A load of old bols

Yep. Back there again P1030272

Was a bit late getting into town Wednesday, prob’ly cos I’m a bone-idle sod that can’t get his act together. Consequently not much time to have a mooch around taking piccies.
But no big deal… for I had a cunning plan.

Y’see, there’a a particular “effect” I’ve decided I wanna try achieving with certain types of pic; an effect moreover that I suspect can be fairly readily achieved in post-pro, once one knows what parameters to tweak. And there’s the rub, cos I ain’t got a clue. Nothing new there then.

So I needed some test pics. Nothing special. Just something I could mess around with. And of the right sort of scene. Sure, I could simply just have had a rummage around in the jolly old archives… but that’s too straightforward and uncomplicated for me. Plus, I’ve already seen all those pics (at one time or another… musta done cos they’re archived) and I’m bored by them now.

However, given my vast experience in attempting to shoot at least one decent pic inside my old haunt The Bear I knew that the interior thereof would readily lend itself to some shots for messing around with. The sort of shots I have in mind for this treatment.
And of course, where do I always end up when in town? Yep. The Bear.
Hence the lack of concern at not having used the early part of the day in any productive sense.

Unfortunately part of my cunning plan included a huge imponderable… the need to have The Bear somewhat devoid of bodies. Not mine of course. That’d be silly. Cos how could I take the pics if I weren’t there? (And no, that isn’t an invitation for some smartarse to explain how I’d do that!)

As luck would have it though (and, it has to be said, not altogether unusually) there were brief interludes when the pub was empty. Apart from me of course. And mate. Though he don’t count, cos he’s sort of… well, he just doesn’t, that’s all.

Yep. Back there again P1030218

So, a handful (er… rather more than a handful actually) of shots later sees mission accomplished and me in a position to fully relax with nowt other tasks beckoning. Apart from messing around with the pics when I get back home, but that’s for later.

Incidentally, and this is the “later bit”, all the pics accompanying this post are the fruits of my endeavour. And a right sorry bunch they are too. Haven’t really come anywhere even close to the effect I was after. But its a start. And at least now I know some of the tweaks that don’t work. So one step forward. Watch me now spending the next six months or so mulling about it!

Right. With all that out the way you’ll no doubt be disheartened to learn that’s not what this post’s intended to be about at all!
What I really wanted to do was return to that thorny issue of colour management for prints.

Yep. Still not fully sorted yet but at long last there’s a glimmer of light on the horizon. Hoo-bloody-ray do I hear you say?

So there I was then, ensconced in The Bear when who should walk in but another photo nutter. Seems the pub’s gradually becoming a sort of haven for a whole bunch of us pic-taking types. Can’t be bad.

Pleasantries exchanged (well, what passes for pleasantries amongst our little circle… anyone else could be forgiven for interpreting them as insults) we settle into whatever it is we wanna be doing.
In my case resume my slobbing at the bar with a mug of coffee, and in his case settle down at one of the tables and start messing around with something that looks suspiciously like a laptop to me.

Oh, I nearly forgot, there’s other mate too (wish I could bloody forget), but he’s loitering behind the bar pretending to be busy working. Yeah. Right.

Yep. Back there again P1030225

All’s peace and quiet (just how we like it) when suddenly laptop mate pipes up “Anyone got a USB stick?” (or words to that effect).
Ever-helpful me instantly responds “Hang on a mo’, I may have” and starts rummaging in the backpack. Cos I usually do. Rummage in the backpack. And have a USB stick or three with me.

But whaddya know? Useless bloody me appears to be totally stickless. Absolutely sodding typical.
However, all is not lost.
“What about,” sez I, “an SD card and a card reader?” See… I’m not always as brainless as I appear.
Uglymug behind bar reckons he has one and sure enough, moments later, proudly brandishes his offering. Except it turns out to be some stupidly useless ancient thing with a capacity measured in Mb wouldya believe? Well, that’s just a whole bunch of crap. Not surprising really, coming from him.

Whereupon a discussion ensues regarding what capacity card’s gonna be needed. Turns out laptop mate wants to transfer some pics to it so he can whip along to a Kodak shop in the town centre and have some prints done.

Suddenly my innate helpfulness receives a huge boost of vested interest and has me rummaging once more in the old backpack.
To produce with a flourish my… memory card wallet! Tra-la!
“So what size do we want then? One gig? Two gig? Four gig? Eight gig?” Don’t you just hate bloody show-offs?
And of course I’m able to furnish a card reader as well.

Fast-forward now to laptop mate returning from Kodak shop, prints grasped firmly under arm.
Naturally we wanna have a looksee. Me especially. Then (as if you couldn’t guess) I sez “Ok, can we compare them to how they look on the laptop then?”

And whaddya know? They’re exhibiting exactly the same sort and degree of colour shift that t’other mate and I have already seen in our prints.
Bizarrely though, laptop mate hadn’t noticed it! And apparently he’s quite accustomed to having prints of his pics done. And generally quite satisfied with the results.

Mind you, once I point out to him areas of the pics where the shift’s most noticeable he can see what I’m chuntering on about. And, having spotted the differences, in some cases actually prefers the print version to the onscreen version!
Well, there’s a turn-up for the book!

Now what all this has done is sort of resolve two issues for me.

One… that the colour shift mate and I have noticed is not, apparently, at all unusual. Nor is it confined just to our pics (thankfully). Which suggests that folk who’re always getting loadsa prints of their pics done are quite accustomed to it. May not, in fact, even “see” it.
Two… that the product of these print-on-demand places, whether online or elsewhere, seems to be quite acceptable to the average user, regardless of what they may have seen onscreen.

And that leaves me with a question: this whole colour management business, is it just one of those geeky things that’s only ever of real concern to the obsessive perfectionist, whilst for the rest of us hoi polloi its all really just a load of old bols?

Yep. Back there again P1030228

About fotdmike

Occasional photographer; occasional writer/blogger; occasional activist; occasional computer-geek. Bit of a fool really.
This entry was posted in Adventures, Photography Chat and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to A load of old bols

  1. Pingback: That was a quick six months wasn’t it? « Adventures of an Idiot – occasional ramblings of a photography freak

  2. David says:

    I would recomend that you start colour management by calibrating your monitor, try looking at i1 display by X-Rite see http://www.xrite.com/product_overview.aspx?ID=1238 but its not cheap software.
    I usually print at home, or at least I did before my printer packed up, don’t print a huge amount but for what I want its perfectly adequate, although I did have to download the specific colour profiles for my printer to mach the photopaper I buy, its an Epsom Printer and I tend to use either Kodac or Epsom printer paper so have downloaded colour profiles for those, gloss and mat finishes, this is easy and free to do, not sure whether you would pic up a difference but havign seen what you have written I have been back and checked a couple of prints and I can’t easily see a difference, very slightly different granted but then I have not calibrated the monitor on my laptop which might make the difference if I coudl afford the software. so perhaps home printing, with equipment acurately calibrated might be the answer? At least if you calibrate your monitor and your printer you should know that the colours on both will match.

    I do occasionally use a photolab but tend to use Jessops because I like their service and they seem to produce pretty good quality images.

    • fotdmike says:

      Thing is, the machine I generally do the bulk of my photo work on is colour calibrated… even to the point of having a real-time gizmo that’s constantly monitoring ambient light and automatically adjusting the display accordingly.

      I think you’re right though, the ideal anwser is to have my own printer, but for the sort of output and control I have in mind that ain’t gonna come cheap. So I have to balance “getting it right” with how often I’m likely to be using it, and the little exercise suggests it may not make a lot of sense. Undecided so far though.

      Jesspos now… hmm. I’d not thought of using them. Mainly cos I’m not impressed overall with their general level of know-how. In the local branch at least. For example, wasn’t too long ago they professed ignorance of what a grey card is!
      And, to be honest, the way they’ve run down their stock levels over the past coupla years or so (and the sort of stuff they’re stocking) suggests to me they’re not all that interested in my end of the photography market but are aiming more at the entry level.

  3. forkboy says:

    I’m still wondering if the problem isn’t one of mismatched settings between your camera set-up, your processing software and the printer’s colour management software.

    All it takes is one ICC profile to be different or the camera set to Adobe instead of sRGB and everything goes awry. Maybe it would be a good time to go back and examine each device’s settings (camera, printer) and check the software you use to make certain they are all on the same page, so to speak?

    • fotdmike says:

      Oh, there’s no doubt in my mind that the problem lies with the printer… the one element in the chain that’s beyond my control.
      But what this most recent discovery has caused me to ponder is whether or not its even worth getting my knickers in a twist about. Given that all the indications are that most folk are perfectly satisfied with what comes out of these print-on-demand places.

      As an academic exercise it’d be good/interesting to get hold of a printer (with the options I require) and have a bit of a play, but at the mo’ I’m unconvinced that the exercise justifies the outlay.

      However, don’t be surprised if I revisit this a bit down the road.
      😉

  4. forkboy says:

    This is why my next home picture printer will be both a dedicated picture printer AND all for my software (Lightroom, Elements, whatever) to handle colour management. I’m very much sold on the Canon 9500 Mark II at this time, but it’s over my budget, which means it costs more than a dollar.

    Oddly enough, my cheap ‘ol Epson PictureMate Snap does really great colour matching to my monitor all on its own, while my HP skews yellows and greens too much for my liking so I don’t use it for printing pictures any longer.

    • fotdmike says:

      I’m seriously tempted to get a cheapie photo printer at first, just to play around with sort of. Thing is, I can’t quite make up my mind whether that’s worth doing on the offchance that, by some fluke, it’ll produce something reasonable or, more likely, its simply me being drawn to the idea of “getting another gadget”.

      Rationally its hard to justify cos for any printer to get even close to exactly what I want it’d have to print larger than A4, and I’m guessing that knocks all the cheapie ones out of the running anyway.

  5. David says:

    I have an old HP sitting round at home if you wanted to see if you can fix it, I was using it mainly for general printing although it is a photosmart, until a few weeks ago when it threw up an error, when I turn it on it says something like ‘ink system error please turn off and on’ but I dont seem to be able to fix it, mind you I haven’t had the patience to spend any time on it, my other, the Epson, has packed up big time, its problem is age! So I have ordered a new Epson, this one will do up to A3, so I need to get rid of the HP photosmart anyhow to make room for this bigger machine, ideally would like to keep the photosmart for normal printing, letters etc, but room just wont permit and I cant fix it otherwise my wife will wonder why I have spent a lot of money on the new printer, which in truth is partly just coz I wanted a printer that does bigger than A4.
    So, if you think you can get the HP Photosmart fixed and want it its your for the asking.

    • fotdmike says:

      That’s really appreciated, though I’m absolutely useless at fixing anything on the hardware side! I still have a Lexmark printer floating around here somewhere (no good for pics of course) that someone gave me last year cos it started playing up and they thought I’d probably be able to get it running again. But I have a much more realistic idea of my abilities (or lack of them). Consequently, I haven’t even got around to taking the thing out of its box yet. Its still lurking under the kitchen table far as I recollect. Most likely at some point it’ll find its way up into the attic… still unopened!

  6. forkboy says:

    You could try checking what is your ICC profile in your software, make certain you include the profile when you export to JPEG and find a printer who can print based upon your specified ICC profile?

    Just for grins and giggles you know….

  7. Pingback: Recipe | Adventures of an Idiot – occasional ramblings of a photography freak

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