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Monday, 20 December 2021


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Somehow I feel like the best option is to buy two, despite ordering all four being the best "bargain." That way it costs less to print and ship for Ctein, and you still get 60% of a good price for lovely prints.
(Also, only two really speak to me and wall space is at a premium...)

[Sounds like a good reason to me. Actually I'm going to write a post about that very thing very soon. --Mike]

Dear Mark,

Mike and I discussed that-- the "bundle" price was my idea, and he was concerned that it wasn't good pay for my labors. I pointed out to him that each additional print (in the same package) wasn't going to cost me much time and effort. I'd be getting a perfectly decent rate of return on my labors. So, a perfectly decent rate of return on my time/money.

But I do understand space at a premium. If it's any consolation, *every* collector, no mater how rich or poor, hits the more-art-than-wall-space problem. This is why the uber-rich endow museum wings -- seriously.

pax / nowhere-so-rich Ctein

Some questions:

Where's the link to your article in another publication?

[Don't worry, if it's published, you shall hear about it, I promise. --Mike]

Who printed the photos? It isn't clear whether it was you or Ctein.

[Should have been. The sale page says, "Each photograph is printed by me (that would be Ctein)".... --Mike]

If Ctein printed the photos, could he be persuaded to write about the process? Tips and tricks?

[He doesn't write for TOP any more, unless he wants to, but perhaps it might appear in his newsletter at some point? --Mike]

Dear Gordon,

Unfortunately, I didn't make good (as in ANY) notes of my process, which is my wont. I don't even keep intermediate results once I get to the final. In this case, I shoulda guessed people would want to know something about the sausage-making.

Anyways, here's what I remember.

The first step was to take Mike's camera's JPEGs (he wasn't saving as raw) and run them through Topaz JPEG to RAW AI. This converted them to 16-bit DNG files, as well as extracted considerably more detail and reduced artifacts.

I then used either Topaz Sharpen AI or Topaz DeNoise AI to squeeze out even more detail and fine tonality.

After that it was the usual custom printing stuff -- dodging, burning in, color and tone correction and some minor local pixel-twiddling.

For those who'd say "You can't get something from nothing, so what's the point of those Topaz doohickeys?" Oh, you'd be surprised! There's a lot hidden in those "random" pixels that a well-trained neural net can extract.

In the case of "Butters" in particular, the results are amazing. You can even see the fur in his coat, at the same time that the wall looks smooth and even and the banister and window frame are cleanly and sharply defined.!

(If you don't want to believe me, Mike can tell you how impressive the improvements are.)

pax / Ctein

Your lead photo is simply wonderful. I don't think any dog lover could ever see it without stopping for a moment and having memories of the past wash over them. The emotion in that photo is wonderful. A really great still life composition. Well done.

That top image is lovely, guaranteed to lower your blood pressure at least 10 points. Stare long enough and you can see the tree branches outside move in the summer breeze.

OT: Delighted to see Ctein mention Topaz Labs’ AI utilities. Sharpen AI, DeNoise AI, and JPEG to Raw AI have become my “secret weapons”! With today’s large image files they used to turn my old Intel-based MacBook Pro into a burger grill during lengthy processing. But my new M1 Pro-based computers turn files around in seconds and barely breathe hard. Amazing all around.

Was "Keuka in the Rain" taken near were you shot the Lake Houses image that you posted on 24-Apr-2021? (https://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/.a/6a00df351e888f8834026bdece00b0200c-popup)

[Very approximately, about ten miles farther south. But they're both of the West side of the lake taken from the East side. The lake is about 21 miles long but narrow. --Mike]

Are any of the buildings in your 14-Feb-21 Ice Fishing post (https://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/.a/6a00df351e888f88340263e990064d200b-popup) or your 26-Apr-21 Lake Houses post (https://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/.a/6a00df351e888f8834026bdece00b0200c-popup) part of the "Keuka in the Rain" image?

[Nope, those were taken at the top of the lake near Penn Yan! In fact I was standing at the south border of Penn Yan when I took them. So about 8-10 miles further north of the pictures mentioned in your other comment and 18-20 miles north of "Keuka in the Rain."

BTW despite all our shoreline--97 km, or 60 miles--there are almost no houses for sale on the lake right now. The competition for lake houses has been intense, and there's a whole lot of building and rebuilding going on. --Mike]

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