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.

 

 

Wolfgang Tillmans Exhibition – Study Visit 6th May 2017

Prior reading to visit

Links provided by the OCA in the study visit pre reading

Accessed 3rd May 2017

Accessed 3rd May 2017

Study Visit – Tate Modern 6th May 2017

Upon arrival to the exhibition, the Tate provided a booklet, this provided background to the exhibition a floor plan and each room (14 in total) had a description of the theme and some of the works shown.

Our tutor for the day Jayne Taylor provided background to the exhibition itself and guidance on some of the content and where to meet up for a discussion over lunch afterwards.

My personal brief for the day was to view the exhibition and to also look at how the exhibition was set out, the media used and how the images were hung.  This is now an ongoing brief for my final exhibition and presentation of work.  I’ll get that out of the way now.  Prints were shown on the walls in 4 different ways:

  1. Printed and mounted using clear scotch tape
  2. Mounted and framed under glass
  3. Printed and then hung from nails in the wall using white bulldog clips
  4. Mounted behind acrylic boxes.

In certain rooms (e.g. room 4) the wooden tables present thoughts, research on images represented.  This mood board shows snippets taken from magazine articles, research papers of others, internet searches and images.

There are a number of pieces that resonated with me personally and some which clearly did not.  Firstly I made handwritten notes while walking around the exhibition and these were then written up afterwards with any of my own images added to these notes, they are then included at the end of this document.

What I connected with

I find myself very much leaning towards abstract photography, the (on first appearance) simple colour panels, printed but creased and folded prints, smoke trails and close in detail shots very much resonate with imagery that I enjoy.  The workstation in room 2 is very much my typical space and I loved the disassembled copier.  Part of me wanted to get in there with a screwdriver and disassemble it further.

What I didn’t connect with

Ok, not sure why you would want to display out of focus work.  I understand it is done and in a body of other work can tell a story but for me it takes away from the story of the image if I’m then asking questions as to why that particular image of the boy and the car isn’t sharp anywhere.  I’m also not aligned with the personal aspects of his work that are of friends.  Some very well composed and presented portraits which then sit aside a very large print of a mans hairy backside/scrotum, there is form to the posing but I feel they dont fit well into this presentation and body of work.

Overall

A large exhibition that took around 1.5 hours to navigate and I didn’t really scratch the surface.  It was very helpful to carry out the pre-reading actually before the visit but to also read this again afterwards.   Definitely, a second visit needs to occur before the exhibition closes on 11th June 2017.

Post study referencing

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/wolfgang-tillmans-2017/studying-truth accessed 7th May 2017

Accessed 7th May 2017

Notes

Wolfgang Tillman exhibition – Tate London, 6th May 2017

Trails to Prayer by Makiko

Photographic Exhibition in the Atrium Gallery at the London School of Economics, Houghton Street, London.  24th April to 5th May 2017.

I attended this exhibition on Wednesday 26th April, for an exhibition it’s quite short and having visited the LSE atrium gallery before it only has 1 long white wall which can restrict the number of works displayed.  Makiko has displayed there before in 2016 and although I visited that exhibition also it was before this course began and is therefore out of scope of this blog.

My first impressions, a nicely presented body of work comprising of 23 pieces on 1 wall.  The gallery has a description panel at one end with sheets of A4 pages that inform the visitor on the history of Nozaki and Christianity in the region where the images were made.  At the other, a tv screen repeating a video of the island itself to add context to the monochrome images, next to this are a small clear box with small square business cards and a mini competition.  The competition is a good idea, a partial image asks you to identify where the deer is in the picture, an animal spot the ball competition if you will. The paper provided asks for the answer, feedback on the exhibition and your contact information, twitter address etc. which you then place in a box to win a print of the main image.  This is a good idea to not only engage your audience but it’s a spin on the visitor book experience which captures your potential customer base.

Images

There are 23 images in total, all of which are in monochrome.  Starting at image 1 they lead you through the island trail on which the Christians would have travelled between villages to worship.  the island is now abandoned and is gradually being taken back by nature, the villagers homes are showing evidence of failure and the pathways/stairs crumbling and turning into the rocks from where they came.  Nature is as it was before man and the wildlife, deer especially, seeming to lack the fear of human presence again.  this is emphasised in her images of the stalking deer, it seems he is keeping an eye on her to reinforce the fact that humans have moved out and the island is now theirs again.  The landscape also portrays the diverse plantlife and scape of the island, from a forest, to hills and then to a savannah type terrain moulded by the winds blowing from the nearby volcano.  the smaller images are well composed and draw the viewers eyes to the details in the image where they need to be through shallow depths of field.  Finally you’re led to the shrine on a very large hill that must have taken a good few hours to climb!

Presentation

The prints are displayed as monochrome prints on foamboard which I believe is stuck to the wall and 3 framed and glazed prints.  The prints all have a small description label to the left side at the bottom which identifies the image number, name and plant species in the image.  I found the last item a little unusual and assume Makiko has an interest in plants generally or her local guide provided this information.

The series of images work, I felt that on viewing these I was on the journey with Makiko across the island being stalked by a large deer.  The largest image of the series is framed and glazed around 100cm high x 155cm wide and forms the central image of the series.  Of the framed images of which there are 3, they appear to represent milestones on the journey and possibly rest points as you tend to linger more when viewing at those images.  My only critique would be that the large print seems to have suffered being enlarged and has lost its sharpness and the central image of the deer feels to lack the impact, the image is not pixellated but seems to be a little too soft but then I’m of the opinion images need to be pretty sharp to work but it does depend on the subject and your message overall that you want the viewer to take away.

My tutor recently asked me to look at exhibition presentation of work and I’ve taken away a number of useful ideas regarding sizing, layout, presentation and labelling that have re-inforced the feedback from my last assignment. In addition the history sheet on the island adds some interesting facts which the images build upon and an article from the local York newspaper enhances the exhibition as local marketing.

Overall

Although a little short I found that it was well presented, the series of images told a story which took the visitor to the island and gave you a sense of what it is actually like.  My only critique is regarding the sharpness of the large image but in context with the other prints I think this is intentional rather than a technical error. I very much liked this exhibition and think Makiko has done a great job here and I recommend a visit if you’re in London before it closes on 5th May.

 

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.