It's been a long time...

It's been almost 3 months since I posted. Big factor was that I was down with Asthmatic Bronchitis for 4 weeks not including the before and after time when I was not feeling normal. The good news is that I am feeling normal again. During the time I was down I discovered how much I missed going out and making photographs. Since I was very young I have always had access to a camera and it has been part of an almost daily habit (yes, I said habit). When I was getting better I could not wait to push down on the shutter. It was sure nice when I took the first shot.

I continue to be very happy with the Epson 7900. Its reliability is excellent but most of all is the quality of the prints. One of the concerns I had was how long would the starter inks would last. I have made several 24" by 36" prints and many other large size prints and only one Ink has reached below 20% level. I also read that manufacturers don't give you the correct amount left on the ink cartridge to force you to change ink sooner than you need to. That may be true but this printer tells you the percentage left on the cartridge so I will be able to wait until the end to change. Or if you prefer you can wait until the cartridge is out, the printer will stop and you can insert a new cartridge. This method seems a bit risky to me so I am going with the percentage amount and play it safe.

I have posted several new photographs to my website and have been going out in the winter to shoot some landscapes. Winter offers a new perspective on the landscape around us. I also offers different challenges for photographers. Beginning with exposure. This is when practice shooting with manual setting comes in handy. I shoot mostly in aperture priority to control the depth of field. However, I spend lots of time with each camera shooting in manual setting to get used to this setting so when I need to go to manual to choose an exposure setting to my liking for the photograph I am creating, I am familiar with the manual controls of the camera.

Here and there I will describe how I took a particular photograph. This latest black and white I posted is of a small river next to one of the roads in our region. I have driven by and hiked many times scouting the area to find a good spot for a photograph. I knew how the sun affected the landscape at various time of day. I drove by last week and saw how beautiful it looked with the large amount of snow we have received this winter. This Sunday Alice, Ziggy and I went for a drive with the purpose of taking some photographs. We arrived around 3:30PM. I took the photograph at 4:14, at this time the sun was getting low in the horizon but since it was a clear day the day was still bright. I was aiming to capture the sun light hitting the ripples of water. My goal was to create a black and white photograph highlighting  the contrast between the dark areas and the snow and sunlight on the water. I hiked for some time in a couple of feet of snow and took many photographs of the river.

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This photo is about midway during the hike. I took all photos on manual. This one was with a 50mm lens, ISO 640, 1/160 of a second and f/16. No tripod, I was at the edge of the snow and could not secure a tripod. I leaned against a tree at the shore to steady myself. I hope you enjoy it.

Until next time, have a joyful time,

Mauricio

Epson Stylus Pro 7900 is here (final).

Part Three:

We are fully up and running. I loaded the fine art paper roll and produced a wonderful 24" by 36" print of Heald Pond in Pepperell I took this fall. Not without some set up delays but now it is all running smoothly.

One of the issues that confused me was the different options that are available in the printer menu versus the options that are available in the print setup screen in the software. I am using Lightroom 4.3 to generate my images and printing them. Part of the software install includes Epson paper ICC Profiles. In Lightroom, I can see the option for Epson Cold Press Bright. In the printer menu screen I could not see that paper option. In the instructions it give you a substitute paper to choose but it warns you that this is not for the best printing quality. After reading as much as I could in print and on the web I decided to call Epson Customer service.

As I preface to my call I should tell you that I have been managing award winning Customer Service strategies for corporations (including my own business) for over 25 years. I am always a bit apprehensive when I call Customer Service for one of my products and believe that for the most part business has taken a turn not for the best in customer service. I am however, pleased to see that more and more I see glimmers of light. Lately I had opportunity to talk to B and H Photo Customer Service, The service was excellent, and now Epson Customer Service, also excellent service.

I called and experienced two very short menus, both limited to 3 options, one to ask me what type of product I was calling about and the other to ask if I was calling for technical support or an administrative matter. I entered the unit number for my printer and in less than a minute I was talking to a technician. He had all my information available and the fact that I had called before ( 2 years earlier) I asked my questions and I received courteous, quick, accurate and helpful information.

The answer is, the software options for paper, override the options on the printer menu. In my opinion, this is minor but it could be corrected. With this knowledge I have been printing and continue to be impresses with the quality of the print and the operation of the printer. This printer runs smoother than any printer I have used before.

In summary, the printer met all my expectations and was well worth the investment. Epson has done a great job with documentation and Customer service. The print quality is excellent. The mechanical operation is smooth. Paper loading is easy and straight forward using roll or sheet paper.

Until the next entry,

Caring for your well being, requires that you care for those around you!

Mauricio

Epson Stylus Pro 7900 is here.

Part One:

The Epson Stylus Pro 7900 arrived from B and H Video on Friday. My first impression was one of size. The printer is so large, that it exceeded any vision I had, regardless of how many times I checked the measurements on the printer specifications. The next was and is one of excitement. Ever since is I started creating photographic  images when I was a kid, I always printed. I loved to produce the largest prints possible in our dark room. I also was  exposed throughout my life to the paintings of my Dad. Some of his paintings are 5 feet by 5 feet. They just look great on any wall. This printer will print up to 24" by 90". This is a good start.

The printer arrived in an 18 wheeler. It was packed on top of  a pallet in a very large cardboard box. I opened the box and assembled the stand. I enlisted the help of my neighbor, John, and the son of my other neighbor, Derek. The printer by itself weighs 187 pounds. My goal was to get it in from the outside because of the cold temperature and the threat of rain and later to bring it down to my studio in the basement. We brought it in just in the nick of time. As soon as we were in, the rain started fall. The load made both my friends huff and puff. Once inside and after a small break my friend John said "why don't we keep going". I completed taking all the plastic cover off and removing the pallet which they used to help them get a better grip. Going down the stairs was tough, specially making the tight corner in the middle of the steps. We settled the printer on its stand and took a rest. From this point on it was mostly assembling the paper catch tray, removing all the tapes and packing material used during transport. The next step is to put in the ink cartridges. It comes with "starter" inks and about half of the cartridge is gone after charging all the ink lines. this process takes about 15 minutes.

So far all the documentation is excellent and clear. Following them step by step has been easy and straight forward. The printer just finished loading the inks. I will continue this when I have l have connected the printer to the network and installed the software.

Part Two:

I finished the connections to the network. I had a bit of a hick up (user error), my computer was not seeing the printer. Once I solved it by "adding" a port in the Epson utility, it all continued smoothly. I installed the software and was ready to do my first print. I printed a portrait of my beautiful wife, Alice, in 16" by 20" and a 24" by 36" print of two of my favorite landscapes. I printed in low quality and in the matte sample paper the printer came with. Wow! Better than I expected. The printer sounds like a turbine and does not have the clacking sounds I am used to with my HP 8550 and the Epson R3000. The printing is smooth and quiet. The printer has its own cutter and cuts the print when done.

I printed the third print, one with fall color foliage and blue water and sky. The print came out with horizontal bands in all the light blue and white areas. I looked at the problem solving section in the manual . One of the options is to clean the nozzles and print head. I did that and the next print was awesome.

My next step I going to load the roll of fine art Epson Cold Press Bright paper and go for a maximum quality 24" by 36" print.

I am very impressed with the printer the quality, its operation and the whole set up process. You really know you have a high end piece of equipment. The documentation is excellent and everything works as expected. I look forward to some fine art printing. There are so many details that make this a good experience. Way to go Epson!

I will update when I print my first fine art print.

Love life and those around you,

Mauricio

The unpredictability of Photography

One of the aspects of nature photography I enjoy, is its unpredictability. I read and hear photographers discussing the different approaches they prefer, some prefer planning extensively for one shot and others prefer finding a random shot. Their discussions sometimes sound like politics trying to convince you that their method is better and that you should subscribe to it. The beauty of it all, is that sometimes a photograph is the result of careful planning and other times a shot is there in an instant without warning. In my experience, I have taken photographs that are a result of lots of time spent in pre-planning and some happen in an instant.

Once, after spending a day at a beach photographing the local birds and the ocean views, I was just packing my camera into my back pack, when I turned to go to the back of the car and saw the sky had turned to gold from the sunset light. I had my camera in hand and saw a tree being highlighted against the golden background. Raised my camera and took the shot. The resulting photo was a keeper. It took seconds.

Another time I had been kayaking in the Nashua River and about 100 feet from the shore I put my camera away in a dry bag. As I sealed the bag my wife Alice said "look up"... A short distance in front of me was an Osprey diving for a fish. It caught the fish no more than 30 feet in front of me and flew by me with the fish in its talons. Where was my camera? neatly stored.

Always prepare, learn and plan. Learn about light, learn about the tides, the times of sunrise and sunset and the myriad of things that come together to produce a photograph. Practice until you know your equipment  inside and out. Having done all of that, always be ready for the unexpected. I carry my camera everywhere because you never know...

Peace,

Mauricio

Welcome!

November 19, 2012

Welcome to my first Blog entry.

For the first time I have the luxury to spend more time dedicated to photography. I have been a photographer most of my life. For most of this time, it has been a part time weekend endeavor. I am processing more pictures from my files going back about 5 years and am finding some treasures as well as some great memories.

I just changed the forwarding of my domain name to point to my new Fine Art web site. This is being hosted by SquareSpace. On the new site, I will display and sell my nature and other fine art photographs. I will keep my SmugMug page to add and sell sport photos. Sports photos can be purchased directly from SmugMug. This is a great site for this and you can purchase from photographs to mugs and T-shirts.  I set a link on my new web site that will open a new window to my SmugMug sports site.

I made the change because I enjoy capturing an image and then processing the photograph until the final outcome, which I consider to be a print. I like to use the finest products available and have control of color output and final quality. This option was not available in SmugMug.

Currently, I print fine art photographs up 13" by 44" size using an Epson R3000 printer. I use the best fine art paper that Epson has available. Mostly I print Color in Cold Press Bright Textured Matte Paper and Black and White in Exhibition Semi Gloss Paper.

Equipment news: I just received a Nikon D800 that I will use for landscape and Studio work. I will write about this later.


Until next time enjoy each moment of your life.