All Printers May not Be the Same

This weekend I finished a video series that I’ve been working on for too long to admit.  It’s called After the Camera by David DuChemin.   The subject?  Vision-driven editing and post-processing.  I like DuChemin.  A lot.  His work is amazing, and how can you not like a guy who is quick to inform you that you “can’t polish a turd”?  Meaning:  don’t think you can take crappy photos and magically save them through post-processing.

I learned a lot.  I’ve now got some semblance of a workflow between the point that I download photos and the point that I save them to the external hard drive.  I know a lot more about post-processing than when I started.  Though there’s much more to learn. Which is both a good thing and a bad thing.  I like a few tweaks and adjustments, but I don’t want to process to within an inch of the photo’s life.  There’s a lot of stuff out there like that.  Some of it is quite lovely.  But, it’s important to me that the photos I take represent an approximation of what I saw with my very own eyes.  Will I sharpen?  Sure. Clarify?  Sure.  Remove odd spots?  Definitely.  Adjust color a bit?  Yeah. I may increase the warmth of that sunset.  Or pop the color in those leaves a snidge.  But, I will try not to go overboard.  Call me on it if you see me going too far. Please.  Of course, a lot of it is subjective, too, so I may tell you to take a flying leap.  🙂  But I won’t.  Promise.

All Printers,

In the second-to-last video DuChemin talked about printing work.  Actually, it was a bit of a plea.  Not only so it’s not just taking up space on a hard drive, but so one can evaluate their work in print.  Identify areas for improvement.  If you’ll recall, printing for the fair was really the first time I’ve printed.  Yesterday, inspired by David’s call-to-arms I downloaded a bunch of images to Costco and ordered away.

Here’s the thing:  I ordered all of the fair prints through Millers, an online professional print house.  Millers is not inexpensive.  What’s interesting is that when I was talking with a couple of guys from the Olympia Camera Club at the fair about their entries they said that they use Costco.  And they won ribbons.  Hmmmm…..

All Printers,

I picked up my initial prints from Costco yesterday.  Impressions?  The sky on a number of the Costco prints seems darker than they appear on my monitor (prints from Miller, when compared with prints on my monitor, match almost exactly).  And, in one that has a mix of clouds and blue sky you can totally see variations and weird swirling in the clouds that definitely occurred during Costco printing.  And once you see them you can’t unsee them. I decided to order a couple of the same prints that I entered into the fair from Costco to compare with those I have from Millers

All Printers,

I was a bit apprehensive about doing a comparison, though.  Why?    Costco charges $3.99 for an 11×14.  Millers?  $9.44.  Sigh. That’s a problem.  Cheapy-cheaperson says, “You can get more than double the photos through Costco than you can through Millers!  It’s a no-brainer!”  Artsy-arterson responds, “Yes, but what about that blue sky?  And doesn’t the exposure look a bit under?  And what about those clouds?”  Well, crap.  Cheap?  Or artistic?

I picked up the prints this evening.  Cheapy-cheaperson isn’t happy. Definitely underexposed when compared with the Millers prints.  That’s a problem.

Do you have a favorite printing lab?  Do tell!

The photos that accompany this post were taken yesterday here at The Homestead.  It was feeling very fall-ish around here and I wanted to catch the feeling of the changing of the season.  I was going for a warm, soft transitional feeling.  The 16-35mm wide angle lens has spent almost this entire summer on my camera.  I love that lens.  Love, love, love.  But, today I pulled out the 50mm and got up close and personal (and missed my focus…a lot).  My that’s a light little lens.  And such pretty bokeh.  One should not forget the magic that is the nifty fifty.

All Printers,

Joining me on my wander about the yard was the large orange cat.  Usually he goes off and does his own thing, but he must of thought I was doing something really fun, because he stuck with me.  He would occasionally take off at a dead run, then would loop around and return to my side.  The only time that we ran into issues was when I went into the “great beyond” (the yard breaks to woods and he’s not so much of a fan…too many stickery things).  He attempted to follow, but got “stuck,” at which point he scrambled up onto this fallen tree.  An island unto himself.  When it became apparent that he didn’t know what to do next I picked him up and packed him back into the yard.  The “safe” zone.  Well, at least we don’t have to worry about him wandering off.

All Printers,



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