Some of the finest quality print jobs in the world are currency bills. Canada recently created a new line of some of their bills, and I must say that I’m impressed with what their designers have created. Like many things, the beauty is all in the details.
I shot several photos of very small portions of $50 and $100 bills, looking for abstract compositions. The photos were all done with one fixed magnification, a window into the close-up world that is about 6mm x 9mm in size.
These photographs represent only a very small percentage of the area of the bills. The small black rectangles on the black-and-white $50 bill above show you the area of each photo.
If you mouse over the photo of the hologram below, or swipe on an iPad or smartphone, you’ll see a burst of changing colours. (It may take a moment to load the first time– and please let me know if this does not work correctly on your device. Does not work in Internet Explorer, but can be viewed in a modern browser: Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Opera.)
Mouseover or swipe this photo, left to right, and closely watch the details in the colour shifts:
This project was done in the spirit of exploration, of finding abstract fragments within a greater whole, and of looking very closely at details. This is why I became hooked on macro photography in the first place.
The photos were all taken with a 65mm Macro-Nikkor lens on a Nikon Multiphot with a Nikon D700. Aperture was wide open, set at “1″ or F4.5; therefore effective aperture was approx F22 at 4x. When viewed at 1:1 pixels, the photos are very sharp and free of aberrations, which is something you can expect from any of the Macro-Nikkor lenses. To show you the quality of these lenses, the last photo in the series right below is an actual pixels crop, near the top edge.
There is only one interactive display of the hologram, but more of the close-up photos can be seen below, and in this new gallery:
Macro-Nikkor 65mm lens mounted on Multiphot, with subject held flat.
Actual pixels crop from one of the hologram photos. Macro-Nikkor 65mm on Multiphot, Nikon D700, very slight sharpening to counter the camera’s anti-aliasing filter.
In our grey west coast winter, while plants and insects are mostly in their dormancy, I was looking for subject matter with interesting detail in it, even if examined very closely. Normally I look to the natural world when I want details… flowers or other plants, or small creatures. There is nothing that matches the complexity and beauty of biology and life.
Complex subjects show the potential of high quality macro objectives, and of high resolution photographic techniques. The closer you look, the more surprises you see. To me, this is the great joy of macro photography. There is a universe all around you… at arm’s length.
The photos in this blog and in the gallery came from just another experiment into looking closely. This post is partly to show what a high-quality macro lens reveals, and in the discovery… it became a brief exploration into the art of money.