31 December, 2015

Happy Holidays

Zeiss 50mm Loxia - City Reach Boardwalk - Brisbane [Click image to enlarge]

Happy New Year
Thank you for joining me in 2015, and
All the best for 2016!

28 December, 2015

Epson Legacy Papers

Zeiss Loxia 50mm - Paddlewheeler, Brisbane River [Click to enlarge.]

Epson has a new line of papers coming in 2016. There's a special page on the Epson USA site; but, sadly, I couldn't find a hint of these papers on Epson's Australia site. You can sign up for future information about the Legacy line on the USA page, but it's limited to customers with US or Canadian addresses. 

These new "Legacy Papers" include: "Legacy Platine," "Legacy Fibre," "Legacy Baryta," and "Legacy Etching." 

The Luminous Landscape is beginning a "Getting Back to the Print" project. And, as a part of that project it looks like they'll be testing these papers ahead of (or concurrently with) the January 2016 releases.

From the new names, I'm guessing that Epson's "Platine" and "Baryta" are taking aim at the Canson papers, "Canson Platine Fibre Rag," and "Canson Baryta Photographique." Both of these Canson papers are favourites of mine — both are outstanding. For Epson to jump ahead of these two Cansons will require quite an effort. And, such an effort is made more difficult by Epson having to use other manufacturers, as they don't make their own paper. (Canson, on the other hand, is a dedicated paper maker founded in 1557.) Good luck, Epson.

Epson also mentions a "Legacy Fibre," as an "exceptionally bright, OBA-free, smooth matte" paper. This sounds to me like a whiter version of Epson Hot Press Natural. Epson's HPN is also a favourite of mine. Its warmth can be great for black and white portraits, or other images where a bright white can be distracting. That same warmth, however, can be limiting for other purposes. Epson's Hot Press Bright is more neutral, but I, for one, am not happy with its Optical Brightening Agents (OBAs) as they can affect longevity. A more neutral OBA-free, white matte could fill a gap.

The Gregory Cazillo YouTube interview with Jeff Smith of Epson at the PhotoPlus Expo in New York indicates that the Legacy Fibre will take Photo Black ink instead of the usual Matte Black. It will be interesting to see if the paper will still retain the organic feel of matte papers with the "hold out" necessary for Photo Black ink.

There's also a textured matte coming called "Legacy Etching." I'm usually shy of textured papers, but I'm happy to have a look.

The claimed longevity by Jeff Smith for the new papers is high (200 years for colour and 400 years for black and white), but It's not clear to me if this is just the paper or a combination of the new papers and the new UltraChrome HD and HDX ink sets. 

I was very pleased with Epson's Signature Worthy papers; but disappointed when my favourite, Hot Press Natural, was out of stock in Australia for a time this year.

I watch with envy from afar when Epson in the USA offers attractive discounts on both printers and papers. The only recent offer I recall from Epson Australia was for $10 off my next order — if I referred a new customer.

13 December, 2015

A little format change

Sony 70-200mm - Mt Coot-tha [Click image to enlarge]

It's a quiet Sunday, so I thought I would make some changes to the design of the blog — nothing major. I darkened the background because it helps with the images. White text on a dark background, however, is much harder to read, so I brought up the size of the type.

Also, a different colour scheme and a slightly wider blog to accommodate the larger type.

I have to go back and clean up some earlier posts where the global changes have created problems, and that might take a day or two.

08 December, 2015

Henri Cartier-Bresson, Willy Ronis - Cropping

Sony 70-200mm - Mt Coot-tha [Click image to enlarge]

Henri Cartier-Bresson (HCB) is famous for rarely cropping his images. This reticence wasn't sloth; but was a matter of principle. And his wasn't a voice in the wilderness. Jay Maisel, for example, also takes a dim view of post-production cropping.

I really love HCB's and Jay Maisel's work; but in regard to their attitudes to cropping, I don't get it. Cropping in-camera, it seems to me, limits the photographer to the aspect ratio of the camera.

But, dwelling on the negative isn't helpful, particularly when talking about the work of HCB and Maisel. So, let me go another way.

In looking at the greats, I'm more impressed by the cropping choices of Willy Ronis, the French Humanist photographer. When I look at his images, I can't imagine them benefiting from an honouring of the aspect ratios of his cameras.

I'm no Willy Ronis, but I rarely fail to crop my own images. I see no benefit in not trying to balance the elements, emphasise the essential and minimise the irrelevant. Sure, I try to get it right in the camera, but if it still needs work, it still needs work.

A 6:48 slideshow of Ronis photos: