Masterworks In My Collection – Ansel Adams – Clearing Winter Storm, 1944

adams_clearingwinterstorm425
Ansel Adams’ Clearing Winter Storm, 1944 is a particularly interesting photograph to me because of its complexity. It’s a specific kind of complexity. Like many other complex images, it’s made of a lot of separate elements but is still unified. Unlike many other complex images, it can be broken into many separate images, each complete compositions in themselves; four peaks in clouds, one vertical monolith in clouds, shadowed valley between monolith and peak, waterfall and peak, waterfall and two trees, etc. (Try finding as many separate compositions in this single image like this as you can.)
When you look at prints of Ansel Adams’ Clearing Winter Storm many assumptions about the medium, the man, and his work are confirmed and challenged. It’s neutral, perhaps even slightly cold in tone, which is appropriate for the subject. The tonal scale is high contrast and full scale, perhaps heavier than expected with very full highlights and it may be surprising that some shadow detail is not preserved. The large format original renders detail well, though there are traces of visible grain in light smooth areas. There’s detail throughout the image (deep depth of field, sharp focus, full scale printing); when it was printed this may have been the sharpest image quality possible while today it looks classically smooth in comparison to new high resolution digitally sharpened images. At 16×20” it’s a medium scale enlargement, not a contact, and could have been printed larger; that it wasn’t is an interesting reflection on both the man and his times. Print quality becomes not only a window into the past of the subject but also into the medium, which this man above all others epitomized for his time.
There’s a lot to be learned from looking at originals, which is why we look at masterworks from my collection in all of my  digital printing workshops.
Find my comments on other Masterworks In My Collection here.

Printing 101 Notebook – Ron Martinsen


“Ron Martinsen is an internationally renowned commercial photographer who has educated over 800,000 visitors on his popular Photography and Photoshop blog. His printing series last year was a huge hit, but there was so much great information to share that his loyal readers asked for a book. Printing 101 Notebook: An Introduction to Fine Art Photography Printing is an eBook that is designed to help frustrated ink jet printer users get the most out of their investment by educating them on everything they will need to make great prints.”
Ron Martinsen’s ebook Printing 101 is packed with digital printing tips and tricks, peppered with links to more resources. In a casual personal tone he offers advice based on his real world experience. While the book is applicable to photographers using any inkjet printer, it offers more information on Canon printers than any other source I’ve encountered. The supporting interviews with industry leaders in printing offer even more information from a diverse group of individuals.
Find out more about Ron Martinsen here.
Get your copy of the Printing 101 Notebook at Flatbooks.
Learn more with my free digital printing ebooks.
Learn more in my digital printing workshops.

Softproofing



As a rule, always softproof an image to determine a rendering intent and make printer/substrate specific adjustments to a image file before printing it.

You can get Photoshop to display an image the way it will appear when it’s printed, before you print it, by softproofing an image. If you softproof before you print, you’ll get your best first proof or maybe even a finished print.  Not to be confused with a hard proof or physically printed piece, a softproof uses an ICC profile to create an onscreen simulation of an image as it will appear when printed.
Wait. Haven’t you already done this by calibrating and characterizing your monitor with a colorimeter, choosing an editing space along with color management policies in Photoshop, and specifying the right profile for a printer/paper combination with your printer driver? Almost. Doing these things ensures that all of the different color behaviors of the devices you’re using are accurately described and that color conversions are handled precisely, but it doesn’t ensure that you will see exactly how an image will look when printed. Without softproofing, you see how an image looks on a monitor. To see an image on a monitor with the appearance of how it will look when printed, before you print it, you need to take the final step of softproofing the image. This simulation won’t change your file, just it’s appearance. Once softproofed, if you choose to, you can make output specific adjustments to your file before printing to get a better first print. Read More