Singular Images

March 20, 2019

LACP: 24 inch wide Canon Pro-2000 printer training

Filed under: Memory pods, Photography, Workshops — Tags: , — Douglas Stockdale @ 2:06 pm

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Untitled, Memory Pods copyright 2015 Douglas Stockdale

Last night I attended the LACP (Los Angeles Center of Photography) training class in their printing laboratory to learn the basics on how to use their 24″ wide Canon Pro-2000 printer. This is a wide-format printer that is available to LACP members (small fee; time plus nominal ink use cost), but they do require that you first go through their printer training class to reduce the amount of time that the staff might need to support any users. Interesting that LACP actually has two 24″ wide Canon printers, an older one and the latest Pro-2000; seems that the older one is on the side-lines gathering dust.

My purpose for learning and using the LACP Canon Pro-2000 is two fold; I want to become more familiar with this printer as a pending investment for the studio and second, I want to use the LACP printer to create a portfolio of larger print images for the Memory Pods project pending buying my own studio printer.

The training was led by Eric Joseph, who is part of the Freestyle photo supply team and their printing specialist as well as a board member of LACP. To say that he knows a lot about printers and printing paper is an understatement.

So what were my take-aways?

First; LACP has some unique requirements for digital files for their printers; the collapsed file needs to be in either a JPEG or TIFF format and regretfully the sample file I brought with me was a PhotoShop (.psd) file). The print lab has a number of Mac’s with PhotoShop loaded, so I probably could have quickly created a new TIFF file on the spot, but content to watch the others print. Also did learn that the monitors might have been color calibrated at one time, but not maintained. Eric had created 40 printer/paper profiles for this printer, so most of the usual combinations were ready.

Two; I needed to download the Canon Print Studio Pro printer software for my Pro-1. This is also the recommended Canon printer interface recommended for the LACP print lab. So I am in the process of this task as I need to get this download into the proper PhotoShop plug-in folder. Probably more about this another day. Also evident that a good monitor and printer profile can really make a huge difference in the printed results.

Three; before I start investing in some 24″ rolls of printing paper at $140 to $200 per roll, I need to  profile the papers I am interested in for my Pro-1 and do some print testing with some less expensive 8-1/2 x 11″ sheet paper. First on my list is the Hahnemuhle PhotoRag Pearl (100% cotton rag), a Glossy FineArt paper that I used for my Middle Ground project. Eric stated that the Canon Pro-1 is a pigment ink printer but the pigment inks are not exactly the same as the Canon Pro-2000 printer, but close enough to what I achieve in my studio should appear almost exactly the same on the larger LACP printer.

Last, if I can find a space for it, Eric recommends that I purchase the Canon Pro-4000 which is the 44″ wide printer. He was preaching to the choir. I would really, really prefer purchasing a 44″ wide printer over a 24″ wide printer; but my studio is pretty small. hmmmmm, so what to do? Since I am not ready to purchase either for the next few months, a question I can continue to mull over. What I have learned is that where this is a will, there is a way; now I need to figure out the way.

About this photograph from my Memory Pods project; this is another image that was featured earlier this week in my Voyage LA magazine article. I posted another version of this same photograph with a completely different appearance. Later after showing this earlier version to a group I then had a discussion with a friend who had a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and his recall experience was more about having a general “fuzziness” when trying to remember specific details. I discussed this with a couple of others who had mild TBI who talked about something similar in experience; thus a re-work of this photograph that might better visually investigate their experiences.

Cheers!

March 12, 2019

Canon Pro-1 color icc profiles

Filed under: Memory pods, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 3:46 pm

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Untitled, (Memory Pods), 2015 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Day two of installing my Canon Pro-1 printer and after getting the basics in place as I wrote about yesterday, the next step was creating the color profiles (icc profiles) for my printing papers. I am starting with my basic proofing paper. This involved creating my first paper color profile with the X-Rite i1 studio color management system, something I had not performed before.

As to my basic proofing paper, I am leaning towards the Canon Photo Plus Semi-gloss to start with. It appears to provide sufficient contrast and color luminosity without the high glossy reflections. The resulting print is just visually pleasing in my hands. Later this week I will print some 13 x 19″ prints to see how these images and paper look under some Halogen gallery lights.

As to the first icc profile I developed with the i1, let’s just say it was eventful. My biggest complaint is that very large dial on the i1 is not that easy to grasp and rotate to set the appropriate setting without sometime inadvertently hitting the exposure button in the middle of this device. It just takes a little bit of practice, which the i1 in its own way helped to provide. Nevertheless, I printed the two color swatch pages, scanned these with the i1 and finalized the icc profile for the Photo Plus Semi-gloss paper. Overall, an easy process, but does take a little time as X-Rite recommends a 10 minute drying time for each test print before the scanning process.

Once the new icc profile was named and saved; then onward to the final printing test. After opening Photoshop, uploading my test image (Memory Pods) from yesterday’s post, then finding the new icc for the printer profile, I proceeded to print my first image.

Bingo! What a difference a nice icc printer profile makes! The resulting print was a match to what I had on my monitor. And a really big difference to what I printed without a icc profile. So probably no big news, but using a color calibration system and creating color profiles to coordinate what’s on your monitor with what gets printed works really nice. In the past, I would add a curve (adjustment) layer to the image file in PhotoShop to make the necessary printing adjustments and I would need to print three or four versions to finally dial in my print. Regretfully the curve adjustment layer process is not very effective with making any color adjustments and that requires another adjustment layer for color balance, thus making the printing process a lot more complex and tedious.

Now with the icc profile in place the very first print is spot on. I think that this is where the i1 color management process really shines.

Yesterday I also stated that the back paper feed (not the top paper feed) was not working. So I received some feedback off-line from my post and appears that this is an issue with the Canon Pro-1 printer; it is just a bit fussy.  The back paper feed needs at least 3 or 4 sheets of paper, make sure the guides are not tightly holding the paper, glossy paper is the most fussy, and to keep the in-feed rollers clean. So I have a little bit more to do to get this paper feed to work. Meanwhile, the top paper feed works fine.

Life is good.

One of my consignment projects is printing the stiff-cover book covers for a small limited edition book. With the icc profiles now in place I completed this print job last night and the resulting prints are now dry and ready for binding. These prints look great. Did I mention that life is good?

Regarding the Memory Pods image above, it’s a slight departure from most of the body of work and a progression in my Memory Pods project. Most of my project focuses on just one subject, perhaps similar to a portrait. I have been looking at some of past images in consideration of making a juxtaposition of two objects and now that might visually investigate a relationship. This is the first one that I think creates the visual narrative I was interested in creating; foreground is well defined while a similar shape and subject is in the background shadows with both just joining together on the bottom edge of the print. I created a black border to better define the print edges. The edge treatment is something I am also experimenting with as to how this might change the narrative of the image.

It is very nice to be back printing again. And I think I like this Pro-1; thus after 15 years using a variety of Epson printers, I have made the conversion to Canon printers. This printer appears to be a keeper.

Cheers!

Doug

September 26, 2018

Mystery on the Plano Trabuco – Buzzards circling

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series, Trabuco Flats Mystery — Tags: , , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 10:59 pm

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Buzzards, Mystery on the Plano Trabuco 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

In the Southwest the sight of circling buzzards is not a good omen as it foretells of something that might be dying or perhaps already passed on to its afterlife. I realized that an image of circling buzzards would make a great image for my Mystery on the Plano Trabuco as representative of something dark and forbidding, so I have been on the lookout for such an aerial event.

Although the image above is in line with my visual quest, the subject of this post is about something else that appears to be on the ropes and might be dying; my Epson Pro 4800 printer. Perhaps interesting that the day I sighted and photographed this circling group of buzzards when I returned to my studio, my Epson 4800 started going sideways. First it locked up with a Service code in which the printer appeared to be demanding some respect that was related to a “memory” issue; the net discussion with the Epson technical services folks over a three hour span.

Next the trailing half inch of the prints were printing incomplete; with both banding and then the printing ceased part way on the image at the back edge of the paper as it comes off the printer. The recommendation from the Epson tech was to turn off the fast print option, but regretfully it was not even on. This print issue was occurring whether the print was small at 8 x 7 on 8-1/2 x 11″ paper or a 16 x 20″ image on a 17 x 22″ sheet. sigh.

In one sense, I will have to admit that this printer has been pretty decent for the past 13 years IF I rule out the constant ink plugging and need to go through countless head cleaning cycles. Which has soured me a bit on an Epson replacement. I have had a bunch of folks state that the new Epson’s do not have this issue any more, but there are a few others that state that it just occurs a lot less often. 13 years ago Canon was seriously getting into the printer game and it now appears that Canon has a great set of printers and many of my friends have made the switch.  So Canon is now on my radar. If I made the recent switch from PC to iMac, perhaps I could make the change from 20+ years of Epson to Canon.

Meanwhile, back in the studio I have taken the advice of some Facebook friends to use a power vacuum to clean the beast’s internal workings and then I ran the print alignment diagnostic again. Good News! This combination has seemed to do the trick to fix the printing issue; no banding or print fall off on the 8-1/2 x 11″ paper, so next is to tempt fate and print a large image at 16 x 20″ on a full sheet of 17 x 22″. So for the short term it appears that the printer is working but I still have big time concerns. I know that I have a little bit of time to do my homework on it’s replacement, but the clock is ticking. Tick. Tock.

Maybe even time to consider a 24″ wide big brother printer.

This is pretty much like when I was a kid driving an old clunker car and never knowing when the wheels might fall off. So pretty sure I am now on borrowed time, because as I look up, the buzzards are still circling my studio.

Cheers,

Doug

 

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