Print Calibrations

SONY DSC

So at some time or another one will want to print their photographs and for many a simple print from most anywhere will do. Heck even my wife has had a few of my photographs made into a print from a family event and sent them out to others for their scrap books. Printed from Walmart they came out fine and if I had to be perfectly honest better than expected but if I want the best print I can get I go with another more professional printing service. I don’t care who you choose to make your prints there will be an issue of what you see on your screen and what you see from the physical item.

Now printing is important because you want others to see what you see and while technology helps us share more of our work more easily a print lets others see it the way it was meant to be seen. I say this because everything that displays a digital image will always show whats on its screen in a different light, literally. No two computer monitors, phones, tables, television sets and more are ever set the same. People will either use it however it came from the factory or make adjustments to how they feel it should be especially with TV sets having modes for movies, video games and more built into them. With a print on the other hand you can show off your image the way you feel it is at its best and as an artist that is part of what we strive to do. While things can be left to interpretations we want our viewers to see the colors, highlights and shadows the way we see them. It’s not always possible what with some people being colorblind of which I am not making a joke, I know a few colorblind people and others whose vision over all is not the best. Still, we want to show our work the way we see it as best as possible. We can’t control how others see it on their digital end, at least not within the realms of full control but we can regulate how they see it face to face and this is how I accomplish that task.

The first thing I do is set aside a small collection of photos. In my case I have ten of these and they range from colorful and vibrant to a bit bland. From simple black and whites with good toning to high contrast with pure whites and the blackest blacks. Of these ten images two are set aside for charts with one being a gradient chart in black and white and the other in color. All of these combine so that I can make adjustments to my display so that I know when I send out images to be printed they will look the same when physically in my hands as they do on my monitor. It’s really that simple for me. I use good lighting to make sure they are shown as they should be and spend the time to get everything looking the same. Every so often I check back with them making sure everything is still good and periodically I get them reprinted to make sure that my print company of choice hasn’t changed anything on their end that might skew the end results from a printing run.

So that’s it! Its low tech but for me it works and helps keep my monitor in check as well as my printing service. Sure, one doesn’t have to go this far as many places make fine prints without getting complicated but I think if you want to keep the integrity of what you are trying to express then it’s worth doing a little work to make sure that artistic vision is given the best opportunity to shine.

Also, if you want to know who I use for my prints, it’s Meridian Professional Imaging. No promo here as I’m not getting paid or any kickbacks, I just simply enjoy the service and product I get. Go with whoever you like, it doesn’t matter to me personally. Just make sure you get your monitor and prints to match so you can better show yourself off.

And as for printing at home, that’s nice and all but unless you have some serious money for some serious equipment it will never match what a professional printer can do for you.

My Camera Settings

SONY DSC

We all ask it at some point in time of others, what are your camera settings? We love to ask this question especially when we see another shooting on the same camera. With that said I thought I’d talk a bit about my setup.

Now most of my cameras are film cameras with not much in the area adjustment. Some just shoot and others I can change the shutter speed but that’s it. The only two cameras I can make any real adjustments to are my Sony SLT A33 and my Minolta Maxxum 600si. The only thing these two cameras have in common is that I shoot in aperture priority mode. The 600si is a film camera and that is the only thing I do to it is set the mode but nothing more. The Sony digital camera though has a little more to it.

With my digital camera I have a way in which I like it setup mostly because of how I like seeing things. Again, I shoot in aperture priority mode but will also switch over to “Continuous Advance Priority” at times when I need to take a burst of photos for something fast going on. I don’t do this often because I don’t shoot many fast things but sometimes with children or animals its best to be able to capture what you can. Also, I shoot manual too when I need even more control.

The rest of the settings are nothing special as I shoot RAW and with the creative style of black and white. Personally I don’t use RAW files in the way that most others do. I try and keep my work not touched too much by post processing but what I do enjoy about RAW is that I can get a color along with a black and white photo. See I prefer black and white so I enjoy shooting in that creative style as set by the camera so if I need to look over what I have shot I can get an idea of how it’s looking but with RAW I can import the images into my computer and see a color version of my shot and sometimes the end result is that I like the color more than the black and white. That is how I utilize my RAW files.

I don’t change the metering or anything else.

My autofocus point for when I do use it is at the center so all I do is let it focus on what I want and then with it locked I frame my shot. I’ve gotten pretty fast at this and with the right lens, such as the Minolta 50mm f1.7, the equipment moves right along with me in speed. When it comes to focusing, auto or manual I’m about 50/50 so I go back and forth often.

That’s about it really. I don’t get too fancy or technical.

It’s Been A While

I haven’t written in a long time nor have I taken many photos or posted any. It’s not for lack of caring it’s just I haven’t had as much time with other projects and hobbies I enjoy doing. I also haven’t had much in the way of anything I care to shoot. Maybe then it’s a lack of motivation. I don’t know but when something does come along I do love shooting it. For example, a few weeks ago I went to a child’s birthday party at a local park and got some photos I really love. Kids have this way of making you work for a good shot. Not just an average shot but something that kind of sticks out and when you get it, it’s magic. At least to me that is. Take this photo for instance, the child was as happy as she could be smiling and doing her thing while playing a in a puddle. I pulled out my camera planning to get a photograph of a child playing in a small puddle when suddenly I got this look from her. Almost on instinct I zoomed in and grabbed this shot. Right after the shutter clicked she went back to smiling and playing in the puddle. Sure, I got photos of the puddle play but this one photo just happened unexpectedly and even if it’s nothing to no one else it sure is something to me because of the story I have to go with it.

 

Image

Do What You Can Do

I have always been one in life to live with making do with what I have and recently I have been having to make do with what I can do, mobility wise. Today marks a week since I felt a little stiff in my right hip, as if it needed to be stretched out but no matter what, I couldn’t stretch it out. By Saturday morning I was hardly able to walk or bend over or anything. It appears somehow I have done some soft tissue damage and will take some time to heal. Sleeping flat make it’s nearly impossible and full of pain getting up in the morning so sitting up in a comfortable chair helps a lot. Thus for a week now I have been sleeping while sitting on the couch and doing what I can, when I can, how I can.

Because of the situation in order to take picture I have to do things within my limits and let’s face it, there’s not much sitting in ones living room for one to shoot. I struck it lucky though as it’s the holiday season and the Christmas tree is up and glowing. So I pulled out my cameras and took some shots. Thanks to a zoom lens I was able to zoom in and make some snaps. I shot digital and I shot film as well as instant peel apart film. I’ve had some nice success with three photos making it to my Flickr stream which is odd for me as I hate flooding my Flickr.

The point is despite my situation I was able to find something to shoot and get some gems out of it. It made me think more of people with less mobility and the challenges they face being able to photograph things let alone finding things to photograph. I think maybe they look at things differently. I honestly don’t know, I just know my recent bout with limited mobility has helped me to look at things a bit differently in order to indulge in my love of photography.

Going With The Pace of Things

I am still shooting the two rolls of film through the old toy cameras I have been writing about. Nearly done both rolls but still taking my time with them. I don’t know why specifically but I just don’t feel like rushing them. I want to see what can come out of them and would rather use them for something I guess interesting rather than every day moments in life of whatever. Maybe I am missing something or maybe I am picky.

Never the less I have been shooting a few other things. Nothing big, nothing major and nothing worth gloating over. Just shooting to shoot and to enjoy myself and not to impress anyone. Nothing I feel to post as I really am not into posting everything let alone share everything of what I shoot. While I don’t mind those that shoot and share all they wish to share sometimes when you go through their galleries either on a hosted site like Flickr or they have their own domain, when they post “everything” it just gets to be too much. At least for me but it’s only my opinion and thus makes me neither right nor wrong, it’s all personal preference.

And of what I have shot my personal preference to display is this shot.