David B. Brooks Blog

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Dec 27, 2008 0 comments

Quite a few weeks ago I was invited to contribute my prognostications for photography in 2009, an annual feature in Shutterbug I usually participate in. In early fall of 2008 what I was seeing of the world, I was loath to say what the next day would bring much less the next year, so I declined to participate as usual. Today with 2009 just a few days hence, I am no more inclined to participate in prognostication of what the future next year will bring. Although I would like to indulge in the hope change could produce, but every time I turn on the TV news or read the newspapers I hear the same prayers to the ideological economic gods that have been worshipped for the last 30 years and brought us to where we are today. Being a poor relation of the media myself, and although I try to serve a useful mission to the community of readers I serve, all but a few magazines today are the communities of people they once were, and now just cogs in a corporate conglomerate wheel that turns only to grind out a bottom line profit. For most whether on-line, on the tube or still on the newsstand, those who are still speaking continue to voice the ideas of the past, and to me it reflects a lost generation in time since 1980, that thankfully came to an end in this last election and economic crash of 2008. To me the question is will the old-fashioned ideal of an editorial purpose be renewed to make what is espoused by those in the media again serve the community of people who are the listeners, the readership of a magazine or will there only principle remain the number at the bottom line of a corporate ledger.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Nov 03, 2010 0 comments

Many of you have mentioned printer profiles as a part of your digital photo workflow. Sometimes it is a problem that you find you have to work around. And most of you have a computer with a calibrated and profiled display, as well as often one of the many flatbed scanners I have reported on in recent years. You may even have Lasersoft Silverfast software to run your scanner. That’s all to the positive side towards getting a way to profile your printer, you are part way there already. That includes the Epson Perfection photo scanners, the Canon Canoscan photo scanners and all the recent Microtek photo scanners as well as the Artixscan M1.

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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: May 03, 2011 32 comments

Almost every day I see announcements of new stuff, and I just pass along because it’s not anything I need. Better quality and more efficient printing of my images will stop me in my tracks. Specially when this new Epson R2000 is an improvement on the Epson R1900 the printer I use most.

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

A friend recently forwarded a link to a web site that had a detailed listing of some 40 on-line photo magazines. Many if not most of them were as well done as any paper magazines of the recent past when the internet was still an idea for the future. Like in days of the past some are largely focused on the tools of the trade, cameras lenses and now software for computes, other were about images, and some about photographers and what they do, like photojournalism. Exploring many of the 40 was interesting and occassionally enlightening, particularly for an old-timer like me, that todays photographers make images distinctly unlike what previous generations. I think part of the reason is that so much of the world and what is in it has already been made familiar by iconic images made by the great photographers of the past. A young contemporary photographer, to grab attention and become recognized has to create images that are unfamiliar, that stop the viewer and holds their attention, and photographs of subjects already familiar can’t do that, as soon as the image is recognized as familiar the viewer moves on. You aren’t likely to see a portfolio of photographs of Yosemite in any web photo-zine, unless it is a retrospective of the work of a long dead lensman.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Nov 29, 2009 0 comments

I have to admit I borrowed this word from a MacWorld writer commenting on the tech bloggers of the day, it’s a good word. But I want to use it in reference to so many photographers for not researching and understanding the basics of digital technology based pixel imaging. It’s not that personal computer digital imaging is all that new, I’ve been working with it for 20 years. But the average photographer of the past, and used to film, have been led to believe it is just another kind of photography, much like film photography, and the same mind-set works as well with digital. Well it does for the camera companies, but not for their customers, because they are being encouraged to buy what they may not need and are not demanding more of what digital can provide, and they could use if available.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: May 26, 2010 0 comments

This Wednesday, May 26, 2010, Apple Computer overtook Microsoft as the leading technology company in the world. In todays trading the result was that Apple reached a value of $227.1 billion over Microsoft’s $226.3 billion for Microsoft.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Dec 19, 2008 0 comments

First to bring you up to date. Since my workflow article ran in the December issue of Shutterbug, word has gotten around and back to me providing lots of information for a better picture of the problem. I have done more testing, which concluded even for a well color managed system like my own with LCD’s there is some darkening in print results because of color correcting and editing with an LCD with screen brightness set exactly at a luminance of 120.0 CD/m2. I confirmed this by opening some finished scanned image in Photoshop, files done when I had CRT monitors installed and then stored on CD’s that have been printed in the past. These image files look fine in terms of density on my LCD screen, and print as they did in the past achieving the same print density the screen appearance would suggest to expect. I have to assume the reason is that the image brightness midpoint setting in Levels made using a CRT monitor with a white point luminance of 90.0 CD/m2 (which was not changed for this current and test and printing), and the correct brightness of the print is because the brightness range of the CRT closely matched the density range of a high quality inkjet print.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Oct 15, 2010 0 comments

In just a few days after the November Shutterbug hit the streets, I have received 3 questions reacting to the following comment I made in Digital Help, "That you are working with Microsoft Vista, considering it does not support using a color managed display, is also curious." This is not the first time I have said as much about Microsoft Windows Vista since I first reported on the operating system in 2007.

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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: Mar 12, 2011 4 comments

Thanks to a remark made by Ansel Adams in the late 80’s to an interviewer, regarding his overseeing the printing of one of his books of photographs that was reproduced by scans of his images, Ansel stated he was impressed that digital editing could accomplish adjustments to images he could not make in his own darkroom. For me that was handwriting on the wall, that the future of photography was in digital imaging. During 1989 I began my shift from analogue film photography to digital. It went slowly and haltingly, there weren’t many products that supported digital imaging with computers. But little by little more and more scanners became available, as well as software to edit images with a computer. So I learned mostly from personal experience using scanners and software and talking with a few colleagues on internet forums about how a scanner worked and the beginnings of image editing with a computer.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: May 31, 2009 2 comments

Color is a part of our environment and a part of our awareness of it from early on. We take it for granted and usually learn to identify colors by name before kindergarten. Our first foray into mixing paints teaches us that mixing red and blue produces purple and mixing yellow and blue, green. And if we have the benefit of science teaching and physics that color is a property of light and behaves in certain ways. Otherwise color is taken for granted, even for photographers whose awareness can be expanded to understand that the primary components of color in light are red, green and blue, and the colors of inks and dyes are their complements, cyan, yellow and magenta.

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

I have been following the various commentaries about Windows 7 for almost a year. There were lots of user annoyance complaints that have gotten nearly all of the attention and to an extent seem to have been resolved. Most technical experts reporting on Windows 7 have been positive based on testing both beta’s and the early release version more recently. Most were positive as far as they went, but that was superficial. When you get into particular features then there is much less review feedback, or almost none. And so far the performance that effects serious digital photography editing and processing is not apparently an issue of any concern. In fact I was surprised some of the key color management experts have not given Windows 7 that much attention.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Nov 20, 2008 0 comments

The popular phrase that acknowledges differences in “worlds” that may have particular advantages unique to each, took on new meaning to me today. I was upgrading an Apple Mac application called Parallels from version 3.0 to version 4.0, and realized the extent to which this software that supports running the Windows operating system on an Apple Mac seamlessly has changed the old concept of Apple vs Microsoft as an ether/or proposition to something else. I used to run both Apple Macs and a PC with Windows, but since Apple switched to Intel processors and became capable of also running other operating systems like Windows, I took advantage of this possibility and instead of replacing my old PC with a new one, just upgraded my Apple Mac and installed Parallels.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Dec 12, 2008 0 comments

The last two days have been a bleary-eyed ordeal reading as many forum posts as I could on “prints too dark” from a Google search on that phrase, which obtains almost 2 million results. What I was looking for was as complete a picture as possible why people trying to make photo prints were getting unacceptably dark print output. I didn’t get very far into the almost 2 million results before my eyes gave out reading the forum posts, but I did find that a lot of users have discovered the cause of dark prints is an LCD display that is too bright. But confusion reigns when it comes to how to fix the problem, very often involving color management and the idea of using Photoshop’s “soft proofing”. Some forum gurus have been recommending adjusting the display brightness to match the print output, and actually that practical philosophy was used before there was such a thing as Color Management, but it largely precludes color matching using CM and a calibrated and profiled display, if in reality an LCD display can be reduced in brightness to actually match the range of print densities or the CRT monitors of the past. Some users found that instead of having their photo editing application control color, select having the printer driver control color, which with some printer drivers does provide an output print density adjustment and yields satisfactory print brightness results, but the downside is that some printer drivers will automatically adjust print density and others don’t, as well as color matching with what you see on-screen is not usually supported.

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