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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.

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

I always like to work with the newest and best, but the reality of my budget is always the deciding factor. So I upgrade a bit less often than I would like. This time I had no say in the matter. A freak accident wrecked one of my Mac Mini’s and its external hard drive with backup in one fell swoop. Panic time and calls to Apple for help. Even though not responsible Apple was generous in helping with the recovery, although I had to spend some money too, plus invest a lot of work time. But the recovery is almost complete.

David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Nov 15, 2008 0 comments

Human vision is incredibly adaptive so you can see in bright sunlight on a ski-slope during mid-day and at night on the highway to drive home. But this adaptability being essentially automatic and subliminal can be a disadvantage because your perception of small brightness differences between screen and print is not obvious until the print becomes a physical reality that makes it apparent.

David B. Brooks Blog Posted: May 08, 2010 0 comments

Photography is approximately a 140 year old technology, but among the younger set using the latest cell phone models photography is often an integral part of this newest communication mode, take a picture with the phone and send it to someone else. When I first began doing photography almost 60 years ago it was a lot more of a challenge to participate than pushing a button or two, there weren’t even any reliable light meters then to use to calculate the film exposure, plus the many other things that all had to be done individually like focusing the lens on the subject, setting the aperture relative to the shutter speed, all relative to the ASA speed and type of film you were using. In other words photography in the 1950’s was a demanding technology to perform and of necessity had to be a concentrated single-minded experience.

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.

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

There was a time in my life when Will Rogers often stated, “I know only what I read in the newspapers.” had a resonance with people. No one has taken his place in American culture and spoken for what can be learned from TV, or what they read on-line. Maybe it is just changing too fast to make any sense. It sure is when it comes to managing color on a computer system. When that began to become popular, to buy a sensor and software to measure and color manage the differences between a computer monitor and a color printer, it worked for a few of us pretty well. I had been reading, studying and experimenting with color management for years hoping it would finally be realized for most of us with computers and then Adobe released Photoshop 5.0/5.5 and it was then a real possibility for everyone.

David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Jan 03, 2011 4 comments

The holiday season this time provided me with some time to concentrate on personal photographs that have been on my mind, but only as ideas. This year I have not had any article projects pending or new products to investigate, so once in a very long time I am doing my own thing. And that has been digging out old film images and making new scans. The goal is to approach the image in ways that correct for weaknesses and frustrations in what the photo was as a film image. Primarily it is much more than just physically scanning the film, but rethinking the image, applying a different sensitivity to what it is, and hopefully producing something both different and the same, but better than the picture I first saw in the viewfinder, and then as an image on film. The final step in this process is to make a test print to see if my on-screen editing actually results in a print that matches my expectations.

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”.

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

As I have written before, my holy grail is an affordable LCD display that supports digital photographic editing and printing. I just recently discovered one that has some essential attributes, and even bought one, and LGE L227WGT. A reader just commented he purchased a display he is pleased with that was quite affordable, an AOC Verfino 22 inch with LED backlight (http://us.aoc.com/lcd_monitors/v22). But even the added new feature of LED backlight, which has distinct advantages, still leaves the basic problems that can cause “prints too dark”, as well as the added expense costing as much or more than the LCD, a colorimeter and software to calibrate and profile the display.

David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Nov 11, 2008 0 comments

It has always been my nature to find what works for me regardless of whether most everyone else is doing something different. Since 1975 I have purchased and driven Saab cars almost exclusively, and still drive a Saab. When I was a freelancer in the 60's my colleagues used Nikons and I preferred the Topcon 35mm SLR camera system. And if I were not already very invested in another brand I think I'd probably choose and buy a Sigma digital camera. Not just to be different than the herd, but the technology and thinking Sigma employs I believe has positive image quality performance advantages.

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