Saturday, September 29, 2012

BASIC Digital Photography Glossary: G to P

Basic Digital Photography Glossary: G to P

Photography Word Cloud Concept 
For me to have a better understanding of this hobby before I try it out (and buy expensive equipment!) I went on with my usual research to learn more about it. The best way to start is to have a ready reference for the usual terms I have already encountered and surely will encounter more.

This glossary is lifted mostly from , and other sources which I found very useful. The list is mostly from the as I believe this glossary is a more concise and compact reference for beginners likes me. I added some definitions from other sources also to some terms to try to simplify it further.


GIF: Short for graphics interchange format. A file format often used for Web graphics; not suitable for photos because it can’t handle more than 256 colors.


histogram: A graph that maps out brightness values in a digital image; usually found inside exposure-correction filter dialog boxes.
hook-and-loop tape: A kind of tape whose two sides adhere to each other, with one having rough hooks and the other soft, fuzzy material.

hot shoe: The device on a camera that holds an external flash and provides an electronic connection to the camera.

hot spot: A bright area in a photograph that come from reflections on eyeglasses or unevenly spread lighting.

HTML: Hypertext Markup Language. A computer language used to structure text and multimedia documents, and to set hyperlinks between documents; used for display on the Internet.


image sensor: A digital camera’s solid-state capture device, made up of a grid-like arrangement of red-, green-, and blue-sensitive elements.
Image Stabilization : Setting that helps correct for any up-and-down movement you make while pressing the shutter button.

Infrared: Using film, a filter, or a censor that is sensitive to infrared light and also blocks visible light. The effect produces a dreamlike effect, with dark skies and brightly colored foliage.

Infrared Data Association port (IrDA port): A computer connection point that lets you transfer computer data from one device to another by using pulses of infrared light, rather than a physical wire.
ink jet printer: A printer that works by forcing little drops of ink through nozzles onto the paper.

ISO: Traditionally, a measure of film speed; the higher the number, the faster the film. On a digital camera, raising the ISO allows faster shutter speed, smaller aperture, or both, but also can result in a grainy image.
Exposure Triangle
ISO refers to the “film” speed. With a film camera you can buy different speeds of film for different situations. A dSLR can change film speeds without the need to change your film. ISO refers to the sensitivity that the camera will have to light. The lower the number is, the less sensitive it will be. Often times, higher ISO speeds will generate noise which can ruin an otherwise fine photo.


JPEG: Pronounced jay-peg. The primary file format used by digital cameras; also the leading format for online and Web pictures. Uses lossy compression, which sometimes damages image quality.

JPEG+Raw: A camera setting that creates both a Camera Raw file and a JPEG file of a picture.


landscape mode: The orientation of an image in which the longest dimension is horizontal; also called wide orientation.

layer: A way of managing elements of an image in stackable overlays that can be manipulated separately, moved to a different stacking order, or made partially or fully transparent.

LCD hood: A four-sided awning that covers a digital camera’s LCD screen from bright sunlight, making the LCD easier to view.

LCD screen: Stands for liquid crystal display. The display screen included on most digital cameras.

LED: Light Emitting Diode. A lighting technology used in many electronic devices.

lens: One or more elements of optical glass or similar material designed to collect and focus rays of light to form a sharp image on the film, paper, sensor, or screen.; the piece of glass attached to your camera. There are different types of lenses.

     Prime: A fixed focal length with no zoom. They can be 50mm, 28mm 85mm etc. They typically tend to 
                have better results depending on manufacturer and have a fixed aperture as well.
Zeiss DSLR Prime Lenses
     Zoom: a lens that zooms in and out. Lesser quality zooms will generally change aperture when zooming in 
               and out depending on the range. Higher quality ones keep the same aperture throughout the zoom 
               ranges. Once again, this depends on many different factors such as zoom range.
Positioned above from left to right in their fully retracted positions are the following lenses:
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS Lens
Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM Lens
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS USM Lens
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0 L USM Lens 
Lenses with a larger aperture (f1.4) are known as fast lenses. Lenses with a smaller aperture (over f4) are known as slow lenses.

lens hood: A device that shades the lens, protecting it from extraneous light outside the actual picture area that can reduce the contrast of the image.

light dome: A plastic dome that diffuses light and eliminates reflections in photographs. You place the objects you want to shoot under this dome.

light tent: A white cloth teepee-shaped tent that diffuses light and eliminates reflections in photographs. You place the objects you want to shoot inside this tent.

lossless compression: A file-compression scheme that doesn’t sacrifice any vital image data in the compression process. Lossless compression tosses only redundant data, so image quality is unaffected.

lossy compression: A compression scheme that eliminates important image data in the name of achieving smaller file sizes. High amounts of lossy compression reduce image quality.


macro lens: A lens that provides continuous focusing from infinity to extreme close-ups, often to a reproduction ratio of 1:2 (half life-size) or 1:1 (life-size).
A true macro lens—Nikon's designation is Micro-NIKKOR—allows you to you take photographs that are 1:2 or 1:1 reproduction, which is ½ life size to life size respectively without the need for any additional accessories. 

Manual- A shooting mode on your camera that enables you to control every aspect of shooting. You can manipulate the shutter speeds, ISO settings, aperture settings and loads more.  On your camera this is the “M” mode.

marquee: The dotted outline that results when you select a portion of your image; sometimes referred to as marching ants.

masking: In an image editor, selecting an area of an image to prevent that area from being modified accidentally.

matrix metering: Also called multizone metering. A metering mode that calculates exposure based on the entire frame.

megapixel: One million pixels.

memory card: A camera’s removable storage media.

metadata: Extra data that gets stored along with the primary image data in an image file. Metadata often includes information such as aperture, shutter speed, and EV setting used to capture the picture, and can be viewed using special software. Often referred to as EXIF metadata.

metering mode: Refers to the way a camera’s autoexposure mechanism reads the light in a scene.

Microsoft PowerPoint: A multimedia presentation program.

midtones: Parts of an image with tones of an intermediate value, usually in the 25 to 75 percent range.

modeling lights: Incandescent lamps built into a studio flash that give you a preview of exactly how the light from the flash will look.

modular belt system: A belt that can hold a variety of photography equipment.

monopod: A one-legged support, or unipod, used to steady the camera.

multiple auto-focus: A setting that allows the camera to find more than one area of contrast to focus on.

multiple-exposure: A technique in which a small aperture gives you a long exposure, allowing your subjects to move within the frame during shooting, which creates a photo that looks like it has been exposed more than once.


noise: Graininess in an image, caused by too little light, a too high ISO setting, or a defect in the electrical signal generated during the image-capture process.


opacity: The degree to which a layer allows layers beneath it to show through.

optical viewfinder: A glass-covered opening in your camera that you can look through to frame and compose your image.

optical zoom: A traditional zoom lens; has the effect of bringing the subject closer and shortening depth of field.

overexposed: When too much light hits the camera’s film or image-sensor array, resulting in a washed-out image


panorama: A broad view, usually scenic. Some digital cameras also have a panorama mode used with software to stitch the images together.
The Reading Room of the British Museum, panorama of 2x5 segments. Taken with a Canon 5D and 24-105mm f/4L IS lens

parallax error: The difference in views between the lens taking the photo and the external optical viewfinder.

PC Card: A type of removable memory card used in some digital cameras. Also called PCMCIA Card (PCMCIA stands for Personal Computer Memory Card International Association).

phone cam: A digital camera built into a cell phone.

photo printer: A full-color printer that can produce photo prints.

photon: A particle of light.

PictBridge: A universal standard that allows digital cameras and photo printers to connect directly by USB cable, without the computer serving as a middleman. Any PictBridge camera can connect to any PictBridge printer, regardless of whether both are made by the same manufacturer.

PIM: Print Image Matching. A proprietary Epson camera technology that saves image information to assist in printing a digital image more accurately.

pinhole camera: A camera whose lens is covered except for a pin-sized hole. You have a very small aperture, so you have to shoot long exposures.

pixel: Short for picture element. The basic building block of every image.

plug-in: A small program or utility that runs within another, larger program. Many special-effects filters operate as plug-ins to major photo-editing programs such as Adobe Photoshop Elements.

PNG: A file format designed to work well with online viewing applications.

point-and-shoot: A type of digital camera that has automatic settings for most features (such as focus and exposure).

polarizer: Camera filter that reduces the glare bouncing off shiny surfaces in your photos. Can also help deepen the contrast of the sky from certain angles.
HOYA CIRCULAR PL filters allow you to remove unwanted
reflections from non-metallic surfaces such as water, glass etc. 

portrait mode: The orientation of an image in which the longest dimension is vertical, also called tall orientation.

ppi: Stands for pixels per inch. Used to state image print resolution. Measured in terms of the number of pixels per linear inch. A higher ppi usually translates to better-looking printed images.

print resolution: The number of pixels per linear inch (ppi) in a printed photo; the user sets this value inside a photo-editing program.

proprietary format: Also called native format. The format used by only that particular type of camera.

prosumer: A digital camera model that includes many features on professional cameras but also offers automatic settings.

PSD: Short for personal storage device. A standalone battery-operated burner or hard drive.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Coin Collecting/selling: What are Counterstamps and Chopmarks? Part II.


Oriental chopmarks are counterstamps of Chinese businessmen, Chinese banks or Bullion Houses.  Once a coin was chopped, the coin became a Chinese coin accepted as "coin of the realm".  Merchants and bankers chopped each coin they handled which became a type of endorsement guaranteeing its genuineness-not unlike an endorsement on the back of a check that we accept today.  If the check is returned for whatever reason the individuals who endorsed the check can be held responsible for payment.

Most collectors have a coin or two with chopmarks and many refuse to buy coins that have been "mutilated" by chops.  Years ago, some collectors paid a premium for chopmarked coins, considering them to be especially historical and valuable.  Today, the general population of collectors does not understand chopmarks or their historical significance.

Chopmarked specimens exist of all business strike dates and mintmarks 1873-1878.  

Mex Dollars:

The majority of coins used in the China trade came from Latin America.  By decree, China would only accept silver coinage in payment for Chinese exports and Mexico was by far the biggest exporter of coins for the China trade.  These were known as "Mex Dollars" (Mexican Pillar andBust 8 Reales) and later as "Eagle Dollars” (the Cap & Rays). The coins were boxed at the various mints in cases of $1,000 Reales each weighing about 60 pounds for shipment to China.  It was not uncommon for a ship to carry $1,000,000 in Eagle Dollars for trade in China.  This explains the large number of 8 Reales seen today with chops and the scarcity of some issues because the entire output for a particular year went to the Orient!

The Mex Dollars were approved for use by the Chinese in 1857 and shipments began in 1858.  Chop marked Cap & Ray 8 Reales dated before 1858 are scarce to rare.  A nice Date collection of Cap & Ray 8 Reales from 1859 through 1897 is is relatively easy to put together.   There was a period between 1869 and 1873 when Mexico minted a new coin known as the Balance Scale Peso or "Balanza."  Even though some Chinese accepted this new design it was not liked and in 1872 the Chinese convinced Mexico to once again mint the Cap & Ray Mex Dollar.  Chop marked Balanzas are considered Very Scarce to Rare and command premiums.
 Large Chops
Common, usually consisting of Chinese
 pseudo characters or 
abstract symbols.
Small Chops
Common, can consist of abstract symbols such as
circles, stars, and crescents etc.or Chinese  characters.
 Most commonly found on Mexican Cap and Rays 8 Reales.

Test Marks
 The most common usually made with a punch.  Its  purpose was
to test the coin to see if it was silver- plated base metal or hollowed out.
 Edge Cuts
 Common, aimed at determining if the coin was a  plated fake.
Chops in Relief
 Small relief chops are scarce
while large relief  chops are rare.

 Assay Chops
A rare special relief chop made by a banker,
usually retangular containing two or more characters

 Letter Chops
Scarce, consisting of the Latin alphabet.
  The most common letter used was the letter 'S'.

Number Chops
Moderately scarce, consisting of large chops,
 number 8 being the most common followed by5.

Banker's Ink Chops
These come in red, blue, purple and black ink,
 and  can be difficult to find high grade.

Paper Chops
 The usual paper chop is called the "happy  wedding".

Chopmarks with NO SAMPLE PICTURES:

Manchu Chops- Extremely rare, consisting of Manchu script.

Presentation Chops-  Elaborately drawn in India ink comprised of letters surrounded by fancy borders, dragons and flowers  often covering the entire coin.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Previous Related Posts:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Coin Collecting/selling: What are COIN Counterstamps and Chopmarks? Part 1



A coin Counterstamp is an impression struck on a coin post mint signifying a special event which can positively affect the value. Counterstamps were frequently used as advertising gimmicks on Large Cents and other coins while some have significant historical significance. For years they were only treated as curiosities in a coin collectors’/dealers’ collected work. They now enjoy a strong following and demand among collectors not only as relics of a bygone era but also due to the mystique it brings with the possible secrets hidden within the mysterious words and phrases stamped into their surfaces.

Local government officials in Colonial times would stamp their approval onto coins they considered "good copper" or "good silver" or "good gold". Silversmiths and Goldsmiths also showed their approval with their HALLMARK which can be their initials, last name, first initial and last name, or first name and last name. Colonial Gold coins countermarked with the hallmark of a goldsmith are referred to as "regulated gold coins."  An example is the EB punched Brasher Doubloon
1787 Brasher Doubloon with an “EB” hallmark stamped on the eagle’s breast,
representing Ephraim Brasher, the coin’s designer
With the Colonial Triangle Trade of African Slaves , the Caribbean SugarPlantations / 13 Colonies Rum Distilleries & Mercantile Trading, there was a SEVERE shortage of circulating coinage in the West Indies.  So the ingenious West Indians countermarked Spanish, French, English, Portuguese, US, and other coins with counterstamps of their island nations. Examples include:  Barbados, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Trinidad, Tobago, Cuba, Bermuda, Virgin Islands, Dominica, Haiti, Grenada, Martinique, and more. Spanish 8 Reales Silver crown sized coins were even holed, with both the center and also the outer ring traded as approved coins!
1813 'Holey Dollar' and 'Dump' - approx. 37mm. & 17mm. -
 made from a single Spanish Silver 8 Reales
In the 19th century it was commonly utilized as an advertising tool by merchants promoting their services (dental practice, barber shop, saloon owner, etc.) and peddled products (medicines, potions, cure-alls,etc.) by stamping coins with these ads which then goes back into circulation. 
counterstamped coin advertisements
Advertisements for patent medicines were the most popular (OIL OF ICE, GOODWIN’S GRAND GREASE JUICE FOR THE HAIR, DR. KIDDER’S FAMILY PILLS, etc.). Political slogans were also popularly stamped on coins for the same purpose of self promotion. In the US, an example of such is the “VOTETHE LAND FREE” stamp (the Free Soil Party slogan) which appeared on many copper cents in the 1848 presidential bid of Martin Van Buren. Many coins also carry the hallmarks of silversmiths, blacksmiths, and jewelers of the day.
 “VOTE THE LAND FREE” stamp (the Free Soil Party slogan)
which appeared on many copper cents
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Volkswagen (VW) Beetle Basics: The Speedometer and Warning lights for Idiots…

The title actually is only for idiots like me uninitiated with the very basic workings of a Volkswagen (VW) Beetle specifically the parts of the VW instrument cluster and what the warning (commonly termed as “idiot“) lights mean.  

'79 VW Bug Instrument Panel
Volkswagen Beetle 1971-1979

Vintage Original VW Volkswagen Beetle Type 1 Speedometer-1965 w/o Fuel Gauge

The "instrument cluster" is the big circular dial in the dashboard in front of the steering wheel which consists of the following:
·         Speedometer is the big dial itself that tells you how fast you’re going.

·      Odometer is a series of wheels with numbers on them that rotate as the car travels indicative of the cumulative distance the car has travelled.
o        earlier models- the right-most number is miles (or kilometers), and so-forth to the left.
o        later models- the extreme right number is 10th  of a mile (or kilometer); next to the left is miles, tens of miles, hundreds of miles, and so on.

·        Fuel gauge needle moves across a series of marks and indicative of the amount of fuel remaining in the tank. Not all VWs have this.

·          Lights- a sample ‘65 Beetle speedometer have 5 lights in it:
o        Top
§         high beam warning light (blue)
§         Speedometer light (clear) - provide instrument cluster face illumination at night. Note: On later-model cars there is a rheostat switch (right of the headlight switch) that controls the brightness of the light.
o        Bottom middle
§   turn signal indicator (green)- a two-headed arrow which blinks timed with the directional signals outside the car.
o        Bottom left and right

§     2 Warning (idiot) lights are found on either side of the turn signal indicator. 
     With the ignition turned ON, both lights should turn ON. Both should go OUT when the engine is running. No "Gen/Alt" light when you turn the ignition ON means that circuit is incomplete and you'll get no battery charging. This may be okay to get you home, but you can't leave it like that for very long at all. 

§"Alt" (or "Gen") light- left light (red) indicates the function of the generator or alternator. If this light goes on and stays on, stop the car immediately as there is something wrong in the electrical system. Following are the most common reasons for this :

·    A broken fan belt -is the first thing to check. If broken or loose, the alternator is not working and you're running entirely on the battery which won't last long. More importantly, if the generator/alternator belt is broken the fan inside the fan housing (on the other end of the generator/alternator shaft) is not turning with no cooling air provided to the engine, this can cook your engine in a few miles. In either case, drive the car NO FURTHER until the generator/alternator belt can be replaced. Replace and retension the fan belt.

·        The generator/alternator itself is defective. You may be able to still drive the car safely with this for a short while on the battery but this will rapidly drain – (6-8 hours with the headlights off and at most 2-3 hours with the lights on. Note: With a bench charger, you can charge the battery up overnight and then drive the car the next day (you won't harm the alternator even if it's not working). Get the alternator fixed/replaced as soon as possible, as you won’t be able to drive far on the battery alone!

§    "Oil" light- right light (green in earlier models, red in later). If it goes on or flickers at speed, STOP! This may indicate:

·         Low oil condition (more likely) - Stop and check as it may just need a quart of oil. Note: "Oil" light may also go ON temporarily with hard cornering, as oil sloshes in the sump to the right or left. This also indicates a low oil condition, but NOT as critical to stop immediately and top it off but can be done the following day.
·         You  may be in for an engine overhaul- extreme.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,