Experimentation is Key!

Ever wonder where the articles and ideas for the articles on the Figital Revolution come from? Tired of your current process or working method and are looking for something new or a new approach. This audio blog provides high energy ideas on suggestions on how to jump start your creative process and redefine yourself as a photographer.

Resource link mentioned in Audio:

End of an Era…The Stinehour Press is Closing!

Stephen Schaub, The Leader!I find this post very disturbing to write and a sad reflection on our current economic situation here in the US, as well as an unfortunate look at the trend in book publishing to find the cheapest and “good enough” printing press for the production of Fine Art  Books. Where are most “fine art” books printed now?…China! That is not to say that good books can not and have not been printed in China, but we all know there is a huge difference between a  book printed on a cookie cutter press and one printed at a true fine art printing press.

I personally have been very fortunate in my career thus far, having my first book printed at the Stinehour Press in Lunenburg, Vermont and my second book at the Salto Press in Belgium. Both of these presses represent the pinnacle of printing quality (which translates into options for the artist) yet now it seems that the Stinehour Press will be no more in just a few months. 

Founded in 1952 and employing over 21 employees the Stinehour Press had won numerous awards for printing excellence and it’s collection of printed books and materials reads like a list of luminaries in the field of Art with a very large capitol A. Stephen Stinehour, who I consider a personal friend, left the press several years ago to pursue other printing projects, yet I know he finds the closing of the Stinehour Press- which was founded by his father- a sad statement on the currect position of the printing industry in the US.

In our quest to get to get the most for our dollar (or Euro or whatever) many people seem to lose sight that in that process of “how low can you go” a lot is lost… and once it is gone it is gone forever. In the “new” industry of Giclee Fine Art Printing I can remember only a few years back where how cheap and how fast you could print was the driving force for marketing products and services. Fade-out/fade-in 5 years and most of the get-rich-quick printing operations are gone, dying, or consolidated because you can only cut costs so far and most of these technologies at the end of the day are still quite expensive to run and upgrade. It seems correct to me that a great print deserves a fair price/competitive price…but you have to compare apples with apples. Also remember that cuts in cost almost always come at the expense of quality and workers pay or health benefits…you know the complaint and I’m sure you hear it everyday on the news or in your own community.  Continue reading “End of an Era…The Stinehour Press is Closing!”

Scanning, Color Mangement and Photoshop…The Diafine and TX Sage…Part 2

As promised here is the next installment in the ongoing exploration of Diafine Developer and TX. In these videos hybrid artist and master printer Stephen Schaub (The Leader) discusses scanning techniques, color management considerations and Photoshop techniques to maximize your Diafine processed TX negatives!! (Please note that due to a time limitation on Youtube the video has been broken into two parts so be sure to watch BOTH videos!!)

Video ONE

Video TWO

Stay tuned for part 3 of the Diafine and TX saga early next week on the Figital Revolution!

Resource Links

Noise Ninja

Pixel Genius (Photo Kit Sharpening Software)

Kami Scanning Supplies

Ergosoft High Fidelity Inkjet RIP Software

Eizo Monitors

Viva la Revolution!!

Processing Black and White Film for Scanning – Diafine and TX!

If you’re like me you’re always on the lookout for a great black and white film/ developer combo for scanning. I’ve tried many different films and developers and then recently stumbled upon the great marriage of Diafine and TX (Kodak Tri-x)…my new standard. Watch the videos below to learn more about this dynamic combination and for tips on proper processing techniques as well as a few quick tips on scanning black and white negatives. Be sure to also check out my sample pictures under the videos to see just how good it is. (Click on the images for a larger view.)

Video:

Please note that due to YouTube 10 minute video limit I had to break this 12 minute discussion into two parts. (Be sure to watch both videos!)

Video 1

Video 2

Example Pictures:

This image illustrates the huge dynamic range possible with TX and Diafine. In this example TX was rated at 1600, 35mm. (Check out that shadow detail!)

TX1600_DynamicRangeExample

This example is TX at 1600 in low flat lighting…the full print size is 16″x24″ and the crop is a 4″x6″ section out of the full image area. Film size: 35mm

This example and the close up represent TX at 1600. The final image size (print) is 16″x24″ and the crop represents a 3″x3″ area of the final image at full size. Remember…this is TX at 1600 in 35mm!!

EveCropAt1600TX35mm16_24print

Processing Information for Tested Films:

Fuji Acros 100 EI 200 70-75 5+5 (Best choice for really big enlargements and where an EI of 200 is ok.)

FP4 EI 200-250 70-75 3+3 (Very nice but I prefer PMK for FP4).
TMY-2 EI 500-640 70-75 3+3 (Very nice combo but I’d stick with Xtol or D76 1:1…see my review of this film here on the Figital Revolution.)

TX EI 1250-1600 70-75 3+3 (My personal favorite and my new everyday film. I also keep an ND filter with me (.9) for the bright afternoon light and just remove it as the day ends so I can shoot this film all day long on my M7 with no worries!)

All chemicals are mixed with distilled water. Processing is done by hand with stainless steel tanks and reels.

I will be posting Part 2 in a few days which will cover my scanning techniques (specific and general) as well as basic file handling. Part 3 (next week) will focus on the final print and have a demo (yes another video) on hand coating your own paper for inkjet. Stay Tuned!!

For a quick audioblog on my printing techniques and my thoughts on tonality just click on this link: A Fear of Gray

All images and video Copyright Stephen M. Schaub 2008

The Final Word – A Rebutal to END ALL Rebutals

Schaub Y StrapIf you spend as much time as I do on the web (drinking espresso) you come across some pretty interesting assertions by photographers from all walks of life. I have posted this audioblog in an effort to ameliorate and perhaps provide a bit of “middle ground” for a conversation between the Luminous Landscape and Ken Rockwell. (To read each original article just click on the links below:)
 

Luminous Landscape Article – Your Camera Does Matter

Ken Rockwell Article – Your Camera Doesn’t Matter

AudioBlog LogoOk, now that you’ve been outraged by the silly, over-the-top claims on all sides, and are searching for some clarity in your photographic life give this audioblog a listen….it’s therapy time. In the end we can and should all get along!

Polaroid – The End of an Icon?

PolaroidJust in case you haven’t heard…that wonderful instant Polaroid material you’ve used for years is about to be no more! That’s right: Polaroid has announced that it will stop production of its instant materials at the end of this year. There have been rumors that Fuji and Ilford may be interested in the technology but to date nothing has, er, developed. Here is a link to a great interview from NPR on Polaroid and reflections by several artists who use this material for the artworks including Chuck Close. (Just click on the AUDIO logo.)

AudioBlog Logo

Having worked with Polaroid materials for several of my own artwork projects from my Through A Glass Darkly series and Book, The Haiku Series, The Sakura Porfolio and my Encaustic Cycle as well as also being collected in the Polaroid Permanent Collections  as one of their featured artists I find this news of a once-great icon in photography closing shop very, very disturbing for the future of our creative medium.

Sticky Filter Syndrome – Help for Photographers in Need.

Do you- or a photographer you know- suffer from Sticky Filter Syndrome? There is no need to be ashamed… we’ve all been there. This informative video gives a quick fix and a preventative cure for this dreaded photographic ailment.