On the way in from Stoughton, approaching Bow Hill
I took a break from posting over Christmas and New Year (as will be obvious to those who follow me) and it’s proving surprisingly difficult to get back to normality.
I could list a quite a few reasons for that hiatus, but that would be boring, except for one: the arrival of a new printer shortly before Christmas – an Epson SC-P600. It sat in its box for a few days while I observed it from a safe distance. It got unpacked, stripped of all its bits of tape, placed in position and admired for a few more days. Finally having read the instructions several times and wondered what could go wrong I summoned the courage to start the installation.
A brief ray of light over Chichester harbour
My hesitation was partly a fear of any new item of equipment that has the potential to be complicated, and which comes with instructions in half a dozen language with few words and a collection of pictures. Instructions nowadays leave a lot to be desired. And also I had purchased the printer along with Fotospeed’s Tubeless Pigment Inkflow system. That meant that in addition to Epson’s nine ink cartridges (now looking for a good home), I had nine bottles of Fotospeed ink along with nine empty cartridges and nine syringes for transferring the ink and an instruction sheet to follow. To my relief the ink installation went smoothly. I heaved a sigh of relief – the rest should be plain sailing. Famous last words! I set the printer up, collected the latest driver off the web, loaded some generic profiles for Fotospeed papers and opened an image in Photoshop to print. And then I hit a problem. The menus offered when I selected Print in Photoshop were incomplete, nothing like they should be. Why?
The usual thoughts go through one’s head. Is this a problem with Apple’s OS, or Photoshop CC? Where do I start to problem solve this? It was now the weekend before Christmas – no chance of getting help over the phone. In situations like this it is a bonus to have a son and a daughter who both work on Macs. Richard arrived for Christmas and within a few minutes the problem was solved. Two drivers had loaded and I hadn’t spotted that. One was a stripped down very basic one. Switching to the sophisticated driver solved the problem. Hallelujah!
The printer arrived with a free box of Fotospeed papers – 8 different papers, three A3 sheets of each – and a full list of generic drivers. The results using the generic drivers have been very good but not perfect. I have now calibrated the iMac screen (worth doing), printed the test chart onto a couple of papers I intend to use regularly, and posted those charts to Fotospeed who will now provide free bespoke ICC paper profiles. And as I have been writing the postman has delivered boxes of the two papers I intend to use. I’ll keep you posted but I think I have made some good choices and Fotospeed have proved reliable and helpful and I look forward to using their papers.
One bleached leafless tree with a dense background of Yews
And so, finally to Kingley Vale, where the images above were taken on our walk in. Kingley Vale is an area of ancient Yew woodland a few miles inland from Chichester in West Sussex. The Yew trees cover a wide area, and some of them are very old indeed – estimates range from 2,00o to 500 years. Richard visited this place earlier in the autumn, and I had also read about it in a post by Alan Frost who I have got to know through the blogosphere, and whose superb B&W photography I was delighted to see in the flesh in an exhibition last autumn. Click here to see some of Alan’s images of the Yews at Kingley Vale. We visited this site on 26 December, it was muddy, overcast, and rain threatened but never quite materialised. We never got to heart of the oldest trees (the tree below I am sure is relatively young), but it’s a place I will return to on a day when the weather and light are better.