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Roger_Williams
08-27-2010, 02:58 PM
I was reading this month's mag. and one of the articles made a comment to show all your merit prints as another way to set yourself above Digital Deb. I've only entered once at the regional level, got one merit (blue ribbon) and one 78 that got a white ribbon. The ribbons that the State association uses are a very nice visual of how the image did. I never sent the merit on to National so it does not have a gold seal :(.

So I'm thinking on hanging both of them in the studio as a starting place (I plan to have some Loan images hanging next year :D). Anyway, this Fall at the Illinois State convention I was planning on entering digitally as I really like the cost savings it presents. However, if I do well I will send it (digital) on to Nationals next Spring but then what do I have to show in the studio? Yes I can print it for the studio, but will I still get a seal? If I have to print it for the studio, am I really saving that much money while risking the problems the new system may encounter?

I'm thinking that maybe it still may be best to send a print. Anyone have any thoughts on digital vs. print?:confused:

KirkDarling
08-27-2010, 03:59 PM
I'm interested, too, in any insights that have been gained from judges who have been practicing and learning how to judge digital entries.

It's been my opinion for a couple of years that PPA needed a digital competition to prove out superior technical criteria for images that will presented as digital final products. We'll need to be there another five to ten years.

Cassandra_Sullivan
08-27-2010, 05:40 PM
I'm looking forward to hearing more opinions. When I watched one of my critiques from this years competition, the judge mentioned that he had judged the print - but he also said that the digital file he opened to critique looked a lot better than the print (which is the same exact file that I had sent to the lab), and the main reason the print didn't merit was because of the printing. I found it a little frustrating that it was something I didn't have a lot of control over was the reason it didn't merit. I'm really confused about how to send in a good file and the whole 'printing darker' thing.

Keith_A_Howe
08-28-2010, 03:10 AM
I was reading this month's mag. and one of the articles made a comment to show all your merit prints as another way to set yourself above Digital Deb. I've only entered once at the regional level, got one merit (blue ribbon) and one 78 that got a white ribbon. The ribbons that the State association uses are a very nice visual of how the image did. I never sent the merit on to National so it does not have a gold seal :(.

Yes I can print it for the studio, but will I still get a seal? If I have to print it for the studio, am I really saving that much money while risking the problems the new system may encounter?

I'm thinking that maybe it still may be best to send a print. Anyone have any thoughts on digital vs. print?:confused:

Roger, All I can tell you about digital versus print is I plan on entering prints.

I think you are confused about what a "seal" is and what a "merit" is. You do not get a merit at the regional level ( districts starting now). You get a seal, which is the official record that that particular prnt automatically recieves a merit IF it is sent on to international judging. To say it merited at regional is incorrect. At IUSA there is no such thing as a "gold" seal. A seal is awarded at districts is just an x-stamp on the back of the print with the JC's signature across it. It's not anything attractive or showy to dsiplay for clients. What you are probably confusing it with is the gold corners that are put on the prints that are displayed at IUSA. It just says something like Accepted for Exhibit at IUSA. There are no ribbons at IUSA. I have a call in to Jim Dingwell to see if he will be sending out corners to people who sent in digital files. I will be moving my son into the dorm tomorrow so I won't be able to post his response till tomorrow night when I am back in a hotel. My gut instinct is that no you will not revieve a corner because you didn't send in a print to put one on, but I will find out from Jim for definate.


When I watched one of my critiques from this years competition, the judge mentioned that he had judged the print - but he also said that the digital file he opened to critique looked a lot better than the print (which is the same exact file that I had sent to the lab), and the main reason the print didn't merit was because of the printing. I found it a little frustrating that it was something I didn't have a lot of control over was the reason it didn't merit. I'm really confused about how to send in a good file and the whole 'printing darker' thing.

Cassandra, Of course you didn't control the printing but the expectation is that you as professional would recognize poor printing when it came back from the lab and have it reprinted and corrected before entering. So if something is entered with poor print quality the judges have to assume the photographer thought it was fine the way they sent it in. So I understand your frustration but make sure it looks the way you want it before you send it in. I look at my prints under judging light conditions before I send them off to see if they look too light, too dark or other problems. It's not unusual for me to have prints reprinted two or three times if they aren't quite right. Maybe that's excessive but it has worked well for me.

Keith

Jeff_Dachowski
08-28-2010, 04:15 PM
Maybe that's excessive but it has worked well for me.

Keith

Uhm...yeah it has...26 loan images. I think you should keep doing whatever it is your doing!
Jeff

GregYager
08-28-2010, 07:46 PM
I look at my prints under judging light conditions before I send them off to see if they look too light, too dark or other problems.
Keith

I plan to submit prints as well so I would like to know what the light conditions are you mention here.

Joe_Campanellie
08-28-2010, 08:09 PM
I used to fight with lab prints all the time. I don't think it's really their fault. Only you know how that image is really supposed to look. I started printing my own competition prints years ago. I worked as custom color printer for years so it just made sense.

If you do go with a lab then you have to establish good communication with them. Too many people pop off their images to the lab and expect merit and loan prints back. Not that it doesn't happen but you have to get involved in the process.

The real test for me was when I printed my own Fellowship prints. That was a lot of pressure and a whole lot of work. Couldn't just blame the lab if the portfolio didn't get approved. On that one...fail or succeed...it was all going to come back on me. Couldn't blame anyone.

I print just about everything in house now. Just ordered a 44" printer so that will give me even more capablities in house.

As far as lighting goes I use a couple of old video lights with 3200K bulbs. Set them up so my meter reads 1 second at f16 at ISO 100. Done that for years and it works fine.

Like Keith I'll stick to prints for now. No sense in messing with what's working for me.

Keith_A_Howe
08-29-2010, 03:42 AM
I plan to submit prints as well so I would like to know what the light conditions are you mention here.


Set them up so my meter reads 1 second at f16 at ISO 100. .


Greg, Prints are judged in a dark room with two minispots aimed from uper left and right corners at the print, metered to the specs Joe listed.


Roger, I got a phone call back from Jim Dingwell this AM but this is the first I have been around a computer to post this. Prints will be displayed at IUSA in the same fashion they are entered. If you enter a digital file and not a print, there is no print to display or put a corner on. You will not recieve the gold corner if you did not enter prints.

Keith

GregYager
08-30-2010, 02:15 AM
I'm sure this question has been asked a million times but I really don't know so here goes a million and one....

Why don't they judge images under a more normal viewing conditions? I told my wife we needed to have our competition images printed about 25% darker for judging and she said, "Why don't they just turn their lights down 25% so we can use the prints for displays when they're done?" I didn't have a good answer for her so I told her I would ask.

My plan is when I get my first merit print I will display it in a similar manner to judging lights, 2 spotlights making it stand out as a centerpiece in our lobby.

Tss1203
08-30-2010, 02:39 AM
I'm looking forward to hearing more opinions. When I watched one of my critiques from this years competition, the judge mentioned that he had judged the print - but he also said that the digital file he opened to critique looked a lot better than the print (which is the same exact file that I had sent to the lab), and the main reason the print didn't merit was because of the printing.

I heard the same thing on 2 of my prints Cassandra. It was a bummer that something so simple kept my images back from meriting. I used the competition print option from my lab, and didn't realize they printed them on matte until the prints came in. If I would've given myself more time (instead of the prints coming in 3 days before the deadline) I would've reprinted them on glossy and given the images more "pop". Lesson learned- take more control of the printing & give myself more time! Sorry, a little off track here....

Even still, I will still send prints in next year. Nothing beats being able to touch and see a real print.

Rick_Massarini
08-30-2010, 03:09 AM
I'm sure this question has been asked a million times but I really don't know so here goes a million and one....

Why don't they judge images under a more normal viewing conditions? I told my wife we needed to have our competition images printed about 25% darker for judging and she said, "Why don't they just turn their lights down 25% so we can use the prints for displays when they're done?" I didn't have a good answer for her so I told her I would ask.

My plan is when I get my first merit print I will display it in a similar manner to judging lights, 2 spotlights making it stand out as a centerpiece in our lobby.

A lot of people who talk about the "overly bright" judging lights have never actually sat down and looked at the actual illumination level. Few people regularly set up shots where the exposure is a full second long at a small aperture - so that f16 in the formula makes people think that it's very bright. If you were to change the numbers to an equivalent but more familiar combination of speeds and stops and you'll find that 1 second at f16 at ISO 100 is the same as 1/30 at f2.8 at ISO 100. That's not all that bright... and for those of you who cover weddings, it's maybe a stop brighter than an average church interior, and about the same exposure that you would use for a window light portrait... What makes the lights look so bright is that the room lights are turned down, so when you walk into the judging room, you see this one bright spot in a dim room.

Just saying "why not judge the prints under normal room light" sounds good, but just what is the definition of "normal room light"? Some people keep their rooms very brightly lit and others prefer the light to be dimmer. In order to fairly conduct a competition which involves members from all over the world, you have to have some kind of standard illumination level. This level of illumination was decided many years ago to be the standard, and just as long as everyone has a standard way to compare the images, one illumination level is just as good as any other.

I have my competition prints on the wall of my studio, and they look fine. I've never had a problem with displaying my competition prints.

Keith_A_Howe
08-30-2010, 03:13 AM
Greg when you view artwork in a museum it's always spotlit. Somebody else can give you more reasons. I am just too tired tonight after traveling for 4 days. But what I really want to address is the idea of using the competition print as a display when it comes back. If you search this forum you will see that is a topic that has been addressed dozens of times. The short answer is don't plan on doing it. A competition print travels through dozens of sets of hands, gets unpacked, sorted, repacked, shipped, unpacked, sorted, judged, judged for loan, repacked, shipped again,unpacked, displayed, repacked, shipped again, unpacked, sorted, repacked and shipped back to you. This is NOT an exageration. Even though every volunteer at every step of the process treats your print like it was their own, they still don't ever come back in condition to be displayed.

Keith

Keith_A_Howe
08-30-2010, 03:14 AM
Rick was posting while I was typing. He gave you a pretty good explanation.

Keith

Keith_A_Howe
08-30-2010, 03:38 AM
I used the competition print option from my lab, and didn't realize they printed them on matte until the prints came in.

Something seems odd about this. What lab are you using? Did you select a matte paper? Or ask for watercolor paper? I can't believe any lab out there would not use high gloss as standard for their print comp option. Unless it is a small lab that doesn't know any better, but if they are that naive about comp why would they even have a special competition printing option? That being said, In the future don't waste your money on special printing for competition. If you are calling your own color and adjusting your own exposure you should be able to order the cheapest print option your lab has to offer. A 16x20 shouldn't cost more then $25 mounted. So 4 prints for IPC should be around $100. That's why it always puzzles me when people say digital competition will save them so much money. If somebody can't afford $100 once a year, they shouldn't be entering. They should be investing in SMS first and once they have their business in order then invest in competition. Just my soapbox!

Keith

Fuzzy_Duenkel
08-30-2010, 03:51 AM
I haven't followed this thread, so forgive me if I duplicate any thoughts.

Rick, regardless of any llumiantion levels either in a church, home, or judging the fact is that when competition prints are made, they are printed down. In the film days we instruicted the lab to print them deeper for competition. Now I make them 15% darker in levels. So yes, they are darker than nornmal prints... prints that look good on walls. Alll of my competition pribnts would eb too dark to display on a home of average illumination. How about the print display racks... they always look dark there and we're forced to imagine what they looked like under the lights.

In addition, it's so hard to get good, rich, blacks these digitial days, so I completely avoid images with predominantly dark tones for competition.

I have a set of Photogenic spots so I can accurately judge density on comp prints.

Anyway, all that's past us now that we can submit digital entries.

Rick_Massarini
08-30-2010, 03:54 AM
Also, for the competition prints that I display in my studio, I tell my clients that they are competition prints and that is the reason why there are a few scratches on them - but it's pretty obvious since they have the gold corners on them...

And Keith is not exaggerating about all of the handling and shipping that the prints go through for the National Exhibition. They start off in Lincoln where they are received, get shipped to Atlanta where they are judged - (twice - first for merit then for Loan), go back to Lincoln for 6 months of storage, then they go to the National Convention for display, then back to Lincoln for repacking to be returned to you. A lot of handling, shipping and jostling around in shipment...

GregYager
08-30-2010, 04:03 AM
Thanks for the answer guys. I had just read where people had said their competition prints were too dark to display in studio so that tells me that they're just not lighting them properly.

This makes me stop and think maybe I should be taking this into consideration when I'm selling wall portraits. If my clients wish to display their images with accent lighting I need to be printing a bit darker for a richer look under the light. It's simple things like this that I've overlooked over the years.

Keith....I know my questions can be tiresome at times but that's the price you pay for being as good as you are and still willing to help. Thanks dude:cool:
I never realized how many hands they would pass through and I can see how no amount of care is gonna get 'em home looking fresh. If they merit they're worth re-printing.

Rick....To be honest I've never printed one for competition yet so I wasn't certain what they would look like on my walls. I'm installing lights tomorrow to hang my hopefuls under. Gonna make it an exact f/16, 1 sec iso100. I guess I just got a bit over concerned when I read posts in other threads about people saying their comp prints were too dark for their lobbies.

Tss1203
08-30-2010, 04:10 AM
Something seems odd about this. What lab are you using? Did you select a matte paper? Or ask for watercolor paper? I can't believe any lab out there would not use high gloss as standard for their print comp option. Unless it is a small lab that doesn't know any better, but if they are that naive about comp why would they even have a special competition printing option? That being said, In the future don't waste your money on special printing for competition. If you are calling your own color and adjusting your own exposure you should be able to order the cheapest print option your lab has to offer. A 16x20 shouldn't cost more then $25 mounted. So 4 prints for IPC should be around $100. That's why it always puzzles me when people say digital competition will save them so much money. If somebody can't afford $100 once a year, they shouldn't be entering. They should be investing in SMS first and once they have their business in order then invest in competition. Just my soapbox!

Keith

I switched to JD's for all our printing at the beginning of the year. I guess I just assumed they would do glossy for comp prints, but they didn't. I realized afterwards I could've chosen the glossy coating option, but I'm not sure how that looks anyway :o The option to order as a comp print was only maybe $3 more, and I thought it would be worth it to not worry, lol.

I need to take more time next year and slow down before I choose to send off for printing. I admit it was refreshing and crushing to hear the judges say the issues they saw on the prints weren't showing up on the file.

Keith_A_Howe
08-30-2010, 03:04 PM
So now I am just being curious. What were they supposedly doing for that extra $3? Sure it's only $3 - but what was it for? Because to tell you the truth them calling it a competition printing option and then printing it on matte paper makes me think they have no clue. Even if you had chosen the glossy coating option, they still should have started out printing on a glossy paper. I've never heard of JD lab. Where are they located?


And speaking of glossy coating, I send in all my comp prints raw, no coating whatsoever but if I were to do a coating it would definately be spray. I would never laminate. Labs will tell you their lamination doesn't shift colors and you will still get a true black but I have seen too many lamination issues over the years to trust it. One lab owner assured me that their lamination didn't shift the blacks to that blue cast. The owner showed me samples to prove it. I walked over to another lab booth and grabbed a raw print with no spray or coating and compared the blacks to their laminated sample and they had to admit I was right and thier lamination did shift the blacks. If you can see it on the blacks you know it's shifting everything. Of course labs would prefer to laminate because it's easier and less labor, so of course that is the option they will recomend. Don't do it.


Now somebody is going to ask "does it have to be glossy?". The answer is when in doubt it should be high gloss. Use whatever best enhances/perpetuates the story of the image. I have several loan prints on watercolor paper, both for myself and ones I printed for a couple other people. Those images were improved from the soft velvety texture and feel of that paper. So use whatever is the best choice for the image but the default is always high gloss.

Keith

GregYager
08-30-2010, 03:16 PM
Hey Keith what about the metallic papers? I have some images with lots of bright colors and I was thinking of using metallic for a little added pop. To be honest though I've never really studied this paper under lights to know how well it really renders colors. The only time I've ever used it was for clients and the prints went out the door the same day they came in from my lab.

Keith_A_Howe
08-30-2010, 03:33 PM
Metallic paper needs the appropiate subject matter to do well in competition. Bright saturated colors usually are good with metallic. Remember because it is highly reflective any areas that are white or light colored (highlights on pale skin for example) can look blown out. So choose an appropiate image and then metallic is fine. In fact Kodak now gives a Gallery awrd specifically for images printed on metallic. Remember, the judges are evaluating every choice you make. They aren't judging if metallic is a good choice for print competition but if the choice of metallic paper enhanced the image in front of them. You can decopouge a print to a brick and enter that if you want but it better be because the image is so much better on a brick then any other way you could have presented it otherwise the brick will hurt you. General rule of thumb, if it doesn't improve the print, it hurts the print. Think about that with every stroke, border, treatment, filter, edge effect, funky size, paper choice etc etc.

Keith

Linda_Gregory
08-30-2010, 04:28 PM
I merited an image printed on metallic a few years ago. What I found interesting was with the comp lights hitting it from an angle, all the metallic appearance was gone. Plain old glossy would have done as well.

http://www.lindagregory.com/2007.jpg the one in the lower left corner.

Tss1203
08-30-2010, 05:38 PM
So now I am just being curious. What were they supposedly doing for that extra $3? Sure it's only $3 - but what was it for? Because to tell you the truth them calling it a competition printing option and then printing it on matte paper makes me think they have no clue. Even if you had chosen the glossy coating option, they still should have started out printing on a glossy paper. I've never heard of JD lab. Where are they located?

Keith

JD/s is located in Flint MI. I switched to them b/c I like supporting Mi companies and b/c of the little extra touches I found with them. I've been pretty happy overall...

Well, I know from now one I won't use the comp print option and will just print regular. I just realized looking thru JD's options I don't think they use glossy paper for anything.

When I did the comp for DPPA in November I used WHCC. I chose to do the comp print option then, too, and was happy w/the results. I just assumed JD's would be the same. I guess not. I admit to being bummed out when the prints came in. But I also have to admit that if I had paid just a little more attention I would've noticed they weren't going to be printed on glossy.

One judge commented on the tonal shift of the blacks in one print, but he didn't see them on the digital image. The other print was lacking sharpness, which was also not noticed on the digital image. Both commented print quality held the images back.

Bob_Coates
08-30-2010, 06:50 PM
Just as an FYI. I've been printing my images on Epson Premium luster and now Kodak Luster paper with fine results. I use that paper because that is what I deliver my work on to clients. No spray, no lamination.

Roger_Williams
08-30-2010, 07:04 PM
........ A 16x20 shouldn't cost more then $25 mounted. So 4 prints for IPC should be around $100. That's why it always puzzles me when people say digital competition will save them so much money. If somebody can't afford $100 once a year, they shouldn't be entering. .....

Keith

Keith,

I had to ponder this for a while before I replied but it is not the $100 that is the barrier and what I'm going to say may not pertain to the seasoned competitors. But, for those just starting out in print competition, like me, there is a lot more cost to it. Submit images to the Fall State convention. 4 prints $100, entry fee $65, Print case $100-133, UPS to send the case $25, UPS to get the case back $25. So the first time I enter at the State level, $340.00. Now, lets assume that the first timers do not get any 80s or above so they try again at the Spring convention. Everything again except for the print case, so another $215. Learning from our mistakes last Fall, we get at least 1 80 this time so I send it on to IPC. $95 entry fee, $25 UPS to get the case there (don't know if they charge to return it). That's another $120. Assuming the print merits and they keep the case until Imaging, now I have to purchase a second case for the Fall State convention $125 if I want to continue competing. So in the first year I have spent $800 competing. For me, that's a lot of money for 1 merit. By going the digital submission, I save $520 the fist year which is net income (profit) in my pocket.

Now, you don't have to enter the State competitions but everyone I talk to says you should so that you will have a better idea of what will do well at IPC and since Illinois is part of a regional, if I get an 80+, it will be an automatic merit at IPC.

BTW, I really do see the value of the competition and that is my next push. I think it will help me get better as a photographer and as an artist. I do see the value both ways of submitting images and since I have 1 case already, I don't know which way I will end up submitting them. Whichever way, I just want to make sure I have the best chance of succeeding without breaking the bank.

GregYager
08-30-2010, 10:51 PM
Hey Roger,
Keith started a thread here called The 12 Elements. Join us there and I'm sure he can help you get more bang for your buck now that you're looking to enter competitions. It may make the cost of competing not bite so much.

Jeff_Dachowski
08-31-2010, 12:11 AM
[QUOTE=Roger_Williams;234099[By going the digital submission, I save $520 the fist year which is net income (profit) in my pocket.

Now, you don't have to enter the State competitions but everyone I talk to says you should so that you will have a better idea of what will do well at IPC and since Illinois is part of a regional, if I get an 80+, it will be an automatic merit at IPC.
.[/QUOTE]


Roger,
If you get an 80 at the Illinois regional you would get a seal of approval. Going forward IL is now part of a District so if you enter either your northern or southern guilds, an 80 there will not get you a seal of approval.

Keep in mind, your print case should last you about 25 years. Please remember that print comp can help folks learn a lot about their work. It can also give you an edge in your market if you promote it right. The way I see it, your investment is pretty cheap for it's potential benefits.

Jeff

Keith_A_Howe
08-31-2010, 01:43 AM
By going the digital submission, I save $520 the fist year which is net income (profit) in my pocket.


Roger, I understand what you are saying but there are some errors in your figures and you are talking worst case scenarios. Digital submission is currently available for district and IPC. I can't say for certain that your state doesn't have it but I would be surprised. The equipment and software is cost prohibitive even on the district level and that is why PPA is providing hardware and software for the districts. So whatever prints cost you for your locals and state, you will still have that cost. Also IPC DOES NOT require a case. So you can't add anything to your cost for that. So WORST case scenario, you enter 4 prints at district and none of them merit, so you choose to enter 4 new prints at IPC, your total cost for those 8 prints is $200not $520. So worst case your savings is only $200. Yes there is more cost then the 4 prints but those costs for case fees etc will still be the same regardless of how you enter digital or print. Going to digital submission is not the big cost savings your post suggests it to be.
Keith

AndrewRodney
09-02-2010, 07:25 PM
The illuminant used to view a print, and its intensity (measured in LUX or cd/m2) can play a role. The quality of the illuminant is important. Does it have a UV component? If you are working with papers with OBAs (see: http://www.ppmag.com/reviews/200702_rodneycm.pdf), this can produce a color cast depending on the smoothness or lack thereof of the illuminant. A big issue with any Fluorescent light.

In terms of color outside these issues of spectrum, our eyes do adapt to the white. Ideally prints are viewed with no other white other than the paper itself. If you have a bkgnd where the paper has a warmer or cooler appearance than print paper white, your eye adapts to that instead of the paper the print is printed on. Not good.

Your eye should also adapt to the intensity of the light. The prints should not look “too dark” or “too light”. When you attempt to match two sources (say a display and a print), this is where nailing the luminance of both to result in a match is critical. If the display is much brighter than the print viewing conditions, you view the print as too dark (a common problem these days with monitors that out of the box can hit 250-300cd/m2).

As for the display, well even more variables. What’s the contrast ratio of the calibrated display? Out of the box, it could be 800:1 or higher. No print can get close to that ratio. In this respect, showing images on a display can have an advantage!

The best man made illuminant in terms of its smooth spectrum, no UV is a Solux MR16 bulb. Setting up a viewing booth that’s even from corner to corner takes some work but is quite doable. Pop a few into something like an Altman Ellipse unit
(http://www.stagelightingstore.com/Altman-Micro-Ellipse-ME-MR16-75W), you’ll end up with a light source that is incredibly even from corner to corner and center. Not cheap but doing this right comes at a price.

Rick_Massarini
09-02-2010, 07:50 PM
The best man made illuminant in terms of its smooth spectrum, no UV is a Solux MR16 bulb. Setting up a viewing booth that’s even from corner to corner takes some work but is quite doable. Pop a few into something like an Altman Ellipse unit
(http://www.stagelightingstore.com/Altman-Micro-Ellipse-ME-MR16-75W), you’ll end up with a light source that is incredibly even from corner to corner and center. Not cheap but doing this right comes at a price.

That's very interesting, but if you are going to be evaluating prints are to be judged at a PPA judging, why would you want to invest in a Solux MR16 bulb in an Altman spotlight when the images are going to be judged using Photogenic Mini-spots with 150 watt tungsten bulbs?

It would seem to make more sense to evaluate them under the same light quality and color that they are going to be using at the judging - and since you are indicating that the Solux bulb has a different color spectrum, then you would be evaluating your prints under a different color of light than would be used for the judging. I would just stick to the Photogenic mini-spots - they are the judging standard, the bulbs are cheap, they last forever, and you can get them used for a very reasonable price - even new, they're cheaper than the Altman spotlights...

AndrewRodney
09-02-2010, 08:10 PM
That's very interesting, but if you are going to be evaluating prints are to be judged at a PPA judging, why would you want to invest in a Solux MR16 bulb in an Altman spotlight when the images are going to be judged using Photogenic Mini-spots with 150 watt tungsten bulbs?

Because as I said, its the best man made illuminate if your goal is a very smooth spectrum void of any UV component, something that more closely matches daylight (at various CCT kelvin values depending on the bulb you use) and, with the Altman enclosures, can produce amazingly even illuminant over any sized area you desire.


It would seem to make more sense to evaluate them under the same light quality and color that they are going to be using at the judging - and since you are indicating that the Solux bulb has a different color spectrum, then you would be evaluating your prints under a different color of light than would be used for the judging.

My point is, the judging lights are not ideal although they will certainly work (they produce a Light source). Having a spectral plot of the Photogenic would be useful, we could easily compare that to the spectral plot of the Solux bulbs.

Again, in terms of the color of the light, our eyes will adapt. But we have zero control over the effects of OBA’s and the illuminant, some have said they are using Ink Jet papers, some mentioned that I know have a decent amount of OAB’s (Luster to name just one).

Rick_Massarini
09-02-2010, 08:18 PM
Same question - it remains unanswered - why would you prefer to use a "better" spectrum of light to evaluate your competition prints when you already knew it was going to be judged under a "worse" spectrum of light - that's like evaluating prints under daylight that are going to be judged under tungsten. I would prefer to evaluate them under the SAME illumination under which they will be judged.

AndrewRodney
09-02-2010, 08:24 PM
Same question - it remains unanswered - why would you prefer to use a "better" spectrum of light to evaluate your competition prints when you already knew it was going to be judged under a "worse" spectrum of light - that's like evaluating prints under daylight that are going to be judged under tungsten ???

Yes, a better spectrum would avoid possible color shifts visually seen by the judges or anyone viewing the prints. And there are some end users who are using such viewing conditions because they desire the best possible illuminant for print to screen matching or just print matching (Art Wolfe’s gallery comes to mind, all his prints are illuminated with Solux).

You can move to the lowest common and less than ideal denominator or you can shoot for the best possible one, hoping others are attempting this as well. Both you and the people viewing the prints should strive for this if possible. Someone has to spec the viewing conditions in studio or in a judging area, might as well spec it as best the technology allows. Solux bulbs ain’t that expensive (although two Altman fixtures will run a few hundred bucks each). What’s the cost and quality of the Photogenic lighting?

GregYager
09-02-2010, 09:36 PM
I'm thinking he may have missed your point Rick. Having the same light the judges have sounds like a smart move to me.

I do have a thought on the "true daylight" lighting concept. Who displays their prints out in the daylight??

Most of my clients homes are illuminated with warm incandescent lighting or a low energy equivalent.

IPC judges use Photogenic mini spots.

My studio incorporates warm lighting.

I say critique it under the light in which it will be viewed.

Just my opinion though. :cool:

AndrewRodney
09-02-2010, 09:42 PM
Most of my clients homes are illuminated with warm incandescent lighting or a low energy equivalent.
IPC judges use Photogenic mini spots.
My studio incorporates warm lighting.


The color of white of the light is less important than the composite of the spectrum. As I said, your eyes will adapt to the white point (the reason why viewing just the paper white is so important). Daylight has a very smooth and even spectrum as do Solux (which depending on the correlated color temp, aim for cooler daylight or warmer tungsten).

Ideally, the judging illuminant would be specified and as ideal as possible so others could match this if so desired. Ideally the spectrum would be smooth, again due to how a spiky spectrum can run havoc with papers that have optical brighteners.

Rick_Massarini
09-02-2010, 09:56 PM
Ideally, the judging illuminant would be specified and as ideal as possible so others could match this if so desired...

The illuminant has been specified and that specification has been published for many years. Although the Solux may be more technically correct spectrally, and closer to daylight I seriously doubt that any changes will be made in the lighting used for the competitions. The mini spots have been used for many years, and are the standard. At the PPA competition, the PEC owns about 8 or 9 sets of lights (that's two for use and one spare in each set) plus a bunch of spares that are not in the kits, plus the barndoors and other hardware for them. The same is true for all of the state and regional (now district) associations all over the country, plus many many individual photographers and Color Labs who have purchased mini spots for evaluation of their images over the years, since they all shoot for PPA standard lighting standards. If you were to press everyone to go to the most "technically perfect spectral source", then you would be obsoleting hundreds of sets of lghts all over the country - if not thousands of sets if you count all of the the individual photographers who own their own set. I seriously doubt that will happen. So the PPA print competitor is still better off with the mini-spots with the imperfect spectrum tungsten bulbs for print evaluation (the same illumination that they have been using for over 40 years).

Although it's not exactly the same thing, evaluating prints under full spectrum daylight balanced bulbs then judging them under partial spectrum tungsten light reminds me of an Art Director who once called me up complaining that all of the 4x5 Ektachromes that I had delivered to him were too blue - he was sitting in his chair in his office looking at them out the window against the sky since he was told by one of his layout artists that they had to be viewed under "daylight".

GregYager
09-02-2010, 10:05 PM
I realize the technical aspects you're getting at however you might want to keep this in mind....

If they are judged under the lighting conditions as you suggest they will be seen under a light in which they were never intended to be viewed.

If my client's homes have "spiky" lights then I want them bad boys judged under "spiky" lights.

Betsy_Finn
09-03-2010, 02:03 PM
Keith, JD Photo is the lab I use as well. They print on luster paper, and you have the option of either laminating, or spray coating the print for competition. I believe they start off with the base because some of their customers actually like to do the spray coating themselves, and others will go 50/50 between laminate and spray coating.

It's not that they don't know what they're doing (they've been a big part of our local print competitions, and the owner was print chair locally) ....it's more about giving the options I think.

Keith_A_Howe
09-03-2010, 02:44 PM
it's more about giving the options I think.

If they wanted to give options, then they would offer F surface. You don't have to start out with luster to be able to spray or laminate. And even if you are going to spray or laminate there still is a huge difference in the range of the paper.

Keith

AndrewRodney
09-03-2010, 03:24 PM
If my client's homes have "spiky" lights then I want them bad boys judged under "spiky" lights.

They might, they might not, they may be viewing them under both (and at the same time!).

If they see a magenta color cast due to OBAs under Fluorescent lights and complain, what do you do? If they move the prints to a different illuminant and the cast disappears, now what? One solution, other than controlling the light, is to avoid papers with OABs. Not easy. But the bigger point here is that there is ideally some communication between parties that are expecting to see the same print (or display) the same way collaboratively. That can’t happen without all parties coming to some standards (someone asked about standardized lighting). There’s a reason why for decades, labs provided “daylight” boxes for viewing of transparencies instead of asking you to look at any and all nature of illuminants we might run into. Or why we see viewing booths in nearly every prepress and print shop.

Lets say you have this control in your studio. The display and prints match because you calibrated the display to the print viewing conditions. You show this to your clients as well. They approve the color of the prints in your well lit and controlled gallery. Now, if they go home and view the print they purchased in their living room that has pnik walls, with a Fluorescent light and see a cast, you can at least explain to them what I’ve attempted to explain (that the light can play a role). You could reprint the print with an adjustment for their lighting, maybe do so as a courtesy, at a price that covers your cost, or at a profit (that’s a business issue). But, you were aware of the reasons there were visual disconnects between the print they saw when you showed it to them and the print they saw elsewhere. Somewhat useful no?

Again, if the idea is to submit a print to a judge that you hope appears to them as it appeared to you, there has to be some communication between the parties and the lighting should be both an ideal illuminate and one that is controlled and as importantly, specified.

KirkDarling
09-03-2010, 04:03 PM
If they wanted to give options, then they would offer F surface.

That would be the "Ferrotype" surface.

Ow, my rheumatic knee just twinged.

GregYager
09-03-2010, 04:28 PM
I guess I'm just lucky, 15 years in business and no complaints about color cast when they hang their print.

I'm not a big fan of trying to turn the art of photography into a science. I realize there's a certain amount of science that goes into making a great image but sometimes people get way too caught up in the technical and lose grasp of the art.

I spoke with a friend yesterday that owns print shop and he brought up a very good point. He said they use daylight boxes to view their work because when most people read a magazine they tend to look for the brightest light available to read in that gives good contrast between the print and the page. A portrait on the other hand he felt would be out of it's element there because most people stand back to view them and they are generally viewing them for pleasure. He took one of my prints and put it in his booth. We studied it for a few minutes then he took it to his lobby and hung it under a spotlight where he normally hangs a family portrait I shot for him.

The result: Viewing in the daylight box felt as though we were doing an autopsy on the image.
In the lobby it looked right at home.

My conclusion: The warm fuzzy feeling I get from creating art can be removed if enough science is applied.

AndrewRodney
09-03-2010, 07:57 PM
I guess I'm just lucky, 15 years in business and no complaints about color cast when they hang their print.

A large part of that could be due to the papers you use.


Viewing in the daylight box felt as though we were doing an autopsy on the image.In the lobby it looked right at home.


Which illustrates the importance of the light source and its effect on the image.The surround (what’s around the print in your field of view) is also a factor.