Further report on the Epson P600: causes sleeplessness.
I've been getting to bed later than I should because in my situation it's easier to print after dark (I work on a porch, and the reflections on the computer get pretty bad in the daylight hours), and I get so charged up about making prints that I keep at it after I really should stop and go to bed. Something to watch out for.
This is the most recent one I'm trying to get right, and it's resisting me. It's easy to get it close but tough to get it just right—all the options are a matter of interpretation and I'm not completely clear yet about how I want it to look. I'll keep looking at it until I really understand how it ought to look.
I'm coming up to speed on papers, RIPs, calibration, and so forth, but I wanted to mention one other important learning tool—constant practice. I've already failed in my ambition to make at least one print every day that I'm home, but that's not a squishy ambition. It's an integral part of my conception of the learning process. Practice alone isn't enough to master any craft, but if you do something day after day—night after night in my case—and keep after it for a long time, you will probably get better at it. I know enough about myself and craft to know that if I keep trying hard and keep trying to do my best for long enough, any problems I'm having will sooner or later go away, and what was initially difficult will become much easier; what was initially confusing will become clear; what was initially flustering or frustrating will become relaxed and easygoing. Naturally, along the way, you've got to keep learning, keep reading, keep challenging yourself, keep struggling to improve. That's part of it, too. But just doing something a lot will also lead to improvement. You almost can't help it.
That faith can help you to relax about your problems and your progress, too. Trust yourself. You'll get it. If not today, tomorrow. If not tomorrow, next week. If not next week, next year. Keep practicing, and improvement is inevitable.
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Featured Comments from:
mike plews: "In the TV biz there is a situation I like to call the 'darkened edit room syndrome.' It comes when you spend a little too much time fine tuning an edit without coming up for air. I have seen people get badly lost and end up tweaking the life out of a story. When you find yourself beating your head against the wall on a 'close but no cigar' print you might consider setting it aside for a day or two. After a breather you may find you like the print more than you first thought. Helps hold down both ink consumption and blood pressure."
Mike replies: I agree—part of the process is always to look at it the next morning before signing off on it. I think Ansel actually advises that in The Print—he tells a story about printing a whole edition then coming back the next morning to find that the highlights had dried down just a little too much, requiring him to print the whole run over again. It's much easier to do now since nothing else changes overnight.
Del Bomberger: "I well remember my first foray into digital printing. I thought it was a fool's errand and that I had made a terrible mistake. But when I finally had it all dialed in—at considerable investment in both time and expense—it all became worth it. Now I consider preparing and printing an image one of the really enjoyable facets of photography. I don't know that anything will ever replace seeing a photo 'coming up' in a tray full of chemicals, but it really is fulfilling in a way I can't better describe."