I’ll know it when I see it.

A good print that is.

For the first time in many a long month I took some files to the commercial print shop today. Nothing special, just Fotomax. I had nine images printed at 6R size. Enough to see some detail and gauge whether they hold up to scrutiny off the screen and onto paper.

So what did I learn from the exercise.

Fotomax does not have the same judgment criteria as I do. They were returned to me marked “over/underexposed” and “blurred”. One had the highlights deliberately blown a little for a very strong contrast, one was what I call ‘high key’ and I’m struggling to see the blurring. Two are prints from scans of 50+ year old negatives of which I had lowish expectations. They look far too sharp!

One bird shot had a magenta hue to it, which I should have corrected in processing.

A landscape had a slightly chocolate-boxy feel to it and was arguably too saturated.

And then there are the black and white prints. To be honest I could pick holes with each of them. That is from a technical standpoint. But in all honesty the 5 are pretty much what I would have expected.

One I am happy with!

One I am almost happy with – it could have done with an extra F stop of depth of field.

One is perhaps just a little grainier than I had realized but it is nitpicking.

One looks a little ‘muddy’ in places reflecting the much higher ISO.

The last one is deliberately done in a silhouette style, hence the ‘over exposure’.

Here are the 5 B&W shots. So what do you think?

Bath weir

Breakfast at Tiffany's

B&W version Light in the Underpass

EdinMuseumBW-2

Waverley

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24 thoughts on “I’ll know it when I see it.

  1. These shots are wonderfully composed and exposed! Sounds like you need to use a different printer. I print my own on the Epson R3000 on Breathing Colors Optica One paper. I really like printing myself for total control. The mat rag paper provides a fine art feel and B&Ws look great with no double glare under glass. A number of my friends like Nations Photo Lab.

    • I have toyed with the idea of buying a decent printer Denise but HK homes tend to be quite small and my study already takes up more than my fair share. Plus I am not sure it is economic. There is a Canon service centre where you can do A3 prints on archive quality paper for about US$12. For the number I do that is not a bad deal. The beauty of using the Fuji is that its all WYSIWYG. What I see through the viewfinder is what what I get on download. I also use the histogram to check for highlights or blocked shadows but I usually like strong contrasts so I programme an S curve into the settings. So I have a jpeg I like on demand and a RAW file I can play with if I change my mind. We are spoiled by modern cameras. I still have my late dad’s 1959 Leica M3 so I can do the lot manually if I want but the Fuji is my standard walk about kit now, an X100F and an X-T2.

  2. I can’t comment on the technical aspect of photography – I just quite simply think they are cracking photos. My favourite is number 2, everything revolving around that vertical axis, broken cleverly by the seated figure. A picture every figurative artist would want to paint! Love the last one too – in fact, love them all. Number 4 – I thought I was scrolling down to reveal a MC Escher drawing – what a delight!

    • Number 2 was taken in a cafe in a market in Shau Kei Wan (or was it Sai Wan Ho?). There are lots of classic pictures and I was fascinated by the incongruous nature of the chosen pictures in such a mundane setting. Composition is dictated to a degree by the limitation on room to manoeuvre. I had asked the cafe owner if I could take some shots. $ is indeed the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh as Jenny said. The light is wonderful. I would go there even if there were no exhibits!

  3. I’m with Yvonne on this. Each shot brings out something different and special. So the least attractive photographically (no 5) has the most interesting story to tell. No 1 is a stunner, 3, 4 and 5 all do things with composition and human behaviour that make me sigh with envy.

    • Thank you Hilary. All shot with a relatively simple camera. A friend of mine is trying to work with Pen & Sword to get his first book published. They asked him to condense it which he has done. They seem very slow to respond – is this typical or is he perhaps talking to the wrong individual? Are there other military history publishers you think he should consider?

      • Everyone seems to have a different experience with P&S, though mine was relatively straightforward. There are so many steps in the process from Commissioning Editor (does he have Brig. Henry?), through reader/editor, proof-reader etc and it can come to a halt at any stage if someone is busy with another project. Is this book specifically Military History? There are several other Military History publishers, but unless he is an experienced writer, P & S are probably the best option. I have a friend who publishes with Amberley, they do general popular history, including military. If you want to put him in touch with me (threadgoldpressATgmailDOTcom) I can give him the names of the people I dealt with.

  4. Love B/W
    I believe there’s more depth
    And the movement of the piece doesn’t get lost in the color
    Cheers Andrew
    Oh by the way great idea just to get the printed,I love that idea

    • Thanks Lottie. Still not able to get out much so the catalogue is getting a bit of a clean out. Finding the ones I like and deleting a lot.

  5. Hi Andrew, thanks for popping over to my blog. Thought it time I reciprocated to see how you are getting on. Love these B&W photos, I think they are all great even though each one is very different to the other. I recognised the Edinburgh museum immediately – such a lovely building. And I really like the silhouette shot. I hardly ever actually print out photos. And I have hundreds that need deleting,!

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