(Note: I made a major mistake in one spot in this post, suggesting precisely the opposite of what I meant. I have added a single WORD in bold upper case to correct the error. )
Blog readers occasionally email questions (and comments) to me. I can’t always reply personally to all messages, but occasionally I like to share some answers here, both for those who asked and for others who might have similar questions. Here is the latest edition – including a question about monitor calibration and printing, one about an older Epson 2200, and a request for more information about photographing in Death Valley.
“I am hoping you might be able to advise me on a problem. I have been having some difficulty getting my prints to match my computer screen. I have a Canon 5D Mark II, shoot in RAW and use Lightroom to process my photos. I have a IMac LCD screen, about 4 years old. I send my converted JPeg files to Aspen Creek for printing. I have contacted the experts at Aspen Creek and they suggested monitor calibration software. So I regularly use Eye One monitor calibration but that doesn’t seem to help. I also work in a darkened room to minimize the ambient light.
Have you had similar problems? Have any ideas? I wonder if a higher end calibrated monitor wouldn’t help.”
This can be a complicated issue, but let me at least offer a few ideas.
I don’t know if this is the issue in your case, but it is important to realize that even a well-calibrated monitor will NOT present an image that looks “the same” as the image that gets printed on paper. There are some fundamental issues that differentiate images that are formed by projecting light from behind (they “glow!”) and images that are formed from ink/pigments, etc. that are illuminated from light that falls onto them. In general, I find that prints will seem to have less contrast and less intense colors, and will usually need to be brighter overall than the monitor might lead you to believe. In my view, a calibrated monitor gives you a consistent point of comparison, but you still need to learn to understand how to predict what your print will look like by comparison to what is on the monitor.
I would like to thank Aperture Academy for making me the subject of their June “Featured Photographer” interview. (Thanks are also due to photographer Brian Rueb for setting up and conducting the interview.) As some of you know, I’m rarely at a loss for words… so the interview is long – but you might enjoy reading a few things about me that I probably have not mentioned here at the blog.
It seems like a good time to once again share my Backpacking Photography Equipment post, since summer is nearly upon us, and many of you will soon be joining me to head into the back-country to make photographs. Some of you are trying to figure out the best balances of gear, weight, bulk, and complexity for doing photography on the trail using the trial and error (trail and error? trail of terror?) approach. Few years back I thought it might be helpful to share “my own backpacking equipment” list along with some ideas about how to select and use it.
A little more about the photograph included in this post… The two backpackers are my long-time “trail buddies,” Owen and Caroline, with whom I’ve spent many weeks on the trail in the High Sierra. On this trip we visited a lonely and less-visited area in the Upper Kern River drainage. The night before we had camped in a place where it was almost possible to convince oneself that no one else had been there before – a truly rare and cherished Sierra experience. The next morning we descended a drainage that passed through beautiful rock-garden meadows filled with tumbling streams. As the two of them crossed this meadow I quickly dropped my pack and made a couple of handheld shots.
As they say, all good things must come to an end, and the 20th Anniversary Nocturnes Night Photography Exhibit in San Francisco ends this weekend. I believe that the exhibit will close on Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area and have yet to see this extensive collection of night photography, go now! (I’ll be there during the final hour or so on Saturday.)
The Nocturnes 20th Anniversary Photography Exhibit Opening Reception: November 9, 2011, 6:30 – 9 p.m. Free
Exhibit runs through December 3rd.
Harvey Milk Photo Center 50 Scott Street, Duboce Park San Francisco, California 94117 (415) 554-9522
“In 1991, ten pioneering Bay Area photographers displayed their work as “The Nocturnes” in a curated show on night photography. Twenty years later, The Nocturnes are still having “full moon gatherings”, educating new photographers, and enjoying the camaraderie of like-minded artists that realize that some of the best photos are taken after the sun sets. This curated exhibit is a retrospective on the work of some of the most well-known night photographers as well as those just getting started.” (From the event web site.)
I’m pleased to say that two of my prints are included in this show. If you are a San Francisco Bay Area night photographer, a fan of night (and other) photography, or happen to be visiting the area, I invite you to drop in and see some wonderful night photography by a diverse and talented group of photographers.