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Sunday, 10 February 2013


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I am sending thought messages for one of the Apollo 17 images. (I do also like "Moon, Mars, and Circumlunar Arcs, Anchor Bay, California, 1995").

Mike, I would say you've made an excellent choice.

But, you asked for alternatives, here's my choice:


Would I buy the rusty grate or circumlunar arcs? Perhaps, but probably not (money woes). Would I be seriously tempted? Absolutely. Am I already putting money away for this sale? I'm sure trying to.

I'll vote for [i]Medinilla Berries[/i]. It has hues I have not seen before, a harmonious blend which I'd like to have hanging on my living room wall.

If you don't have something from Space Travel among your three, you can't miss if you use one for the fourth.

Meh. Personally, I'd vote more strongly for an image that really enabled the dye transfer medium to shine in a final blaze of glory. Lovely though it may be to your eye this one ain't it. Inkjet would serve it fine, perhaps even better.

I'd vote more strongly for one of the NASA scenes. Printing a scene that won't be recreated with a medium that also cannot be recreated seems THE choice.

I don't think there is enough color in it for the medium he is printing it on. But then I could be wrong as I haven't seen it printed.

Is this another print sale where the actual print will be much nicer than the photograph?

Of course after saying your suggestion didn't have enough color I'm about to suggest either of the sr71 images.

On a semi related note do you have any idea what happened to 20x200?

Affection can certainly be a reason for doubting your judgement. An affection that has lasted over 15 years is a reason for trusting your judgement. Isn't there a saying somewhere about "standing the test of time"? This obviously qualifies for you.

PS: I like it.

These are the opinions of someone who won't be able to afford any of these prints:

Looks like one of those photographs that'll be grossly misrepresented by a jpeg on an lcd monitor, so I can only imagine its impact in person as a large dye print. Actually, no, I can't. Dye transfers are renowned for depth and vividness of color, and on my laptop's lcd, it looks like there's not much of that to be brought out here, but I would certainly believe that there's much more to it in person. There must be some reason you're so enamored of it, Mike.

Anyway, it's too late--now that you've shown it and let it be known that it's the one you've always wanted, there will be a hubbub if it's not offered, and a hubbub if it displaces a potentially more desirable print. I'm kind of kidding, but not too much. On the other hand, the fact that it's a "Mike's fav" is going to mean something to some of your readers, perhaps enough to push an undecided over the line.

The only solution, it seems to me, is to make it a fifth, "purchase award", selection.

I'd love any of the eclipse pictures, but "Total Eclipse Coronal Streamers, Cabo Pulmo Mexico -- 1991" is particularly nice.

I'd suggest "Shoreline at Loch Cluanie", "Fence at Marconi Beach", "Rushes and Lily Pads", or "Columbia at Dusk".

Comet Halley 1986 please.

[I like that one too, but unfortunately it is too difficult to print to print it in series. --Mike]

If you are going to include one of the astronomy ones, I'll vote for either "Comet Halley Against Milky Way ~ 1986" or Comet Hyakutake Coma, Brooks CA -- 1996." I tend to agree with the comments that ask for the most colorful subjects. But if three of four choices are to be colorful, then I think having one less so makes a nice variety.

One place dyes excel is in the dark areas, and that picture has a lot of darks with detail still present. It's spectacular. The more light you put on it, the more you see.

I'd prefer something that truly shows off the capability of dye transfer printing. Something like Competing Ferns, May '73 Lava Flow HI ~ 2002

[We probably won't do that one, just because it was already offered in a past print sale. Even though it would be a different size. --Mike]

Mike, well done. "Moon, Mars, and Circumlunar Arcs, Anchor Bay, California, 1995" would be my choice too.
You know, a couple of days ago I felt embarrassed at how some people reacted when I claimed prints were the ultimate test to image quality. I still stand by it. Prints add a dimension to photography that a laptop monitor simply can't reveal. All the people who were raised in the era of film take this for granted, but the younger generations might feel tempted to think prints are a thing of the past.
Keep spreading the word!

These are my votes:

Mt. St. Helens Rim with Hikers, WA -- 1993

STS 1 Landing Glide, Edwards AFB CA -- 1981

I would buy either in a heartbeat. I like your choice, but I like those two better.

I came to vote for:

- Competing_Ferns.jpg
- Crab_Snail.jpg

But the Tanaka comment "I'd vote more strongly for one of the NASA scenes. Printing a scene that won't be recreated with a medium that also cannot be recreated seems THE choice." is compelling.

Lotus Pond! Lotus Pond!!

or the SR-71 Air Inlets would be equally as nice!!

pretty please..

My votes for additional consideration would be:

Shrine by Hwy 1, Baja Mexico ~ 1991

Stones on Sand, Cabo Pulmo, Baja Mexico ~ 1991

Plate 16: Rowan and Birches, Glen Coe

Behind Frozen Minnehaha Falls, MN ~ 2005

Well those are my favs anyway

Yes, I would like to purchase a copy of "Moon, Mars, and Circumlunar Arcs, Anchor Bay, California, 1995" provided I can afford it. :D

And April would be a great time because I can make this an anniversary present to my wife.

Hm. I really would love to own a dye transfer print, but unfortunately I have no access to Ctein as an artist (as printer, yes, but as artist, no).

Any chance to let the remaining image be from another artist, perhaps from one of the regular customers of Ctein? I recall reading here that Ctein used to print a lot of jazz related images, i.e. portraits of musicians.

See, Ctein doesn't do any portraits, and I would be happy to see a dye transfer *portrait* included.

Apollo-Soyuz in floodlights, fence at marconi beach, overcast cornfield, sr-71 air inlets, and birches and fallen leaves.

I think you should be shooting for maximizing prints sold, not picking a representative sample of an artist's work. NASA, dynamic range and color will sell.

Fresh Pahoehoe, Mothers Day Flow HI -- 2002

Mindanao Gum Tree, Honolulu HI -- 2000

I too like the Medinilla Berries

but the Xmas light prints are sublime*


and I'm really curious about
which I suspect looks really good in the print for all the reasons that it doesn't look so good in the jpeg.

http://ctein.com/Xmas_Rose.jpg is my favorite , but I don't know if that is because it works so well in the spatial and tonal constraints of the web compared to the others.

I think I'm in love with
but for about a third of the picture I'm making a wild guess since I know what a dye should look like and I also know that it is outside the range of a jpeg.

*"The sublime and the ridiculous are often so nearly related, that it is difficult to class them separately. One step above the sublime, makes the ridiculous; and one step above the ridiculous, makes the sublime again" [Thomas Paine The Age of Reason]

Another vote for SR-71 Air Inlets.

I'm very enamoured of (in order):
- "O'helo sprouting from pahoehoe", and
- "Moon& bare branches".

I'm sure whatever is offered will be exquisitely printed.

I'm with Ken Tanaka too.

This shot is a standout for colour and design:

Saturn V Assembly Well, Cape Canaveral -- 1972

I have "Moon, Mars," and the color is extremely beautiful and quite subtle. I think mine might be slightly darker than the example you show (although that could be a .jpg effect) but it is a very worthwhile print, IMHO.


I've been saving up for the SR-71 fuel lines. I'm also partial to the eclipse corona pic.

Ive just had a little look through the portfolio. Some lovely images. I particularly like the greens on the images of the large leafed plant. What kind of plant is that do you know?

Keeping my fingers crossed that one of them will be from the "Space Travel" series!

Here's a vote for "Red and Green Auroral Rays". It's lovely. I don't know that I'll be able to afford it (probably not, since I really wanted one from the last sale and couldn't swing it).

Ivy on brick wall, George Eastman house. Seems appropriate for the medium, technique and subject.

Not knowing the ins and outs of dye transfer, I'm not qualified to comment on whether or not this is a good use of the medium, so I shan't.

Also, not knowing the other three makes it hard for us to weigh in. Is "Circumlunar Arcs" going to add the right kind of variety to the overall offer? Hard to say.

I only know of Ctein's work what I've seen him post on here though, and you're right that astronomical imagery seems important to his ouvre.

But in the end, all I can add is this: of all the prints ever offered, or considered for offer, on this site, no other has tempted me more to spend money that I don't have in order to own it. That's a stellar image, if you'll allow the pun.

Any love for the Aurora Borealis?
This looks pretty cool to me!


You picked the best sky photo. But Castle Donan in Scotland caught my eye.

Kelp and Seaweed at Sunset, Laguna Beach CA -- 1990
Mindanao Gum Tree, Honolulu HI -- 2000
Ohelo Sprouts in Lava Wall, May '73 Flow, Volcanoes Park HI ~ 2002

There are others that would show off what a good print looks like, too. It will be interesting to see what you guys decide to offer.

Agree with Ken's point. An outstanding image and a fitting representation of Ctein's space series is "STS #1 Liftoff T+8 Seconds". It has an alpha-omega sense.
For shear beauty I lust for "Mindanao Gum Tree".

I'm sure we all will be pleased with the choices.


PS Ctein I hope you keep your dye transfer portfolio available on line after the darkroom finally goes dark.

I've fantasized about a print of his Polly River at Inverpolly Forest, but never felt that I had the means available...

For what it's worth, my hope is that either/both of these will be offered:
Mindanao Gum Tree, Honolulu HI -- 2000
Competing Ferns, May '73 Lava Flow HI ~ 2002

(I know Ferns was offered long ago--your first print sale?--but I was working in the field and had no web access at the time, so I missed the deadline for ordering.)

By far, my endorsement goes to Lava under Forest Fire Smoke, Volcanoes National Park HI -- 2002. (http://ctein.com/Lava_under_Fire.jpg) This caught my eye above all others since I first saw Ctein's gallery; I could get lost within the undulating forms of that dark lava.

Followed by:
Plate 17: Clouds over Sgurr an Lochain
Bonneville Salt Flats after Rainstorm, UT ~ 1982
Medinilla Berries, HI ~ 2002

"the next two sales after that are going to be "two-digit" sales, with every print (well, with one possible exception) priced less than $100."

Is $99.99 considered "two-digit"? :)

[Yes. So is $99.98735126046. --Mike]

There's many images I find compelling, your choice among them, but my heart would kill me if I didn't suggest "Rock Falls, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone ~ 1984."

Then again, chances are low I'd be able to afford it. Cursed unemployment.

Dear Tom, Phil, and others,

Remember that I made the JPEG's to sell the work on my website, and I'm having to sell it to people who can't see the originals. If the JPEG's weren't reasonably faithful to the dye transfer prints, I'd be getting lots of returns. I've gotten one in 18 years. Excepting for the fact that an on-screen JPEG can't possibly convey the total density range of the dye transfer print, this one is a good representation of the photograph, especially if you're looking at it on a calibrated D65 monitor.

The coloration in it is very subtle; the high fidelity of dye transfer makes it work especially nicely for rendering near-monochrome scenes (indeed, another example of such is the SR 71 air inlets).

I'm not saying you have to like it; artistic preferences are always a matter of personal taste. Just figure that what you're seeing probably is close to what you'll be getting.


Dear Eugenio, Jack, and others,

Unfortunately, the two pictures you like–– “Total Eclipse Coronal Streamers” and “Comet Halley” (not “Comet Halley against Milky Way, ” that one's fine) -- are ones that I can't offer in the sale for technical reasons. The total eclipse photograph is by far the most complicated photograph for me to print: it involves no less than nine distinct transfers. Technically it's my printing tour de force, but it's sufficiently difficult that the reject rate is very high. I have to toss half to two thirds of the prints. I simply don't have enough good paper left to include that in a sale.

The Comet Halley photograph is no problem to print, but my tracking wasn't perfect. There are star trails on the brighter stars that I spot out of each and every print I sell (a wonderful advantage of digital printing––I only have to do it once). That makes it so time-consuming that I can't include it in a sale where I have to do volume production in a reasonable period of time.

Regarding offering photographs we've offered in the past, I'm with Mike on this. Unless the demand is truly overwhelming, I don't want to repeat myself; I'd rather offer folks the opportunity to buy something different. So, no Competing Ferns unless the outcry is massive. And if it is, well Mike and I will reconsider.

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

I love the aurora images. Any of them.

Dear John Camp,

You're right; the real print is slightly darker than the JPEG. Problem is that with a more limited range available in a JPEG, I have to print slightly lighter or doesn't create the same visual impression. So if you do a side-by-side, the JPEG will look lighter. But if you've never seen the dye transfer and you look at the JPEG on the screen, it gives you a a good sense of how you'll feel looking at the dye transfer.


Dear Steve,

There is a future sale under discussion (no details yet) where I will be doing printing for another photographer. So, no, you're not asking something unreasonable. But given my severely limited dye transfer supplies, I have allocated all the remaining supplies to printing my own work. I no longer accept commissions to print other people's photographs as dye transfers, only as digital prints. 3-4 years ago, that would've been a cool idea: offering a set of photographs by other photographers but all printed as dye transfers by me. Unfortunately, we didn't think of it back then, and the window of opportunity is gone.



The large green/red leafed plant is taro.


Dear Bob,

Oh, the portfolio will definitely remain online! How else am I going to sell from my limited inventory of remaining prints? I haven't decided if I will simply remove the entries for prints that have sold out or leave them up and mark them “sold out.” There are arguments both ways, but it will be entirely a business/marketing decision.

And, of course, the portion of the website devoted to inkjet prints will continue to grow. I'm just giving up the darkroom, not fine printing.

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

Yes, "Moon, Mars, and Circumlunar Arcs, Anchor Bay, California, 1995" is a beautiful picture, I would choose this.

Here are a few I'd love to see on offer:
Columbia at Dusk, Cape Canaveral -- 1981
Red and Green Auroral Rays, Havre MT -- 1986
Auroral Glow & Stratus Clouds, Havre MT ~ 1986
Nine Apartments, S.F. CA ~ 2000
Competing Ferns, May '73 Lava Flow HI ~ 2002( I think this was offered in the past, I really wish I would have gotten it. Likely my favourite photograph in the whole portfolio)
Mindanao Gum Tree, Honolulu HI -- 2000( Second favourite)
Sealing Wax Palm, HI ~ 2000 (Third)

I think that the crepuscular rays at Clear Lake ought to be among the offerings for the dye transfer blowout. Spectacular!

Mike, here are my picks: (1) Prominences and Chromosphere, (2) Niagara Falls, (3) Rock Falls.

These will do beautiful dye transfers


I think these dye transfers will be better than any of the space series.

It seems that my personal aesthetic is not shared by others but here are my picks.
Lehman Caves Bats View
Rock Falls, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
Black Sand Rivulets
Stand of Stripped Trees
Mothers Day Flow to the Sea

Without hesitation... Apollo-Soyuz in Floodlights.

[Michael, you probably aren't aware of this, but we offered that print already as an inkjet, and Ctein explained at the time that it's a very difficult negative to print and that digital allowed him to get it to look the way he always really wanted it to look. So, unfortunately, there's no chance it will be offered in the final dye sale.

Good choice though, as it was very popular as an inkjet. --Mike]

I would suggest an alternative direction. Both the hawaii/nature pictures and space/NASA pictures have already been presented here on TOP and fall in line with the other (recent) print offers. This is how it should be. Realatively easy to "see", powerfull imagery and use of color that really show of the technique..

Sadly the last chance has come and I'm thinking, why not look on the dye portfolio with fresh eyes? Are there pictures that stand out from those I have already mentioned, and will present Cteins work and the dye process in another way?

Take a good long look at Solarone and Weismann Museum.

"The more light you put on it, the more you see."

And the quicker it'll fade. ;-)

Inner Corona and Prominences, Cabo Pulmo Mexico ~ 1991

I made my pics before reading the comments. I see some folks agree with me. Competing Ferns, May 73 Lava Flow, next would be Roadside Shrine Baja Mexico and last, Castle Eilean Donan Scotland. I live 3 miles from Volcanos National Park. How come I never see those pictures?

I'm amazed (although I probably shouldn't be) at how little the suggestions from everyone overlap. I mean, I knew there wouldn't be any kind of consensus, but it seems like hardly any of the images are even mentioned more than once.

SR-71 Engine Fuel Lines, Museum of Flight, Seattle WA -- 1992

Seared Ohi'a and Koa Trees, Bird Park HI ~ 2000

Modern Xmas Trees, San Jose ~ 2002

I vote for Burney Creek Below Burney Falls, Shasta County CA -- 1985

-Blooming Century Plant, Baja Mexico ~ 1991

-Niagara Falls ~ 2003

-Fence at Marconi Beach, Cape Cod MA ~ 2004

-Minnehaha Falls Overlook, Minneapolis MN -- 1991

"his April sale will be the last time Ctein will make new prints for sale from us*"

Does this mean that Ctein will never do an inkjet sale through TOP again or did you just mean that this is the last dye-transfer sale?

If this is the last Ctein dye transfer print ever, I think there should be an offering with a smorgasbord of colours, like the Lobster shell, for example : http://ctein.com/Lobster_Shell.jpg

Those dyes gotta get to work!

That said, one thing I love about my two dye transfers is how stunning they look with subtle tone transitions.

That's why I also suggest the following ones:

http://ctein.com/Scotland_Plate_03.jpg (I just wanna go THERE!)
http://ctein.com/moonrise.jpg (the impression of cold air is amazing)
http://ctein.com/sr71fuel.jpg (dark, steampunk!)

Columbia at Dusk; Apollo-Soyuz Gantry Rollback; SR71 Air Inlets...

...don't yet know whether I'll be able to afford one, but I'm already saving the pennies.

Another vote for a space print, especially:
- Apollo 17 Contrail, Cape Canaveral -- 1972
- STS 1 in Desert Mirage, Edwards AFB CA -- 1981
- Floodlit Columbia, Cape Canaveral -- 1981
- STS #1 Liftoff: T+8 Seconds, Cape Canaveral -- 1981
- Floodlight Beams over Cape Canaveral -- 1975

I didn't hesitate. I really hope you've chosen "Necropolis Overlooking Glasgow". I'm tempted to enlist all my friends, relatives, and anyone who happens to pass by on the street to submit the same suggestion.

Wow. What an opportunity. Thanks Mike & Ctein.

As the owner of Competing Ferns and Kahili wild ginger in dye transfer, and the Apollo-Soyuz in floodlights from inkjet, I'd love to see one of these space themed shots included:

- Columbia & Rotating Service Structure
- Apollo-Soyuz at Dusk
- Apollo-Soyuz Gantry Rollback

In particular, having something as important as the shuttle printed on a medium that is about to be as equally extinct has a certain je ne sais quoi ...

Or for something completely different:
- collapsed cottage on isle of skye
- Shrine by Hwy 1

Last year the shuttle fleet was retired, and now Ctein is closing his darkroom. I think a fitting tribute to both would be to offer one of Ctein's outstanding shuttle photographs, one where the beauty of the dye transfer process really shows.

"Prominences and Chromosphere, Cabo Pulmo Mexico ~ 1991", but I have a weakness for eclipse pictures.

Thanks for the chance for input, at least.

Dear Dave B,

There's more repetition than you think: Mindanao Gum Tree has five recommendations; Columbia at Dusk, three; and the two SR-71 photographs, 10 between them (some people said they'd be happy with either, so I'm not breaking it down).

That's not counting the ones I've excluded, like old favorites that appeared in previous sales. These are just from the possible candidates.

On a purely random basis, there's more repetition than you'd expect; after all, there are some 250 potential candidates to choose among. Of course, it's not purely random; some of my pictures are a lot more popular than others.


Dear Archie,

I have no trouble with that, so long as they're all people who would be sincerely interested in buying. Mike and I aren't particular; we'll sell to anybody [grin].


Dear Michael K. and Jock,

This is partly my fault; I concentrated last year so much on getting the entire dye transfer portfolio online that the digital prints that Mike and I offered in the previous big sale still aren't listed. So, yes, that Apollo-Soyuz was part of a previous sale and is available as a digital print, as is Crepuscular Rays, Swamp and Lily Pads, and Mt. Lassen Cinder Cone.

Being available as a digital print doesn't preclude it from being part of this final TOP sale, but being available as a digital print and part of a previous TOP sale does.

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


I didn't read the other responses on purpose. Here are the ones I'd like to see offered:















Re: the Shuttle photos, no one cares how hard you worked. Just sayin'

Am I really the only one who l loves the Xmas lights photos?
Between knowing how dye transfer translates light , and a general idea of Ctein's sensability, they really make me want to see the prints.

Is one of these really out of question?

Floodlit Columbia, Cape Canaveral -- 1981
Lake Shasta and Mount Lassen, CA ~ 1991
Overcast Cornfield, Lakeland MN ~ 1978

thanks for the offer, Sir

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