Osprey, Mono Lake © Robert Sommers 2023

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Calibrate your monitor.

f13,  four seconds ND4

I went to the beach last night with Ken and Mike to grab some sunset shots. I received my new Vivitar neutral density filter in the mail yesterday and wanted to check it out. Normally with a ND8 filter you are sort of traveling blind because they are too dark to focus through.

With the variable filter you can open it up, focus and then redial it in to shoot, which saves a lot of hassle and unscrewing. Neutral density filters allow a photographer to take long exposures and stop movement. This one is not quite as dark at max as my others but will work fine.

We grabbed a bite of food at Carlitos on the way back and I needed to use the bathroom so I stopped at the shop, did my bidness and processed the evening's work. Not bad. Will be fun to play with this filter. I got a size that would fit my intermediate zoom, my other ND filters fit my wide angle and they are hard to focus with this type of usage.

Anyway I posted a couple shots to Google+ that I was reasonably happy with. I sent them to my photomates and both felt that they were too dark. Fair enough. I favor the dark side.

f9, 10 seconds ND8

Which is all a preamble to today's topic, the subjectivity and unique nature of individual perception. A little over a year ago I had my cataracts removed and found out that I had been seeing the world through a yellow tone. My natural born lenses had lost clarity and color cast. Getting older is fun kids, wait until you try it!

In any case that was the first whammy. It had never occurred to me that we all experience color and vision differently, that there was no true base line. As my ophthalmologist explained to me, vision is 10% eyes and 90% brain and our collective hominid hardware and physiology is not all the same. What looks good to you may not look good to me.

f16, three seconds ND8

I bought a new printer last week, an Epson P800. My old printer, an Epson 3800, was continually breaking down and I couldn't put another penny into it. Mike bought the new one and his results were simply breathtaking.

I did some test prints after I set it up and the results were not what I hoped for. Ken asked me if I had calibrated by iMac monitor and I never had. I had calibrated my old display but not this one with a Spyder that I had borrowed from Jerry K.

Ken brought his, found out that my display was way, way too bright. I forget the numbers but I had kicked the thing far out of the recommended brightness range. Because it looked good to me. But what I failed to consider was that my pictures might look like crap to people with more carefully calibrated screens.

And Ken mentioned that my colors looked muddy and washed out. Afterwards I looked at some of my published work and Ken was right, as hard as it was to admit. Not going to redo everything but I apologize.Your screen was not getting what I was seeing on mine. So all you photogs out there, calibrate your monitor!

f9, 30 seconds ND8

I own an art gallery. I take pictures for fun, I sell brightly and not so brightly colored canvases for a living. I have a fiercely critical eye. With all the attendant prejudices of perception.

I noticed on the Borrego star photography trip that my pictures looked better to me a bit darker. My pals' work was lighter. In my artistic scorecard perhaps color and dynamics slightly trump detail, lightness and clarity, I don't know. Maybe its a scorpio thing, we are supposedly quite moody.

Due to health reasons, I can't paint anymore but I still think my approach is more painterly and a bit more abstract than many of my cohorts, an artist masquerading as a photographer. Every way works!

There are people that love your work and people that loathe your work and you can't please everybody and still please yourself. So don't even try.


Anonymous said...

And here I thought that you were working with a muted palette.

Kerr A. Lott said...

I like saturated color and extreme contrast. Those beach shots look really good. Excellent. I want some prints !

Pete W. said...

It takes good vision to make such beautiful long exposure photos. I particularly like the second one, where the water still has a bit of texture.

Blue Heron said...

Thanks Pete, I thought I was the only person who liked that shot. Seriously.