About My Photography
As I write this in April 2007 I've been selling prints in the North of Western Australia for about three and a half years. Shortly before I started marketing my work in mid 2003, I switched to an all digital workflow. These days most photographers agree that modern digital cameras produce a very high quality image, generally surpassing their film-based equivalents. Most photographers have "voted with their feet" (or at least their wallets) and embraced the brave new world.
So I capture my photographs with a digital camera, process them on a computer and print them on an inkjet printer fuelled with pigment inks which are applied to heavyweight archival fine art papers. I talk about the gear a bit below if you're interested. I use Adobe Photoshop and now also Adobe Lightroom to process my photos. I do quite a few high resolution photos (mainly panoramics) by stitching together a number of images. I use PTGui software for this. My goal in processing the photograph is to re-create the look and the feel of the scene I have captured as closely as I can. Nothing more and nothing less.
Most of my prints are supplied as either bare prints or as matted and shrinkwrapped prints ready to frame. I do supply some as finished framed prints too. I use archival materials for this work, which is all done in-house.
I love doing what I do. Travelling through and photographing country I find endlessly fascinating, then processing the photos to try to capture some of that appeal. Printing, matting and shrinkwrapping (or framing) them so as to share some of that joy with others . The whole process from pressing the shutter button to end product is what keeps me interested. And hopefully I earn a living as well!
Cathedral Gorge, Kimberley, Western Australia.
About the Prints
I make my prints with an Epson 7800 61cm (24") wide printer which uses Epson Ultrachrome K3 inks. For details on accelerated aging tests on prints made with these printers, see the independent Wilhelm Imaging Research website. Look for the Epson 9800 - it's the wider carraige version of mine. I use heavyweight archival paper - presently Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Pearl 320 gsm, so these prints shouldn't fade for a long, long time. Of course reasonable precautions should be taken - the prints should be framed behind glass and not displayed in direct sunlight. This paper is fairly scuff resistant, but of course care should still be taken when handling the print. I coat the canvas prints with Premier Art Eco Printshield, which protects the picture against UV, atmospheric and physical damage. All of these technologies are expected to produce significanly longer lasting prints than can be achieved with traditional colour printing methods.
The technical side of printing is important of course, but the most important consideration is look of the finished print. Digital archival inkjet printing methods produce prints which which lose nothing by comparison to those produced by traditional methods. Some photographers strive to find a paper and digital printing method which will emulate the look of their favourite silver based photo paper. Others, myself included, think that we should judge new papers and methods on their own merits, rather than attempting to duplicate the look of another technology. Most agree that by any measure, archival inkjet printing has exceeded the quality and longevity of print which can be obtained by virtually any traditional silver based method.
I spent the first twenty years of my working life on the family farm in the West Australian wheatbelt. After leaving the farm and building a house in Esperance, Western Australia I worked as a Parts Manager for an Esperance farm machinery dealer for three years. Following that, I started and ran a business building agricultural machinery and equipment for the next eight years. While this operation was quite successful, I became increasingly dissatisfied with the lifestyle, so we eventually sold the business.
I'd always been interested in photography and I'd done a bit semi-professionally in my late teens. That was a long time ago - remember the Pentax Spotmatic?! (That was the camera you bought if you couldn't afford a Nikon F.) So in 2002 I commenced another major career change, this time into photography, not really knowing where, if anywhere, it would lead. I had a steep learning curve to ascend with getting a handle on the new digital technology as well as expanding my knowledge of the creative side of photography. I was immensly assisted in both of these areas by the excellent and comprehensive Luminous Landscape website. I owe Michael Reichmann a great debt which I'm gradually repaying with subscriptions to his Luminous Landscape Video Journal.
So one thing led to another and twelve months or so later I was selling prints through several outlets in the dry, rugged, scenic and mineral rich Pilbara region of North-West Australia. In 2006 I expanded to the even more rugged, remote and equally stunning Kimberley region, further North.
About the Gear
Ah yes, the gear. Some photographers insist that it's all about the photographer, not the gear and that a good photographer can take a stunning photograph with a box Brownie. Of course there's some truth in that statement, but there's no doubt that good gear generally helps. But ultimately it's only a tool, and it's pretty easy to take boring photos with the best camera money can buy.
So for those who may be interested, I presently use a Canon EOS 5D 12.8 megapixel camera with a Canon EOS 20D 8.2 megapixel body as backup. I'm very happy with the 5D. Lenses are all Canon: 16-35 f2.8L, 24 f3.5L tilt/shift, 50 f2.5 macro, 28-70 f2.8L (don't use this one much any more), 24-105 f4L IS (my most used lens), 70-200 f2.8L IS, 400 f5.6L, 100-400 f4.5/5.6L IS (not used much any more). Then there's the Canon EOS 3 body sitting in the cupboard collecting dust. Great camera, but it needs film....
I also have an old Mamiya M645 1000S with 55 f2.8, 80 f1.9 and 210 f4 lenses. I bought this one on eBay a few years ago, thinking that it along with a decent film scanner would give me a relatively high-resolution camera until high resolution digital became more affordable, which it did two years later with the introduction of the Canon 5D. All it did was illustrate how committed I had become to digital. The poor old Mamiya has hardly been used! Instead I do a lot of stitching of multiple images from the digital files (Canon 10D, then 20D and now 5D) to make very high resolution pictures - some of them are in excess of 150 megapixels.
However it now seems that the Mamiya lenses will get some use, as I've recently bought a Mamiya ZD medium format digital camera and some more lenses. This is a 22 megapixel camera with an imaging chip twice the physical size of the one in the Canon 5D. I used this camera during my May 2007 trip to the Kimberley and my first impressions are very favourable. If you care to take a look at this gallery the photos with an 'M' prefix were taken with the ZD.
As for the rest of it, there's the Epson 7800 printer referred to above, reasonably serious computer gear (with heaps of hard drives!) and sundry gear for matting, framing and shrinkwrapping the prints.