Category Archives: Exton

Fine Art prints done local

Recently, I was contacted by a client, asking if they could purchase two of my images, but as Posters prints (24×36 inches).

It is not usual for me to get Print orders from 5×7 to 11×17, but never something as big as 24×36!

I said Yes, and then began to panic, especially when I realized the two requested images were taken back in 2013, with my Canon EOS Xti/400D, which is only 10.1 megapixels!

Images taken at Marsh Creek State Park during a sunset.
Images taken at Marsh Creek State Park during a sunset.

Going Big

Starting on Google, I searched for suggestions on how to enlarge files without losing quality.

I knew from passing interests, that there were some specialized software for doing larger than ‘normal’ sizes, and some of them were interesting, but I could not justify the cost for just two images.

Eventually, I found a trick with just using Photoshop.

Basically, instead of enlarging it in one step, in my case 3888×2592 to 11096×7396 (or 285.39%), you do a series of incremental enlargements at 110%, up to the size needed.

I did it both ways, and you can see the difference!

But, one problem.

Too Big

The final working file size.

Hay Bales at Stroud Preserve 2013
Some stylized hay bales taken in Chester County PA.

The color image, “Marsh Creek sunset” is a 16-bit HDR (11096×7396 @ 300dpi) file weighing in at 1.38 GBs; the B&W images was not as bad, coming in at 403 MBs.

Dealing with files over 1 GB is not usual for me on my local computer, but I knew my Print house in New York City (NYC) had a 200MB limit (TIFF 8-bit sRGB, no compression).

With the color file, the first thing that I did was reduce it from 16-bit to 8-bit, which got me down to 466MBs.

Finally, after some design changes of the poster layout, I got both files down to about 378MBs, still far too large for NYC.

Finding a Printer

So I started to look at local places to print, and Brilliant Studios in Exton popped up.

After looking at their home page, I needed to visit!

My Tech Geek was kicking in!

During my days at Kodak and TV Guide, I had to visited many commercial print facilities around the United States and Canada, and on the surface, Brilliant Studio looked too good to be true.

So I emailed the main contact on the website, Bob Tursack, who also happens to be the CEO, with the information on my  poster project.

Changing Printers is not an easy thing, especially when it comes to color printing.

I’ve been using the same Printer in NYC for 10+ years, so switching to someone new, on such a unique project, from my point of view, was very risky.

During several email exchanges with Bob, I mentioned my file size issue, and to my surprised, I never got the idea there was a limit, which seemed odd considering the 200MBs limit in NYC.

I was also introduced to the term giclée printing, “fine art digital prints made on inkjet printers.

Sounds like a marketing term, but when you dig deeper, there is a broader color range and papers.

Bob suggested the Hahenmule Baryta Gloss, “this paper has its own quality that is akin to traditional darkroom silver fiber papers”.

Now he had me hooked.

In my youth, I spent hundreds of hours in the darkroom, printing black & white photos, for hobby, school and work, so this was music to my ears!

After a day or so, late in the holiday season, Bob invites me in for Proofing.

I was excited.

Oh Wow!

I arrived at a building, that I had passed countless times in my 17+ years of living in Downingtown, questioning what I was going to see.

I walked into the reception area, and introduced myself to the receptionist.

While waiting, I looked around at various books on the tables and prints covering the walls.

My commercial printing background was kicking in.

Was this stuff being printed here?

I flipped through several art books, and the quality was amazing.

After several minutes, Bob arrived and escorted me back to the Proofing area.

Past the beautiful offices and sub-studios, and finally into the main printing area.

My jaw was on the floor!

Traditionally, high volume color printing is not a clean activity.

This place seemed spotless.

Even their 60+ year old Heidelberg offset printer looks brand new!
(If I remember correctly it was imported from Germany and rebuilt!)

Anyhow…

I snickered to myself as I entered the nearby Proofing booth, similar to the one I entered at Kodak, on my first day, to test for color blindness and how many places had I visited that had no concept of controlled lighting.

Part of me was in Geek heaven.

Needless to say, the Proofs looked great, and things that I worried about in my head, did not come up.

A couple of days later, I returned to pick up the final 24×36 prints, and they were gorgeous!

The size, print quality and paper all worked together to enhance the final pieces and I was extremely happy to present them to my client!

A Gem of a Neighbor

Again, I am blown away with this GEM of a Print house, right in my back yard, roughly 2 miles away!

I’m also amazed that I had never heard of them before, and they have been there since 2003!

As for pricing, it is definitely more expense then going with my NYC house, even with shipping, but now I have two options to present to future clients!

Update – A couple of days later, another new client wanted  two 11x14s, and I immediately sent the files to Brilliant Studios, and also got excellent prints! – I have printed these in the past, and the yellows tended to be a little ‘hot’, but when done via the giclée printing, they were still rich without being too vibrant.

 

So with that being said, who wants a Fine Art Print?

- Andrew
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Asian Grocery Store – Review

Logan & Madison looking at Dried Mushroom
Logan & Madison looking at Dried Mushroom

The Asian Grocery Store is located in the Marchwood Shopping Center in Exton, just off of Route 100.

I do not know how long my parents have been going there, but definitely before I was born.

There are many things you can get there, and even my dad does not know what most of the stuff in the store is, because most things are written in Chinese, but we do get this stuff on most of our trips.

Nori Snacks

I remember my Dad buying the green seaweed, and bringing it home. I could not believe he was eating seaweed, but one day, I decided to try it. After I tried a nori strip, I really liked it, because I like the taste of salty stuff, and even my brother, Logan, enjoys eating nori!

Rice Sprinkle

Both my parents have been making rice for as long as I can remember, and during one visit to the Asian Grocery store, we found this stuff that you sprinkle over your rice.

We got the rice sprinkle, then the next time we had rice, we put it on the rice, and my brother and I ended up liking it!

There are three types of the sprinkle, the flavors are:

Nori Komi Furikake (Blue Label) – Which has in it: sesame seeds, salt, sugar and seaweed.

Wasabi Fumi Furikake (Green Label) – Which has sesame seed, horse-radish, shaved bonito, Japanese mustard plant, sugar, seaweed, soy sauce, salt, and cooking rice wine in it.

Ebi Fumi Furikake (Red Label) – Which has in it sesame seed, shrimp (ebi), potato starch, seaweed, sugar, salt, and dried yolk powder.

I like the Nori Komi Furikake, but the Ebi Fumi Furikake would have to be my favorite, because I love shrimp! And I would like to try the Wasabi Fumi Furikake, but I am scared of the wasabi being too hot!

Madison and Logan looking at ginger
Madison & Logan looking at ginger

Soy Sauce

My mom loves soy sauce, more than my dad, so I saw her putting it on her rice a lot!

I did not want to try soy sauce, because the dark color kind of scared me, and I was not really sure what to put it on, but then one time at China Grill, when we were having sushi, my dad had a bowl of plain soy sauce, which he finally got me to try with my finger tip.

And at first I didn’t know what to think of the taste but, once I tasted it again I liked it!

Then my dad had me try the soy sauce on rice, then I tried it on sushi on my own, and that was awesome!

Pocky Sticks

Well I kind of discovered Pocky Sticks on my own! What they are, are biscuit sticks covered in flavored cream. There are two flavors Chocolate and Strawberry, but if you want more crunch to your Pocky sticks you can get chocolate cream and peanuts, but if you’re allergic you can get strawberry cream with strawberry pieces!

Noodles

At Asian Grocery when you get there if you go to the aisle farthest from the register you will be surrounded by plenty of types of noodles!

One of my favorites is Ramen noodles, especially the chicken flavored, but in this house we have a special name for Ramen noodles we call them “Daddy Noodles”!

I came up with that name when I was younger. How I came up with the name is the only two words I knew at the time, where “Daddy” and “noodles”, so I put them together, and came up with “Daddy Noodles”!

One time when I was in Daycare, they asked me what was my favorite food, and I said “Daddy Noodles”, and at the end of the day, my teacher had to ask what “Daddy Noodles” were, because they had no idea what I was talking about!

There are noodles made out of all sorts of things, like rice and beans. On our last trip we got invisible noodles, that are made out of mung beans, which we have not tried yet, but hope to soon.

Wasabi

Logan & Madison looking at deserts
Logan & Madison looking at deserts (Moon cakes)

My dad introduced me to wasabi at China Grill!

At first I didn’t know about it, but that day we had bacon wrapped crab, so when my dad wanted me to try wasabi, I took a tip of a toothpick, and it set my mouth on fire! Then my dad had me try wasabi in soy sauce. Then I thought that my tongue would feel really weird, but I tried it, and it was delicious! The soy sauce really took away a lot of the hot and spiciness!

In the Future

Right now we are working on my brother’s adventure into asian food!

Thank you’s

Just a quick “Thank you” to my new readers for inspiring me to keep blogging!

Updates

2012 July 10 – Published as “8-Year-Old Foodie Reviews Asian Grocery in Marchwood Shopping Center” on the ExtonDish.com.

– M ;  }
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China Grill – Review

MAS writting her review
MAS writting her review

China Grill is an awesome buffet where you can get Chinese food!

My parents tell me, that China Grill was the first restaurant that they took me to, They put me on the table in my baby carrier.

When I got older to eat on my own, I had to use a fork or a spoon, but I now use chop sticks just like my parents! It was hard to learn how to use them.

They also have a lot of sushi! My favorite type of sushi to get there is the avocado, crab/pollock, nori seaweed and orange roe (flying fish eggs) around the outside!

I remember watching my parents putting this brown stuff into a small bowl, and then add this green stuff to it. It looked really yucky!

I now really like soy sauce, and the last time I went, I tried the wasabi, mixed with it and that is good, but can be hot if you are not careful!

My dad has a rule when eating there: “You have to try at least one new thing each time we go”.

One time, my dad made me try these round little balls covered with seeds.

At first, I was not sure, but then I tried one, and it was really good!

I now like the sesame seed balls filled with sweet bean paste!

Trust me they sound weird, but it’s like chocolate inside a sesame ball!

Even I like them, and I’m 8!

There’s a whole little dessert part of the buffet, and sometimes they even have a chocolate fountain on!

There are so many things there to try, and I think you’ll really enjoy it!

– Maddie ; – }
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Update

8-Year-Old Foodie Strikes Again, Reviews China Grill

Bistro 24 – Review

MAS writing her review
MAS writing her review

Today  I went to Bistro 24 with my dad.The food was yummy! I would give it 3 out of 5 stars! I recommend getting the sampler platter! The chicken wings on the platter were delicious! I think we will be going back as a family! And I think my dad agrees! ; – }

– Maddie ; – }

Update

6/18/2012 – My review was picked up by the Exton Dish!!

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Oktoberfest – Exton Beverage Company

On Friday night, it was Oktoberfest at Exton Beverage Company in Chester County, and was well attended throughout the evening.

Overview of the Sierra Nevada Beer Sampling
Overview of the Sierra Nevada Beer Sampling

The great music was provided by the local band, Holt 45!

The Holt 45 Band at Exton Beverage Oktoberfest
The Holt 45 Band at Exton Beverage Oktoberfest

One of my favorite shoots of the night, was this view of these future ‘groupie’ girls, creating and holding up various signs of admiration of the band!

Future Groupies holding up signs of admiration
Future Groupies holding up signs of admiration

In one of the signs that you are getting old, and the torch is being passed to the next generation, these pre-teen fans started a very loud cheer when Holt 45 stated to play Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s classic “Sweet Home Alabama”, and then at the end, started to shouting “Free Bird”!

In the munchies department, there were Philadelphia Pretzel Factory’s nuggets, Pulled Pork shooters, Turkey Wraps and an awesome Crab Queso Dip provided by Riverstone Cafe in Exton!

Turkey Wraps - Oktoberfest  Fest at Exton Beverage
Turkey Wraps – Oktoberfest Fest at Exton Beverage

Five sampling areas were setup for breweries to showcase their Oktoberfest lineups, and as any beer drinker knows, this is a great time to try something new.

Great Lakes Brewing Company was there, and was a first time experience for me, and many others.

Great Lakes Brewing Company - Oktoberfest at Exton Beverage
Great Lakes Brewing Company – Oktoberfest at Exton Beverage

I only got a chance to sample three of their offering, Eliot Ness Amber Lager, Currently On Tap Burning River Pale Ale and the Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, all of which were very good.

Both the Eliot Ness Amber Lager and Burning River Pale Ale had a pronounced hop taste, but had mellowed in tartness in the aftertaste, compared to local Victory’s Hop Devil (one of my wife’s favorites), and I very much enjoyed the chocolate tones in the Edmund Fitzgerald Porter. If you can find a variety case…

Shock Top Belgian White glasses - Oktober Fest at Exton Beverage
Shock Top Belgian White glasses – Oktober Fest at Exton Beverage

Another new company for me was Shock Top, and their Pumpkin Wheat was very nice, with nice citric tones.

Exton Beverage sign at sunset
Exton Beverage sign at sunset

Once again, it was great way to end the week, and I very much encourage you to follow Exton Beverage on Facebook for future events!

– Andrew
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