In with the new

After 13 years of sterling service I have replaced my old Epson 3800 A2 printer with its modern equivalent: an Epson SC-P900.

This allows me to make exhibition grade prints for clients as well as being a proofing station for my CMYK repro work. The new printer uses 10 inks and has a larger colour gamut than the old printer and indeed it is possible to see a visible improvement in the prints.

A new set of ink cartridges run to approx. £350 but quality never comes at a bargain price. By investing in the new printer I hope I can  continue to offer clients the best possible results.

Next up is to fire up the X-Rite spectrophotometer and build some custom colour profiles to ensure the best possible colour accuracy.

If anyone fancies a trip to Sheringham the old printer is available for pickup at no cost (free!), it just needs new ink and patience with its loading mechanism….

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Client Advisory: OSX Big Sur problem connecting to QNAP NAS using IP over thunderbolt

Apple occasionally break a few things with their operating system updates and it has come to pass that the latest version of OSX: Big Sur 10.3 does this for IP over thunderbolt.

If your fast connection between your Mac and your QNAP NAS has suddenly stopped working then this is why.

I run IP thunderbolt to my QNAP NAS as this gives me 900mb/sec connectivity for reading and writing files (far faster than mechanical drives or sata based SSD). Looks like I will need to run this at 100mb/sec via gigabit ethernet till they sort the issue. If you have the same problem then you can downgrade using time machine or wait for the fix.

The vast majority of the work I do is Windows PC based and my 10GB connectivity still works fine to deliver the 900mb/sec.

Update: 03.05.2021 19:58
Big Sur 10.3.1 is a security update and does not fix the issue with IP over thunderbolt. Lets see what 10.3.2 can do when ever it comes out.

Update: 17.05.2021
I have joined the Mac OS beta program and downloaded the third Beta of 10.4, this has fixed the Thunderbolt issues when connecting to my QNAP.  Not generally a good idea to run Beta OS but was advised this was stable and it does seem to work fine.

 

 

 

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Client story: BBC, Life in Colour

Hope everyone is enjoying the current flagship BBC nature documentary series fronted by David Attenborough that covers the use of colour in nature for survival in all its forms. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000styx

I was very happy to work on the images for the book and utilised my specialist workflow to ensure that video frame grabs and stills photography could be used in a seamless and consistent way. Colour grading was of course even more important for this title and my tight colour management  enabled me to “see” the printed result before the proofs came back from the pre press house.

This is a smaller format book than before but it is also a little different in having some very interesting and detailed text that goes a little deeper into the subject and that is a very good thing.

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Client Story: Sue Flood wins again!

Always nice when one of my clients wins a major competition! it reminds me I’m lucky to be working with some of the best photographers in their field.

Interesting that the BBC picked up on one of my favourite images by Sue of the polar bear on a drifting piece of ice but its the conceptual North Pole image that won the climate change category. Well done Sue!

On thin ice © Sue Flood: BBC Website

North Pole Underwater © Sue Flood: The Royal Photographic Society Website

 

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Update

   

 

Its been a funny year for work (as can be expected!) travelling for workshops and visiting clients was not an option for most of it.

I have been busy all the same and this month I was happy to receive a couple more books I had been working on. The first is to accompany a new major nature series with David Attenborough called “Perfect Planet” (Silverback films for the BBC), here my dedicated work on getting the most out of the high dynamic range high resolution video grabs and making them as good as dedicated stills shots was at play. The CMYK printing process is much more limited than a bright TV image but with some love and care its possible to translate the feeling. I’m particularly pleased with this years effort and hope it achieves the five star reviews of recent books in the series. The series will be shown on the BBC soon, you can view an extended trailer here: BBC. The book is available at all good book stores (or Amazon).

The other book to arrive is from the Natural History Museum entitled “How Wildlife Photography Became Art”. This is a weighty book, both physically and in its subject matter. The images are from 55 years of Wildlife Photographer of the Year submissions so as you can expect this book includes the best wildlife photography in existence. Such a pleasure to translate the images into CMYK to retain the authenticity and intention of the photographers and avoid the all too common pitfalls of the printing process that would have taken their power away otherwise. Avoid Amazon and order it direct here: NHM Store

I hope 2021 will be a better year to get out and help clients with their systems and processes. I will be planning more imaging workflow and grading/retouching classes to help people get the most out of their photography. Also planned is a stock image site for my old stock photography, some images still as fresh as the day they were created and others now “retro” stock, look out for the launch of pixelstock.com early in the New Year.

I will be also working on some personal photographic projects to create new images and enjoy some photography again in my spare time. I would encourage everyone to dive into a creative art and enjoy creating stories with it.

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Client Story: Sue Flood

I recently made a “pop up” store to help Sue sell her new photography cards. Sue’s images are very popular and she has chosen some of her favorites to produce 4 sets of blank cards that are ideal presents or a distinctively different Christmas card to send. I used my Selectimage domain that has been on the back burner for a number of years, check out Sues cards here: https://selectimage.co.uk

 

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Client Story: Soane

One of three books delivered this week from clients. This book is the definitive story of Rattan, the sustainable and elegant furniture material. A fascinating journey through the subject with beautiful, interesting and well chosen historical images.

Wonderful to work with Lulu and Elisa to help them get the best possible reproduction of some rare images that needed careful handling in order to match the high level quality of the rest of the book. When dealing with a wide variety of images from multiple sources it is doubly important to make sure that there is consistency in colour and tone quality and to ensure that no image lets down a page or section.

Much of the book was completed so I was just involved with the problematic images and after careful work injecting some love and attention I’m pleased to see that the whole book feels very consistent and this helps strengthen the fascinating story of rattan. You can order or buy the book from all good bookshops or Amazon.

If you are planning an important book that has a wide variety of images of varying quality then get in touch for a chat, printers can correct for some (limited) things but usually by compromising other images on the same page or strip. My careful grading and detail work ensures that consistency is built into every page and reduces reproofing and printing costs as well as elevating the overall quality of the book.

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Client alert: Beware of new Western Digital Red NAS drives

Quite an important issue for Photo libraries and photographers who keep their images and data on a NAS device (network attached storage).
 
I have been using and supplying NAS devices for decades now and helped quite a number of clients solve their image storage issues with them. A big favorite for populating these devices has been Western Digital RED drives. These drives are specially built for NAS use and have been very reliable.
 
Unfortunately that has all changed as Western Digital have now introduced some of their lower end technology into the drives without telling customers. This technology (SMR) restricts performance and could compromise data during a rebuild, this is not good.
 
All my customers have the better CMR version drives installed so no panic there (though we need to make sure any warrantee replacements are for CMR drives).
 
Going forward I will now only be using Seagate Ironwolf drives for NAS use, these drives are as good as CMR Red drives and Seagate have vowed never to put the lower end SMR technology into their NAS drives.
 
Western Digital are facing a lawsuit in the US over their deceptive (and frankly fraudulent) behavior. Such a shame.

You can read a detailed report on the problem here:

 

Update: 25/06/2020.
Western Digital have decided to sort this problem by introducing a third tier to their “Red” drives. The only purpose of this development is to get out of the problem upper management created and wished was gone away.

https://www.anandtech.com/show/15878/western-digital-cleans-up-the-red-smr-nas-hdd-mess

From now on Red Drives mean “avoid”.

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