David B. Brooks Blog

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: May 13, 2009 0 comments

I have been preoccupied now and for some time by the challenge of defining an affordable platform for inputting digital photographs and then printing them with matched color and density to an LCD display image. There are quite a few LCD display choices at $1,500 and up which support both color and density print matching with a color managed workflow. But an affordable consumer LCD display ($300) has been the elusive goal of a lot of searching. And from what I have heard from industry insiders is that the major display manufacturers in the immediate future are cutting back on their support for high-end, niche pro-graphics market displays.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: May 02, 2009 0 comments

The severity of and multiple factors that caused the recent economic crisis are a force of change. For a time fear has frozen activity economically among a lot of people at all levels, but that will thaw as people find they need to get along in their lives and the market for essentials remains substantial, even automobiles will pick up in sales as many will need to replace what they have out of necessity. And as most people get back to their lives, they will also return to the activities that are essential only to their enjoyment of life, including photography.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Apr 28, 2009 0 comments

I had finished my second article on “prints too dark” with information identifying the cause and how it can be eliminated from the workflow. But it is in the works and I have no idea when it will be published. So, I continue to get e-mail from photographers whose digital prints are too dark.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Apr 24, 2009 0 comments

I don’t think my town is all that much different from a lot of places in America today. Not that many years ago there were three locally owned and operated camera stores, and today there are none. The only local selection of camera’s and photo gear is Walmart has to sell. Yet in the current economic situation the pundits and politicians talk about small business as the source of jobs and economic recovery, while I see ever more empty commercial spaces where another locally owned and operated business has disappeared; and the businesses that remain are big-box stores and corporate fast food, drug and office and home supply outlets. Maybe they (McDonalds and Best Buy) are a part of the businesses the media and Congress’ count as being “small”.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Apr 18, 2009 0 comments

I recently submitted my report on how to avoid “prints too dark”, but I am still doing research trying to find affordable, even inexpensive, LCD displays that can used that can be adjusted for brightness to provide print density matching. There are $1,000 plus solutions that are easy to implement and effective, but as budgets are getting smaller, obtaining an effective reliable digital photography experience with a computer virtually disappears if the price is affordable. However looking at one low coat LCD display after another I noticed a new breed of displays that are specifically enabled to support 3D gaming. And today I received my copy of Computer Graphics World and the lead article is about 3D graphics including gaming, with the inside cover ad touting these new 3D LCD displays.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Apr 12, 2009 1 comments

I came across a YouTube video of Stephen Shore the photographer commenting about photography and his approach to it. In one scene about his experience teaching, Shore comments that photography is a solitary occupation that involves visual thinking, but teaching is a verbal activity that requires words that express those visual ideas. I had a parallel experience for a different reason than Shore’s, interviewing photographers first as a staff editor at Petersen’s PhotoGraphic magazine and then later on for a time as editor of PhotoPro magazine. I found many photographers are like Shore described, used to the solitary, purely visual experience of making photographs, and often not prepared or comfortable verbalizing what they did with a camera or why.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Mar 30, 2009 0 comments

Yes, I am biased in my perspective on what works best for digital photographers. But what is bias other in my case of having acquired a lot of experience with computers and digital photography doing it every day now for almost a quarter of a century. Some of that experience has been good, some not so and on that basis I have formed some opinions of what might be a better choice among all those that are out there. And, I believe it is because of this very bias due to experience readers look to me for advice, besides the fact what I do and have done for all these years is try out all kinds of new hardware and software to find out how it works and if it is worth having.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Mar 27, 2009 0 comments

Before digital I spent a lot of time in my darkroom often experimenting, trying different kinds of chemistry, modified techniques, something old, something new, and often learning just how limited the silver halide photographic process is. Since Photoshop and image editing I found digital photography to be pliable to an almost boundless extent. Of course the abandon you have to change the values of pixels has a different kind of limit by producing images that have no redeeming qualities what so ever. From that experience of course one should learn just because you can do something does not mean you should.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Mar 18, 2009 0 comments

An article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution about some who cling to film reveals as much about life as it does about photography. One quote in particular caught my attention and got me thinking. “With digital, you’re only as good as your Photoshop technician,” Mark said. “He’ll take heads off bodies and switch them around. It’s a totally different medium.”, followed by another concluding statement regarding those who still cling to film, “-we’re a dying breed.”

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Mar 14, 2009 0 comments

Although “free market” self-governance may seem to smack of a political issue, its application affecting technology business has had an affect that has been to no one’s advantage. What I am alluding to is a well known example, the old fight for dominance between Sony Beta and VHS and the recent similar competition with Blu-Ray’s win for HD-DVD media dominance. In the Beta/VHS outcome the lower cost but inferior recording technology won and users, as well as VCR business suffered as a result. it is too early to tell if Blu-Ray dominance will be a loss for all sides, consumers and producers alike, but history forgotten has a habit of repeating itself.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Mar 10, 2009 0 comments

From what the blogosphere reflected from Las Vegas Photo Marketing Association show was as discouraging as what most of the news media has been about of late. Fewer people on the floor of the show and a dearth of new higher-end dSLR camera models. Many of the point-and-shoot cameras offered had already been introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show. In other words there did not seem to be much confidence expressed by either the vendors or the press on hand. But really with retail camera stores becoming fewer year after year undercut by Walmart and other box stores, and even chain giants like Circuit City closing its doors, what purpose do “closed to the public” sales shows like PMA serve any more? Other than to keep a tradition going and have an excuse to schmooze with old friends, I don’t get it.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Mar 05, 2009 0 comments

I am an admitted oddball, as well as a gadfly, so it is not unusual that the Apple product announcements today had me rather enthused by a new version of the Mac Mini computer. I have been favorable to Mac Mini’s since first introduced, and the last version I believe is the best choice for a digital photography enthusiast on a budget. And, with the new upgrade, chiefly much more powerful Nvidia graphics, which in previous models was maybe the weakest aspect of performance in terms of digital photography processing. But why this odd, ultra small Apple Mac? First at $599 as the entry level price it’s affordable even if that does not include a keyboard or mouse, and you have to also add a display. And that you have to choose a display is a great advantage, because for digital photography it is probably more important factor than the computer that’s running the display. Also new from Apple is a new compact wired USB keyboard similar to the recent and current but smaller Apple keyboard that are the best I have used. As for a mouse, you won’t believe this, but the USB Microsoft mouse that is optical and supports both PC’s and Mac’s, is the best both for ergonomics and right click support that is very efficient working with photo image applications. The one thing Microsoft makes that is the best!

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Mar 02, 2009 0 comments

Today I counted 17 news pieces posted on the internet about Epson’s plans to re-release their Leica-like rangefinder digital camera now to be designated the RD-1X. Why are so many waxing eloquent and so obviously excited about this still 6 MPX digital camera. Now if it had a contemporary 12 MPX sensor chip, that would be something this jaded old reprobate would be jumping up and down about it and at the heels of my editor to be on top of the list to test and review it, if in fact it will ever reach these shores. But so far the news is that it is for the Japanese market and that’s all. That makes some sense as the Japanese market is replete with collectors of classic Leica cameras, and other similar era rangefinder cameras that have the same lens mount. So there may be more of a market there that was not tapped by the first go-around of the RD-1.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Feb 25, 2009 0 comments

Maybe it’s just me, my peculiar life and perspective, but I was just reminded by an article about jazz in the New York Times(Home Life With Mikes: A Jazz History by Nate Chinen, February 17, 2009) that included a part of W. Eugene Smith’s life defining a connection between music and a photographer. I suspect the connection is enhanced in my mind in part because in high school my ambition was to be in music as a singer, and I participated in several choral groups as well as took voice lessons for a couple of years. After high school four years in the military intervened and provided the opportunity to become interested and get into photography. I was not sorry I got detoured because having a deep voice myself, and baritones became eclipsed in those years by singers like Johnny Rey and his pop song “Cry”. Regardless, even though I embraced photography completely, I still enjoy music, especially jazz.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Feb 21, 2009 0 comments

That old saw “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, is applicable to the problem of bright LCD displays causing prints that are too dark, but at the moment that ounce is one ounce of gold. The ounce in this case is an LCD display that is not too bright, that can be adjusted, calibrated and profiled to match the range of values in a print. The one brand that currently has that capability as delivered is Eizo with their CG/CE ColorEdge displays. I’ll soon be receiving their least costly, the CG222w that has a list price just under $1,500 for test and review. I realize few of my readers want to spend that much, or can afford to, even for a display that does not cause the prints too dark problem.

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