Author Topic: Photographing the 2017 Panda  (Read 5593 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?
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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.

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Re: Photographing the 2017 Panda
« Reply #15 on: December 23, 2016, 06:30:12 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.

Any support, like a microscope stand, that holds a camera steady is fine. The one I use allows as much as 27" of distance between the lens and the base board. This allows me to use a fairly long focal length lens (105mm) that is placed up away from the coin. Why? That space is useful for placing lights and reflectors without bumping into the camera, or casting unwanted shadows. It's also useful for photographing larger objects like this 90mm diameter medal.



By bouncing light around in a controlled manner there is minimal loss of details in the shadows, yet the highlights also hold their detail and don't burn out.

But most any setup can be made to work and give good results. The key is to try.

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

.  

Offline PandaCollector

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Re: Photographing the 2017 Panda
« Reply #16 on: December 26, 2016, 08:49:15 AM »
For anyone interested the last medal is called "Kunqu Opera". The obverse features the Peony Pavilion, a famous fiction work from the Ming Dynasty. It is not an expensive item, but I think the artistic quality is priceless.

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


Offline PandaCollector

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Re: Photographing the 2017 Panda
« Reply #17 on: December 26, 2016, 06:16:29 PM »
And here is the opposite face:



If anyone is curious, the medal is made in Shenyang and the artist is Chang Huan.

Best wishes,
Peter Anthony
China Pricepedia
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Offline Bearcat

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Re: Photographing the 2017 Panda
« Reply #18 on: December 26, 2016, 06:38:44 PM »
Can you spot the panda hiding in the bamboo forest?

Offline PandaCollector

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Re: Photographing the 2017 Panda
« Reply #19 on: December 26, 2016, 09:11:17 PM »
Can you spot the panda hiding in the bamboo forest?

So what does a bear do in the forest? Tell us, please, sharp-eyed and enlightened bearcat.  N4

Best wishes,
Peter Anthony
China Pricepedia
www.pandacollec1tor.com

Offline PandaCollector

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Re: Photographing the 2017 Panda
« Reply #20 on: December 26, 2016, 10:36:44 PM »
P.S. Bearcat and I are friends in case it's not clear

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Peter Anthony
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Offline KeepOnTrying!

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Re: Photographing the 2017 Panda
« Reply #21 on: December 30, 2016, 09:00:49 PM »
In some ways the current thread continues with ongoing discussions on coin photography using the conventionally accepted (SLR/DSLR) cameras http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=834.0 and the new/evolving smartphone/handheld cameras http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=11855.0.

Again, the question is not which camera format is superior but what each one can do and how best to utilize their capabilities.

I took some hurried photos of representative 2017 Panda coins and compared preliminary results before and after digital enhancement. I shall upload them singly to maintain as much of the original file size as possible.
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Offline KeepOnTrying!

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Re: Photographing the 2017 Panda
« Reply #22 on: December 30, 2016, 09:10:04 PM »
This photo of the 2017 30g Silver Panda Coin was taken with the iPhone 6s using two Ikea lights that were originally described by fwang2450 in previous posts. Both lamps were covered with two coffee filter papers each followed by a sheet of white paper. No image enhancement was performed here.
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Offline KeepOnTrying!

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Re: Photographing the 2017 Panda
« Reply #23 on: December 30, 2016, 09:13:50 PM »
The original photo shown above was digitally enhanced with onboard MacOs software for a few seconds.
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Offline KeepOnTrying!

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Re: Photographing the 2017 Panda
« Reply #24 on: December 30, 2016, 09:15:58 PM »
This photo of the 2017 30g Gold Panda Coin was taken with the iPhone 6s using the two Ikea lights. Both lamps were covered with two coffee filter papers each followed by a sheet of white paper. No image enhancement was performed here.
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Offline KeepOnTrying!

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Re: Photographing the 2017 Panda
« Reply #25 on: December 30, 2016, 09:18:11 PM »
This is the same coin after preliminary image editing. More advanced editing will include matching the color to that of the actual coin.
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Offline canadian

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Re: Photographing the 2017 Panda
« Reply #26 on: December 31, 2016, 12:35:20 PM »
Pandacollector...the photos of that medal are stunning
KeepOnTrying.....Those are astonishing results from a phone

I was photographing OMP gold when I got this result. I used the macro setting on the camera and lit the coin from the side using a couple of small flashlights. I thought the detail in the fur came up quite nicely.

Offline PandaCollector

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Re: Photographing the 2017 Panda
« Reply #27 on: December 31, 2016, 04:36:07 PM »
This photo of the 2017 30g Gold Panda Coin was taken with the iPhone 6s using the two Ikea lights. Both lamps were covered with two coffee filter papers each followed by a sheet of white paper. No image enhancement was performed here.


I like that you didn't blow out the highlight details in the gold coin photo.
The 2017 silver Panda is a "bear" to light well.

Best wishes,
Peter Anthony
China Pricepedia
www.pandacollec1tor.com

Offline KeepOnTrying!

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Re: Photographing the 2017 Panda
« Reply #28 on: December 31, 2016, 05:47:35 PM »
Pandacollector...the photos of that medal are stunning
KeepOnTrying.....Those are astonishing results from a phone

I was photographing OMP gold when I got this result. I used the macro setting on the camera and lit the coin from the side using a couple of small flashlights. I thought the detail in the fur came up quite nicely.


Yes it's true, the fur stands out in great detail in your photo. You can even see the hair strands. Great job.
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Re: Photographing the 2017 Panda
« Reply #29 on: January 02, 2017, 01:57:09 AM »
The two photos put to use. Part1 and Part 2 of the latest China Pricepedia:



Happy 2017 everybody.

Best wishes,
Peter Anthony
China Pricepedia
www.pandacollec1tor.com