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Thursday, January 27, 2005

Hey - thank you all.  The Maxtor 300 GB with USB 2.0 was setup quickly and I now have another 300 GB of storage for $270.  The thing that surprised me is that it seems as fast, or faster than the drive that I have inside the PC.  Whereas the other external drive I have... well who remembers anymore what speed that was or if it had any buffering etc.  I don't.  

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I have been doing my printing on the Ilford Pearl Semi-Gloss and liking it more and more.  Today I did Night Storm for the first time on that paper.  It may be better (in some ways) than the one on fiber.  Yes, it has a different feel, but still, very rich, contrasty... It has to be sprayed with at least two coats to bring down bronzing... Still, pretty amazing...

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And a bunch of orders came in all of a sudden within the last few days, could be for Valentine's Day.

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The interview with the new black and white fine art magazine is setup for next weekend.  I'm still working on a persona for this interview but when the magazine comes out, it is aimed at collectors - so who knows.

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And this might be a break.  A couple that I know are thinking of moving to Florida and might want to sublet their place which is less money and bigger than where I am now - but it brings up a whole bunch of changes I'd have to take care of: do I then sublet my place? I would have to change my address for business purposes all over the place.  They would give me a few months warning if they were going to come back, but man that would be a drag after getting used to bigger digs.  Still - they have two windows that get THE SUN.  Something I can't imagine.  And one more room than I have.

7:05:18 PM    

I'm starting this Digital Workflow Tips section, with some of the things that I feel are rockbed. Other than shooting in RAW, I want to try and keep it confined to things that will make the process after you've taken the picture easier and produce better output.

Feel free too contradict anything I've started with, or to add to it.

Digital Workflow Tips
Backup Scheme

Figure out some redundant scheme for storing your digital files. If you are scanning negatives, and you lose your scan, it isn't a total loss. You just go back and redo the scan and whatever labor went into preparing the file.

If you lose your file from your digital camera and don't have a copy, then you have lost the equivalent of the negative.

My solution (subject to change of course) is to archive digital files to an external hard drive AND to make one copy to DVD (at a slow burn speed) and in the case where it is a really important file, make another copy to either another DVD or a CD.

Shoot in RAW Format

The downside to RAW is the file size. But quite honestly, the way photography goes, you never know when you take a shot if it is going to be that great shot or not. And you don't know if you may have messed up the exposure a bit. Or if the color temperature is going to be off. Shooting RAW gives you the most post-shooting options. Period. And even if for some reason you are not shooting RAW, don't let the camera do the processing for you. Don't do sharpening, contrast, or saturation in the camera. Do it afterwards in Photoshop.

CALIBRATE Monitor There are a few ways to do this, depending on whether you are on a MAC or PC and on how much money you want to spend. So far, I've been doing O.K. in the Windows world with the ADOBE GAMMA tool, which comes with windows. But to be dead on, you probably need (at least that's what I've read) something to read the actual color and luminance from your monitor. (Monaco, ColorVison, GretagMacbeth). I haven't used any of these and when I do a soft-proof in Photoshop it is really close to what comes out of the printer.
LEARN PHOTOSHOP Nuff said. That is a lifelong pursuit.
Learn Color Management How things need to be setup between Photoshop and your printer to get what you see on the screen (sort of) from the printer.
FOR B&W

I would have to say from my experience, you need a RIP. Why this should be so, I can't say. But I've been using IMAGEPrint RIP for all my black and white work with the Epson 2200, and I could never have done it without a RIP. (Unless, and this brings up a whole other issue, you want to replace the manufacturers inks with monotone inks of some sort). If you want to produce color and black & white from the same printer, I don't know any other way than investing in a RIP.

A RIP is just a piece of software. Yes, another piece. IMAGEPrint LITE costs about $495. It has saved me, easily, that amount in terms of time and labor. Some RIPs are geared towards large production, layout, etc. For what I do, the IMAGEPrint RIP is perfect since I'm not doing some huge quantity and not doing a lot of layout.

DON'T BURN YOUR BRIDGES

There are destructive and non-destructive ways of sharpening an image. Both have their pros and cons. Whichever you use, make sure that you can always get back to an unsharpened version if need be.

And do your sharpening last, and at the size that the image is going to be output at. If you take you 12 x 18 inch print, sharpen it, and then resize it for the web, you are going to create artifacts (probably). Make a separate copy at 72 dpi and after you've done your adjustments to color etc. then do your sharpening.

11:04:06 AM    


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