Printing

More prints for sale by Neil Alexander

Soon to be ex-willow tree

Hi there gang, and Happy Thursday once again. Slightly distracted today as I'm having a hoofing great willow tree felled - it was a beautiful tree but was fast becoming a major nuisance to us and the neighbours so it's having to go. Really rather fascinating watching the guys at work. Never before have I seen such a lethal tool as a chainsaw used with so much dexterity!

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Anyway, on to business..... As I've mentioned in a previous post or two, I'm moving my print galleries over to Fine Art America as I feel that it'll be a better place from which to sell my printed photographs. Not only can you buy top quality prints, but acrylics, canvases, metal prints and pre-framed images all ready to hang straight on your wall. Pricing is very competitively set and there is 100% satisfaction guarantee.

I go to extreme lengths to make sure that all the images that I post there are of first class quality and I am certain that you won't be disappointed. To date, I've around 60 images posted from the Lake District, Cheshire, Anglesey, the Isle of Skye, France, Spain and Iceland with plenty more to come.

If you've seen any images on my website or blog that you'd like a print of, then don't hesitate to ping me an email and I'll see what I can arrange for you.

Epson R2400 first impressions by Neil Alexander

I can safely say that initially I'm very pleased with the results. Reproductions on both glossy and matt paper are very impressive indeed. The product was well packaged and very straight forward to set up.... However, it took me ages to work out how to get the list of possible papers to display anything other than the bog standard photo papers. It was only after some serious googling that I tried chaning the black cartridge from Photo Black to Matt Black. Then I saw a completely different list of possible papers. However in the process of changing the inks, the printer does a whole re-calibration routine or something that uses a whole heap of ink. Even though I'd only made a couple of prints, after changing the cartridges, all bar the Matt Black were showing a quarter used. Whether this is just an inaccurate reading or not I'm not sure, but I haven't yet dared to change the blacks back again. I'll be printing primarily on Matt fibre papers anyway.

Once I'd got all this sussed, I tried printing some test images on the sample Epson Archival Matte paper that came bundled with the printer. The quality of the print itself I was very impressed with, but I seemed to get lots of streaking / smudging along one edge. I tried various different settings but to no avail. I then popped over to Jessops and got some Harman Matt FB paper 310gsm (which is very nice BTW - read more here), but still I got the smudging.

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(This hasn't scanned very well, but you get the gist)

It was only when I tried loading the paper in the top of the printer (I had been loading it in the front as per the "thick paper" instructions), that I saw the option to "Fast Print", and lo and behold the streaks have gone. Therefore I can only deduce that for some reason in the blacks, the printer is putting too much ink down on the page.

This doesn't seem to happen using the glossy papers and the Photo Black cartridge, so maybe I'm doing something wrong. But I've scoured high and low, tested every possible configuration and used a stack of paper already. However after all that, I am still very impressed with the results of the print once I do actually get rid of the streaks. I'll be trying some A3 paper shortly for a display I have coming up, so it'll be interesting to see how they pan out.

If anyone has any pointers on getting the best out of fibre papers on this printer, I'd be very keen to hear from you.

Darkroom developments by Neil Alexander

Somehow, even with the workload I've got on, I've managed to get my darkroom up and running last night. I waited until dark yesterday and using bucket loads of blackout fabric from silverprint and a serious amount of velcro from Proton Packaging, I successfully managed to block out all the ambient light from outside (the location is slap bang in the middle of a town centre, so there are a plethora of streetlights outside). I then set up all the equipment I'd been amassing over the last few weeks, and got to work with everything I had learnt. The only sink I have access to is just outside the room in an adjacent room but its not too much of a bind. Mixed up my chemicals, and played around with the enlarger (Durst M601) that I got off Ebay for a song. I figured I'd just experiment with making some prints for the time being as this was of a proof of concept exercise, and I didn't know if it was quite dark enough to open up a roll of film. Aside from the fact that the paper I was using looked as though it was about 400 years old, and I kept forgetting to close the light proof bag every time, I'm very pleased with the results. I did experience some difficulties getting the enlarger to focus properly (this is probably 'cos its older than me), and for the life of me, I could not get the loupe to work. I also need to get another safelight, as I spent most of the night tripping over my own feet!I left the blackout material up over night, so that I could see how effective it would be in the daylight when I returned this morning. It was about as I expected. There are a few areas that I need to improve, so I think I will need to get some more velcro, and adjust my implementation a little before I set to work developing and printing properly. I have found though, that one needs to take more time when shooting film not to take unneccessary shots as the process of developing and printing is so time consuming that there's no point in shooting crap!