I picked up the latest edition of my fave photo mag (Black And White Photography ) and it had a short snippet of news that made me sit up and pay attention. Jessops the large UK photo chain commissioned a survey which found that 20% of British adults have NEVER had a photo printed, 8% of British adults printed a photo at least once a month, and a whopping 44% have lost a digital photo they wish that they had printed. Amazing stuff.
It maybe an age related thing, but, I have always liked prints. Even when I shot slide film I had prints made. To me prints are the ultimate expression of my photographic endeavours. I realise that for many people who came to photography post the digital revolution prints are anachronistic hang over from a bygone era, but for me printing is an essential part of the photographic process. I think many people are put off by the apparent complexity of the process – look on the internet and it all looks so hard, but actually it is relatively simple to get good prints. The first step in the process is to profile your monitor – this ensures that are no strange colour casts. I use a ColorMunki Display which is ridiculously easy to use and is relatively inexpensive. For the second step you can either send or take your image files to a lab and have them do the next bit, or like me print your own at home. I choose to print at home because I live in a rural area where there is no local lab, I’m impatient and want to see the results immediately and the surge to print often happens at odd times. I chose a Canon Pixma Pro 100S as it is an A3+ sized dye based printer. I prefer my prints to be on glossy paper and dye based inks look better than pigment based ones. Also dye based printers are less likely to clog. I don’t profile my printer for the paper I use I just use the canned profiles from the paper manufacturers website. The video below shows how easy the whole process is.
Shortly after reading the piece in Black and White Photography I was perusing the BBC website when I came across a piece on the science pages that was warning that the world was facing a ‘digital Dark Age” . Apparently Dr Vint Cerf an internet pioneer and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google (and yeah I had to Google him to find out who he was) has become famous for his predictions on how technology will affect future generations. He reckons that a lot of the digital images created in the early Twenty First Century will be lost as current hardware and software become obsolete so future generations will have no records of the period. I find this ironic considering Google is really pushing Google Photos as an in the cloud archive system. Anyway Google are apparently spending shed loads of money to try to prevent this with some you beaut techno solution. Personally I think the answer is obvious. The one material we know a lot about with regards to its archival properties is paper. In fact I’ve got quite a few family photos that date from the later half of the Nineteenth Century. So if you want to make sure your precious photos survive print them. Use good quality papers and inks and a lifespan in excess of 100 years is easily attainable. The Wilhelm Institute gives archival ratings for most ink and paper combinations and advice on how to store your prints. If you print at A4 then should your digital archive disappear into oblivion with a great deal of wailing and gnashing of teeth then you can scan your prints and salvage the situation.
So there you have it. Now you’re not only making art but you are protecting your precious images from a digital apocalypse.
The shift into winter is speeding ahead and there many tasks that have to be done before it arrives , chief among them is getting the winter wood in. As we are off to Hobart in Tasmania next week I had to get the job done quickly so over the last couple of weeks I’ve cut a tonne and a half (1.65 tons for our US based readers) of wood, split and stacked it. For all you budding environmentalists and tree hugging types firstly all this wood is windfall, no tree was harmed in the harvesting. Secondly burning hard woods such as White Gum (Eucalyptus wandoo)or York Gum (Eucalyptus loxophleba) in a slow combustion wood stove is a clean renewable energy source and so my inner hippy can relax knowing that I’ve not brought about a climatic catastrophe of apocalyptic proportions. So all this is a long-winded way of saying that I haven’t taken many photos of late, and those that I have are just snapshots.
This is one of the snapshots I took this morning while walking my faithful canine companion Frida. It was very nice this morning, the fog was just being burnt off by the morning sun, the Avon River actually looked nice because we’ve had some rain. Usually after a summer it is a dried salt encrusted riverbed with fetid and smelly pools that look like they could be harbouring some new toxic life force that is about to star in the next episode of Doctor Who. So I had my point and shoot camera with me and fired off a few frames judiciously bracketing the exposure. I loaded them into Lightroom and then played with them in Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro 2 and Color Efex Pro 4 and so liked what I came up with that I have posted it here on my blog. Now a short while ago I was going to buy the complete suite and it was $600 AUD (mainly because software companies believe they can price gouge us Antipodeans) and I wasn’t too sure. It was a lot of moolah for something I wasn’t too convinced I’d use a lot, and I’m basically tighter than a fish’s eyelid. Then the quandary was solved when big bad Google bought out the company and everyone thought well that’s that then – no more nice plugins. Well I was wrong and Google have now launched the complete suit under their branding for measly sum of $149 USD. I mean that is what they were charing for just one of their products not so long ago. Do your self a favour do the magic www thing and head over and down load a trial and see what you think.
Anyways as I said earlier I’m off to Tassie on Monday for 2 weeks so I’ve generously given all the staff at the global headquarters of Paul Amyes Photography the time off as well and so there will be no further posts until I’m back.
On Saturday 6th April 1963 I was born in Bromley, Kent, England. Fifty years later on 6th April 2013 in York Western Australia I’m celebrating my birthday. All in all looking at the two photos here I don’t think I’ve changed that much!
I must say I don’t take “selfies” very often, but this morning I thought I would as it is not every day you turn 50 and I wanted to mark the occasion somehow.I’d left the house to take Frida (aka the puppy piranha) for her morning run and I’d put my Panasonic LX5 in my pocket. When the creative urge struck I thought this’ll be a piece of cake – birthday or otherwise – as I’ll just put the camera in self-portrait mode and snap away. On checking the LCD screen I saw that the shots were a dismal failure – the sky was over exposed and I was under exposed. Thankfully over the course of my fifty years I have learnt a photographic trick or two so I put the camera in manual and set a shutter and aperture combination to under expose the general scene by 2 stops. I then activated the pop up flash and set it to under expose by 1/2 a stop. The icing on the cake was getting Frida to sit with me while I took the shot. On getting home the image was fed through Lightroom and I played around with newly re-launched Nik Software Collection to make my visage suitably aged and distressed looking.