So I promised earlier I'd tell you this little story about the Mirror Lake print. (The June Print Offer ends two days from now, on Friday at 7:30 p.m. U.S. Central Time.)
Jack and I met at Café Manna, the vegetarian restaurant I found to accommodate John Camp when he passed this way. I've become a fan of the restaurant; I'm not totally vegetarian, nercessarily, but Café Manna is just a good restaurant with great food.
Joe Donovan, Jack's printer (here's his website—note that he has a couple of Mirror Lake images too), still uses specialized bespoke uprezzing programs. (Unlike most photographers, who just let Lightroom do it, not that there's anything wrong with that.) We had the prints spread out on a table in the garden and were parsing the distinctions.
As we were discussing the variations, Jack called the waitress over and asked her opinion.
Later, he told me why—it's something August Busch (Chairman of Anheuser-Busch, who he used to work for) used to do when finalizing a Budweiser commercial. He'd call a mechanic or a line worker from the factory floor into the boardroom, and all the "suits” who had various stakes in the game (and had been close to the project for weeks) would listen intently to the line worker's unbiased and unvarnished opinion. Jack said usually they got good input that way.
We did too. Our waitress, Kari, turned out to be someone who liked photography and had no trouble seeing the differences in the prints.
So Kari from Café Manna chose the final version of the print you'll get.
(Jack and I did agree with her!)
A few other questions we got:
Andrea G. Blum: How do you flatten photos which are shipped rolled so that they can be framed?
Jack replies: My framer, Creative Enterprises. showed me how to flatten a rolled-up print. It's pretty simple; just be patient. Find a table and place the photo on the table and let the paper naturally unwind. Depending on your humidity, it may take 24 hours, or longer. No need to force the rolled paper flat, as that can accidentally create a crease. Be patient and leave it alone. Note that this applies to the paper we're using, Canson Platine Fibre Rag. It's very heavy and naturally wants to be flat. I can't vouch for other photo papers.
John Krill: "I'm really curious what Jack's camera of choice was before the Leica S. Also to what degree was the quality of the 'S' that much better than his previous camera."
Jack replies: It was Canon. The 1D, then 1Ds. But as I enlarged the images, the lenses were not doing the job. That's the short answer.
The long answer: When Leica announced a digital solution for the M, the original M8, I still had some very old rangefinder lenses that I could use with it. I knew the lenses from Leica were better than the wide-angle solutions from Canon. Subsequently Canon has improved its wide lenses, but too late for me.
Then Leica announced the S with about four times the resolution of the M8 and the promise of system that was designed from the bottom up for digital, and had lenses that could handle even more resolution. I had formerly used a Pentax 6x7 and the SLR design of the Leica S appealed to me. I was selling prints for a lot of money and didn't want to shortchange the product technically.
Can I see the difference? Sure, I can enlarge four times larger than before.
If I were making this choice today, would I go with the S2 versus a high-resolution full-frame digital with a pixel count that comes close to the S2's? Hey, that wasn't an option when I made my choice, and since I still can use more resolution, I'm looking forward to the 50-MP S sensor due next year. I already have the lenses that can handle it.
(Thanks to Kari)
Original contents copyright 2014 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
paul in Az: "So resolution and pixel number are still the most important things. And I just read 'A little Lens Tale,' agreeing with all of it.
Mike replies: It's not a status contest. In the film era, some people used toy cameras and some people used 11x14" view cameras. In this era, some people use tiny-sensor digicams pushed well past their ISO quality limit (Moriyama) and some people use Phase One backs. It's not a status contest. Use whatever you think is best for the work you want to do. It's not a status contest.
Tim McGowan: "Joseph Donovan, OMG, my faith is restored. To me his photographs are real art. Any way to get some insight on his work flow ? A print sale, maybe ? Thank you and Mr. Donovan for sharing."