Calibration and Printing

One of the elements I picked up as an output for evaluation from assignment 3 was to look at printing at home.  I had looked at this earlier in the course and decided to print from home my assignment 2 submission.  I was not satisfied with the printed output from Assignment 2 and the feedback from my tutor pointed out the print colours were flat, I had assumed as they were submitted on a matte paper.  I chose to use Loxley (whom I send any client printing to) for Assignment 3 prints submission partially due to the large areas of black in the image.  Since then I have been experimenting with different paper types obtained from Hahnemuhle, Fotospeed, Canson and Marrutt.  Various threads on the OCA forums advise against using glossy paper for assessment submission and in the feedback from my tutor for Assignment 4 Helen advised using a good quality lustre or even a fine art baryta giclee process.

Printing workflow starts with the image itself and ensuring you have the correct white balance setting in the camera at the time of capturing the image.  There are aids on the market which can be used to assist in getting this right at the point of image creation to then assist with post-production such as ColorChecker [1] and in the same family range, the cube [2]can be used to check white balance, exposure and brightness levels.  Essentially these have known colour swatches printed onto the target and one of your test shots needs to include the colour target full screen and in the same lighting conditions, in post-production, you can then select the colour target and adjust all of the subsequent images and maintain the colour balance.    This can further be corrected in post-production and refined further if you are shooting in RAW.  Before any image manipulation is undertaken your screen needs to be calibrated and if you’re then printing the printer needs to be calibrated to the type of paper it’s printing on.

Screen Calibration

For screen calibration I use a Spyder 4 by Datacolor, this is straightforward to use and includes a piece of software to control the calibration device.  To calibrate your screen(s) you start the software and hand this device onto the screen, the software then projects a number of colour swatches on the screen and the device reads the colour value and the software then compares the known value to the actual output and creates a profile for that screen.  Your screen profile is then adjusted to match this new profile and any colours/lightness/darkness on the screen should then match the image you’re working on.  A reminder is normally set in the software settings to re-calibrate the screen at a specified interval to ensure consistency. There are numerous walk through videos on YouTube on how to calibrate a screen,  a useful walkthrough of the process here [3] by Damian Symonds and [4] here by Northlight Images.

Printer Calibration

The next step is to then calibrate your printer to match the screen.  There is an individual ICC profile for each paper/ink combination.  Generic profiles are included for each printer, in my case I use an Epson SC-P800 printer,  to be used for the manufacturer specific available papers.  For each type of aftermarket paper, generic ICC profiles can be downloaded from the manufacturer’s websites(I’ve listed below the ones I have used).  Given that each screen needs to be individually adjusted it then follows each paper/printer combination also needs to be checked as the generic profiles will only go so far.   With manufacturing tolerances and technology, you should expect them to be fairly accurate, there is very much debate and technical conversation on gamut, paper evaluation, printer specifications etc and I’ll be clear with this blog I’m not going into that detail just on how.

Producing a specific ICC print profiling can normally be obtained free of charge, you need to buy a box of your chosen paper type (A4 size) and then print onto it the test target. Test targets are supplied by the manufacturer, in the case of Marrutt instructions are emailed and you download the profiles (before and after) and a link to the Adobe Colour Printer Utility [5]which is used to print the test target [6].

The is then left to dry for a few hours to prevent smudging, once dry it can be posted to the manufacturer.  They scan this using a Spectrocolorimeter [7]and compare the recorded values against the test print expected values. I did also buy a sample pack from Fotospeed and send them all back for profiling, needless to say the response I received was not favourable and they only chose to profile a few of their most popular papers as they had better things to do with their day.

An ICC profile is created which is specific to your printer and paper type.  This profile is emailed back to you in a couple of days which you then install on your printer.   A further test print is made using an evaluation target [8] which is then sent back to the manufacturer.  The evaluation print is then checked to ensure the profile generated is as intended.  Manufacturers recommend the print profile are tested every 6 months to ensure consistency.

I have purchased papers from the following suppliers:

Hahnemuhle [9]

Fotospeed [10]

Marrutt [11]

Canson [12]

I have profiled the papers from Marrutt.  Marrutt provided detailed information on how to undertake the print profiling on their webpages[11]and initial instructions via email.  With the exception of one profile, the process has performed as expected.  The failed profile for their gloss paper had noticeably reduced red values when first installed.  I repeated the process using the test target and sent this back again to be re-profiled, the second profile was better. I did struggle with some of the smooth art papers as to which was actually the print side.

Print calibration can also be performed at home, you will need to use a device that not only calibrates your screen but also can read and then calibrate any printed pages.  Two of the most common devices are the Spyderprint [13]manufactured by Datacolor [14] where there are two separate devices and the ColorMunki Photo [15] by X-rite [16] which is combined into one device.

Referencing –

Note all links will open in external pages and any relevant content remains the copyright of the owner.

[1] Datacolor ColorCheckr – http://www.datacolor.com/photography-design/product-overview/spyder-checkr-family/ Accessed 8th December 2017

[2] Datacolor SpyderCube – http://www.datacolor.com/photography-design/product-overview/spydercube/ Accessed 8th December 2017

[3] Screen Calibration Walkthrough – https://www.damiensymonds.net/cal_S4P_pc.html accessed 8th December 2017

[4]Northlight Images – http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/datacolor-spyder4pro-review/ accessed 8th December 2017

[5] Adobe Colour Printer Utility https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/kb/no-color-management-option-missing.html accessed 8th December 2017

[6] Test target – https://www.marrutt.com/icc-profiling accessed 8th December 2017

[7] Image of a Spectrocolorimeter s3p-kit.jpg accessed 8th December 2017

[8] Evaluation target – https://www.marrutt.com/images/support/colour-checker.jpg Accessed 8th December 2017

[9] Hahnemuhle – https://www.hahnemuehle.com/en/digital-fineart/icc-profile.html Accessed 8th December 2017

[10] Fotospeed – https://www.fotospeed.com/profiles.asp?SeriesID=9&TextID=1 Accessed 8th December 2017

[11] Marrutt Print profiling – https://www.marrutt.com/find-my-printer/epson-surecolor/epson-surecolor-sc-p800-printer/epson-surecolor-sc-p800-printer-support#faqs Accessed 8th December 2017

[12] Canson – //www.canson-infinity.com/en/icc-profiles Accessed 8th December 2017

[13] Spyder Print – http://www.datacolor.com/photography-design/product-overview/spyderprint/ Accessed 8th December 2017

[14] Datacolor – http://www.datacolor.com Accessed 8th December 2017

[15] ColorMunki Photo http://xritephoto.com/colormunki-photo Accessed 8th December 2017

[16] X-rite – http://xritephoto.com Accessed 8th December 2017

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Print Presentation

I submitted my physical prints for Assignment 3 and received very good feedback from my tutor.  In addition there are some research aspects to follow up relating to good practice and physical presentation. As a reminder I printed these using Loxley Colour lab and used a glossy print on Fuji paper.  The submitted prints were 8×8 inches.

The relevant points (to this element) from the feedback are below, my Tutor comments are in italic print and my responses in bold.

Presentation / Prints

• White border as allows handling, could experiment with it being larger – potentially

try weighted borders at the bottom to help orientate image (particularly useful with

square format).  

A very valid point and something to remember.  When I’m cutting mounts (or Matts in the US) I do add a subtly weighted border to the bottom so I’m not sure why I forgot to include this in my prints border.  

• Look at adding labels to reverse of image, minimal, clear and simple layout include

name, student#, assignment, image title. Label also helps with orientation and adds an

additional level of attention to detail and professionalism.  

This is a great idea and it also helps assessors should the ordering of prints get mixed up.

• Good to see you working with a lab, consistency of working with one lab can help

you develop your printing skills across a few projects as you get used to their colour

profile and tweak image adjustments to suit. Ensure you document and reflect on

your printing tests and workflow.  

Post on blog as to why I selected square image format and use example of

landscape print against square to support argument, ie draws eye into picture, reduces

distracting negative space, image more full frame.  

Use project and image titles, how did Sarah Pickering label her explosions? Research

other photographer’s use of titles and series names to gain better understanding.

 

• Whilst I can see why you might have added a black border to the lighter images,

I’m not sure they are necessary.

I do quite like a black border but I’ve looked at these again without a border and can see they are not essential and do not actually add anything to the print.

(INCLUDE EXAMPLES)

• In evaluation talk about different backgrounds, test prints etc.

• Agreed 8×8 prints on small side, could have gone for 10×10 but no need to reprint at

this time. Good to see evaluation of clamshell portfolio boxes, need to ensure print

sizes will fit when sending for assessment.

Definitely worthwhile checking this one, the prints I submitted at 8×8 fit nicely in the A4 clamshell box, but 10×10 prints do not and will need to go into the A3 box. This will lead to increased postage size/weight/costs mindful that the submission for assessment has a maximum 20KG before incurring additional costs

Ongoing Research

Review online blogs from other photographers and take away value add aspects for me.

At exhibitions/galleries pay particular attention to how photographs are displayed –

Assignment 4 Light

Brief

This extract has been taken from the OCA handbook. Revisit one of the exercises on daylight, artificial light or studio light from Part Four (4.2, 4.3 or 4.4) and prepare it for formal assignment submission:

• Create a set of between six and ten finished images. For the images to work naturally as a series there should be a linking theme, for instance a subject, or a particular period of time.

• Include annotated contact sheets of all of the photographs that you’ve shot for the exercise (see notes on the contact sheet in Part Three).

• Assignment notes are an important part of every assignment. Begin your notes with an introduction outlining why you selected this particular exercise for the assignment, followed by a description of your ‘process’ (the series of steps you took to make the photographs). Reference at least one of the photographers mentioned in Part Four in your assignment notes, showing how their approach to light might link in to your own work. Conclude your notes with a personal reflection on how you’ve developed the exercise in order to meet the descriptors of the Creativity criteria. Write 500–1,000 words.

Include a link (or scanned pages) to Exercise 4.5 in your learning log for your tutor’s comments.

Exercise 4.5

My Final image below from exercise 4.5 leads into this assignment and the early evening, night images, the theme of aircraft is well represented although they are all static aircraft elements such as the natural lit skies, constant artificial lighting, moving wings, propellers and light trails add movement to the images to set them apart from a static airframe represented in the Google searches.

Exercise 4.5 final

 

Contact sheets

My image selection for this assignment spanned 5 separate events, I have not selected the entire set of images for each event but those that covered the evening elements of those events.  The Contact sheets have been added to a separate blog post here rather than bulk out this post.

All of the images shown on the attached contact sheets are the intellectual property and copyright of Carl Goodwin.  They cannot be copied without express written permission from the owner, i.e. me.

How I’ve compiled the contact sheets can be read here.

 

 

Images for assignment

Assignment 4 contact sheet final(1) marked up with camera settings and file numbers.

Research

I struggled very much with this one as far as aircraft imagery was concerned, very few available images were shown as blue hour and with a google search they turned out to be not actually of the blue hour but contained blue skies or sunset images.  There are a huge number of aviation photographers out here and typically the imagery represents aircraft in daylight.

Andy Rouse a renowned wildlife and now aviation photographer https://www.andyrouse.co.uk accessed 19/11/2017.  In preparation for the session A2A I attended a talk at Park Cameras in London on 24th June 2017.  Andy spoke for around 1 hour on aviation imagery, his images and I asked some questions on what to expect for an A2A with Peter and his Mustang.  suggested camera settings and preparation were also discussed.

James Goggin Some very beautiful aircraft images on this website https://www.jamesgoggin.com accessed 19/11/2017

Mark http://www.mjaviation.co.uk accessed 19/11/2017

Centre of aviation Photography http://www.centreofaviationphotography.com/showcase I’ve been on a couple of events with them this year, they allow great access/sites aircraft that you would not normally be able to get to view up a close. I must credit them with my access to the Typhoon, Tornado and A400M at RAF Coningsby used in my final image set. accessed 19/11/2017

Timeline Events https://www.timelineevents.org accessed 19/11/2017 provided access so that I could create the images supplied for the Mustang and Just Jane events.

 

 

Exercise 4.5

Exercise 4.5

Brief

I’ve strayed from the brief of the exercise here and decided to look at a particular subject that interests me rather than an ordinary object found in the household or landscape.

I have a very keen interest in aircraft, in particular, those from World War 2.  I undertook a basic search in Google for ‘Mustang’. I expected a result for a horse, car and aircraft.

Screen Shot 2017-11-19 at 18.12.54.png

Google search created 19th November 2017

Instead all the images were of the car so I refined the search to Mustang P51 as I’m looking for the aircraft.

Screen Shot 2017-11-19 at 18.12.29.png

Google search created 19th November 2017

These are all very much Air to Air (A2A) images and very much interesting to me as an enthusiast at the moment I’m not able to create images such as these.  I did attempt an A2A with my subject aircraft but due to CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) licensing issues this did not happen this flying season, hopefully next (fingers crossed).

Despite this I wanted to create some different images with different lighting, angles and elements of this beautiful shiny aircraft. I attended 2 events over the summer with my chosen subject aircraft a P51 Mustang owned by Peter Teichmann which is based at Hanger 11 in North Weald.  I created images that were different to those in the test search above, they differ as all are static images but include a different perspective.   I feel they capture the different elements of the aircraft not normally represented, the contact sheet is here Exercise 4.5 contact sheet.

From this exercise I wanted to expand by looking at aircraft over the early evening and night, not only does this present a different lighting element to the ones shown above it also presents different and changing conditions that require longer exposures to create images with spinning propellor discs and if possible engine exhausts spitting flames as the engines are started or pushed to maximum throttle.

This final image was created in the early evening on 2nd May 2017, the intent was to create a sunset image of the aircraft, however, there was cloud cover that blocked out the sun.  the night ended with a lovely balanced blue hour and this is when this image was created.  Unfortunately, the engine run that would give the spinning propellor disc on a longer exposure didn’t occur until after the sun had finally set.

Exercise 4.5 final

 

 

 

 

Exporting Contact Sheets in Lightroom

This is pretty straightforward to do, contact sheets can either be printed or handled electronically as a PDF/JPEG document.  I’ve found it easier to manage them as PDF files when handling electronically as they import correctly formatted into Notability than if saved as a JPEG file.  I can then scribble on them as necessary on my iPad and take with me rather than a pile of printed contact sheets.  It saves a bit of time and is more convenient than printing, using ink and then scanning back the individual sheets which is time-consuming.  for assignment 4 there were around of 38 sheets as the images I chose spanned a few months of events.

I’m using a Mac ut the instructions should be very similar while using a PC

Instructions

  1. In Library add all images to a collection set
  2. In Develop select a contact sheet from Lightroom templates, in this instance, I’ve used a 4×5 so the images are not too small
  3. Amend cell spacing as necessary but default works just fine so there is a border around the images specifically around columns
  4. Uncheck the watermarking and identity plate settings
  5. Check Photo info
  6. Select the settings option and select edit from the drop-down
  7. add filename, exposure, ISO speed rating and lens from the options.  Ensure there is a space or underscore between each so they can be read click on done.
  8. Set font size to 16
  9. Select printer from bottom right of screen – do NOT click print
  10. From the new window click on PDF at the bottom left and from the window that pops up save as PDF
  11. Choose folder location for PDF file to be saved to.
  12. I then import this PDF document into the Notability App and annotate as necessary, when finished I then save this back to the original folder as a PDF but renamed as marked up.

Referencing

I’m very new to academic referencing and it can be very time consuming trying to work out what references to include on your assignments, especially so if you have changed your approach and need to re-write it.  I’ve started using RefMe[2], it’s free to use for basic Harvard referencing but to organise per project you’ll need a subscription. Ref Me makes it easier to keep a track on links and research references, books and quotations.  It’s also helpful as it shares data between an iPad, iPhone app, and the web interface.  You can also download a plugin to use with Microsoft word so when you are writing that assignment you can insert links and bibliography into your document.  One minor gripe on the word integration is that you can only load 1 project at a time, this is handy of all of your links are in one place but if you have multiple links across projects when you have a subscription then you will have multiple folders and can’t swap between them without losing continuity.  Maybe I’m looking at it from a disorganised way as I’ve just started using it but that’s a day 1+2 evaluation.  At time of subscription the annual fee is 24.99 GBP per year.  I’ll add that there are other apps/resources available so please feel free to make your own choices.

Update 5th February 2017

RefMe has been purchased by Chegg, this means the RefME app will now change to Citeforme [1]on 28th February 2017.  Overall from what I can see so far it should have minimal impact on how I’m collating references so far.  It does however not support the Mac version of Word, you will need to download the document from the web browser and then load this as a separate word document.  This is disappointing, details on the change can be found by accessing their link below.

[1] https://refme.zendesk.com/hc/en-gb/articles/115000823509-RefME-transition-to-Cite-This-For-Me-FAQ *** RefMe has been replaced by an app called ‘Cite This for Me’ in Feb 2017.

The app does not have all of the full functionality of RefMe and it’s worthwhile looking to see of there are other apps available.  I’ll stick with it for the time being.

High Speed Photography

Set up

I initially had an idea relating to the assignment 3 the decisive moment.  My initial idea was to steer away from street photography as per phrase coined by Henri Cartier Bresson and take a risk along the lines of a single point in time that could not occur again, a balloon bursting, water droplets striking a surface.

The first high speed photograph was created by Harold Egerton in 1957, its titled Milk Coronet[1] and is reproduced in the Time 1oo image series.  “Seconds. There it is. Sometimes it’s no use at all. Sometimes it’s tremendous value”

I have experimented before dropping water droplets into liquids, a simple setup but was very much trial and error as to the timing , capturing the water droplet before, during or after was very hit and miss and took a huge number of frames to capture anything worth retaining.  I’m not the first one to come across this, so there must be a way to construct a set up that would allow a number of variables to be consistent to then allow similar results to be obtained and from there change the variables to produce different results.

Images created by Harold Egerton also included bullets fired through apples, playing cards and the like.  I’m pretty certain there would not be any way of convincing my wife this was a good idea!  Balloons, well there’s another thought and probably not too messy.  There are plenty of really good examples of ballon burst images, some of my favourites are by Edward Horsford [2] and this on the Flickr page of Eric Barger [3]

From my previous foray into water droplets if I was going to attempt balloons then I would need to find a way to trigger the camera at the point of the balloon bursting.  The set up was going to be a challenge, filling and fixing the balloons was going to take time so I needed to get the rig and triggering set up correct.  A few google searches led me to discover manufacturers of sound/laser triggers that link directly to flash and camera.  Once of my constraints was money, I didn’t want to expend huge sums of money on a trigger for this to then sit in my gear cupboard.

I came across 2 sets of equipment that I considered useful and of minimal outlay, one of which was by Triggertrap [4]which included a dongle to attach your smartphone to your camera, additionally something to attach their dongle to a speedlight.  The second by Miops[5].  Both can be connected directly to your camera and a smartphone app although the Miops one has more functionality/protection the Triggertrap one was cheaper so I went with that. I must add the Triggertrap kit app can be used for more than detecting balloon bursts.

The Triggertrap kit arrived quickly once I’d placed the order, pretty simple and consisted of a dongle to the smartphone and then a cable to the camera or hot shoe trigger (additional purchase).  Fairly straightforward to set up, I followed the tutorial[6]on their webpages and got together the kit for setting up in my bathroom.  I live in London and didn’t want to set this up outside due to 2 limiting factors

  • At the time of testing it was December and pretty cold to be messing about with water in the evening
  • Due to the light pollution I didn’t want to taint the longer exposure images.

Set up was relatively straightforward in my small bathroom

  • Black backdrop fabric gaffer taped to the white tiles
  • 2 lightstands and cross member to suspend the balloons from
  • something to pop the balloon, I used a stick with needle taped to it
  • Speedlight set in manual mode (sandwich bag for speedlight to keep it dry)
  • Tripod for the camera
  • Remote shutter release
  • Camera
  • Portable stand and laptop placed outside of the bathroom (not entirely necessary but I found it easier to review the images on the laptop screen during a tethered Lightroom session)
  • Triggertrap dongle
  • Lots of balloons, water, food colouring
  • Towels to wipe up water and a lens cloth to wipe off any splashes on the lens, if you’re floor is wet then it will get very slippery and you don’t need to slip over in a confined space and hurt yourself.
  • Smartphone and Triggertrap app – I’m using an iPhone 7 which is waterproof, if your smartphone isn’t waterproof then you’ll need to place it in a sandwich bag or similar
  • Send wife out for the day shopping, its expensive but this is messy!

carlgoodwin_07_12_2016

Bursting of the balloons

Initial testing was quite promising, rather than wasting balloons I was clapping to set the sound level on the app, I did find that if you set the level too low when you activated the camera the sound of the mirror flipping up triggered the flash.  You also need to ensure there is not any extraneous light in the room (turn the phone over so the display is covered) otherwise you will get ghost images recorded of the balloon before it bursts, this is evident below in the top right and bottom left images.

Once I’d set up after a couple of test runs to check the flash output levels I was satisfied of the process,

  1. Turn off light
  2. Close bathroom door
  3. Open Shutter on camera
  4. stab balloon with pointy stick – ‘pop’
  5. close shutter

Try not to trip/slip over turning light back on!

Its worthwhile mentioning that this point keeping the length of time the shutter is open to a minimum helps here.

For each balloon I managed to get the filling up, timing up and popping into an average of 5 minutes per balloon.

Review

From the initial set of images I’m quite pleased by how these have turned out as a first attempt.  They can be improved upon and any further setups would include

An additional speedlight, placed camera left

A painted stick in black

Review of location as my bathroom is quite small

Complimentary combinations of balloon colours and dye additive

Thickener in the water to limit the number of finer droplets

Experimentation with powder instead of water

So there we have it, a bit if fun, a bit messy, relatively inexpensive in the grand scheme of things and a good learning experience.

 

Bibliography

[1] http://100photos.time.com/photos/harold-edgerton-milk-drop – accessed 5/2/17

[2] https://www.edwardhorsford.com/balloons – accessed 5/2/17

[3] Balloon burst – accessed 5/2/17

[4]Trigger trap webpage – accessed 5/2/17

[5]Miops Web page – accessed 5/2/17

[6] Trigger trap blog post accessed 5/2/17