Wednesday, January 28, 2009

New Milk Carton Photo Light Tent

Please take a look at the photo above and see what you think. I used a 1-quart milk carton for a “light tent.” I trimmed the top of the carton away and I cut an opening in the bottom to allow the milk carton to slip over the coin. I used two Soft Light GE off the shelf “normal” light bulbs for my light sources. I placed one light on each side.

I used something different but one can use the aluminum shop lights from Wal-Mart to hold and reflect the light. I think the lights are $6.95 each. I like the shop lights with clamps and that enables me to place the light wherever I like. I placed the lights within a foot of the milk carton. One can move the light around and play with the direction of the light.

I plan to spend more time now learning the proper way to light the coin. I have a custom white balance on my camera and that enables me to adjust my camera to the light I am using. If you are using a point and shoot camera you should find that you have several options for setting your white balance. If you do not have a custom white balance setting then try the incandescent setting you will find on your point and shoot.

If the incandescent bulbs do not work for you then switch to 25-watt fluorescents. You should have one white balance setting on your camera that will meet your needs. If you go through my blog you will find many coin photo efforts. I am continuing to work with my setup and I have plans to try axial lighting as an option. In fact, I was working with axial lighting just yesterday.

About the coin. I have many “pretty” coins but I selected a coin with lots of character. I think these coins are more fun to shoot. You may of may not agree. I shot this photo with a Canon XTI and I used a Sigma 105mm Macro lens. I shot in aperture priority and I used the copy stand friends of mine and I made. I used Irfanview to stitch the photo together. I shot the coin on a gray background and I did a post-processing black fill using PhotoShop.

I am open to good constructive criticism and I should mention that my good friends at CoinPhotography are helping me to understand much I did not know. Thank you for reading and I hope this causes you to get the camera out and start snapping your coins. . God Bless.. Jerry..

Monday, January 19, 2009

Coin Stilts And Coin Photography

I have made several stilts for my coin photography and I am sharing the details with all my Coin Photography friends. First of all, please allow me to explain why I use the stilts. The stilt (dowel) elevates the coin and causes the negative space (background) to fall out of focus. The stilt also helps to cast any shadows well to the side of the photograph and out of the coin’s picture plane.

As you observe the photo above you will see four of the stilts I have made from scraps of wood. I almost always have scraps of wood handy and never throw any cutoffs away. Please note the dowels are of various heights and diameters. The smallest diameter dowel I have used is 3/16”. The largest is 3/8”. I find the 3/8” dowel meets my needs about 99% of the time.

The 3/16” is for the extremely small diameter coins. You will also notice that I have varying heights of stilts. I use different heights to meet special lighting needs. My lighting setup dicates the postioning of the coin and the height stilt Iuse. I also have a tendency to go into overkill when creating items. I could get by easily with two stilts.

My favorite stilt is 3/8” diameter and 3” in height. The base measures ¾” in thickness.
I have spray painted the stilts a flat primer gray. I think gray is the ideal color for the negative area for those who will be filling the background with another color. I am a sucker for seeing how inexpensively I can build anything. I used Wal-Mart brand .99-cent spray paint and I think the paint is really great to be so cheap.

Some of our Coin Photography members like to tilt their coins to get a good cast shadow. That means cutting the dowel on a slight diagonal on the top to accomplish this. Doug Smith and I have discussed this to some degree and I am going to let Doug and my readers in on my secret.
I use “Elmer’s Tack” which is removable adhesive putty. My wife keeps the tack around to help hold pictures in place. Just a small amount will aid in keeping pictures from shifting on the wall. It is just tacky enough to hold poster board, calendars, and messages in place. In fact, one could place a 1/8” thick layer on top of the dowel and simply shift the coin as needed.

I place a small amount on top of my dowel when I need to elevate the coin to one side or the other. I use about a 1/16” small “ball” of the substance on top of the dowel and that way I can tilt the coin to the position I want. I can’t conceive of anything working better. I used to keep varying thicknesses of wood handy but the “Tack” is so easily pushed to the right position. The tack can also be used repeatedly and I guess it can be used for years, as it does not dry out. Thank you for reading and please share any photo tips with me and our readers.. God Bless.. Jerry..

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Photos Of Coins I Have Zapped

I am sharing photographs of coins I have zapped in the past. I have worked at perfecting my Zapping for the past several years and I am providing photos in order to demonstrate the level of skill I have achieved. All the coins you see attched to this article were Zapped by me at one time or another. I hope you enjoy the photos and we would be very happy to have you join our group. The URL is as follows: We have several other groups that may interest you. If you are working at perfecting your coin photography, I encourage you to join us at the CoinPhotography. The URL is as follows: Thank you for viewing and I look forward to meeting you. When joining just say that Jerry invited you.. God Bless.. Jerry..

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Free Shekel? Not Quite

A member of Ancient Peddler and a dear friend e-mailed me about a ½ Shekel of Tyre he had located on my behalf. My friend provided me with a phone number and the gentleman’s name who owned the coin. I called and entered into a conversation with “Mac” and I felt as if I had known the gentleman for 20 years.

On the basis of our conversation and the price, I was considering buying the coin sight unseen. However, at a particular point, Mac asked if he could send me the coin to look at and make a decision. I was truly taken aback. I thought those days were gone! I should add that Mac did not appear to need my business either. He was busy with coins and calls during our conversation.Mac told me the coin would most likely be in the mail tomorrow.

I should state that I have many dealer friends on Ancient Peddler who will do the same but we have known one another for years. This is a refreshingly nice thing to happen and causes me to realize what a wonderful Coin Family we do have. I thank my dear AP Brother for locating the coin but I thank him even more for introducing me to Mac. God Bless.. Jerry..