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Black and White Photography, New York: Wednesday, April 07, 2004

On the digital inkjet front -- great progress.  I'm basically done with the workflow.  Believe it or not, I am getting excellent results in grayscale mode, but with the color ink.  No tinting at all.  Crisp clean whites and rich blacks and middle tones.

There is more to it than that in terms of settings, but I'm too tired to go into it now.

8:19:23 PM    

I finally got the $200 order off to England. The first problem was that I couldn't find the negative for Window and Door and spent at least a day looking for it last week.  Then I didn't like the way the darkroom print came out so I decided to try and do the good inkjet... which led me back into all the experimenting... though as I say, the outcome from that sidetrack was good.

And finally, I package it all up, print out a label -- and get to the post office -- and there is a line out the door.  A line that curls and twists.  The post office is filled with subdued grumbling.  There are three postal workers.  Then, the line still isn't moving, and one leaves.

Well, I won't go into describing the wait, but when I got to the window, the woman weighs it -- how she kept her good humor I don't know -- but she says it is 4 pounds 2 ounces.  The 2 ounces mean that it can't go the way I usually send it which would be less than $20, but instead it has to go some other way, I end up sending it Priority for $38 -- but the worst part was that I had to fill out two different forms -- after already filling out the little green custom form I usually fill out -- and that nearly starts a riot since the manager has been walking around saying: You must fill out your forms before you get to the window, for the last half hour.

I take the package to the side and begin filling out the new forms and an old lady taps me on the shoulder and says: Didn't you hear the manager?

The postal lady explains that I had filled out the wrong form, but the little old lady is not satisfied.  He should have, she says crinkling her nose at me, known which forms to fill out.

I'm tempted to step on her toe, but I ignore her and eventually get the thing out and on the way. 

Do I want a return receipt?

No -- no -- just send it.  Let my people go, I say.  And she laughs and starts to tell me that this is a bad week, as it is a holiday week and how she, somehow, after 24 years working for the Post Office got stuck working on tax day...  the worst day of the year.  She says she doesn't know how it happened.  Someone must have tricked her somehow.  I wish her luck and head out...

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12:24:43 PM    

Boy, I'm glad I'm not a general or a politician.  What must it be like to wake up and get the kind of news that is flooding the channels?  I have problems enough just trying to get a good inkjet out to customers --- and that's all the responsibility I have and that keeps me up at night.

Probably lucky that I never had any political power because in the current situation I would, as some like to call it, "cut and run."  I'd probably get our troops out as fast as possible -- which is probably a bad idea, but I can't imagine what it's like to have responsibility for taking lives.  And, on top of all that, I don't even consider myself a pacifist. 

I have had, at various times, to defend myself on the street, and I did.

I did think going into Afghanastan was the right move.

But right now, it feels as if Iraq is spiraling out of control.  Well, fortunately, I'm not running for any office.

10:36:46 AM    

A couple of notes, mostly for my own future reference:

Spent most of the last two days fine-tuning my inkjet print workflow.

Currently I'm happy with it for most of the prints I've tried, in fact, before I went to sleep I looked at several prints again and did a little victory dance.   Here's how it stands:

Photoshop Settings

The preparation of the file is a subject for another day, but suffice to say it is at 300 dpi.

1. Color Preferences
Working Space: Color RGB (1998)
Conversion Options: Engine: Adobe
Intent: Perceptual (though I'm still not sure what the difference between Perceptual and some of the other options are)
Use Black Point
Dot Gain is 15% (this is important for the Duotone rendering)

2. Print Space (in Preview Screen): Profile: Color RGB (same as working space)

3. Printer Setup Screen
Custom - Advanced:
Paper: Colorlife
DPI: 1440
Media Type: Colorlife Paper
Color Management: Color Controls : Mode: Automatic
(There are two other options that in the Mode Box that I haven't fooled with yet)
sRGB has been tried and limits the output. 
No color Adjustment works, but only if you are using a printer driver in section 2, i.e. in Print Space.  But not as well as what I have going now.

Edge Smoothing: Off

4: Duotone Settings:

This is where the most tweaking happened.

Type: Quadtone

Ink 1: PANTONE Process Black CVP

Curve: 50 = 15, 80 = 40

Ink 2: PANTONE Cool Gray 9 C
Curve: 50 = 40, 100=90

Ink 3: PANTONE Cool Gray 3 C
Curve: 40 = 30, 100 = 90

Ink 4: PANTONE Cool Gray 1 CVC
Curve: Straight

Actual Materials:

Epson 1280 with standard Epson Inks
Colorlife Paper

With these settings, there is no color cast in the blacks.  The whites have a slightly cool look.  And the midtones are good.  If you were thinking in Zone System terms, where Zero is black and 10 is White, there is still a very slight magenta cast, but only in one zone, which I'd say was about zone 7.  But you have to look hard to find it.

One other note: After two solid days of printing, no smudging or extra ink.  And of course the paper really does need a good chance to air dry overnight.

It takes about 7 minutes to print a 5 x 7, and 15 minutes to print an 8 x 12, more or less.

I've probably left some setting out, but this is most of it.

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4:44:08 AM    

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