In recent weeks hardly a day has gone by when there hasn't been some mention in the news of the current economic crisis, and specifically the current problems in Greece which threatens to destabilise the Euro in other countries including France and Germany. Given I came back from my trip with a pocket full of Euro change I thought I'd try and take a photo to show the current state of the currency.
I placed a single Euro in the sink and set the tap running. There was light through the window but I turned the room light on as well as I didn't want to use the flash to illuminate the scene as it would have bounced off the water (an effect I didn't want). I wanted to get close to the coin so that I could get as much detail as possible which meant using the macro function on the camera. Unfortunately the water kept splashing the lens which didn't make life easy. The other problem was that the auto-focus in macro mode seemed to have real problems focusing through the running water and onto the coin. I took about thirty photographs and only got one useable one, the rest were badly out of focus! The photo I took was alright but as you can see it wasn't really inspiring so I set to work in PaintShop Pro to see what I could do with it.
The first thing I did was to use the clarify option to draw out some of the detail in the photo. Usually you only need small adjustments with this tool, but I found that pushing the value of high as it would go (all the way to 20) actually gave the photo an interesting look that I quite liked. I then used the smart photo fix dialog to tweak the brightness and saturation. The aim was to make the wholes in the plug hole almost black but to make the reflections from the plug hole stand out more (for the curious I used values of 3, -50, 30, 10 and 0 for brightness, shadows, highlights, saturation and sharpness respectively). Whilst this improved the image quite dramatically it gave it an orange hue that I wasn't sure about. The fix for this was to use the colour balance tool to reduce the temperature of the image (i.e. move the colours from orange to blue). I used the smart white balance and then tweaked the temperature until I was happy with the results (the final value was 8410). I then applied the one step noise removal tool to soften the water at the bottom left which had picked up some noise during the other processing steps.
Now the photo certainly wasn't what I thought I'd be posting this week, but nevertheless I really quite like it and I hope that you do too.