical glass.
  23. I am curious as to what you consider the best coin photography lighting method is. I took a few photos in sunlight shining on a light box. I seems to me that light coming from the top of a coin looks the most natural. But, I noticed that coins with less toning tend to wash out, with the exception of the penny that has more color. My first light box test photos: A couple coins with toning: And a silver dime that seems to wash out. Granted I can adjust the image to improve contrast, but I find that I get better photographs if the lighting f-stop and white balance are set in the camera so that no or little image adjustment is needed.
  24. Not really worth more than it's melt value, but I like the way it looks.
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