Saturday, May 21, 2011


What does the quoted title of this blog mean to you? Does it mean you as a photographer don’t really want to do photographs digitally, but do? Does it mean photographers using digital photography don’t understand what digital means? Or does it mean you need to buy a product that makes digital photography look like film photography?

Today digital photography is primarily color imaging, so I must ask another question. Did film photographers of the past using color films really understand the color photography process, or was it done for them without their attention? I think for many the latter is true. If that is the case it’s because photographers used labs to process and print color photographs, so rarely did processing and printing themselves and the result was they did not understand the color photography process. So with digital and a computer photographers have access to the color reproduction process yet few understand how it works. And to some extent because their photographs are on their computer’s they feel they must deal with them. But if they do not understand either the film color photo process or its digital correlate, they want someone to make it easy without having to learn anything. Am I guessing right or wrong?

I am a professional and was taught how both the black and white and color photographic reproduction process works. But honestly after getting out of photo school I did not process my color film, nor did I make my own color prints because it was very difficult, time consuming and required experts doing that work every day to get good results. Although there were exceptions most of my colleagues used one of many pro color labs in my city during the film era. So maybe many of those who did not get a photography education in the days of film may be a bit short on understanding how the photographic process works. However, the basic principles of the photographic process are fairly simple and have not changed because we moved from film to a digital sensor, so why not learn what was missed?

When the first affordable color monitors became available I got a new PC as I had been using a computer on loan from my magazine company. So I was already a bit computer literate in ’89 when I started to explore and understand color imaging with a computer paint program. I gradually learned that digital imaging is simple and predictable because it is all numerical and logical. That was so unlike the complicated endless variables of the film photography world when each make and model of film reproduced reality differently, and each film emulsion batch too; and even though pro labs were good they would also vary on some days and if someone had a bad hangover it was a goof-up time you couldn’t get done over.

So why anyone would prefer the old film world photography and want to avoid digital makes no sense to me at all.  Computer editing has made photography for me so much easier, simpler and predictable. I enjoy the art and craft of making photographs so much more since I began doing it digitally because I now get the image I intended and hoped for but often missed at least by a bit on film. Now I can fix that, and find I am a better photographer than I thought I was in the past. 

Monday, May 16, 2011


I have gotten into numerous discussions about how to securely save digital image files. My method of using gold-gold CDR discs for this purpose has not altered, I have an established system  so making a change would not serve me well. But the only alternative in the past I could recommend were then expensive RAID-1 mirrored hard drives. They are now affordable, so are a reasonable alternative. This came to my attention in a MacWorld report I received via e-mail, featuring  a Mercury Elite-AL Pro Dual mini 640 GB external drive for as little as $180.

So first of all I should explain what a mirrored RAID-1 external hard drive is and how it works. In this instance it is actually two 320GB hard drives in a single enclosure. So you have two identical hard disk drives that total 640GB. When in mirrored RAID-1 mode any data files saved to the system is stored twice, identically on each separate hard disk. This provides the security  that if one drive fails, it can be replaced physically with a new one, then all of the data on the remaining drive is copied to the new one. The chance that both RAID-1 drives would fail at the same time is very remote, so you have a good assurance that your data will remain secure.

Although the source for these Mercury Elite drives is Other World Computing, at, and is an Apple related hardware and software supplier. The OWC web site indicates the Mercury Elite drives are both PC and Mac compatible. These drives have FireWire 800 and 400 connections, and in this interface are Bus powered, as well as USB 2.0 and eSATA, with an input for DC power when the bus powered FireWire interface is not used.  A selection of five different sized and configured RAID-1 drives are listed by OWC with combined capacities of 640GB to 2.0TB with prices listed from $180 to $319.

So today if someone asks me for a way to safely store digital photo files I can give them a choice of affordable RAID-1 drives or gold-gold CDR discs. Personally if I were beginning now I might very well choose a RAID-1 drive. But I will go along with that old saying, if it isn’t broken don’t fix it. My old gold-gold CDR system still works fine for me. 

Monday, May 9, 2011


I don’t know about you, but I often relied on sunglasses, “shades” when I was driving west in the afternoon. They helped a lot to see the road clearly reducing the extraneous direct light from the sun obscuring my view. The same idea applies to your LCD display. If you keep it shaded from extraneous light in the room where your computer is set-up you will see the image on screen more clearly and free from different and conflicting strays of light. Even in my north-facing room that’s dedicated as my lab, even with special Fobsun LED  lamps for my environment lighting, and with a hood protecting the screen, my new Dell Ultrasharp U2410 has a cleaner, brighter screen image now that it has shades.
After receiving quite a number of e-mails from readers that have gotten this new Dell LCD display, a couple included a question, is there a hood made for this LCD display? All I could immediately think of is the EZ Hood ColorEyes began offering not long ago. However I have not used this EZ Hood, so I sent for one. I got it and found it only took about 20 minutes to assemble and install it on the Dell U2410, and it fits very nicely. Immediately I noticed my screen image looked clearer and a better reproduction of what I was working with on the computer. So, even in my rather idealized lab, the advantage of the EZ Hood was apparent. If you have a more typical room where your computer is located, I would suspect you would benefit more from the stray light protection of the EZ Hood, and your display will look even better.
From what I understand the EZ Hood was designed to fit recent Apple iMacs, so it is constructed to fit several sizes including both the 22 inch and 24 inch LCD displays I have recommended. It is made from a black plastic double sided corrugated paneling, so it is both rigid and very light, the shipping weight is just 3 pounds. ColorEyes price is $49.50 which is a lot less than I have paid for hoods for displays, although today few display companies offer hoods custom made for their displays, with the exception of LaCie.
So if like most of us and your computer work area is a compromise and stray light falls on the display surface, you will get better performance from the display with a hood. It is a very effective add-on accessory. So go to, and take a look for yourself.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Almost every day I see announcements of new stuff, and I just pass along because it’s not anything I need. Better quality and more efficient printing of my images will stop me in my tracks. Specially when this new Epson R2000 is an improvement on the Epson R1900 the printer I use most. 
It doesn’t look all that different, a box with a paper input on top and output in the front. But although this new R2000 has the same inkset colors that to me are the best for reproducing the kinds of photographs I make, it has a new printhead like its bigger pro brethren, and larger ink cartridges. Yes its a 13 inch wide printer and designed to handle all types of media including printable DVD and CD-R discs, with brilliant long lasting pigment colors.
I’ve been a very satisfied owner of an Epson R1900 printer, so in a way a new replacement model could be a scary proposition. Does this new R2000 do everything my R1900 has done for me? One new thing that has been added is besides the usual wire USB and ethernet connections is you can now print with the R2000 using a WiFi 802.11N wireless connection. So since many of us with broadband use a wireless router we can connect with this new R2000 with WiFi making where we locate this printer easy and convenient.
Some may question my interest because the R1900 and R2000 do not have support for B&W printing, but I have been able to print grayscale images quite accurately simply by changing the file mode to RGB that does support a color managed print that is quite neutral gray, or I can add a sepia tint if I like. And with Epson;s Ultrachrome Hi-Gloss2 ink I am not concerned the neutrality of the gray will shift because of any ink age effect. The R2000 prints should be as archival as any digital photo print can be.
At a $499 list price this new Epson R2000 should be the most affordable access to professional level inkjet printing of the highest quality that will be available. But I will not know that from experience until I receive an R2000 from Epson to use and test for my report on this new product in Shutterbug.