Oldie But Goodies Keeps Up The Pace

Here is yet another of my personal favorites. This was taken near a family cabin during hunting season when I am usually carrying a shotgun or a rifle around in the woods. Lately I’ve traded these in for my camera with a long lens and tripod. Here I snapped the shot with my macro lens. This image was not prepped or doctored in any way, the subject was as I found it, no spritzing water for effect or arranging the materials for the shot. Simple frame-focus-set exposure-shoot. Very simple, but amply powerful, at least it is to me.

Can’t you just smell the wonderful subtle scents and decay of the cool moist autumn morning?  Enjoy…

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Oldie But Goodie, Yet Once Again

Here is another one of my favorites, This is of the baptism of my nephew  Nathan, from left to right, my brother-in-law, my sister, of course my nephew, and then the pastor of St. Hubert Catholic Church with the rest of the community in the background as witnesses.

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This was taken with my Dad’s old Nikon FM2 with an mid 1960’s Nikkor 50mm f1.4 manual focus lens with Illford 400 ISO film processed with Kodak D76 chemistry, then scanned with an Epson V700 Photo scanner. Every once in a while I shoot an image that makes me say: Holy Crap! Did I actually shoot that one? For Heaven’s sake, Yes, I Did!

Another Oldie But Goodie

This one was also taken the same day as the other Yellowstone waterfall, only this one was taken from the other side of the river. Note that this image is also a multi exposure HDR image. Note that the use of faster shutter speeds allowed for detail in the upper portion of the falls but there is softer blurred look towards the bottom of the falls due to the water traveling faster.

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Oldie But a Goodie

I know that I have not posted any new images here for a while, I’ve been busy with a new job building elevators and it has taken up a large portion of my time recently. I will be taking a two week photo-spree vacation this spring so new images will certainly follow soon enough…

In the meantime I thought that I would periodically post some of my favorite past images, this one is from Yellowstone National Park and, you guessed it, It’s Yellowstone Falls taken from the end of Uncle Tom’s Trail:

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This is one of my favorites because it is a fairly difficult set of rickety stairs, at least for an old fart like myself hauling a fifty pound pack of photo gear and using a tripod for a walking stick,  to get to this point. It was also a great velvety smooth time exposure that did not require any ND filters to capture due to this waterfall being in the shade. It is also a multi-exposure High Dynamic Range (HDR) processed image.

X-Rite Colormunki Broken and Unusable

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Update 12-22-2015: After reading my blog post the X-Rite tech support contacted me and tried to back out of their douchebaggery of blowing me off. They actually claimed that they would have replaced my Colormunki for free had I asked them too, even though it was out of warranty. But unfortunately, they will no longer offer me a replacement. He then challenged me to add this to my post.  Well, put your money where your mouth is and replace it, then I might be persuaded to remove this post.

—-On second thought Iv’e been eyeing the Spyder5Studio bundle and it looks as if this system has a hell of a lot more to offer and it has professional software modes that aren’t exclusively written for dummies. It also costs less to boot!!!

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After about two years of service my X-Rite Colormunki Photo had become unusable. The device is both a monitor color calibrator and a color spectrometer all-in-one. It is used to profile printers in order to create color profiles for printer/paper combinations. I have found that the manually produced printer profiles render color correct printed images far easier than any other methods. The stock profiles that come with the printer and paper manufacturer’s profiles to be, well, OK but not all that great either. To get those great prints that pop, printer profiling is an absolute must.

I was attempting to profile some of my papers with my Cone Color inks with the partially  but permanently clogged PK/MK print head. Much to my dismay the Colormunki could not be calibrated with it’s internal white-balance card and there is no other option to be able to calibrate it with an external white-balance card. When the dial was rotated the indications in the software showed the dial in another position, usually in the horizontal position. I was dead in the water :-(

After some troubleshooting it appeared as if there were some sort of position sensor that was slightly off, I could get the software to indicate that it was in the calibrate position when the dial was rotated slightly clockwise, the same was true for the measure position. Since my device was no longer covered by X-Rite’s warranty I decided to jump into it myself. This is what I found:

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The reflective targets for the position sensor was broken into eight separate pieces. The device had never been dropped since I owned it new.

The sensor was an optical type that rotates with the wheel. The reflective targets were mounted on a thin plastic strip mounted on the outer cover. It appears to be a binary device, when none of the reflectors are in place it indicates the horizontal position, when one sensor is in front of one of the detectors it either points up or down, and when both sensors reflecting it will be in the calibrate position.

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At this point I decided to contact X-Rite to see if I could possibly purchase a new sensor strip and their reply was flabbergasting. They refused to offer any help and told me they don’t offer parts and basically told me that I was screwed and that I probably f-ed up any possibility of ever being able to create an accurate profile ever again. The rat bastards basically told me to piss-off.

The Colormunki comes apart quite easily but there are quite a few parts to keep track of:

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Note that there is absolutely NOTHING that was taken apart that would have any effect on the calibration qualities, so long as I put the white-balance card back correctly. I thought about several ways to reproduce a new strip, actually a piece of white paper was sufficient to trigger the sensors. Ultimately I chose to glue the existing pieces back in place, at least the critical pieces with the reflective strips.

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After glueing the pieces back in I reassembled the Colormunki and it worked flawlessly.

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Bottom line; This device was built rather cheaply and had I not been tech savvy and mechanically inclined I would have been S**T OUT OF LUCK! I rate X-Rites’ tech support as substandard and would NEVER recommend them or their products to anyone for any reason.

There are other manufactures that produce devices and kits which don’t try to pack everything into one device. So when something goes wrong with one you won’t have to replace them all, as is the case with the Colormunki device brought to you by monkeys themselves. I think that the tech at X-Rite knows something that I don’t, quite possibly the ability for my Colormunki to hold its proper calibration after a few years. Time to look into other avenues…

 

Epson Stylus Pro 4900 – Fixed Print Head Clog Update

Since my last post concerning my Epson Stylus Pro 4900 printer explaining my exasperating print head clogging issues and my past success at clearing them I am sorry to say that ultimately the print head is now irretrievably clogged, or possibly that my PK/MK portion of the head is partially electronically dead and the portions that won’t print are growing in size. The banding issues are quite noticeable, especially in B&W prints.

This is after about a three month hiatus since my last time printing, after which I put it away without any ink in the system. I left it loaded with my cleaning cartridges filled with cleaning fluid consisting of Windex. I think that it might be OK to use Windex as a cleaning agent but it probably is not very wise to leave the print head in contact with it for long periods of time. Possibly filtered distilled water may be a better alternative. Also another possible alternative may be Conecolors’ cleaning fluid, although considerably more expensive.

I am now left with a choice, do I dump the printer in a landfill or do I buy a new printhead? The cheapest printhead that I found was about $1400 US and from unknown offshore sources an with me providing the labor, a new printer would be about $1700 while Epson service will charge about $1900 to fix it. This would be with the knowledge that the new printhead will, in all likelihood, also be plagued with clogging problems. It seems as if the Epson SP 4900 printhead has a lifetime ranging from a few hundred pages to, at most, a few years. I already have a very expensive arsenal of cleaning equipment, resetting tools and about 500 mL of each ink color in reserve that, when all is said and done, are worth well over $1000 for the SP 4900.

However, I am leaning towards Cannon’s professional 17″ printer with twelve pigmented inks (and no f-ing switching between matt and photo black inks!) which is also about $1700. I know that this Cannon printer has had some printhead issues as well but the heads are split in two with their costs, from known reliable sources, are under $500. I searched the web to find out the problems with this printer and have only come across about 1/10th the issues as with Epson’s. I’m weighing the issues and would appreciate any one’s, who has experience with the Cannon Pro line, input who could inform me about Cannon’s reliability as it compares to Epson’s line of X900 printers.

Another alternative would be to use an outside printshop and leave the headaches to them but as I learned in dealing with National Geographic there is a lot to say about having total control of the printing process.