Author Topic: Photographing the 2017 Panda  (Read 4028 times)

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Offline PandaCollector

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Photographing the 2017 Panda
« on: December 19, 2016, 05:56:45 PM »
I have been taking some coin photos the last few days. This 2017 silver Panda proved a real challenge to light decently. I think there is quite a bit of detail in it that is not readily apparent. In the end, it took about two hours of work to get this shot. There is almost no Photoshop retouching done to it. The original was a little dark so the brightness was adjusted, otherwise this is exactly as the image was captured. The black line along the lower edge of the bamboos is a reflection of a black card and wasn't added in post.



Technical details: Canon EOS-M3 camera with Rodenstock Rodagon 105mm enlarging lens. I used three lights (including one small spot), three reflector cards and one gobo (go-before).

I encourage everyone to photograph your favorite coins. It is not only an interesting activity in its own right, but you may make some discoveries. Most coins are not as difficult to shoot as this one.

Best wishes,
Peter Anthony
China Pricepedia
www.pandacollector.com
 

Offline KeepOnTrying!

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Re: Photographing the 2017 Panda
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2016, 09:02:55 PM »
Looking good. Did you remove the coin from the capsule to take the photo?
KeepOnTrying and Never Give Up!
That lion is also after you!

Offline PandaCollector

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Re: Photographing the 2017 Panda
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2016, 09:50:30 PM »
Looking good. Did you remove the coin from the capsule to take the photo?

It was open, but still resting in the capsule's lower half.

Best wishes,
Peter Anthony
China Pricepedia
www.pandacollector.com

Offline eric

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Re: Photographing the 2017 Panda
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2016, 02:32:07 AM »
Nice photo and it looks like the panda is crying a tear!

Offline saso12

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Re: Photographing the 2017 Panda
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2016, 05:38:18 AM »
Minting of this coin looks worse than any bullion "massproduced" silver coin. Look at that rim, so many inperfections

Offline PandaCollector

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Re: Photographing the 2017 Panda
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2016, 07:29:54 AM »
Minting of this coin looks worse than any bullion "massproduced" silver coin. Look at that rim, so many inperfections


The mintage is 10 million.

Best wishes,
Peter Anthony
China Pricepedia
www.pandacollector.com

Offline SANDAC

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Re: Photographing the 2017 Panda
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2016, 11:16:10 AM »
I found the glare of the highly reflective MCC challenging, especially the silver coin.  I have to reduce the exposure by about 2 full stop to keep the edges from over exposure.  Polarized lens and light diffusers also help reducing the glare.  My setup is a camera stand with two clamp-on lights covered with diffusers (old white t-shirts), 40mm primary lens with polarizing filter, aperature set to f/8 on a Nikon D5300 body.  I like to tether my camera to my PC using Helicon Remote so I can check for hot spots and manually focus it.  The picture is always dark, so I need to brighten it in Lightroom.  My light sources are also too yellow, so I need to correct the white balance using a color reference.   Quite often I photograph a coin with a specific goal in mind.  In the picture below, I want to highlight the die crack across the 2nd floor of the temple, so I have a more directional illumination and rotate the coin to show the die crack more clearly.

Offline fwang2450

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Re: Photographing the 2017 Panda
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2016, 04:48:54 PM »
Amazing photo! With excellent depth and details. Not as "flat" as many of the pictures online. Panda's body is clearly outlined. It would great if Peter can note the positions, sizes and height of the lights.

I have been struggling with proof coins. The usual black field is kind of boring, with no indication of the metal used for the coin. I have been testing all kinds of reflecting materials, such as white paper/cloth, paper/foam cups, the metal shower arm  flange, as well as axial lighting. The pictures below were taken with reflection from a shower arm flange.

Offline PandaCollector

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Re: Photographing the 2017 Panda
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2016, 01:59:34 AM »
Amazing photo! With excellent depth and details. Not as "flat" as many of the pictures online. Panda's body is clearly outlined. It would great if Peter can note the positions, sizes and height of the lights.

I have been struggling with proof coins. The usual black field is kind of boring, with no indication of the metal used for the coin. I have been testing all kinds of reflecting materials, such as white paper/cloth, paper/foam cups, the metal shower arm  flange, as well as axial lighting. The pictures below were taken with reflection from a shower arm flange.

Frank, those are really creative materials to use as reflectors. I find that an even, non-reflective surface like paper or cardboard works just fine. For a deep black velvet is an excellent light absorber.

For the photo of the 2017 silver Panda there were two LED light sources. Each was at about a 30° angle to the coin. There was a layer of white packing material taped to each light as a diffuser. Two of the reflectors were white and one was gray. The reflectors bounce light onto the Panda and bring out details in the fur and fill in shadows. They were held in place using "magic arms" with small clamps on the ends. Between one reflector and the coin was a small black velvet gobo that blocked some light. Finally there was one small spotlight. It was positioned just a few degrees above the surface of the coin. This raking light creates the highlights that outline the bamboo and the edge of the figure.

I hope that description is useful. Each coin presents its own challenges.

Best wishes,
Peter Anthony
China Pricepedia
www.pandacollector.com

Offline 1003

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Re: Photographing the 2017 Panda
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2016, 06:26:19 PM »
great photo. Peter is an expert on taking photos that can be published in a book. He did publish books, didn't he?

Offline fwang2450

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Re: Photographing the 2017 Panda
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2016, 10:11:39 PM »
Frank, those are really creative materials to use as reflectors. I find that an even, non-reflective surface like paper or cardboard works just fine. For a deep black velvet is an excellent light absorber.

For the photo of the 2017 silver Panda there were two LED light sources. Each was at about a 30° angle to the coin. There was a layer of white packing material taped to each light as a diffuser. Two of the reflectors were white and one was gray. The reflectors bounce light onto the Panda and bring out details in the fur and fill in shadows. They were held in place using "magic arms" with small clamps on the ends. Between one reflector and the coin was a small black velvet gobo that blocked some light. Finally there was one small spotlight. It was positioned just a few degrees above the surface of the coin. This raking light creates the highlights that outline the bamboo and the edge of the figure.

I hope that description is useful. Each coin presents its own challenges.

Best wishes,
Peter Anthony
China Pricepedia
www.pandacollector.com
Thanks for your elaboration, Peter. It would be really enlightening to see your setup.

I started out by using materials of diffused reflection, such as white paper. But sometimes the reflection is much too uniform or bland, and lacks the kind of luster I would like to see on metal coins. That's why I picked direct reflection material. The shower arm flange was an accident. It happened to be nearby. But it does serve the purpose of bouncing irregular light showing luster on the surface. The first picture below was taken with white paper reflection. The second one with the flange.

Offline eric

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Re: Photographing the 2017 Panda
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2016, 01:39:18 PM »
Thanks for your elaboration, Peter. It would be really enlightening to see your setup.

I started out by using materials of diffused reflection, such as white paper. But sometimes the reflection is much too uniform or bland, and lacks the kind of luster I would like to see on metal coins. That's why I picked direct reflection material. The shower arm flange was an accident. It happened to be nearby. But it does serve the purpose of bouncing irregular light showing luster on the surface. The first picture below was taken with white paper reflection. The second one with the flange.

Nice comparison on those. It sure makes a big difference. I like the top picture better if I'm buying the coin, as it shows the imperfections and also showcases the design with high contrast which would be good for a book. But the bottom picture is prettier to my eye with the color and luster.

Offline PandaCollector

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Re: Photographing the 2017 Panda
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2016, 05:19:59 PM »
Thanks for your elaboration, Peter. It would be really enlightening to see your setup.

Here is the basic setup. Because the original had a small forest of reflector cards that hid the lights I reduced the cards to just one for this photo. Another point is that the two main lamps were not set to equal outputs so the light had a more directional quality.



P.S. The new Panda edition will be on press during January – at last.

P.P.S. That is a Navajo rug hanging on the wall in the background.

Best wishes,
Peter Anthony
China Pricepedia
www.pandacollector.com

Offline PandaCollector

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Re: Photographing the 2017 Panda
« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2016, 06:14:03 PM »
There is nothing particularly high end about this setup. It can be duplicated for $200-$300. I hope this will encourage other collectors to explore their coins through a camera lens. The copy stand is the most expensive item. It is an old Minolta brand stand that cost around a hundred bucks and is as solid as a house.

Best wishes,
Peter Anthony
China Pricepedia
www.pandacollector.com

Offline fwang2450

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Re: Photographing the 2017 Panda
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2016, 02:58:07 PM »
Thanks for the photo, Peter. I really appreciate it.

I am using a modified microscope stand instead of a copy stand. It has a smaller footprint and more precise adjustment. You do not have a pole sticking right in front of your face if the camera needs to be adjusted low, close to the coin.