Printing & Processing
All images available for purchase on this web site are printed on a Lightjet5000 printer. This 6 figure dollar cost printer was originally designed and manufactured by Cymbolic Sciences Corporation in the mid 1990s. Since its debut, the Lightjet has been considered the highest quality printing process for photography available. Although not the only printing process widely used by professional photographers today, it is the preferred choice of many of the best. Note there are competitive same technology printers on the market today.
The Lightjet reading a digital file source, within a light tight enclosure, uses a highly focused three beam RGB laser source to reflect beams off a mirror onto a micro stepper controlled incrementally rotating drum containing media. Thus beams expose one micro spot location at a time on traditional silver halide emulsion photographic paper. Except that paper today is the best it ever been and able to last far longer than ever. Indeed these machines produce prints on absolutely traditional photographic paper. Since each spot exposes multiple primary layers of color emulsions, it is referred to as a continuous tone printer. Color results are nearly indistinguishable from traditional optically enlarger produced photographic prints because the pitch between micro spots is smaller than your eyes can distinguish side by side. About 300 dots per inch or 12 dots in a tiny millimeter.
And it is not at all like ink jet printers with a print head and inks which place halftone micro dots of ink on top of white substrate papers. The highest quality inkjets are referred to as "photo realistic" because they are not really photographs like continuous tone prints. But you say, "well my ink jet prints at 2880x1440 or such". Doesn't that mean the ink jet is sharper? No not at all. To be as sharp as a Lightjet, an inkjet would need to be 4000x4000 dpi! Yes. The reason is an inkjet requires many little dots of ink to make single pixels since inks are just a matrix of the few numbers of colors in the ink supplies. Cyan, magneta, yellow, black and now often two or three shades of these. Six at most. Thus with a good loupe one sees a yellow dot is next to a cyan dot to make green. And to make all the different colors, shades, grays etc takes lots of matrix combinations. Just ONE color at every spot. The Lightjet on the other hand from a 24 bit source can make 16,777,216 different colors at every spot.
Note CSC was later bought by Gretag Imaging which in turn was bought by Oce Corporation a Netherlands based large conglomerate with a global presence. For technical information please see the manufacturer's web sites.web page: http://www.cymbolic.com/LJ5000.html
Fuji Crystal Archive
All prints from the Lightjet are on Fuji Crystal Archive matte paper which has a color lasting minimum display life of at least 60 years as tested by Wilhelm Research Corporation. That is the longest lasting photographic paper currently available. Current Epson inkjet archival UltraChrome inks used by many photographers doing their own printing have a somewhat longer lifetime but the resulting media is considerably less mechanically durable. Not only does Crystal Archive paper last decades, but it is a very durable paper on a thick polyester substrate. The matte paper I order is particularly durable and able to resist a modest amount of handling better than photographic papers of the past.http://www.fujifilm.com/JSP/fuji/epartners/proPhotoProductPDII.jsp
The single lab which I am using to produce prints was one of the first to use the Lightjet5000 printers and has a client list of many famous world class photographers. Their process uses a highly controlled environment and calibration process which allows clients to input digital files and receive back prints which always look the same no matter how much time has elapsed between print orders. Although there are now many high end labs that own Lightjet printers, this lab is unique in having overcome considerable technical issues in order to control the printing process at the exceptional quality level achieved. In the past the only way photographers could produce numbers of exact prints from one image source was to have a large number of prints produced at one time using the same environment, printer settings, chemicals, etc in one large batch. Later customers would usually get to see the prints before purchase because they were already produced and likely they were viewing such in a gallery which had a drawer full of such prints.
However that traditional process is a considerable gamble to photographers and galleries as it often results in expensive prints stuck in drawers collecting dust. Thus my business plan is not based on stocking a bunch of each image's prints made all at once because we don't need to do that any more. You order from me. I order from them. It's simple! Well maybe not that simple. Check my home page Business Workflow link where I explain the boring details.
All prints shown on these web pages have already been drum scanned, Photoshop 6.0 image processed, printed, print files archived onto CDROMs/DVD, and framed for my use as exhibition masters. As I open my website for public viewing in August of 2005, there are a total of 24 each 4x5 images, 30 each 6x7 images, and 22 each 35mm images. I will be publicly exhibiting these framed masters to the public. In the future, more images will be made available as my collection is large, and I am regularly doing field work. The full size I will sell any given image is indicated on each image's information page directly below the displayed web images. Most of the 4x5 images also can be bought in a second smaller sizes. Please contact me via email for special non-standard print size requests. Print dimensions do not conform to standard 4 by 5 aspect framing ratios. That is because my photography has always evaluated image aesthetics according to the visible dimensions of the particular camera format whether that be 35mm (2:3), 6x7 (11:14), or 4x5 (4:5). Subsequently most prints produced are close to those same ratios. Professional framers can frame any dimensions easily by custom mat sizing and moulding cutting.
Most 35mm prints have been sized with dimensions to the nearest whole inch at either 12x18 or 14x21. For the 6x7 and 4x5 images, image area lengths and widths are to nearest 6/10 inch, ie 21.6x26.6 inches. Including the gray digital bevel cut borders adds 0.2 inches on each side creating total print lengths and widths equal to whole inches (ie 26.6 +0.2 +0.2 = 27.0 inches). When framing without a mat, typical metal frame sections have at least 1/3 an inch edge overlap. Thus if a print is cut to the gray digital bevel cut border and framed without a mat, it will overlap each print edge at least 1/6 inch and thus not miss much of the full image. Of course a framer using a wider wood frame and not using a mat can custom cut the white space area for whatever widths are required.
Initially all prints sold through web sales will be unmounted without matting or framing. Thus framing must be arranged by the customer. It's easy. The following home page link discusses framing suggestions. Note at exhibitions I will be selling a few matted and framed prints. I do not plan to limit numbers of each image sold. Also each image has my digital signature on the front of the print within the area of the image. The color of each such digital signature has been muted to nearly blend in with the image so as not to be aesthetically detracting. Placement is indicated on each image description sheet in the top image information section. Most signatures are at frame bottom edges left or right corners, at least 1/8 inch from edges in order to be visible after minimal matting. Image description sheets are informationally identical to the description pages shown for each image on this site and could be later copied from this web site if the enclosed shipping copy were lost.
Each print will normally include approximately one inch white borders to facilitate typical framing requirements of mounting a print to a mat board. Within that border space are a number of structures and text one would never see on traditional optically enlarged prints. Instead of just providing blank white space, I have used the space for information and process control. Each 6x7 and 4x5 print contains identical formats of structure and text. 35mm prints have the same components in slightly different placements in order to fit into the available border space. Refering to the larger print sizes, at the lower left side of the horizontal frame dimension are two profiled spectral charts I use for process control. The edge above that left corner contains a gray scale chart. At the top left corner is a small map of California or Utah with a line indicating the approximate location the image was taken. To the right at top is an information section of text identical to that on each image's web page. To the right is the image's title. At the right corner is an additional digital signature.
Scanning & Photoshop Processing
Most of the 35mm images were ICG drum scanned to 24-bit RGB 100 megabyte PSD files. Most 6x7 images were ICG drum scanned to 24 bit RGB 200 megabyte PSD files. Most 4x5 images were Heidleburg Tango drum scanned to 24 bit RGB 300 megabyte TIF files. A link to my numbers page. My home page link, David's Photography Bio, explains the philosophy and attitudes behind my work. Images are processed with Adobe Photoshop 6.0. My monitor is calibrated by Xrite's Monaco Optix. Generally there are several hours of Photoshop work on each image in order to create a reasonably accurate rendition of the original slides. In some difficult cases images have been edited several times. My work on these image files has been with the intent of making great images that accurately show wonderful moments at outstanding places.David Senesac
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