Learning to Print!

This past weekend I attended Michael Frye‘s excellent three day workshop “The Art and Craft of Digital Printing” in Pasadena, California. Michael is an excellent landscape and nature photographer who is very well known for his work in Yosemite and environs – as well as being as a master teacher of landscape photography. His workshops are extremely popular – and usually fill up quickly the day they are announced!

My first large 17×22 inch print – Crater Lake, Oregon

I first met Michael when my son David and I spent a day with him in Yosemite back in 2010 visiting a few of the non-iconic venues in the park that are among Michael’s favorites. Since then, I’ve been fortunate to take several of his other photography workshops – including a beautiful fall colors Eastern Sierra workshop and a mystical coastal redwoods workshop along the Northern California coast. But I’ve never before taken a workshop devoted entirely to learning how to produce digital prints.

During this weekend’s digital printing workshop, Michael taught us the processes he uses in Lightroom (and Photoshop) to create a master file of a photograph in preparation for printing – and the process of moving through proofing the print on smaller paper before ultimately making a final print on larger paper. During the weekend, we had access to three Epson P800 printers that Michael and his wife Claudia had set up for us in the classroom.

Since I don’t own a photographic printer, this was all a new experience for me – and one which proved very stimulating and gratifying. Holding a final print of one of your favorite images is a real delight – especially when it’s printed large (17×22 inch prints were our final output during this workshop). I also learned just how much time it can take to get to that point of hold your large print in your hands – as the process of printmaking is much more in pursuit of perfection than quickly posting a much smaller digital image on one of the social media platforms!

I came away feeling much more confident in my ability to create large prints – what many have said is the final stage of the process for any serious photographer! Michael (and his assistant Robert Eckhardt) thoroughly shared their years of experience in digital fine art printing – making for a very satisfying and productive weekend workshop! Michael has been teaching this digital printing workshop twice each year – and I can’t recommend it highly enough if you’re also looking to learn how to print like I was!

Note: Michael’s also the author of an excellent book on post-processing titled “Landscapes in Lightroom: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide” which I highly recommend. He includes a number of accompanying videos with the ebook that are among the best I’ve seen on the various aspects of using Lightroom effectively.

Book Note: “I Love Capitalism” by Ken Langone

I just finished reading Ken Langone’s memoir “I Love Capitalism“. It’s quite a story – of his life growing up and gradually becoming very successful as a co-founder of Home Depot. He tells many stories along the way about his family, business partners, deals, Ross Perot – and Eliot Spitzer (!). A quick delightful read! Here’s a recent review of the book in the Wall St. Journal.

“Everybody talks about the bottom line, but as I’ve seen time and time again, you ignore the human element of business at your peril. Most of the seven deadly sins can and do come into play, and chemistry between people—good chemistry or bad—always has an effect, sometimes a huge effect: in boardrooms, in executive offices, in sales meetings.”

 

Books: The President is Missing

Just finished reading The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson. It’s a crypto-thriller set in the near present day. Lots of twists and turns – and excitement. A very enjoyable summer read!

“Our democracy cannot survive its current downward drift into tribalism, extremism, and seething resentment. Today it’s ‘us versus them’ in America. Politics is little more than blood sport. As a result, our willingness to believe the worst about everyone outside our own bubble is growing, and our ability to solve problems and seize opportunities is shrinking. We have to do better.”

 

Words Matter – Avoid the “de-words”!

I’m enjoying reading the new book Our Towns – A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America by James Fallows (@JamesFallows) and Deborah Fallows (@FallowsDeb). On my morning walk this morning I was listening to the audiobook version of Our Towns during their discussion of their time in Eastport, Maine.

During one of Deb’s sections, she commented about local language – and how the locals in Eastport are using language as “a power tool of their development.” She described how a local group of women in Eastport had noticed the use of “de– words” in many articles describing Eastport – “words like: ‘depressed,’ ‘dependent,’ ‘decline,’ ‘despair’” and how those words were often used to describe aspects of Eastport’s economics, services, schools, or population.

Deb describes how this group then set forth to crowd out the de- words with re- words: like ‘rebound,’ ‘rediscover,’ ‘redesign,’ ‘reverse,’ ‘renew,’ ‘reenergize,’ ‘reemerge.’ and that they encouraged reporters and politicians to substitute the more positive words in their descriptions of Eastport. What a great idea!…

For more background on the book – and some of their findings and conclusions from their journey – see this video of them at the Aspen Ideas Festival.

Reading Tools

I’m a fickle reader – and read a wide variety of stuff. As a result, I like to browse a lot of books before deciding to dive in and truly reading one. I’ve come to rely on a couple of tools to help me in my quest for interesting book content.

When I come across mention of a book that sounds of interest, I will typically first search Amazon and take a look at the reviews for the book. I also frequently download the book’s sample so that I can spend a bit more time deciding whether I want to invest time and money in the book.

To quickly accomplish this, I use a Launchbar keyboard shortcut on my Mac’s which invokes an Amazon book search and opens a new browser tab directly on the book’s page. This is super fast and convenient – in a flash I can be there. Sometimes, if I’m in the middle of something, I’ll trigger the search, the tab will open, and then I’ll come back to it later. It will wait patiently for me to return.

In addition to free Kindle book samples, another Amazon feature – “Look Inside the Book” – is also helpful for reviewing the first few pages of a book.

I’ve used this approach for several years and it’s become second nature. More recently, I discovered Overdrive’s free iOS app Libby which performs a similar function for me doing a library search for a book. I have library cards for several of the area libraries and have set them all up in Libby. I can open Libby, enter a search, and see if one of my libraries has the book available in ebook format. If so, I can borrow it – or place a hold to be notified when a copy becomes available. Once I borrow it, I can request that the book be downloaded to my Kindle.

I have the Kindle app on all of my devices: Mac’s, iPhone, iPads, etc. Any book (or book sample) that I’ve downloaded to Kindle can be opened on any of those devices – depending on what’s with me.

The two tools that make this all possible are Launchbar on my Mac and the Libby app on iOS.

When Did the Majority of Americans Go Wireless-Only?

From: https://www.stlouisfed.org/open-vault/2018/june/fascinating-facts-cellphone-smartphone-usage

The latter half of 2016 was the first time that a majority of American homes had wireless telephone service but no landline. This was noted in the April issue of Page One Economics by Jeannette Bennett, a senior economic education specialist with the St. Louis Fed’s Memphis Branch.

That finding comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, which has been releasing briefs on wireless substitution trends in America since late 2006. The center’s July-December 2016 National Health Interview Survey (PDF)revealed that, for the first time, more than half of American homes did not have a landline, but did have at least one wireless telephone. This was a turning point in the long-running survey.

Using Fujifilm JPEG Film Simulations

The delights of using Fujifilm cameras include the film simulations that Fujifilm includes for application to JPEG images. I’m a big fan of Classic Chrome for color images and Acros for black and white images.

UK wedding photographer Kevin Mullins has just posted a blog post and accompanying video describing how he uses these film simulations in his wedding photography. He sets up his favorite setting using the Custom Settings feature of his Fujifilm cameras.