Whooda Thunk It

I hear the truth and read the facts every day of my life but so rarely take it all in for myself.

I don’t mean the internet posts that pop up on Facebook – the fake news – alt facts click bait – waste of time stuff. I can pass this by without the slightest regret, and now that I am getting more experienced, I can see it coming before even letting it on the screen.

No, I mean the facts of photographic life that the manufacturers tell us, and that we know is true…but that we do not heed. My latest revelation revolved around a simple packet of printing paper.

For years the paper makers, computer maker, and printer makers have been telling us that the correct profile in the printer is necessary for a good print . Each paper has their own special electronic formula and you need to download this from the net, add it to the menu of the printer, and use it thenceforth whenever you use a specific paper. As there are a gazillion papers there must be a gazillion profiles.

Good advice, but I rarely took it. Oh, I did load up a profile for a special German art paper once and it seemed to print well, but was subject to head strike as it sagged and buckled no matter what you did to it. I suspect it was one of those materials that had bad hair days whenever the humidity changed.

For the standard Ilford papers I cut corners. I used what seemed to be the nearest description in  paper in the Epson printer menu – although the menu mentioned specific Epson papers. The shop I worked at had slightly cheaper prices for staff on Ilford material and I just used whatever we sold to everyone else. All the while telling people to download Ilford profiles, etc etc.

Down on paper stock this week, I called at another shop and found that they had an Epson paper in the weight and surface I needed…a papaer that was specifically mentioned in the printer menu. I bought a packet and loaded a few sheets in for the job.

What a difference. The blacks were deeper, the whites were brighter, and the gradations cleaner and smoother. the in-built profile really did work.

This leaves me dissatisfied with my short-cuts. I will now take my own good advice and download two Ilford profiles to use up the last of their stocks, and then seriously consider shifting to the Epson products. I am not debarred from shopping elsewhere in retirement and if they have what I need I can do so easily.

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