Thursday, May 31, 2018

A Timely Reminder. Revisiting Photographs of the United States Before Environmental Regulations And The EPA

11:10:00 AM

Before the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970 by then-US President Richard Nixon, there really weren’t many regulations concerning air, noise, and water pollution, leading to vast areas of the countryside that were absolutely devastated by industrial abuse and neglect.

To catalogue the impacts of a regulation-free approach to the environment, the newly created EPA commissioned 70 professional, freelance photographers to travel across the United States and document the environmental disasters in many parts of the nation.

Producing over 80,000 photographs during its commission, the DOCUMERICA project not only captured the environmental impact of pollution but also the zeitgeist of the era.

U.S. National Archives' Local Identifier: 412-DA-7686

Original Caption: Clark Avenue and Clark Avenue Bridge. Looking East from West 13th Street, Are Obscured by Smoke from Heavy Industry, 07/1973.

This wasn’t the first time the federal government in the United States had commissioned such a project. During the Great Depression, the Roosevelt administration also dispatched photographers and journalists to catalog the effects of the economic crisis on behalf of the Farm Security Administration.

Among the participating photographers included Boyd Norton, Danny Lyon, Gene Daniels, Marc St. Gil, Anne LaBastille, Bill Strode, Charles O'Rear, Jack Corn, Tomas Sennett, Erik Calonius, Yoichi Okamoto, Ken Hayman, and John H. White.

Many of the images focus on the industrial facilities and national infrastructure, but some are distinctly concerned with capturing the culture and spirit of the era. The scope of the photographs is quite broad giving the collection a capsular air as one browses through the photographs.

Approximately 15,000 35 mm color slides and black and white negatives and prints are online through the National Archives and Records Administration's Archival Research Catalog in digital format.

One interesting fact is that some people have perceived that the scans show that the color of the original negative has degraded, leading to the washed-out appearance in some images.

This is not the case according to Eric Calonius, one of the original photographers on the project and an assistant to DOCUMERICA project director Gifford Hampshire, who said that the reason the scans appear washed out is because the National Archives used a copy of the original made in the 1970s, not the original negatives.

Here are a few of the more interesting photographs we’ve found in the collection:

Children Play in Yard of Ruston Home…081972

Original Caption: Rockport Harbor 02/1973
U.S. National Archives’ Local Identifier: 412-DA-5730
Photographer: Parks, Deborah

Children in Fort Smith Are Learning That Protecting the Environment Will Take More Than Awareness ..., 06/1972

Original Caption: Children in Fort Smith Are Learning That Protecting the Environment Will Take More Than Awareness. (From the Sites Exhibition. for Other Images in This Assignment, See Fiche 24.) 06/1972
U.S. National Archives’ Local Identifier: 412-DA-11452
Photographer: Olive, Jim

Rear View of Supervisors' Housing in Dehue, West Virginia, a Youngstown Steel Corporation Company Town near Logan 041974

Original Caption: Rear View of Supervisors' Housing in Dehue, West Virginia, a Youngstown Steel Corporation Company Town near Logan. In the Older Housing the Supervisors Were Given Two Story Homes with Four Rooms on Each Floor While the Workers Received One Story Four Room Dwellings. The Houses Also Were Separated, Symbolic of a Caste System That Is Now Becoming a Thing of the Past 04/1974
U.S. National Archives’ Local Identifier: 412-DA-13984
Photographer: Corn, Jack, 1929-

Subway Car. 051973

Original Caption: Subway Car. (From the Sites Exhibition. for Other Images in This Assignment, See Fiche Numbers 42, 97.). 05/1973
U.S. National Archives’ Local Identifier: 412-DA-11364
Photographer: Calonius, Erik

With the current US Administration's changes to environmental policies, these photographs serve as a timely reminder of what it was like for many people to live without environmental protections.

Documentary photography is an interesting area, feel free to comment on the craft below.

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Feel The Frustration! Astronaut Discovers He’s Forgotten the Camera’s SD Card While on Spacewalk

8:00:00 AM

Space: The final frontier for making rookie photography mistakes.

It happens to the best of us.

You get ready for a big day of shooting with your camera and you find out at the last minute that you’ve forgotten a critical piece of gear and it sets you back or even ruins the outing.

Well, don’t feel so bad – the same thing just happened to astronaut Drew Feustel when he took his GoPro for a spacewalk only to discover he had forgotten his SD Card.

Feustel, a flight engineer aboard the International Space Station, discovered he had forgotten the card when went to take some shots of outer space only to find he couldn’t in an embarrassing lapse caught on camera while the astronaut was communicating with Houston back on Earth.

Image via Pixabay from Pexels.com.

Of course, the GoPro camera Feustel is using is clad in protective casing to keep it safe from the harsh environment of space but, as Digital Rev points out, without an SD Card it really is just a glorified viewfinder. Feustel was going to take some epic pictures while he was out on a routine maintenance mission for the space station. We're sure that's a highly technical affair so his mind might have focused itself on other things, needless to say.

Cameras and space travel have had a long history together, with the relationship between Nikon and NASA going all the way back to 1971. We reported last year on a huge order of Nikon D5 DSLRs going to space, 53 to be exact. These cameras were delivered to NASA without modifications by Nikon but will likely undergo extensive reworking by NASA to tailor the devices to the agency’s needs.

If you would like to watch the moment Drew Feustel discovers he has left his SD Card back inside the International Space Station, you can do so by clicking here to view it here on YouTube.

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Are You Traveling To Germany? Here Is A Photographer’s Guide To Cologne

6:01:00 AM

Set on a wide sweep of the River Rhein, Cologne like many German cities was heavily bombed during World War Two. Also like may German cities a lot of the old sections were carefully and realistically rebuilt, while other areas gave birth to more post-modern looking architecture.

The end result is an eclectic looking city. Despite this, perhaps because of it, Cologne makes an interesting destination for photographers. The wide expanse of river affords excellent views for cityscapes, while the narrow streets of the old town are great for street and candid photographers.

Today we are going to take a look at what to shoot in Cologne.

Getting There

With an international airport a few kilometres from the city centre and a well served central train station, Cologne is an easy destination to reach from most parts of Europe. Budget airlines such as Wizzair serve the city from multiple locations.

From further afield direct flights into Frankfurt and a three-hour train ride will bring you to the heart of the city.

Like most German cities, Cologne is well served by local transport. Overground trains, the S-Bahn and a light railway U-Bahn allow you to get around the city easily. However, the centre of the city is compact enough to get around on foot.

Cologne Station – Excellent transport hub and photogenic too. By Jason Row Photography

The Iconic Locations

Arguably the icon of the city is Cologne Cathedral. It stands high and proud in a relatively low-level city and can be photographed from numerous locations.

Getting up close and personal some great shots can be had from Roncalliplatz to the south of the structure. This modern plaza contrasts sympathetically with the gothic spires of the cathedral. The entire cathedral is surrounded by a modern plaza and also numerous artworks which can be used as a juxtaposition to the building.

Surrounding the cathedral on the south and west is the Museum Ludwig and Kolner Philharmonie both housed in the same modern building.

Shooting from the pedestrian path beside the river gives a great contrast between the ultra modern and the ancient. From the riverbank, on both sides of the Rhein, you can shoot another of Cologne’s icons, the Hohenzollernbrucke. This is a multi-arch, multi-tracked railway bridge that spans the Rhein in front of the Cathedral. 

The riverside path is a great place to shoot the cathedral. By Jason Row Photography

Perhaps the most famous shots of Cologne are taken from the East bank of the Rhein beside the Hohenzollernbrucke and incorporating the Cathedral on the opposite bank.

The best location is on the viewing platforms to the side of the bridge and the best time to shoot is during the blue hour when both the bridge and cathedral are spectacularly lit.

The bridge itself has a wide pedestrian walkway with hundreds of thousands of love locks adorning the frame. On summer’s evening, this is a great location for shooting people and silhouettes looking back towards the cathedral.

The iconic view of Cologne is from the east bank of the Rhine. By Jason Row Photography

Back on the west bank of the Rhein, the area south of the cathedral is the restored old town of Cologne. Featuring colourful Hanseatic style architecture and pretty squares this is a great place to wander with your camera at any time of day.

Its centrepiece is the Catholic Church of St Martin, which is best shot from the pretty park on the riverbanks.

Just South of the old town is the modern Deutzer Bridge. In itself nothing spectacular but from it, you can get some excellent cityscape shots that incorporate the old town, St Martin and the Cathedral.

Dawn is a good time to shoot here as the sun rises behind you casting a soft yellow light on the pastel shades of the old town.

Dawn is a good time to shoot from Deutzer Bridge. By Jason Row Photography

Just south of Deutzer Bridge is Rheinauhafen. This is the renovated dockland area and will appeal to photographers of modern architecture where canyon like buildings provide a contrast to the architecture of the old town.

North of the city on the west bank of the Rhine is Skulpturenpark. With free admission, this pretty park is a great place to shoot modern works of art from people such as Anish Kapoor.

The modern architecture of Rheinauhafen makes an interesting contrast to the old city. Pixabay.

Further Afield, Cologne’s location makes it ideal for trips to other Rhein cities. The nearest is Dusseldorf to the north and Bonn to the south, both worth a photographic trip if you have a longer stay in Cologne. 

Like many German cities, Cologne is a heady mix of the old, the restored and the ultra-modern. While not as photogenic as nearby cities such as Paris and Amsterdam it is still a place well worth visiting as a photographer.

Cityscapes, architecture and street photographers will all enjoy what this western German city has to offer. 

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31. Mai 2018

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The Best Photo Printer in 2018 And Why You Will Want This One

1:20:00 AM

We have spent a lot of time analyzing various photo printers to find the best one for photographers and overall, we would recommend the Canon ImagePrograf Pro-1000. One of the first problems you are going to have to overcome when you decide to start printing your photographs is to one to suit your specific needs. It doesn’t matter whether you are using a pro-grade medium format camera, entry level DSLR, a point and shoot or even a smartphone camera, using the best photo printer allows you to have a great physical copy of your images and gives you the opportunity to have your special moments in your hand at the click of a button.

Overall Best Photo Printer Winner

The options available in the market are numerous – there is a photo printer out there for everyone, so it depends on your budget and requirements.

Whatever your need is, you will be looking for a printer that can reproduce the quality of the image you have created digitally, to look the same way when printed on paper and to last a long time. If you are a professional photographer running a business, or a photographer looking for stunning quality prints, you may not always want to print at a standard size – for example a postcard, 4”X6” size or A4 size – but there are times when you may want to have a landscape printed in a large format, you may want to make a few large and small prints to add to your collection, or maybe other larger prints to support your clients’, friends’ or families’ needs. Keeping this in mind, in this article, we will be focussing on the best photo printer that can be used for professional grade printing, which means gallery-quality prints at home between 13” to 17” wide (note that this is not the very large format commercial editions like 24” or 36” or 44” wide printers provide).

The printers that we have analyzed here are all professional inkjet printers that have more colors with the high-end printers having up to 12 different colored inks to accurately replicate the rich colors in your image (scroll down to read our reason for this selection).

Briefly: Why the Canon ImagePrograf Pro-1000 Came Out Top in Our List of Best Printers

In our estimation, the best printer of a reasonable size, that can match the needs of a professional photographer would be the Canon ImagePrograf Pro-1000 that can print up to 17 inches wide, is suitable for most purposes, comes with the Lucia Pro 11-ink system + Chroma optimizer, which means it produces prints with a broader color gamut (accurate color reproduction) and strong shadow details in darker areas, great image clarity, gloss uniformity and anti-bronzing.

The printhead is engineered with 1,536 nozzles x 12 inks = total 18,432 nozzles and sensors that continuously monitor the status of the nozzles and it has dedicated nozzles for photo black and matte black inks – which means, if you often switch back and forth between output types, you will neither have to waste time or ink when you switch between matte and glossy prints as you do with some other printers.

Canon ImagePrograf Pro-1000

The Canon ImagePrograf Pro-1000

Available At: Amazon | B&H | Adorama

How We Selected The Best Photo Printer Available Right Now

Table of Contents:

  1. Who are we?
  2. Why You Want to Avoid Bad Printers
  3. How This Analysis Was Conducted
  4. Research Methodology
  5. Best Photo Printer for Professional Grade Printing
  6. Conclusion

Who Are We Anyway?

If you're new to Light Stalking, you might like to know a little about us first. The Light Stalking Team has been featured by leading organizations including Nat Geo, Adobe, and is one among the top 10 most followed photography blogs in the world. The writers at Light Stalking have years of experience in the field of photography and this has given them the opportunity to test and use many different photography tools and accessories. This experience allows us to understand your needs and evaluate the best products in the market. Moreover, being connected with the industry ensures that we keep ourselves up-to-date on the latest technologies available for the consumer and that we are continuously researching new product categories, reading user reviews, and trialing those products, which ensures that we can provide the right suggestions when you are looking for one.

Why You Want to Avoid Inferior Quality Printers as a Photographer

You may have spent hours scouting for locations and then more hours hiking to those spots with all your heavy camera gear, including your cumbersome tripod, further you were probably shooting in bad weather – all in the name of capturing that epic image. Maybe you’ve even completed a portrait session (with all the wrangling that involves!), making sure that your photo represents the spirit of the person, friends or family.

You’ve then spent hours post-processing your image, ensuring that every little detail is correct, tweaking your images to make them look their best and to really represent your creative vision for that photograph. Then, you’ve chosen to print one or few of your very best images to go on display.

You’ve sent it to your current home printer, waiting patiently for a few minutes, or longer (depending on print size), only for it to be of such poor quality that the image is unusable – the colors are not what you expected, nor are they representative of your work, and the quality of the print is just not up to scratch.

There are also times when you’ve chosen to print your black and white photographs, only for the prints to come out with strange color casts and the printed image does not reproduce the expected dynamic range or tonality, of your photograph.

Sometimes, when you’ve printed your printhead has malfunctioned, usually as a result of nozzle block, or your paper has become skewed due to humidity or moisture – in this scenario, you had to waste paper and ink; ink and paper are not cheap!

What is the reason for these unexpected issues? Poor print results can be due to a number of issues. Predominantly, the quality of ink used in cheaper printers means that you do not get a true representation of your image. Less advanced printhead options have limited your color range and potentially leave you with a strange color cast to your image. Technology failure can also be due to the cheaper components used in these printers underperforming or wearing out. Unfortunately, compromising and buying a cheap printer can cause more issues and be more expensive in ink, paper and time, than you envisaged.

Avoid these issues by buying the best photo printer out there that has advanced print technology with more color combinations to reproduce a broader color gamut while printing. By choosing the cheaper product, you may have saved money but you’ve compromised quality, time and money as you reproduced on paper what you spent all your effort in creating digitally.

Moreover, you waste expensive ink and paper trying different settings or rectifying printer problems in hopes to arrive at a better print. The best advice is to invest in the best printer out there, that can print your images with the same colors, contrast and clarity that you expect.

Why We Think You Should Err Towards Inkjet Printers for Printing Photographs

The pigment ink for professional inkjet printers are made of tiny particles that sit on top of the paper and are of archival quality. This can last up to 200 years or more when maintained in proper conditions, compared with dye-based inks which are absorbed into the paper and tend to fade quickly lasting up to 75 years if maintained in proper conditions.

Epson P400 Photo Printer

Epson P400

However, you should understand that there are two drawbacks to pigment ink:

  1. metamerism, which is a slight shift in color when the print is viewed at an angle
  2. pigment ink isn’t as vibrant as the dye-based ink colors

If you did not know what metamerism is, it is a phenomenon where two colors appear to be of the same shade under one light source (maybe an incandescent light) but appear to be different shades under a second source (maybe a fluorescent light). In our case, the difference in shade appears when the print is viewed at an angle.

How This Analysis Was Conducted:

With so many printer manufacturers out there offering a vast range of products – starting from print from mobile portable printers to the very large format 64-inch printers, there are hundreds of printers out there in the market that suit every person’s need. Cost is similarly diverse with printers starting from below $50 to consumers being able to purchase printers that cost well over $10,000 and everything in between. As with most photography accessories, all printers are not the same but come with a variety of ink systems, technologies, and print sizes.

While some printers use the best quality pigment-based ink and printhead technology, they do cost more. Conversely, there are some printers that favor lower cost over more features. Unfortunately, we found that lower cost printers, in particular, do not produce acceptable quality black and white images.

So we focussed our attention on printers that are not overly large but could produce at least 13 to 17 inch-wide prints. We wanted those printers that performed best not only for color but also black and white images and finally, we also focussed on printers that could consistently provide high-quality images that you’d be proud to see displayed on your wall, hanging in a gallery or sold to clients.

The top line of printers that were analyzed fell broadly into two manufacturers –  Canon and Epson – with a few of their printers making it to the top of the group. We also looked into one of HP’s professional line of printers, the HP Photosmart 8750 Professional, as this met the specifications we were looking for.

Some of the reasons that other manufacturers did not make it through our analysis stage include the use of fewer ink colors meaning that these options could not provide the color gamut required, or the ink type used was not of a high enough quality. Further, some printers used laser and LED, thermal printing or dye sublimation – these technologies currently lack the quality required, particularly in printing monochrome photographs. Finally, we did not include printers that are not dedicated photo printers.

The criteria taken into account while analyzing the contenders for best photo printer were:

  1. Printing technology – this is very important as the printhead technology determines the quality of the print that is produced and determines whether there will be wastage of paper or ink. Printing technology also impacts potential maintenance issues and the print speed
  2. Image quality – the maximum print resolution was taken into account as this is a ruling factor when producing high-quality images for any purpose.
  3. Maximum print size – we understand that many people want to print out larger format prints, whether they are professionals or enthusiastic amateurs, therefore we looked at a maximum print size of 17 inches that is required in many galleries, but we also looked at a few 13-inch-wide printers.
  4. Ink type – the ink type is a major deciding factor for the quality of the prints, be they color or monochrome images, and we have looked mostly at only pigment based inks, but also checked two printers with dye-based inks.
  5. Ink palette and Chroma Optimizer – The high the number of inks the printer uses while printing, the broader the color gamut the printer can capture. Thus this became another crucial factor that we have taken into account while deciding on the best printer along with the Chroma Optimizer that helps create amazing quality prints.
  6. Monochrome prints – it is no good having a black and white print with no tonal variations or one with awkward color casts and so we have looked at printers that have a few inks dedicated to black and white prints so that the produced prints have an amazing dynamic range and produce true grey colors. Dedicated matte and photo black nozzles are also a very important factor to be looked into if you are someone who very often switches printing media. A printer without a dedicated nozzle for photo black and matte black will cost you some money on ink when switching between media as some ink is wasted in this process and it will also take some time for switching, although not a huge amount.
  7. Roll feeder – if you are someone who is into printing panoramas, then a printer with a roll feeder attachment will help you print on rolls of paper up to 129 inches long depending on the printer. However, beware, you may have to buy the roll feed adapter as an optional attachment at an extra cost.
  8. Print speed – the more nozzles and bigger the printhead, the higher the printing speed and this ensures that you get high quality 17 inches prints in less than 5 minutes.

Taking the above criteria into consideration, we have eliminated the HP Photosmart 8750 Professional, although a decent printer, it comes with nine dye-based ink colors that are delivered in tricolor cartridges which is a high waste technology, because, if one of the inks in the tricolor cartridge runs out, you will end up disposing of the entire cartridge wasting any remaining ink in the remaining two cartridges, this can be a concern increasing costs. Further, the HP Photosmart 8750 Professional prints only up to a maximum of 13 inches wide which means if you need prints larger than 13 inches, then you will need to get the help of professional print services.

The HP Photosmart 8750

The HP Photosmart 8750 is a fine printer but didn't make the cut for us

Excluding HP from the list, the remaining printers were all various models from Canon or Epson as most of their 13” or 17” wide carriage printers came with quality pigment-based ink systems with three to five colors for monochrome printing making them the best printers for not only color, but also black and white photo printing. Some of these printers come with a total of 12 ink tanks (11 colors + 1 Chroma Optimizer) so they can print a broad color gamut and have uniform glossiness protecting the printed products from getting damaged. Two of Canon’s printers were the best at this range, but we have eliminated one due to the fact that it is extremely large compared with the other printers, occupying an enormous amount of space and weighing in at around 44 kg!

A Note About Very Large Printers: A general rule with really large format printers like the 36” and 44” wide printers are that they are designed for graphics, maps, scientific renderings or where the printing is related to technical information. As a result, these printers are very large and come with a smaller number of ink cartridges – these very large format printers produce a narrow color gamut compared with printers that are dedicated to photo printing. As we are looking for the best photo printer for most photographers, we decided, therefore, to omit these machines from our analysis.

The three top printers that came out of the initial analysis are:

  1. Canon ImagePrograf Pro-1000  (Available at Amazon | B&H | Adorama)
  2. Epson SureColor P5000 (Available at B&H | Adorama)
  3. Epson SureColor P800 (Available at Amazon | B&H | Adorama)

The 3 Best Photo Printers for Professional Printing Up to 17 Inches Wide

Although all the printers that have made it to the final can print up to 17 inches wide, the prints from the Canon ImagePrograf Pro-1000 and Epson SureColor P800 are slightly better due to their advanced printing technology and ink systems. Also, the print speed is slightly faster. The Canon ImagePrograf Pro-1000 and Epson SureColor P5000 have dedicated nozzles for matte and photo black ink tanks which makes switching automatic. The Epson SureColor P800 lacks this facility. Another feature to note with Epson printers that have been listed here is the roll feeder that lets the user print panoramas on rolls of paper.

Let's look at the three main contenders in detail.

The Canon ImagePrograf Pro-1000 (Overall Winner)

The Canon ImagePrograf Pro-1000 (Available At: Amazon | B&H | Adorama) comes with a 17-inch-wide carriage photo printer and is priced at around $1,299.00 at the time of publishing, which means it is affordable for serious photography enthusiasts, professionals and comes with that “red line” which Canon has on their professional line of lenses.

The printer comes with the Lucia Pro 11-ink system + Chroma Optimizer, that has an optimized resin coating for each pigment and allows denser droplets to be applied to the media. This means it produces beautiful prints with a broad color gamut and accurate color reproduction. It also prints great shadow details in darker areas, has outstanding image clarity, gloss-uniformity and anti-bronzing.

There are four inks for monochrome printing, which helps to reproduce amazing black and white images with a broad tonal range with deeper and richer blacks.

The printhead is 50 percent larger compared with previous versions and comes with anti-clogging technology where sensors detect ink ejection and clogs, providing automatic back-up via another nozzle. The printhead is engineered with 1,536 nozzles x 12 inks = total 18,432 nozzles and sensors that continuously monitor the status of the nozzles. This aids in consistent ink droplets, limits clogs, avoids wastage of ink and reduces the frequency of cleaning cycles.  This means, you won’t need to worry about frequent printhead maintenance and you will not be wasting prints because there was a block in the nozzle. The tubular ink delivery system also ensures faster print speeds.

The dedicated nozzles for photo black and matte black inks mean, if you often switch back and forth between output types (media), you won’t have to waste time or ink during the switching process as you do with some other printers. The air feeding system prevents the pages from being skewed due to moisture and humidity and ensures accurate and uniform ink placement. The air feeding system provides a consistent height between the printhead and the media that leads to ink droplet accuracy and improved image quality. So no more worrying about wasting ink and papers because your print got damaged as a result of skewing.

Due to the bigger size of the printhead, anti-clogging technology, and air feed method, you can have a reliable and hassle-free standard color print to a maximum size of 17 x 22 inches in less than 5 minutes, while a full bleed edge to edge photo can take between 25 to 30 minutes to print.

However, this printer has one drawback that there is no provision to print onto roll paper, which means, the maximum sheet size you can print is 17 x 22 inches with a printable area of 16.73 x 21.69 inches (clicking the “C” option in the settings lets you print borderless). If you are into printing panoramas often, then this printer is not for you.

The important features of this printer are:

    1. Printing technology – full photolithography inkjet nozzle engineering
    2. Nozzle Configuration – 1,536 nozzles x 12 inks = total 18,432 nozzles
    3. Image quality – Up to 4800 x 2400 dpi 4 for both color and monochrome
    4. Maximum Print size – 17 x 22 inches
    5. Ink type – Pigment based Lucia Pro Ink
    6. Ink palette – 11 + 1 at 80 ml each (Cyan, magenta, yellow, photo cyan, photo magenta, red, blue, photo black, matte black, grey, photo grey and Chroma Optimizer)
    7. Monochrome prints – has greyscale printing with photo black, matte black, grey and photo grey ink tanks with dedicated nozzles for photo black and matte black
    8. Print Speed – 17 x 22 inches color photo – approximately 4 minutes 10 seconds for standard printing (full bleed edge to edge can take up to 25 – 30 minutes because it prints only one way)
Canon ImagePrograf Pro-1000 photograph printer

Canon ImagePrograf Pro-1000 Available At: Amazon | B&H | Adorama

If you are looking for a printer that is low on maintenance, with exceptional image quality, broad color gamut, dramatic black and white images and high-speed printing at only approximately 4 minutes 10 seconds for a standard 17 x 22 inches color photo, then in our estimation, the Canon ImagePrograf Pro-100 should be your first option as a professional photographer looking to have gallery or fine art quality prints.

Moreover, the price is a bargain compared with other printers of this range. 

Canon ImagePrograf Pro-1000 is available at: Amazon | B&H | Adorama

The Epson SureColor P5000

The Epson SureColor P5000 (Available at B&H | Adorama) is a printer aimed at professional imaging and comes as a wide format printer that can print up to 17” wide with enhanced performance and reliability. The advanced PrecisionCore TFP printhead and Epson’s precision dot screening technologies along with the 10 color gamut UltraChrome HDX pigment ink cartridges and high-density blacks (1.5 times denser than previous generations) deliver twice the print permeance compared with previous generation printers, which means prints last twice as long.

The SureColor-P5000 also comes with a roll media feeder along with paper cassette which means you are not limited to just the 17 x 22 inches wide prints but can print panoramas as well. Automatic switching is possible between front paper cassette and roll media feeder.

Black and white printing is done with three levels of black inks, photo black, light black and light light black, to create smooth tonal transitions and to bring out the subtlest details in the image. The switch between matte black and photo black is automatic which means you do not waste ink and time while switching media.

The printhead is designed to achieve high ink efficiency and printhead reliability, offers improved dust and static control and comes with ink-repellent surface coating for reduced nozzle maintenance. Matte black and photo black inks are delivered through a single channel which means, the ink type is chosen automatically based on the chosen media.

The important features of this printer are:

    1. Printing technology – Inkjet printhead
    2. Nozzle Configuration – 360 nozzles per ink color = 360 x 10 = 3600 nozzles
    3. Image quality – 2880 x 1440 dpi
    4. Maximum Print size – 17” x 22”
    5. Paper handling – front tray and roll feed
    6. Ink type – UltraChrome HDX pigment ink
    7. Ink palette – Standard edition of 10 (Cyan, Light Cyan, Vivid Magenta, Vivid Light Magenta, Yellow, Orange, Green, Light Light Black, Light Black, Photo Black, Matte Black)
    8. Monochrome prints – has greyscale printing with UltraChrome HDX Light Light Black, Light Black, Photo Black, Matte Black
    9. Print Speed – 17” x 22” borderless color photo – approximately 7 minutes (normal) to 12 minutes 26 seconds (maximum) depending on print speed setting
Epson SureColor P5000

Epson SureColor P5000 (Available at B&H | Adorama)

When comparing the Canon ImagePrograf Pro-1000 with the Epson SureColor P5000 the Canon ImagePrograf Pro-1000 excels in two categories.

The printhead is 50 percent larger and comes with anti-clogging technology where sensors detect ink ejection and any clogs providing automatic back-up via another nozzle. The 18,432 nozzles and sensors continuously monitor the status of the nozzles and this aids in consistent ink droplets, limits clogs, higher print speed, avoids wastage of ink and reduces the frequency of cleaning cycles.

The air feeding system prevents the pages from skewing due to moisture and humidity and ensures accurate and uniform ink placement and prevents loss of ink or media due to skewing. This means a consistent height is maintained between the print media and printhead resulting in improved image quality.

If you are not concerned about the above criteria but are looking for a printer that can print panorama besides the 17 x 22 inches photo, then in our estimation, the Epson SureColor P5000 should be your second option as a professional photographer looking to have prints made up to a size of 17 inches wide.

The Epson SureColor P5000 is available at B&H | Adorama.

The Epson SureColor P800

The Epson SureColor P800 (Available at Amazon | B&H | Adorama) utilises professional imaging technologies and comes with a 17-inch-wide option for printing sheet media and roll media; yes, you can print panoramas with this printer up to 129 inches long, because it can print onto roll paper that comes as an optional adapter (will have to be bought at an extra cost of around $250). The printer uses UltraChrome HD inks which is the 8 color pigment ink technology for reproducing outstanding colors + resin encapsulation technology (similar to Chroma Optimizer) for uniform glossiness. The MicroPiezo AMC (Advanced Meniscus Control) printhead combined with the professional grade ink ensures accurate and stunning print detail.

The printhead comes with 180 nozzles per ink color and utilizes the AMC technology, combined with an ink-repellent surface coating that ensures consistent dot placement. However, when switching between matte and photo black, although it is automatic, there is some time involved and ink used in that process; matte to photo black, 3 mins 30 secs, 4.6 ml ink used, photo to matte black, 2 mins 30 secs, 1.6 ml ink used.

The important features of this printer are:

    1. Printing technology – Epson MicroPiezo AMC inkjet printhead
    2. Nozzle Configuration – 180 nozzles per ink color x 8
    3. Image quality – 2880 x 1440 dpi
    4. Maximum Print size – 17” x 22” and panoramas up to 129 inches long
    5. Paper handling – auto sheet feeder, front fine art feed, front straight path, optional roll media adapter for prints up to 129 inches long
    6. Ink type – Pigment based UltraChrome HD inks
    7. Ink palette – 9 individual cartridges at 80 ml each ((cyan, vivid magenta, yellow, light cyan, vivid light magenta)
    8. Monochrome prints – has greyscale printing with UltraChrome HD photo black and UltraChrome HD matte black ink tanks, light black and light light black
    9. Print Speed – 17” x 22” borderless color photo – approximately 7 minutes (normal speed) to 12 minutes 26 seconds (maximum) depending on print speed
Epson SureColor P800

Epson SureColor P800 (Available at Amazon | B&H | Adorama)

When comparing the Canon ImagePrograf Pro-1000 with the Epson SureColor P800 the Canon ImagePrograf Pro-1000 excels in three or more categories.

  1. The Canon printhead is 50 percent larger and comes with anti-clogging technology where sensors detect ink ejection and any clogs providing automatic back-up via another nozzle. The 18,432 nozzles and sensors continuously monitor the status of the nozzles and this aids in consistent ink droplets, limits clogs, higher print speed, avoids wastage of ink and reduces the frequency of cleaning cycles compared with the fewer ink nozzles for Epson SureColor P800.
  2. The air feeding system prevents the pages from skewing due to moisture and humidity and ensures accurate and uniform ink placement and prevents loss of ink or media due to skewing. This means a consistent height is maintained between the print media and printhead resulting in improved image quality.
  3. The Canon ImagePrograf Pro-1000 comes with dedicated nozzles for photo black and matte black inks which means, when switching back and forth between output types (media), you will neither have to waste time or ink when you switch between matte and glossy prints as you do with the Epson SureColor P800.

If you are not concerned about the above criteria but are looking for a printer that can print very long panorama besides the 17 x 22 inches photo, then in our estimation, the Epson SureColor P800 should be your third option as a professional photographer looking to have prints made up to a size of 17 inches wide.

You can get an Epson SureColor P800 at Amazon | B&H | Adorama.

Conclusion:

Huge prints are made to last for a lifetime. Photographers are always looking for rich colors, broad color gamut, high dynamic range, exceptional monochrome images, sharpness and amazing details in the shadow areas. When you are working on large projects, you are also looking at print speeds and maintenance issues and so you need a printer that can accomplish all these things.

Taking into consideration the above facts, the number 1 recommendation from us would be the Canon ImagePrograf Pro-1000 as it comes with professional quality ink that has a wider color gamut and four ink tanks for monochrome printing. It also has a Chroma Optimizer that provides uniform glossiness. Added to this is the air feed system that prevents media from skewing, the anti-clogging technology reduces maintenance frequency and the improved size of the printhead and increased number of nozzles provides increased print speed at only a little above 4 minutes for a 17 x 22 inches standard color print.

If you are looking for the best professional photo printer out there that can print up to 17” wide, then our number one recommendation would be the Canon ImagePrograf Pro-1000. It is also sold at quite an affordable price for serious professionals and can be purchased at these outlets:

The best photo printer of 2018 is the Canon ImagePrograf Pro-1000. Get it at Amazon | B&H | Adorama

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

5 Technical Tips On How To Convert Portraits into Black and White

11:10:00 AM

Before the wonders of digital photography, using black and white was a choice that photographers made before capturing a photograph. Nowadays, that choice happens in post-production, after the image is downloaded from the camera.

Today we’ll talk briefly about the steps you need to execute to make a black-and-white conversion for pretty much any portrait, regardless of your RAW developing software.

Why Black And White?

Photo by Shandry Ferynando on Pixabay

Before getting into the really technical stuff, there is a valid question we need to answer before clicking or pressing some keyboard shortcuts. What's the purpose of converting an image (in this case, a portrait) into black and white in the first place?

There are several possible answers:

  • It delivers fewer distractions when telling a story or communication a message.
  • Monochrome gives a timeless feeling due to the absence of color.
  • It is more generous when it comes to punching up the contrast.
  • Black and white is so forgiving that it might save an odd-looking color photograph.

However you answer those questions, it is important that you always have a clear understanding of why you are doing what you are doing. That is part of the beautiful practice called “Conceptualization“.

White Balance

Photo by Stefan Stefancik on Pexels

First thing's first: let's start by assuming you are developing a RAW file because a well-planned portrait deserves to be crafted with all the available information from your camera.

White balance is one of the definitive steps in any developing workflow because it allows adequate tone separation. This will help you a lot when you’re converting a regular color portrait into a stunning black-and-white image.

The logic to follow when balancing the overall temperature of a photograph is to locate a spot in the image that is white (or very close to white) and even things out using that small portion of the image. This can be easily performed the eye-dropper tool – you just need to select it from the white balance panel and click on the white spot on the photograph.

Certain tones tend to overlap when the temperature hasn't been evened out, and they can give you a lot of trouble if you darken or brighten them. I have tried to correct the brightness in a blue tone and skin tones getting affected as well because the overall temperature has been yellowed out.

Try to make a black-and-white conversion without correcting the white balance, then do it after correcting it. You'll notice a great difference when dealing with the adjacent tones.

Using Clarity Correctly

Photo by SJJP on Pixabay

This is a tool that deserves to be mentioned because there are a lot of misconceptions about it and people are using it harshly in their portraits. Clarity must be understood like this: it enhances the contrast between light and dark tones. It gives the illusion of sharpness, but it’s not a real sharpening tool. The best way to achieve sharpness is by focusing correctly in the camera.

When applying clarity, you need to be aware of the results and stop pushing it to the point where you start to see funny or unreal results.

The abuse of this tool gives a sort of HDR look that just doesn't feel right in portraits; it works only on the borders of tones and enhances skin spots and wrinkles as well.

It’s okay to use it in portraits, but you need to be extremely cautious to avoid unpleasant results.

Avoid Auto Mixtures

After balancing the temperature of your photograph to get closer to what you saw with your eyes (that's right, the whole purpose of white balance is to get closer to the overall temperature of reality) you can convert into black and white.

The best way to achieve this in Lightroom is by hitting keyboard shortcut “V”. But before that, you should make sure your software isn't giving you a preset mixture.

When converting to black and white in Lightroom, there is a default auto-mixture that should be disabled. In previous versions of Lightroom, this was achieved by clicking on Edit > Preferences > Presets and deselecting “Apply auto mix when first converting to black and white”.

In newer versions of Lightroom, it is done via the HSL menu.

The only reason why you should avoid auto black-and-white mixtures is because every case is different, every photograph has a different light setting, and also because all skin is different. Hence the decision to start from scratch, with all values set to zero.

It’s All About The Skin

Photo by fsHH on Pixabay

Every skin type is a different world, and you should be aware of that before converting a black-and-white portrait. And you should know how to handle each skin type. This is the main reason why you should always balance the image’s temperature, as we stated above.

Skin tones are among the strongest colors when it comes to memory. This means that we are so familiar with skin tones that we expect them to look in a certain way each time. Therefore, we can easily spot a funny-looking skin tone without any problem – and by “we”, I'm not talking just about photographers, but pretty much every human being.

From pale Caucasian to extremely dark skin tones, you need to be extremely careful with the reds, oranges, yellows – and in some cases, the greens – when doing a black-and-white conversion.

These are the color channels that will help you achieve great-looking tones in your black-and-white portraits.

Please let us know in the comments section about any doubts or experiences you've had when converting a portrait into black-and-white from a color version.

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Looks Like Nikon Is Going After Sony’s A7 III With Its New Mirrorless System

8:05:00 AM

Nikon’s rumored full-frame mirrorless professional camera system is benchmarking Sony’s A7 III and its competitive $USD 2000 price tag according to rumors that slate the debut for such a monumental piece of gear for this year’s Photokina in Germany, September 2018.

No doubt Nikon’s premiering of such a product is much-anticipated by Nikon fans but analysts are beginning to wonder if the company can really bring the heat against Sony in a segment that it has done quite well in for some time.

Image via Pdro Khuana from Pexels.com.

Nikon Rumors has indicated that the camera will use a new “Z” mount with a 24MP full-frame sensor and it should debut alongside two lenses with new lenses coming 6 months after the camera’s release.

There is even talk of an adaptor to allow current Nikon users to use F-mount equipment on the new Nikon camera in what the Phoblographer bills as a way to make any transition to the system easier for longtime fans.

What has analysts speculating is to what extent the new Nikon camera will be on par with its rumored benchmark, the Sony A7 III. Sony has had quite some time to perfect its camera system and it is in the small details that Sony may have an initial edge over the new gear from Nikon.

As the Phoblographer points out, Sony has really honed its battery life for the A7 III and the camera features facial tracking, among other features, that Nikon lacks.

Where the camera will really rise or fall is potentially in how useful the F-mount adapter they are making for it is. If it really allows for parity between systems then the new camera from Nikon is really not a difficult decision for current Nikon users and may eventually sway Sony stalwarts over to the new system.

If any of the rumors are correct, this year’s Photokina is going to be amazing in terms of product introduced.

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Bite Size Tips – 10 Quick Tips On How To Capture Critters In The Wild

6:01:00 AM

With the advancement of digital technologies and easy access to photography gear for most enthusiasts, wildlife photography is becoming an easier genre to take up for those who aspire to do so. Whether you are on a safari or in a national park or trying to capture wildlife in your backyard, it requires a LOT of patience.

With wild animals, you cannot expect them to cooperate with you or stay steady/pose for you, but you need to wait, wait and wait for moments/actions to happen in order to get good wildlife photographs.

If you want great wildlife images, you will need to wait for days or weeks or even months, but why? That is because you need to get to know the animals, in order to get the time, place and other things right to photograph them.

Image by Mathias Appel


Here Are Some Tips On Getting Started With Some Good Wildlife Photographs:

1. Required Gear:

Have a camera that allows for manual settings and telephoto lenses are a must for wildlife photography as you cannot / should not get close to the animals in the wild.

The zoom depends on the size of the animal you are shooting and how close you want the shot. If you’re looking to photograph birds, you will need at least a 400mm or 600 mm lens.

Most importantly, know your gear!

Note: These lenses can be quite heavy to carry around and are not a problem if you’re shooting from a vehicle, but if you have to carry your gear around for long periods, it is good to have a teleconverter on a 300mm lens, but they can affect the image quality and reduce the amount of light entering the lens.

Image by Daniyal Ghanavati

2. Look For The Best Light And Time Of The Day:

Wildlife is most active early in the morning and in the evenings and this is the time when the light is great too! Make sure you get up well before sunrise to reach the location on time. If you miss this, try as much to avoid the harsh midday light and do not forget that you can capture some amazing silhouettes during and after the golden hour.

3. Know Your Subject:

You cannot always get to a location and return with great shots. Wildlife photographers need a good understanding of their subjects, their habitat, behaviour and personalities so that they get some great shots.

There are photographers who visit a place for days or months in order to make themselves and the animal comfortable enough to capture their photographs.

Image by Kikatani

4. Time Your Shots And Show Your Subject’s Personality:

With wildlife, if you know them and their behaviour, you can expect to capture certain actions sometimes by closely keeping an eye on them (predicting behaviours beforehand); that is if you have learned them well. In times like these, capture your subject’s personality. There are times when actions can happen unexpectedly – so be ready for the shot always.

5. Don’t Forget To Capture Textures, Patterns, Lines:

There are animals and birds with beautiful patterns and textures on their skin. Why not deviate from the usual norms and photograph these to create some abstract images? Sometimes a very huge pack of animals, when shot to fill the frame, can create an interesting photograph too.

Image by Mathias Appel

6. Don’t Hesitate To Go Wide:

You do not want to always shoot a portrait or close details of the animals, instead go wide and show their environment or habitat as this gives the viewer an idea of where and how the animals live. Do not forget to look around while waiting for animals because you will be surprised at what you can discover and photograph.

Image by Baluda

7. Don’t Hesitate To Get Closer:

Where you want to show the personality of an animal or a group, get closer (zoom in) and get even closer to capture the little details that you can (think of abstract compositions!).

8. Get Down To Their Level, Capture Eye Contacts:

It is always good to get down to your subject’s level to capture some compelling images and take the viewer into the scene. Having eye contact in images will make for a great photograph.

Image by Skeeze

9. Be Persistent:

You will not get the best image of an animal or bird in your first attempt. You need to patiently and persistently practice, wait and keep trying till you get it right.

10. Respect Wildlife, Enjoy The Experience:

Remember, you are in their habitat and not yours – so respect wildlife. Do not disturb them, tease them or use flash while photographing. Above all, do not just keep looking into the technical details always, instead of when you need a shot, just get it before it slips away! And….look around and enjoy looking at how these animals live.

Image by Robert1709

If you are into photographing wildlife, do you have any tips that you think would benefit others? Please feel free to share them in the comments section below.

If you are just getting into wildlife photography and wish to take your photography to the next level by learning the basics every pro photographer uses, make sure you check out Essential Photography Skills by Brent Mail.

Love Wildlife Photography? Here Is Some Further Reading:

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About Us

Time Trap Photography is dedicated to freezing those special moments in life that can be revisited and admired for generations to come. - Shannon Bourque

The lens in focus

“Life is like a camera. Just focus on what’s important and capture the good times, develop from the negatives and if things don’t work out, just take another shot.” — Unknown

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