Friday, July 23, 2010

One Camera, One Lens

I don’t talk much about equipment here, but as I get ready to leave for my next trip I have been thinking about it a lot. I am taking a road trip up the Oregon coast to Seattle to see my daughter. After that I will go to Victoria BC for a few days where I am taking a workshop with Lauren Henkin. From this point I also plan to visit the San Juan Islands and Vancouver.

I am not an equipment junkie (at least not anymore). When I traveled during my film days I would usually bring 3 cameras and maybe 4 or 5 lenses. I needed one 35mm for slow black and white film, another one for infrared film and my Mamiya 645 just because I loved that camera. This worked out ok, but it made for a very heavy backpack.

I always laugh a little under my breath when the first thing someone asks me is “what camera do you use?”. Equipment is overrated and this is proven everyday with some of the amazing images I have seen coming out of iPhones and other “point and shoot” cameras.

My first digital camera was the Nikon D80 which I had converted to shoot infrared only. A year later (after accepting and then embracing digital photography) I bought a Nikon D300. I only own two lenses. One is my Nikkor 105mm 2.8 Macro lens. I use this primarily on my D300 for flowers. It is a beautiful but very heavy lens. My other lens is a Nikkor 18-200mm 3.5 lens. Sure it would be nice to have a longer lens, but for most of what I shoot, this is just fine. This brings me to why I am writing about this.

I have a tendency to over pack when I travel. I don’t want to do that on this trip and that includes my camera equipment. At one point I thought about renting another lens to put on the D80 but I changed my mind and decided to bring the D300 with the 18-200 lens. Not having to make any decision about which camera, or which lens to use frees me up to simply concentrate on the image I want to make. I considered leaving my D80 at home to really lighten up my camera bag, but I think it would be a good idea to have a backup camera “just in case”.

In some ways I am finding it difficult to put my “flower project” on hold, but I know once I get out to the coast and allow myself to slow down, I will be inspired, relaxed and eager to shoot.

Of course I will still have to bring my laptop, external hard drive, card reader, cable release, tripod……………………….

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Papers & Printing for Hand-Coloring Inkjet Prints

©2010 Dianne Poinski

I wrote an earlier post on Hand-coloring Inkjet Prints with PanPastels, but I don't believe I have talked very much about printing and the paper I use to create the black and white image I begin with. It's a crucial part of the process, so I thought I would share some of the information I give as part of my hand-coloring workshop.

When getting ready to print your black and white photograph for hand-coloring, your choice of paper is the first step. The most important characteristic is that it have a matte surface. This allows the color to be absorbed into the paper. I recommend experimenting with many different papers when starting out. I only color on 100% cotton rag art paper in both smooth and textured surfaces. These papers are a little expensive, so in the beginning you may want to practice on some of the less expensive matte papers found in most office supply stores. You can experiment with these to start, but I don't recommend them for final projects.

My favorite paper is Museo Portfolio Rag which has a smooth surface and seems to be less fragile than the other papers I have tried. Other papers I have used include:

Epson Velvet Fine Art Paper – slight texture, good beginning paper but you need to handle it carefully.

Hahnemuhle Photo Rag – Another smooth paper that I like to use.

Innova Cold Press - rough texture.

There are many affordable inkjet printers on the market. The type of ink used in the printer is important. The pigment inks available now are considered to be archival and tests have shown that under normal conditions, there should be no noticeable change in the quality of an image for up to, and sometimes exceeding 100 years. My printer uses the Epson UltraChrome K3 Inks. In addition to using the right paper and ink, when making a print to hand-color I also tend to make my prints a little lighter and with less contrast. It's almost impossible to get color in very dark or very light areas and your choice of colors can be used to add the desired contrast.

Most of the art papers are very fragile and great care should be used when handling them. For extra protection I recommend a spray such as Premier Art Print Shield be used on the black and white print before hand-coloring. This greatly enhances the life of digital photos by making the surface water and UV-resistant.

Once you have chosen your image and have had your archival print made and sprayed; you are ready to start hand-coloring.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Year Later............

©2010 Dianne Poinski

It's hard to believe, but it was exactly a year ago this week that I arrived in Paris. I had a lot of expectations going into that trip, but for the most post it was a dream come true and an amazing experience.

While the point of the trip was to celebrate a milestone birthday and spend time with my family, I also believed I would come home with more images than I knew what to do with and that I would be sharing them well into 2010. Well, that's not exactly how it happened, and it was pointed out to me recently that I had very few images from that trip on my website.

I shared in a post shortly after I got back, about the difficulties in editing those photographs and the criteria I used when deciding whether or not to print an image. I think one of the things I was trying to avoid during that editing period were those classic and somewhat clich├ęd French landscapes and architecture. I also seemed to have a constant dialogue going on in my head. Technical perfection was required as well as originality, composition and (I hate to say this, but I covered it in that earlier post) the potential sales from an image.

I got the chance to revisit many of those images recently when I sat down to the huge task of clearing space off of my hard drive. The voices seemed to have quieted down and I found myself drawn to certain shots that I had avoided before.

With this being the anniversary of that trip, I thought it would be the perfect time to experiment with and share some of the photographs I discovered during this more relaxed edit. All of these were only worked on in the computer and I must admit I had a lot of fun. The pressure was off and it felt like playtime. Isn’t that why I took up photography in the first place?

©2010 Dianne Poinski

©2010 Dianne Poinski

©2010 Dianne Poinski

©2010 Dianne Poinski