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Tuesday, 22 May 2012


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In my view photography is "the water we swim in" here, facilitated by Mike's deep interest. It's the shared viewpoint, the common experience, whatever we are talking about.

Photography is all too prone to getting self-absorbed and self-referential, especially when it forgets that it is also a mirror onto the world.

Any person who is concentrating on being creative or tasteful, is reliably ensuring the opposite, in my view. And anyone who is concentrating on how good the tool is, probably has let the pressure off the task at hand.

We need a wider inner life to call on; but an outward facing eye - since you can't chase after significance. It will follow after you (if and when it sees fit).

Sometimes there's a book that needs to be read, to clear a logjam of some kind and move forward: and this might be Mante, or it might be Dante (grin). I enjoy that we might find either recommendation here.

Mike, I wonder if there was a RSS problem with your article on friday, because I also missed it and I'm positive it didn't appear in my RSS reader...

> Not satisfied with your shooting? Spend more time shooting.

Given the response to the first worry, shouldn't that second one read:

"Worried about your camera choices?" Spend more on cameras.

It works for me...

"I am disappointed with the ink usage that seems to be inordinately high with this printer. There must be a problem here, or else I'm doing something wrong, but after very little printing, I am already having to replace all of my ink cartridges. This isn't good and I hope this problem can be resolved."

The above is the only review on the linked page for this printer. It has been my experience with both canon (non photo) printers, as well. Selling razor blades by the bucket seems to be Canon's cash flow source.

Dear Mike,

I tend to agree with the complaint about TOP having so many articles about buying stuff. There's a lot of interesting gear and books out there, for sure and TOP needs to keep the dough ball rolling, but I really miss your writing about your own work. Commissioned articles and reviews are great and Ctein's writing is invaluable but it would be awesome if you should start writing about your own photography again.

Thanks for the great posts on printing. I enjoy printing almost as much as capturing the images in the first place. I also enjoy matting my prints and thank Alain Briot for showing me how to do this properly in one of his excellent workshops.

Michael, one of the best ways to lose weight and improve your conditioning is to put the printer in the basement (along with a nice table to make your own mattes). That way, you'll take a trip down and up the stairs every time you produce a print. Somehow, the joy of producing a print outweighs the effort of doing the stairs and soon you won't even notice the round trip and you'll be slimmer and trimmer as well!

Maybe the offending poster wasn't counting articles about printing? On which point I note that you say you don't have a printer, and I haven't heard a whole lot about the darkroom project recently. Hmm, or the K5 - do you still have it?

I'm not trying to be critical here, because I like and appreciate your writing, no matter what subject, but going back a few years, it seems to me the content was much more oriented to the business of photography. I don't mean there's more off-topic stuff, but the photo oriented stuff seems a bit more flimsy than it used to be. I know it's tough trying to churn it out all the time - and to earn a living from it - I couldn't do it certainly.

Just a regular reader's feedback - please take it in that spirit

I find Dimitrov's printing method fascinating, and an excellent guideline for the uninitiated! But, if this doesn't drive you back into conventional film photography, I don't know what will! Somewhere along the line, you have decide whether you are a photographer, printer, lonely computer geek with nothing else to do, or a person with adult ADHD.

The great thing about film is it's finite! The neg is what it is, and the print that can be made from it is what it is, within the scope of the printers ability to buy paper and dodge/burn etc.

Yikes/Cripes, this going back into the digital file and having an infinite level of changing and changing is just something other than photography. There is of course, a point in which the "improvements" are not improvements, just a variation on the way you feel today...the madness has to stop!

Vivia La'Transparency!

"... I don't physically have room for one in my home office."

Perhaps you could put it in the darkroom. :)

Hi Mike,

Personally I think one serious (photography) article a week is more than enough. I've got other things to do beside reading the internet all day. I bought a box of Smooth Pearl and other sample papers just prior to your print article so that was timely and great advice. I'll just say a quick thank you for the article to balance things out and hope the wound heals soon. I do not wish to regularly clutter your comments with praise (unless I have something else useful to say) but please know you have at least one (mostly) silent but happy avid reader here.

Something I hope you may consider writing about in future does also relate to the print article - how to achieve the "3D look". That is, when looking at an image it feels as though you could almost walk into it. It could all be in my head but perusing the internet suggests this is a medium format thing. I have only used micro four-thirds, which yourself and Ctein have also embraced. Makes me wonder.

Keep up the great work on your blog and consider potentially wounding comments, such as that one, as the spurious data they are. Your promotion of Peter Turnley's NYC Street Photography Workshop provided my daughter, a newly graduated photo major, with some valuable experience outside of her classes. I read you blog almost daily. Thank you.

Mike, as regards finding room for the printer, keep in mind that probably any printer you'd be interested in has wifi connectivity (and at the least, ethernet) so although placement near the Mac would be desirable, it isn't necessary for functionality.


Hi Mike,
I would like to say thanks for your article on printing. I read it carefully and could tell you put a lot of thought into it.
And thanks to Ctein, too. I bought his print and it is really something. Although I bought it for evaluation of what m4/3 can do, I plan to buy a frame for it.

Along the lines of your excellent advice to just "Do your work", I'm reminded of a quote I heard recently during a week-long series of TV special tribute programs dedicated to Bruce Lee here in Hong Kong.

Bruce was attributed with saying something like, and I paraphrase, "I'm not afraid of the guy who has practiced ten thousand different kicks. But I am afraid of the guy who has practiced the same kick ten thousand times."

It's similar to "the ten thousand hour rule" described in the book Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell.

Hmm! I kind of like the ramblings of your site. I admit that I do not always read what you post, but I still like the various topics. I am not into cars any more, my last favorite car of all time I had to sell in the 60,s . It was a 1955 Morgan four seater. ( you actually had to drive the beast ) I took it all the way down to the frame and put it all back together. I will always miss that car. I have never seen a pro football game and I have only been to two Baseball games, yawn. Basket ball is a sleeper as well. I grew up surfing, rock climbing and riding cool bicycles. Yes they had cool bikes back in the 50,s. I even learned how to make pitons for climbing. I had a great experience when I was 18, I was asked to help forge pitons for the first ascent of the front face of Half Dome in 1959. Best teen experience of all time.

Enough from me….. just keep up the great work I like variety I will read some of your stuff and over look some. I will also try to use your link to buy stuff from Amazon and B&H as well.

San Diego, Ca

Dinna fash yersel', as they say in Scotland.

It's your blog site. If they can't possibly live without a gearhead discussion, there's always Photo.net, Rangefinderforum, and many others. I mean, if you can't really live without a daily discussion of shutter lag, sensor size, what lens should I get, silver vs. black, etc.,etc....

Hey, I have gearhead propensities, but even I need to take a break from that stuff every now and then...

My 3800 has been cleaned off, new ink supply ordered, 2 boxes of Epson Paper ready to go as well as a new archival box to store the soon to be printed masterpiece.

How do I tell which side of the paper is up? ;-)


Don't know if you have a connection at Epson, but I'm doing my printing these days with an Epson R3000, which is not only a fine printer, but was designed with offices like ours in mind - I.E. it's flat on top and completely enclosed when not in use. This turns out to be incredibly useful.

I was looking at some Canson paper recently and weighing up which printer I might go for.

What tipped you in favour of the Canon Pixma printer as opposed to Epson, for example?

By the way, thank you for Friday's article about learning to print ;-)

Dear Mike,

And as is almost always the case, such criticisms are not just misguided but factually wrong. A simple perusal of the side column shows that 4 of the 6 article published, starting with mine and ending with yesterday's column, were about photography. Only one, about the car, was unusual in its off-topic appearance. He not only missed the printing article he missed the lens one.

Now, one posting a day is kinda skimpy for you (slacker!) and he coulda accurately whined about that. But that would have required actually comparing a preconception to reality before firing off a broadside. One can't expect too much.

Considering that I could never, ever produce a quarter the volume of content you do, week after week, I'm grateful you're as obsessed as you are.

pax / Ctein

My Epson R800 died when I was starting to try to do a print a day (inspired by your program, but I don't consider myself a beginning printer, so with the intention of making course-corrections early as I proceeded; just wanted to get started printing more).

That was the day after my job evaporated, so buying a new printer right away doesn't look like the right solution. Typical! Time but no money, money but no time.

(Looks like the waste pads are full and overflowing, and somehow there's cross-contamination between the ink feeds. I don't even know how to try to go about kill-or-cure drastic fixes for this, it's unfamiliar symptoms. And air bubbles or something causing intermittent gaps that don't stay gone. All at once.)

An inspiring comment. Sometimes it helps to remember the basics: make an effort, pay attention, and your work will improve.

I saw the Pixma Pro 1 at Focus on Imaging in Birmingham, UK, earlier in the year. The quality of prints it puts out is amazing. However, it is the size of a small car! (Slight hyperbole.)

Yeah. What's with the infrequency? We pay good money ....

Never mind.

Mike -

If you want a HP9180 that's still going strong, you can have mine. All you need to do is pay for shipping (and maybe figure out how to get me a suitable box for shipping). I'd replaced the 9180 with an Epson 3880 (using the Quadtone RIP) and kept the 9180 for some work my wife wanted to do, but now she's moved on to other projects.

Ctien, I agree with anthers sentiment that printing is not photography?
thanks joanlvh

@DDB - I've rescued several epsons using Art Entlich's Epson Cleaning Manual.

To get an Epson Cleaning Manuals,please send an email to: e-printerhelp(at)mvps(dot)org
(at) = @ (dot) = .

Please put Epson Cleaning Manual in the subject line, and indicate the model(s) of printers you wish to work on.

Dear Joan,

I agree. Making a photograph and printing a photograph are two different disciplines that are part of the practice of photography, and not everyone does both of them and not everyone does them equally well. In fact, not everyone should do both of them. I've brought this up repeatedly in my columns,, especially when I hear someone talking about the characteristics of “digital photography” and they're really talking about the printing part, or vice versa.

That said, though, Mike's magazine is not about and never has been about just the act of making photographs. In fact, a minority of the articles here are about that particular aspect of the photographic world, just as they are about any other. Someone coming here looking only for articles on the act of making photographs is going to be just as with disappointed as if they come here looking only for articles on business practices or on printing techniques.

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 

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