David B. Brooks Blog
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David B. Brooks Blog
David B. Brooks Blog Jan 03, 2009 0 comments

Have you ever blown through a red light in your car, and as soon as you got through the intersection you realized what you had just done? Other than worrying about whether a cop saw what you did, you may have realized that your eyes saw the red light, but your mind did not register the perception and respond as usual so you could stop and wait for the light to change. What this kind of incident illustrates is that human vision is made up of two distinct functions, what our eyes see and what our mind perceives. As well as a third factor memory, which allows us to not pay conscious attention to everything familiar our eyes see in the course of daily activities, otherwise we would never get anything accomplished if we had to consciously deal with everything in our vision familiar or not.

David B. Brooks Blog
David B. Brooks Blog Jan 05, 2009 0 comments

Over the holiday season the mass media’s pundits, columnists, and political soothsayers dusted off their crystal balls and polished their moral compasses to spin their usual self-serving conventional wisdoms while obfuscating carefully not to embarrass any of their benefactors. The same exercise as any New Year brings out, but this 2008 to 2009 passage involved factors that deserved much more insight and candor, but apparently the courage and fortitude of journalistic celebrities remains tempered by the fact the mass media is the mouthpiece of corporate America and it is never wise to bite the hand that feeds one. I don’t get paid enough by a long shot to be restrained in the same manner, but at the same time I have not risen to a level of celebrity that induces an audacity to think I can see into the future.

David B. Brooks Blog
David B. Brooks Blog Jan 07, 2009 0 comments

Some months ago a photographer posting in the Shutterbug Forum mentioned he had purchased a Kodak Kodachrome K3 IT-8 profiling target slide from B&H. I must confess I did not know Kodachrome IT-8 target slides existed only those made on Ektachrome for calibrating and profiling a scanner. I thought I had kept up with Kodak Color Management, but maybe the company never catalogued or made public the existence of Kodachrome IT-8 target slides, but on the internet in the Kodak FTP site I did find an Index File to enable using the Kodachrome K3 IT-8 I purchased from B&H, And then after borrowing a Color Management suite from X-Rite containing software to make input profiles I was able to use the Kodachrome IT-8 to profile my scanners and run some tests.

David B. Brooks Blog
David B. Brooks Blog Jan 10, 2009 0 comments

From my experience from a lifetime of photography I have learned better than a new lens, or camera, any gadget or gizmo the best resource for getting better pictures and enjoying making photographs is information, understanding the tools I already have and how they work. The only way to get out of a camera all that it can reproduce is to know how it works, the only sure and easy way to control the photographic process to reproduce the images that you imagine and hope for is to understand how the photographic process functions.

David B. Brooks Blog
David B. Brooks Blog Jan 11, 2009 0 comments

How many things do we continue to do out of habit that we don’t change until circumstances force us to? That questions as far as tradeshows go seems to be one that 2009 is answering. I followed what was happening at the MacWorld show in San Francisco via the Internet, and what was reported was mostly disappointment overall. A lot of the anticipated new products from Apple did not materialize, so maybe besides having his own health problems, Steve Jobs did not make his annual keynote presentation just out of habit. Why bother in these difficult times doing something just for show and to keep an unneeded function alive? Like Jobs my health is a personal issue but more important I don’t need to go to a tradeshow to learn what new products there are available, the companies that have anything of interest to me have already sent me a news releases by e-mail. The only thing I found new shown at the Moscone Center floor of MacWorld is a neat, new inexpensive software package to design, format and output words and pictures in a Acrobat .PDF documents called iPublisher from iStudio (http://www.istudiopublisher.com/index.php/home/home/). Of course thats not all that was new, beside another MacBook model, Apple upgraded their functional software suites iLife and iWork with their usual evolutionary efficiency improvements.

David B. Brooks Blog
David B. Brooks Blog Jan 13, 2009 0 comments

The “prints too dark” problem inadvertently involves almost every aspect of computer image processing, displays, printers and their drivers, color management, and of course image editing. Yet it is just a single issue of prints that don’t match the screen in density/brightness. The explanation of why the problem seems insoluble is that all of these separate but involved functions are the domains of companies which compete with one another in a marketplace that discourages standards. For instance the driver interface for each brand of printer is different, as are the on-screen controls of each brand of LCD display. And of course the people who run these companies and the technical people who design the products do not see reality from the same perspective as users, who of course are an even more diverse population.

David B. Brooks Blog
David B. Brooks Blog Jan 26, 2009 1 comments

I was at least subliminally aware of LG Electronics between 2 and 3 year ago when I searched through their LCD Display offerings and decided to purchase one of their Flatron L2000C 20 inch displays. At that time in America LG Electronics was a barely known brand name, but has gotten more cache in the last year or so, but mostly for cell phones and TV’s, and little awareness in the LCD display market for computers. Since I purchased my 20 inch LGE display I have acquired two more different brands and tested and reported on several more, including LaCie and Eizo, both of which are familiar brands only in the niche pro-graphics market.

David B. Brooks Blog
David B. Brooks Blog Jan 27, 2009 0 comments

One of the primary functional advantages of Color Management for most individual computer users who are digital photographers is to facilitate making prints that match what they see on-screen in their computer’s display. In terms of color consistency, a Color Managed print workflow does achieve that goal, although too much complication and confusion can ensue in the implementation of a color managed print workflow, in my humble opinion.

David B. Brooks Blog
David B. Brooks Blog Feb 03, 2009 0 comments

This rather enigmatic movie title came to mind this week after engaging in both live and virtual e-mail conversation about the problem of “prints too dark” I have reported and commented on recently. It seems those most likely to have a knowledgeable understanding of the technical cause of this phenomenon, and any possible solutions are the least likely to want to admit the problem even exists. And if photographer computer users are obtaining too dark prints it is because they are at fault: either their home/office environment in which they do their photo processing on a computer is non-standard or their illumination for print viewing is inadequate.

David B. Brooks Blog
David B. Brooks Blog Feb 12, 2009 0 comments

I was just reminded by a list of currently established luminaries in the photography world, that what I knew and the names and images that inspired me during my early, formative years as a photographer are no longer current, replaced by names and images that are unfamiliar and don’t have an iconic role in the photography niche of contemporary culture. What has changed is not the quality of photographic work being done, but that there is now a greater volume of public information in a digitized cultural venue that is huge and rapidly evolving. Today’s photographic talent is simply lost in a deluge of image media of every kind and description. Magazines, newspapers and books still exist but even TV has been displaced partly by the internet and YouTube. How different it is when a movie star, Selma Hayek on a mission to Africa assisting in a campaign to reduce the high death rate of infants, is covered by ABC News in scene where she breast feeding a baby of a local woman who had gone dry. This most humane gesture caught on video has now gone “viral” on the internet. I find nothing to criticize, but in such an instantaneous global village of images, that will soon fade with the next “viral” pop news event, can any image attain a lasting iconic status, much less the person behind the camera who made the image?

David B. Brooks Blog
David B. Brooks Blog Feb 16, 2009 2 comments

In this morning’s in-box was a news release that Samsung has an 8 megapixel camera/cell phone it is releasing to the market after showing it in Spain over the weekend. At this same event Sony-Erricson had a prototype camera/cell phone with 12.1 megapixels. This news immediately asks questions about the possible affects on the digital camera market, but more significantly is this going to further a trend we have already seen of major news events recorded by cell phone users on the scene at the time, and then broadcast around the world. How will this impact culture? Will Facebook and YouTube become even more significant to peoples lives?

David B. Brooks Blog
David B. Brooks Blog 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.

David B. Brooks Blog
David B. Brooks Blog Feb 26, 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.

David B. Brooks Blog
David B. Brooks Blog 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.

David B. Brooks Blog
David B. Brooks Blog 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!