The New Epson SC-P900 – Spectacular!

The SC-P900 is simply a marvelous, gorgeous, small, and efficient printer! I love it! You might not be aware that Epson brought out two new printers in the last few months, the SC-P700 & SC-P900. The SC-900 is the Cadillac of desktop printers replacing the SC-P800. What makes it so? Glad you asked!

Let’s start with size, it’s so much smaller! The gray area above is the size of the Epson SC-800, a grand printer but as you can see, it much larger than the SC-P900. If you add the roll paper holder like I used, you almost double the SC-800 footprint. The SC-P900 even with its roll paper holder (vastly improved) doesn’t come close to the size of the SC-P800 alone. And in this new small package comes a new ink (now a 10 ink set) and new features.

The LCD panel can be customized to your printer needs. When printing, the photograph being printed fills the SC-P900 LCD as confirmation. There is a LIGHT inside the SC-P900 that shows you whats being laid down on the paper that moment. And if you’re like me, it just makes it easier to watch the print head go back and forth. Or, you can use the light to help load certain paper media.

And for those who print on Metallic paper like myself, there is a new setting, Carbon Black that when you have a big DMax really makes a stunning print (don’t use this on other papers, doesn’t work the same). I’ve reprinted two of my aviation images and man, what a difference. Zow! Here’s a quick list of other features:

  • Outstanding image quality and color — all-new UltraChrome® PRO10 Ink with Violet produces a wide color gamut for vibrant and rich colors
  • No Photo and Matte Black ink switching — dedicated nozzles for both black ink types — no switching needed
  • New 10-channel MicroPiezo® AMC printhead — consistently delivers prints with outstanding speed, consistency and accuracy
  • Easy printing from smart devices — print color-managed files directly from your iOS® device1 using an easy-to-use interface
  • New Carbon Black Driver Technology — all-new Carbon Black Driver mode dramatically increases Dmax for best-in-class black density on glossy papers
  • Professional media handling — accommodates rolls2 and sheet media up to 1.5 mm thick of Epson Professional, Signature Worthy and Legacy papers as well as third-party media
  • Easy to use — features 4.3″ customizable touchscreen, wireless connectivity and interior LED light for fast, convenient operation
  • Compact design — up to 30 percent smaller than our previous generation
  • Industry-leading print permanence — UltraChrome PRO10 ink is expected to create prints that have WIR display permanence ratings of up to 200 years for color and 400 years for black-and-white3

As you might be aware, I love shooting and printing B&W. Without a doubt, the SC-P900 produces the most beautiful B&W of any printer I’ve had in the office. It’s easier than ever with the updated and improved Epson Print Layout 1.5.2.

The bottom line, printing just got easier, more fun, and more importantly, better with the SC-P900. I’m glad we’ve got empty walls at The Ranch, I’ve got some gorgeous prints to frame and fill them up!

Note: if setting up on a Mac, be sure to select the SC-P900 (IP) printer and not the one using Bonjour.

Scott Rocks ACR!

Scott once again (how does he do it?) has created a simple, top ten tips to help us work in ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) faster and more effectively. His post today has some great tips! Personally, I like and use #1, #5 and #8. And tip #5 can also be applied to the Split Grad so I’ve had a default setting for both the brush and split grad since they were introduced to ACR. Be sure to check them out and apply those that make your digital darkroom life sweeter!

Basic Zoom Settings w/Z

screen capture from Zoom consult

Like many of you, I’ve been spending a fair amount of time in front of a camera for Zoom chats. Many are with photographers with some great questions seeking advice (and like yesterday’s chat with Dave, I learned some great things in return!). A Zoom Virtual Private Tutoring from two weeks ago asked what gear I used for the Zoom because I looked so sharp and the background was so out of focus so I really popped. He asked during the Zoom chat what I was doing for lighting. Since then, two other Zoom VPTs have asked the same questions so I thought I would share my basic Zoom gear and settings.

My gear is real simple, I use a Z 6 / FTZ w/50f1.4AFS lens (rather than the computer camera). The Z 6 is connected to the MacBook Pro via Chert 4K.C HDMI card plugged into the HDMI port on the Z 6 (via HDMI cable) and USBc port on the MacBook (shows up in Zoom Video preference as Chert 4K so select it). For the sound, I simply use the MacBook mic. Lighting are two windows on my right and left. The one on the right I flag to knock down its intensity. At night, I use the Promaster Bi-LED 504B light as my light source. I try to keep it all real simple so I can duplicate it. The “trick” are the settings in the Z.

I start with the Z set to Movie Mode so I have a clean HDMI out (settings on the top and bottom of the image are removed). The camera for Zoom is set to Aperture Priority with Auto ISO taking care of exposure changed. I normally have Exp Comp set to +1/3. The WB I set manually each session otherwise (like above) I turn a bit red (settings are only good if you remember to set each one each time!). With the 50f1.4AFS set to M/A, I make sure in the Custom Settings I have #a4 set as you see above. Even though it says “eye detection doesn’t work in video mode” it seems to be working great. All I can assume is that since we’re not actually “recording” video while doing a Zoom chat, it’s working (these are just my observations). And this changes with the Z 7II / Z 6II with eye detection working with video. Lastly, I have the Z plugged in AC via the EH-5c.

Shooting with the 50f1.4AFS at f/1.4 is how I have the background all out of focus. This is a very narrow depth of focus so to keep me sharp (I move a bit when I’m talking) requires a couple of other settings. In the Movie Shooting Menu (see above), I make sure that the Focus mode is set to AF-F and the AF-area mode is set to Auto Area AF (required for face/eye detection). I have a checklist taped to the tripod I use for Zoom chats of all of these settings as I do change them when I’m shooting video. The checklist is only good if you read it and follow it which at times I’m guilty of not doing and then, like yesterday, I’m not always in focus. But that’s it’s that my basic for Zoom chats. Hope it helps you look better as you stay in touch!

Telling Motions Story

Portland Head Light
captured by Z7 / Z14-30 / Breakthrough 10x

For the past couple of weeks, I was very fortunate to spend time at a dozen lighthouses. There are many ways to tell their story visually and bring their romance to life. The method I used a lot was simply the blurring of time. Better known as the long exposure, we simply leave the shutter open for a period of time to let elements that are moving, clouds, water, etc, blur during the exposure. I was lucky to have captured cool images that I posted on IG. I received a number of emails asking how I did them. Here’s my basic formula.

It starts by arranging the elements so motion is one of the elements. If I’m going through the pain of a long exposure, I need elements in the photo that are moving and moving in a pleasing and logical way. In this case, the clouds are racing away from me and the waves were crashing to some extent. You can look at the before and after image above to get an idea of what I saw and then how I used the motion as an element. With that accomplished, then comes the process I use to make the photo.

  • Make my basic exposure and determine the exposure I want for the story. I do this in Aperture Priority with Exposure Compensation (the before image above). This is done WITHOUT the ND filter attached.
  • I then look at the shutter speed to make this photo and memorize that shutter speed (that hardest part of the process). The f/stop doesn’t change and exposure compensation is no longer relevant.
  • Attach the Breakthrough ND 10x filter
  • I then change the exposure mode to Manual and set the shutter speed to TIME.
  • I like to use ND Timer on my iPhone to do the calculation of total exposure time. You enter the shutter speed determined from the basic exposure, dial in the filter to be used giving you your time to leave the shutter open.
  • Hit the Timer in ND Timer and the shutter release on the camera. When the gong dings, hit the shutter release to end the exposure.

If you’re doing this at sunrise or sunset, you need to take into account the rising or lowering light levels in your base exposure. Otherwise, it’s a pretty straight forward process. I highly recommend you practicing the process at home prior to hitting the road to work out your system to this. It makes it a whole lot funnier once on location telling motions story.

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