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Sunday, 20 November 2016


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Are you left handed?!?!!

How did I not know that?

The very last of those Richard Benson MOMA lectures on print making had the best missive about digital color management that I've ever heard ... it ends with him saying, basically, "f--- the controls".

I tend to agree. But then I don't make many prints.

Have someone put an *SSD* into the old iMac. It will turn it into a new computer.

Hey, Mike,

As much as I love love love natural light and windows and fresh air, you're going to find it difficult to do photo editing and printing in a location where the ambient light varies so dramatically. At least with any consistency.

I have basically the same monitor, and it's great. But I have my editing station in a windowless room with two daylight balanced lights off to the sides with gobos shielding me from direct light in my eyes. The overhead lights are off. Helps with getting consistent results.

Hope it works for you. Maybe calibrate and print at night? :-)


[Yes I always print at night. That's all I CAN do. :-) --Mike]

You don't get headaches from the backlight of facing windows but focusing on the screen?

I thought you were replacing the P600 with the P800.

Once again, ImagePrint 10 will solve much of your color management and soft proofing needs and concerns; the cats have been herded by the ColorByte folks.

Yay!!! I am SO happy for you!!! (I literally said this out loud as I read this post).

You are going to LOVE it. And, it will make a difference in your prints.

Now, go order that mid-2015 15" Retina display Macbook Pro before you can't get 'em anymore. Or, alternatively, a 27" 5K Retina iMac and have a truly killer two-display setup! You can always use the MB Air on the road....

Now, get one of the laptop stands that doesn't anticipate your using the keyboard, but just raises the screen to a convenient height to use as a second monitor next to your big monitor. This lets you gets that infinite heap of docked controls out of your main image space, and just gives you some extra room at near-zero cost.

Butters (#13 in your illustration) reminds me of the Victor dog, listening for "His Master's Voice", 2016.

You are probably going to get a bunch of comments like this but here is mine.

Don't put the monitor in front of the window, or more precisely don't put a high contrast light source that varies wildly in brightness contrast and color behind your monitor where you will be using it as a reference for what normal looks like.

Maybe if the monitor is being continuously recalibrated it would sort of work but I doubt that I could use it without going bonkers*. I have found that accuracy is nowhere as important as consistency, so the idea of a monitor constantly recalibrated itself seems a little wrong to me. I am partial to a white wall with evenly illuminated by a relatively consistent light source. It will be an interesting experiment and I am eager to hear the results.

Some people like those verilux lamps but I could never get as predictable of results as from an incandescent light source. If the light keeps changing, and the monitor keeps changing to match it, the reference lamp and the monitor will be out of synch no?

Is that a Panasonic pencil sharpener? I have one of those little ones and a gigantic Panasonic pencil sharpener with what must be a quarter horsepower motor and a pint container for the pencil shavings. The big one is great for sharpening a 144 new pencils all at one time** with three little lights to indicate just how sharp the pencil is and it doesn't even get warm.

*I was going to write insane but that would either be an exaggeration or would imply a baseline of sanity that might be a bit of a stretch itself.

**nothing like sharpening a gross of pencils. First there is the lovely smell of red cedar, and then the satisfaction of walking around the house making sure that every flat surface has three pencils on it with any left over going into a can next to the paper dispenser otherwise known as a laser printer.

Good Job! I just know you are going to love the monitor as I do mine. And what a coincidence - I have been spending the last week making sure my MacBook Pro is up to everything I need it to do before parting with my iMac. It's gonna be hard because it was my introduction to the Apple world.

For that price, I would have thought that you'd get a 4K (UHD) monitor. You work with text a lot, and it really does make a difference - all fonts are suddenly smoother and crisper. Many people think that you can't see the pixels at 2560 x 1440, but the difference to 4k is real.

"...wire management still leaves something to be desired..". You are joking! - almost the first thing i thought was "wow, he's got those cables sorted out very nicely!". You should see my desktop. (No, you shouldn't.)

And another thing I thought was "Hmm - a Microsoft keyboard - I must think about one of those myself".

Looks great to me. I have a new My Book for mac and although it is there on Disk Utilities it does not appear on my desktop. I hate things that just dont work!
Might be worth getting those louvre blinds in white cotton to soften that light when needed?

Jealous of how organised that all looks !

Where is your backup storage, Mike?
You are freaking me out here...

Keep that Air and the revamped iMac as carefully as you can. You sure don't want to mess around with UBS-C/Thunderbolt 3 connectors until the world is ready for them. I thought I'd be migrating from a 2010 MacBookPro to the new one, but I'm reconsidering the timing... (Have outfitted the MBP with a SSDrive though, the old HD was croaking a year or so ago...)

[Daily--well, several times daily--backup is done wirelessly to a 3TB Time Capsule elsewhere in the house. Everything valuable is also backed up periodically to separate external drives (always at least two). Every three years or so I retire the old backup drives and transfer everything to new ones, keeping the old ones for another cycle as backups to the backups. I'm not sure how effective that is; twice I have tried to go back to "retired" drives only to find them nonworking and inaccessible. Hard drives don't seem to like sitting unused for years. My only really reliable image storage is to encode luminance-only information in metalized silver on an acetate substrate. --Mike]

I'd be interested to hear what people think about auto brightness settings on displays? My Eizo will do this but I've always been wary, preferring to try to keep the ambient lighting constant. Given that often means having curtains drawn on a pleasant day and I'm in any case not achieving anything like ISO standard viewing conditions, am I just making a rod for my own back?

You paid all that and did all that and now you comment on the screen adjusting itself to the ambient light? Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike -- my mid-2010 15" MBP (with hi-rez screen) does that.

Pisses me right off, actually, because when we have a power outage (several hours a day currently) it automatically dims to save battery. So when it dims because the environmental light is low, I leap into blackout action, switchingon battery lights, etc., only to find I need not be alarmed.

Happy whatevers -- your set-up looks far to neat and tidy for me. My total set-up is a 86cm (34") square table, with odd paper and stuff all over it, a packet of tomato seed, some part completed crossword puzzles, a wrist brace for my damaged left wrist which occasionally flares up (bloody first Mac mouses!) lens cleaner for my glasses (and the camera lenses), and a large mug of tea currently spiked with rum (it being 8.30pm and all, it's about time to relax just a bit), a bunch of battery chargrs for the three different cameras, and my waterproof mobile phone (no lines here). And let's not forget the A4 printer and laminator, and the half used tube of super glue (I live by super glue).

I have a single strip light overhead with a daylight fluoro in it. Also overhead is the fan, mostly blasting away at full power. If it gets too hot during the day, I decamp to the verandah and sweat there. The light there is a greenish color because of the trees.

Climate control -- yep, we've got it, the climate is IN control here. LOL.

Cheers, Geoff

[My workspace isn't neat and tidy very often either, Geoff. That's why I take portraits of it when it is. ;-) Also, I think the unusual thing about the NEC's arrangement is that you can set the upper and lower brightness limits, in candela units, yourself. --Mike]

Apparently you are left-handed. That explains a lot. ;)

Does the color calbration and attention to accurate color rendition help with black and white printing?

[Beats me. I'll keep you posted as I go about the learning process. --Mike]

Nice clean and tidy desk there. You obviously do your real work somewhere else!

Though it did set me to thinking.

Years ago, when I was young and you still saw the occasional sabre-tooth kitten chasing the birds in the garden, you’d go out with your camera, take a film or two’s worth of pictures and then send the film off to be developed by outsiders.

Who varied in quality from your local chemists (that’s pharmacy to you, Mike) to professional-level places if you wanted a really good job done. Only if you were really serious would you take up a lot of space in your home and spend a packet on equipment to do your own developing and printing.

Nowadays, if you are at all serious, you need to take up a lot of space and spend a packet on equipment to do your own editing and printing.

I think I’ve realised why I always preferred to use transparency film...

Wow, nice setup, Mike! I love #13!

Slightly off topic but a question: What is the expected life-span of these IPS monitors? I have a 26" NEC IPS from maybe 10 years ago. It too is/was glorious but I'm seeing a scary pattern of blotchy dis-colorization at bootup when the screen is dark. Basically, an uneven brightness and color across the dark screen. I really don't want to run out and buy a new monitor... but I'm just curious what to expect out of this thing before accuracy tanks.

[I'm sorry George but I have no idea. Maybe a good place to ask this question would be the appropriate forum on Luminous-Landscape's forums? --Mike]

You need a cat to keep the keyboard warm.

Do you use different display calibrations for day and night-time post production work?

[I only just installed the display yesterday, so it will take me a while to get familiar with it, develop work habits, and come to understand it. I'll try to follow up when I feel I know a little more about it. --Mike]

...My only really reliable image storage is to encode luminance-only information in metalized silver on an acetate substrate.

Sheets of polyester substrate would be even more reliable. :-)

Butters there makes all the difference from a descriptive snapshot to a photographer's picture.

On the subject of Mike's suspected left-handedness. I am left handed but use the mouse with my right hand, always have done. I think it stems from the early single button Mac days when the modifier keys were all on the left of the space bar. The ones to the right weren't hooked up to anything, at least as far as Adobe was concerned. Left-handed people abounded on my college course and I once worked at a publisher where nearly every member of staff, male or female, was a left-handed only child.

My PA272 is one of the best purchases I've ever made. If you work in wide gamut and make good use of soft-proofing, this display will definitely improve your prints, or at least it will save paper and ink through having to make fewer test prints.

One commenter asked about whether this display can improve black-and-white printing. I believe it should. On page 7 of the Tom’s Hardware review linked at the end of your blog post, the grayscale tracking and gamma response of this display is first class. Very low error, very accurate grayscale reproduction. Assuming the PA272's test results are more accurate than your previous monitor, then black-and-white printing should improve accordingly.

As for auto brightness, I don't trust it and leave it turned off. But I also used the SpectraView software to create calibration presets for daytime and nighttime light levels. I try to do critical corrections at night when it's easier to use a lower display luminance that's appropriate for prints.

You said you have no port for the My Passport hard drive. Are both of the USB ports on the bottom of the display already in use? If not, use the USB hub function of the PA272. Run one USB cable from the MacBook Air to the display, and connect up to two USB peripherals to the display (three if you unplug the calibrator).

The PA272 also has two USB upstream ports, so it can be used as a KVM switch. I often plug both my desktop and laptop into the display, and use the PA272 Input switch to control which computer uses the display, keyboard, and mouse. I’m only mentioning this in case you keep your iMac and want to use it with the display too.

The trapdoor in the hood is reminiscent of a B&W enlarger's filter drawer! Something you don't use often, but when you do, you use it with purpose.

I see you have blinds on your windows. Maybe you could put Solar View Shades behind them. Keep your view, cut down on glare.

Where is the heater to keep your feet warm?

[Just out of the picture to the near left. :-) --Mike]

1. I think you should have a Dog in Every picture, he seems to make everything better. Better Butters.
2. You have obviously decided that your lovely multi-windowed porch is where you want to work. It looks like a very nice place to BE all day.
Not sure how you use a computer in that environment , but I'm not you, and if it works for you, it works.
3 You now have two computer systems, Have you given any thought to keeping the iMac for Day work, and re locating the color critical setup to a more visually friendly environment? It might work really well, and even let you take a break and make a print during the day. I've created a small color correct environment for my work station and it makes a huge difference. I did it in what used to be a walk in closet with a window (which now has a light proof cover)
4, As you evaluate the NEC, keep in mind that the MBAir has a pretty anemic graphics card. It certainly wasn't designed with power graphics in mind. It may in fact be adequate, I don't really know but if you have issues, you might want to check that out as a possible source of the issue.NEC could probably tell you.
5. If it turns out that the MBAir's graphics capability is adequate for your needs, then that probably means a Mac mini would be too.
6 just a thought, if Apple decides not to replace the current MacPro, they might beef up the Mac mini. The same has been said about the MBPro being limited to only 16GB RAM and that a beefier machine will be available in the spring.
I'd try to wait until then to buy a new machine.

What suprises me is no tablet, I do not tough any program unless I have a tablet pen close to me. Even a humble Bamboo (soon to be replaced by an Intous Pro S). I even use it to pull verteces in Blender, works like a charm and I have the coolest mouse made from here till the Horsehead nebula, the RAT Pro X, a humble Bamboo beats it sometimes, especially with free hand drawing in Substance Painter!

BTW my monitos is a bottom feeding Philips not color calibrated at all. My customers which live all over the globe will probably have non color calibrated monitors too, so why bother....I use a simple set of homegrown brightness wedges and a color chart and my eyes. Never had any complaints!

Greets, Ed.

Greets, Ed.

Now you need a workstation PC. I know it's not a Mac, but Apple doesn't make what you need. Dell and HP do. Check out the new HP Z2 mini if you like small computers. I have a Dell Precision T1700 deployed at work and it has been running for a couple of years without a single hiccup. They are also easy to upgrade/repair and can be found for significantly less than the price of the outdated 2013 Mac Pro.

Use it just for image editing and printing and then switch back to the Macbook for everything else. An OS is just an OS. You would still be running Lightroom and Photoshop.

Don't you get cold out on the porch in winter?

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