Using a SpyderPrint to Read Calibration Target Prints for Digital Negatives

Introduction

For many years, I used an old-school X-rite 400 Reflection Densitometer to take readings of step-tablet prints, analog and digital, to xrite400calibrate negatives for Platinum/Palladium prints and other alternative photographic printing processes. Two or three years ago the densitometer suddenly stopped working. I had a DataColor Spyder3Studio SR kit that I had gotten to calibrate my monitor and printers for digital printing, but until that time I had never thought of it as a substitute for the densitometer.

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How To Disable Star-Wheels On An Epson 3880

Introduction

The Epson Stylus Pro 3880 (and the 3800 before it) has been one of the best and most popular printers for making high quality digital negatives for contact printing using various alternative photographic printing processes. However, it has one potential drawback which is that the star-wheels on the eject path of the paper transport mechanism can leave a trail of pin-prick dots on the printed surface of the negative, or any glossy surface. One way of avoiding this is to use the Manual Front Feed mechanism which does not  engage the star-wheels. The problem with this is that the Front Feed is designed for very thick materials like poster board, and doesn’t always handle thinner materials well. I have 2 3880s; on one of them the Front Feed works perfectly with the Pictorico Ultra Premium OHP transparency film that I use for digital negatives, but in the other it doesn’t.

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Secrets of the Black Art

There’s been some interesting discussion about salt printing lately, both on the Facebook Alternative Photographic Process group and on the venerable old alt-photo-process email list. I am by no means an expert on the subject, but I did have the pleasure in the late 90s of assisting Michael Gray of the Fox Talbot Museum at a workshop he gave at the Center for Creative Photography (UA Tucson) where I was employed at the time. The discussion on FB primarily concerned toning, while the email group discussion was about sizing (or not) of paper. I made some contributions to the discussions that I have recapped here for easy reference in the future. Continue reading