Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Photographing Snow, and why does it cost so much to print it out afterwards?

 

Two items I wish to talk about today. I don't want to turn this blog into an area where I am repeating information which is readily available elsewhere, and probably written far better than my humble ramblings. However for my Facebook Friends who may wish to go out and photograph the snow, I give some brief words of advice.

Let it snow

Depending upon your camera, the method used to measure and evaluate correct exposure - to give a ‘not too bright’ or ‘not too dark’ image, can be one of many. The most basic method is one of averaging the light on the entire scene and then referencing it to a neutral grey.  This can lead to all sorts of problems when the image you wish to capture is not an ‘average’ image. If its predominantly black or white the cameras metering system will be fooled into attempting to correct the blacks or whites towards a neutral grey.  Most cameras when photographing snow will attempt to reduce the light getting to the film or sensor too much, giving a rather muddy appearance. Its time for user intervention!  We need to override the exposure, or compensate for the error. So, look for ‘exposure compensation’,  it may be a symbol or  labelled +/- EV, where EV is the ‘exposure value’. Adjust it to add more exposure by setting it to +1EV to start with, if it still looks poor  try +2EV. Be wary of over doing it.   If your camera has the capability of manual mode then you can increase the exposure by either adjusting the shutter or aperture accordingly. Email if you need further help.

 

Inkjet Costs

A recent article by Photoradar  attempted to report on the age old question of why ink cartridges cost so much. Personally I consider Epson failed to give an answer which was in any way ‘an answer’.  In true politician style it appeared to be turned about and used as a PR exercise.  The inkjet market seems to be modelled on the same sales strategy as the PAYG mobile phone, sell the initial hardware cheap as a ‘loss leader’ then reap high profits from the continuing sale of cartridges.

So, as a photographer what is the best option?  My choice is to invest in a cheap and basic inkjet printer, not the top of the range models with several cartridges that cost a fortune to replace. This can be used for the odd proofing of  images and for the day to day family photos.  Then, choose a couple of labs to print the rest of your work. I use two or three, a pro lab for when I need the very best and then others for the budget conscious work and if I need to produce a couple of hundred small prints for the family album. The internet allows you to seamlessly upload images from within many applications, and with the rapid turnaround of some companies, a few days waiting for prints to be delivered is far more sensible. 

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