Sun Gallery Hayward

I visited the Sun gallery in Hayward. The theme for the show was the water drought California is having. It was really eye opening as Coyote hills, a place that I visited back in 2010, has dried up. Back then I took a few pictures and it was nothing like the picture on the wall. This picture, an inkjet color print on canvas, depicted the once filled ponds of Coyote hills as empty and with cracks in the ground. It was horrifying because it showed the reality of the situation. This is not something easily reversed like running out of gas out in the highway with the next town far away. It makes the viewer think profoundly about the future.

As far as we can remember, man-kind has been making progress and has never had the need to worry about the end of resources. Especially this one, Water. It is a change from oil, gas, and coal because unlike the fuel for our power plants water is not something we can go without. We use it everywhere. First, we need it to live. The water content in our body influences our metabolism, temperature, and most importantly blood pressure; without that we would collapse as soon as we got up from bed. Secondly, for everything else like bathing, washing hands and food. Think of all the other places water exists. For example: in food, ever ate a dry carrot? It is terrible. If you’re an artist in paints and inks. It is nice having other choices besides pencil graphite. As you can see water plays a very important role in everyday products as well as biological processes needed for life.

My favorite piece of the show was the one that took me to another place. In turn, I believe it should not have been in the show. Why?, because it took me away from all the chaos we were being shown. This picture took me to a fantasy world. Somewhere where there was water. And this is why it was different from the other pieces. This picture depicted an oasis with animals prancing about like a creation story. This scene takes place just as humans appear, but not after there was enough of them to cause change in the world. This is a picture of Eden the paradise we are so far away from.

To me it reminded me of the video game franchise The Legend of Zelda. Each game would take you into a foreign land where you were given the task of saving the world. In one journey, you as the hero must go into a swamp land that is covered in the presence of evil. The local animals are not friendly and the journey is filled with challenges. It is the task of the hero to defeat these evils and return the land to peace as it was before. It’s funny because these games can represent reality. Published from 1986 on the original Nintendo system, with their heyday of the late 90’s three dimensional interactive world to yesterday’s release their message remains relevant.

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Backing up revisted

Starting a new chapter in my photography, I have decided that half a year is time enough to back up. I believe it is 1,2oo pictures not including files that have been worked on or film exposures. Its enough files to make one’s head spin. Alas, I have done it. I have made an extra copy of all those files including “worked on” files. I can breathe a little easier tonight. Later I will make a third copy. As a classmate that took the digital course last semester, he stated the 3-2-2 rule. It says that you should have three copies in two types of media and in two places. Three copies because the first copy is the original is is usually the first to go as in the original hard drive. The second can be damaged by anything really. The dog, static, even improper ejecting. Yeah, I know..very primadonna-ish, but sh*t happens in the real world. It has to be noted and it has to be accounted for if this is your precious moment or if it is your work.

Now where was I? Ah yes, the third copy, it is the life blood of the back up. If  the first two iterations did not survive the perils of this world, may this one will.  And if you have a few extra hard drives lying around, a few more copies of your indispensable work wouldn’t be a bad idea. Then there’s the two types of media because hard drives fail, because computers fail, because CD’s and DVD’s acquire scratches when you don’t intend. And we haven’t even gotten into the outdating of the format arguments. I personally don’t believe that in 10 yrs we will have problems opening TIFF & JPEG files. They are standards today and will continue being for a very long time. Your camera’s Raw file? Well if you have Adobe’s products they have kept support for the CR2 raw file for canon since 2002-3, that is some 14+ yrs. There has not been many changes since then. I am still on a Canon 5D, which debut in 2005 and it still opens the Raw files in the PS CS4 to todays CC suite. All canon’s use the CR2 file format since the 30D or 1D 2N came out. Plus a raw file isn’t a done file, so stop your worrying.

Lastly, two places where the files will be kept. One, your house or business and two, someone else’s house like a friend or relative. This is for natural disaster prevention like fires, earthquakes, floods. In times of these, photos aren’t that important, but its one less thing to worry about and isn’t this what its all about. One less thing to worry about.

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Resolution pt. 3

The proof is in the print. Being experienced in printing, or so… I only got say about 1 year of on/off printing. Starting off from a consumer inkjet all the way up large format. So using a middle of the range printer I printed one of these images. To remind everyone it was a 2400dpi image.    -7.7MP –  [3400 x 2270]  Should print at 11.34 by 7.56 inches @300dpi.

I printed it either in 6 by 8 or 7 by 10 inches both of which satisfy 300dpi. What can I say? They printed well. They could have used more detail, but it was a very satisfactory print. Later it was printed a bit bigger I remember using a 10 by 13 inch paper. It was not full bleed, so the image was not covering the entire area of the paper. I believe it was about 1/2 an inch of border, still good amount of area to cover. Compared to a 12MP image, it just was not the same, but subject matter did differ. You could tell which was the digital image based on clarity and the stearile feeling. That film scan just stretched and stretched. I am unsure how big it will go, though bigger images require much more detail than the 3MP that is resolved at the scanner’s 1500 dpi output limit.

Currently I am looking at a dedicated 35mm scanner. As many of you know this is of what they used to write about in the last century. A device that shines light thru a semi transparent piece of plastic with an image and creates a digital version of it. I’m not going to talk about it any further other than I have an option of two resolutions. One that resolves 14MP and the other 22.5MP out of a frame 35mm. 3300 vs 4100 lines per inch. Other scanners are in the realm of 1500 to 4000. If you can you have much disposable income there are drum/drum like scanners capable of 5K.

Resolution pt. 2

Not being satisfied with my flatbed scanner’s output for film, I began to look for answers. One that came to me looking at the next model up was  a review. In the comments section in ol’ youtube was a sir that stated a site. Scannerinfo.net is a site based in Germany that reviews film scanners from 35mm to medium format. Surprisingly my flatbed scanner with a transparency unit was just that. A 60 dollar scanner that maxes out at 1200dpi and then they just add a lighting strip and a plastic film holder for about 30-50 bucks. Pretty good, for 60 bucks you get plenty for your money. Assuming they spend about 20 dollars on the surface flat glass and they can resolve 12ooppi, it is amazing. Most camera lenses start at 300USD, so getting part of that in a affordable scanner is fantastic. Scannerinfo says epson’s v600/canon’s 9000 II resolve in the neighborhood of 1500dpi, yet they advertise a resolution of 6400dpi. I believe this draw back has more to do with the price point of the product. It is just too little to expect it to preform anymore than “web” sized images.

When I revisited my scanner after reading the articles on the Scannerinfo, I found that it held true. At 1200dpi there were no excess pixels, just a clean image at the 100% level in photoshop. At 2400dpi there was minimal improvement hinting at a resolution just above 1200dpi. I choose 2400 to obtain a bigger picture, not throw away detail and because the unsharp mask preset on the software worked well at that setting.

Going further down the rabithole, It seems like its 0.8 megapixels per inch. Putting that into context its ~1.7-1.8 MP for a 35mm negative. About 2.5x for a 645 medium format, so somewhere along the lines of 4 MP. Both of these are fairly limiting resolutions as 11 x 14 is the limit to these prints even with additional dpi. Heck, 8 x 10 prints from the 35mm scan are not going to be as straight forward as actually sending them to the local drug store mini lab. And the results can be better. With that resolution you will never obtain film’s full potential, let alone 50%. It is said somewhere that most 35mm film has about 10-20MP of data. Using only a fragment of that is quite unsatisfactory for the avid photographer.

On the contrary, using its full 8.5 x 11.7 inch flatbed scan at 1200 dpi yields 143 actual megapixels. A very affordable way into getting large format resolution. It will not get the smallest detail on a flower like a macro lens, but it will yield large detailed images.

At 300dpi you get a 47 x 34 inches, 200dpi yields 70 x 51 inches, 100dpi  140 x 100 inches. All of which is images that you would print one copy per room.

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Resolution

To begin, I’ll start by saying this will be revisited again. This is one of those things photographers go on from not knowing to knowing, but in reality it is a very illusive concept. Lets break it down. Pixels are picture elements. Like tiles in a mosaic they are only a colored dot, square or shape that along with a million others gets interpreted by our visual cortex in our brains into an image, shape, thing, or person we recognize. An image is not reality, it is only a slice of a place and/or time. Personally, it is beginning to feel like fiction. It is like an artist painting of a sunset that may or may not have happened because what is on the canvas is not reality, it is a representation of it.

In addition, we cannot live in this world. Like the digital realm, it only exists inside the computer, the computer case. It is only electrons moving from the disc drive to the processor and resting inside the memory bar. Later they will sleep in one of three floors in the hard drive hotel. If power to go out one fateful day, we would be released from our screens. Gone long enough, the pseudo-reality we live in would cease. The result would cause the little electrical charges to depolarize. The once useful machines would be left in raw state entering a eternal sleep. to start anew another day. They would only be metal remnants of a world that once existed. Long gone is a world that once excited. Intangible. One dimensional.

When the night reigns again shadows will encompassed with shape and form. They will be able to enter our minds. Like a scene from the Legend of Zelda ocarina of time, the outside fields will be engulfed in shadows. Life will have a confrontational aspect.  Like an abandonend ghost town we will progress thru the houses finding a way through the emptyness.  A tunnel leads us through a way out.  At the end of this tunnel we are arrive at a dessert. A new community to grow through. The path is obscured. We find our way to a well that is not filled with water. It is filled with glass. Almost filled to the top and solid crystalline.

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Cont. Inkjet toning

Well the bug bit me. I got the tangerine, red, purple and a rosey pink color. I also got some watercolor paper. I am looking forward to printing on it and seeing improved results, if not more a more simple, and more controlled process.

Here’s some more from a few weeks ago. The fourth one has a localized (spot, selective) toning. It leads to a stronger effect, which is good. It can also lead to spotting or clouds of color if you are not careful.

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Toning inkjet prints

Toning inkjet prints. This relates to toning in a traditional B/W class, though on a budget it is less likely one will use a collection of dyes or toners mean for traditional papers. To substitute, I used food coloring and clothes dye found at your local “wallymart”. They usually have a good selection and that’s where you can get dishware tubs which are an excellent 12×16 and fits letter (8.5×11 ) sized prints well.

So lets get to the meat of the entry. Which one was better? I would say both have “dye” ink components, so both will work very much the same. The clothes dye can be a more permanent solution as the food/eggshell dye is more “safe” and edible dye versus a “throw this on your clothes to repaint them” much more permanent and less edible product that the clothes dye is. In practice, the food coloring dye is the easier one to work with because it needs a high concentration to work well or fully saturate the paper, and if you don’t want that, you have a adequate amount of time (around five minutes) to remove it from the dye. The clothing dye works instantly. Dip it and agitate a few times and you got a good preview of what there is to come. Leave it there two minutes and you will have a density of about 60 percent of the final “no frills”, fully saturated one color result. What does it look like and has it happened to me? Yes, naturally the thrill seeker inside of me pushes me to make unwise choices and gives no qualms about sticking to the rules. (to be inserted a really red picture of a glass with a spoon with tea bag alongside of it)

The why. It is just one of those things I feel I need to and will do once a year (last yr I did something similar). I attribute it something similar Iphone users adding filters to their photography, but do not mistaken that both are the same. -One is a tonal correction to change the impact of the image and the other is a practice, practiced by many to resuscitate an image.-

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