Category Archives: Photography

As Seen at the Delaware Art Museum

The big day has arrived!

In my last post on the subject, I my SAS Classmate (’82) and Life Long Friend, Pilar Wyman contacted me via Facebook IM, and she said that she was interested in attending the Opening of the Wyeth/Ruskin Exhibit.

Needless to say, I was more then happy to give her tickets!

But, would there be enough time to send her the tickets?

The smart women that she is, suggested that I just leave the at the Ticket Booth with her name on it!

Earlier tonight, I IMed Pilar, and asked if she was still interested in going, and she informed me, Yes, and she was already in Wilmington hanging-out, getting some coffee, after traveling North from the DC area.

Damn! – We had NOT even left the house!

At around 16:45, we (Amy, Madison & Logan) left our house in Downingtown, and head South, mainly on Rt 202, and ran into the usual Friday night traffic.

I had IMed Pilar just before we left home that we expected to be at the Museum around 17:45, but at 17:46, I handed Amy (my wife) my phone and asked her to IM Pilar that we where going to be late…

We arrive at the Museum, as as we are getting out of the car at valet parking, I look across the other lane, and there was Pilar, just being contacted about parking her car!

Absolutely PERFECT timing! (F-ing amazing!)

We walking to the Museum, chatting away, with neither of us knowing what to expect.

After we handed in our tickets, and told which direction the “Eye on Nature” was, we headed down the hall, and down some steps, and then turning the corner…

Bam…

There it was!

My Image! My Photograph! As big as Life! – In a F-ing Museum!

I became such a little kid!

Thankfully, Pilar had the where with all, and organized a Family photo!

My LARGE Image in a Museum! - Thank you Pilar Wyman!
My LARGE Image in a Museum! – Thank you Pilar Wyman!

If you look, you can see me pointing to my credit on the wall, and saying to the guard standing there “That is ME!”

After the initial excitement, I went back with my camera, and started to take so more pictures, and hearing the same guard saying “Your flash is on!”

My response, “It’s OK, I have the Original!”…

Eventually, I began to calm down, and I finally found Margaretta and introduced myself and the rest of the family.

I also got a chance to walk the gallery with Pilar, stopping at my main image, and explaining several other images that I have over time, and then we walked and talked about the other Wyeth and Ruskin images.

When I was a child, my parents always had a 16″x20” print book of Andrew Wyeth’s work (circa 1968), which is now in my possession, but after being exposed to John Ruskin during this adventure, having never heard of him before, I have taken a deeper interest in his work.

While Madison was at school on the morning of the Opening, she was explaining where she was going later in the evening to a friend, and as she showed the friend Ruskin’s work, she had to pause for a moment, because I have almost exactly the same image, but 200 years apart and on different land masses!

Times ticks, and Pilar and family went different direction, but I hooked up with Pilar over the hors d’oeuvre table, and as we looked over the crown, Pilar notice Mr & Mrs Colburn walking down the hallway, and we both rushed over to greet them!

After chatting with the Colburn’s for some time, the rest of my family found me, and with energy running out of both Madison and Logan, we started out the door for home.

Needless to say, it was a GREAT night for me, and hopefully a good step in the right direction of my photography love!

- Andrew
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As seen on Facbook…

Might Be Seen in the Delaware Art Museum

I am not one that highlights my achievements too much, and I am sure it has cost me some views over the years.

Anyhow, to start the story of this adventure off, one has to go back to early December, when I received an email with the subject of “Image of Brandywine”, and the following thumbnail image.

Fall (2011) image taken of the Brandywine River in Hibernia Park in Chester County PA.
Fall (2011) image taken of the Brandywine River in Hibernia Park in Chester County PA.

In the email, Margaretta said she was one of the curators at the Delaware Art Museum, and she was working with a exhibition designer, Keith, who had found my image online, and they were wondering if I would be interested in allowing the museum to use my image in a exhibition called “Eye on Nature“, comparing Andrew Wyeth and John Ruskin from March 10-27, 2018.

Also included with the email was a PDF file of proposed design layouts, and my image was already included, at a 11 feet by 17 feet!

After finishing the email, I had to walk around to catch my breath, and after a few minutes, I showed the email to my wife, and pointed to the address at the bottom.

Could this really be true?

The next day, I called the phone number provided, and the voicemail confirmed the name in the email, but I could only leave a message.

I did follow-up with an email, and the next day Margaretta followed up with a date and time to chat more about the exhibition.

As the day and time we agreed on, drew nearer, I was becoming more nervous, and when I finally made the call, I made sure that I had a large glass of water with me, so that I would not be too parched during the conversation.

Margaretta and I chatted for some time about the details of the exhibition, the exhibition designer and what I was looking for in compensation.

I remember blurting out a number, and I got the sense that I had blown the opportunity, but she responded back “Normally, I do not deal with living artists, but I’ll look into it.”

Internally, I giggled – “Normally, I do not deal with living artists…”

A couple of day pasted, and I had a change to speak with Keith the exhibition designer, and indeed confirmed the output size: 11 x 17 feet!

I told him of my printing background, but I had never dealt with anything of that size, but I knew of a technique that might allow me to get size required.

At this point, I was still not internally sure if I was in a dream or not, but after another phone call with Margaretta, and a couple days a waiting a check arrived from the museum!

My thought, “Hold S***, this is for REAL!!”

Now I had to start working on getting the image ready for Keith the exhibition designer.

At first, I corrected some image issues on the original image file that were cosmetic in nature because of my use of several images (ghosting), and then I began to tweak some of the various tones, basically reducing some of the ‘hot spots’, and eventually, I created the following image.

Image for the Delaware Art Museum - "Eye on Nature" - Andrew Wyeth/John Ruskin exhibition
Image for the Delaware Art Museum – “Eye on Nature” – Andrew Wyeth/John Ruskin exhibition

Now, the fun part… Getting the image to the right size… 11 x 17 feet…

I used the basic technique that I have outlined before (See my post “Fine Art prints done local“, section “Going Big”), but instead of 110%, I used 105%.

I created a Photoshop action, and repeated, and repeated until Photoshop crashed, and corrupted the image.

In troubleshooting the crash, I found out that I had filled my 128 GB SSD drive used for the Photoshop scratch/VM file! (My machine has 32 GBs of physical RAM)

In Photoshop, I re- targeted the scratch/VM file to one of my 4 TB hard drives and began the resizing again.

After numerous resizes, and quick “save-as” files, I finally reached 16.57 x 11.0 feet or 198.887 x 132.733 inches or 19889×13273 pixels (@300 dpi)!

Within the file, I still had a couple of correction layers, but the file size was approximately 19.2 GBs! By FAR the largest single file I have ever worked on, and had to save it a PSB file (See my post “Large Image Files – PSB vs TIFF“)

Note – Large PSB files are STILL not visible within Lightroom Classic CC, version 7.2. — Adobe, are you listening? It’s been 7+ years since I reported/blogged about this!

Any how, I created several different DPI files (and file size(s)):

  • 100 dpi psb – 565.487 MBs
  • 100 dpi tiff – 773.447 MBs
  • 150 dpi psb – 1,277.122 MBs
  • 150 dpi tiff – 1,740.209 MBs
  • 200 dpi psb – 2,455.681 MBs
  • 200 dpi tiff – 3,093.681 MBs
  • 300 dpi psb – 5,212.382 MBs

and placed them on my FTP server for Keith to download.

Note – For those techno-geeks, PSB creates significantly smaller files, when compared to TIFF, but as mentioned above, Lightroom STILL can not produce thumbnails within light room.

- Andrew
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Adobe Photoshop Retouching in Chester County PA

2017 Black Walnut Winery – Fire & Wine Festival

This year was the 5th annual Black Walnut Winery – Fire & Wine Festival!

It was also the hottest festival that I have attended with temperatures hovering in the high 70s!

This year, the 400 tickets created for the Festival, were all sold out, and that was very apparent when I first walked through the entrance gate.

The following are just a few of the images I took during this years event. I hope you enjoy them!

- Andrew
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Adobe Photoshop Retouching in Chester County PA

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Grandparents in Haiti – Late 1930s

Back in late June, I got a call from Dr Yardlie Toussaint-Foster wondering if I would be interested in retouching some images of her grandparents taken during the late 1935-1939 time frame in Haiti.

Of the 4 images that I worked on, this was my favorite!

Grandfather Haiti 1930s
Images of Grandfather, somewhere in Haiti during the later 1930s.

This took me 4-5 hours, and what you do not see, is the hexagon texture within the paper!

Detail of the paper surface.
Detail of the paper surface.

Which posed a little problem, but scanning at a high dpi, 1200 dpi, in this case, really helped.

It’s a classic picture that just seems to say a great deal about the person and the times!

Thank you Dr. Foster for allowing me to work on these images!

What do you think?

- Andrew
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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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Adobe Photoshop Retouching in Chester County PA

If you find some of the Information on this Site, useful or entertaining, please consider making a small Donation.

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