Kingley Vale

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.


About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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29 Responses to Kingley Vale

  1. Lovely post, Andy! Besides the photographs, I enjoyed your story about the printer immensely. I’m glad you are now at least mostly happy with your new toy. I confess that I still go through trepidations whenever I fire up my Epson 3880. Will it work? What have I forgotten? How did I do this last time? Usually, everything works out, but it’s always an ordeal. Maybe if I printed more often . . .

    Thanks for your link to Alan Frost’s photographs, among which I spent more time than intended. I look forward to your own return to Kingley Vale.

    • LensScaper says:

      Oh that sounds so familiar. My recent printing is the first I’ve done in three years. Trying to remember all the right settings etc etc. I’m concerned about nozzle blocking and have decided that I bought this printer to print and I must make an effort to print something every week then I should avoid some of the thornier problems. So far so good. Glad you liked Alan’s work, he’s a very skillful B&W worker, and it was a pleasure to meet him.

  2. Great Black and White images with this post.
    I’m also curious, most Epson printers have an “Advanced B&W” mode in their drivers. This gives great results without having to use paper profiles. Have you tried this with the Fotospeed Inkflow system? I was considering converting my Epson.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Robin. Yes, there is an ‘Advanced B&W mode’ – it’s a little un-obvious to find in the Printer settings and I used it over the weekend to print my first A3 B&W image on this new printer with a good result. Colour management was delegated to the Printer and therefore paper profiles were by-passed. As I understand it, that is the right procedure although I intend to have a conversation with Fotospeed to double check. I’m pleased with this printer. The only slight annoyance is that it has Matte Black and Photo Black inks and switches between the two depending on whether you are printing on Gloss/semi-gloss paper or art papers. That change takes 1-3 minutes and uses ink. It’s a common problem across Epson printers I know but I wish it could be handled differently (there’s probably a very good reason why it can’t be altered). The SC-P600 has certainly had good write-ups and I am particularly impressed with one of their papers: Platinum Etching.

  3. ShimonZ says:

    That first picture with the men by the gate seems especially impressive to me. You’re getting the right tones in your black and white. I worked for quite a few years with an A3 printer by Epson, with the seven inks. It is very good, but I found I wasted quite a bit of ink.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thank you Shimon. Ink is an expensive commodity which is one reason why I switched to using Fotospeed inks instead of Epson inks. No discernible difference in quality, and about a third pf the price.

  4. paula graham says:

    Printers, printing, calibrating the whole system the inks and cost of it. I am glad I left it behind, not belonging to a camera club anymore…But ..great when it all works well and you see your print appearing without bother..Nowadays there are commercial printers who will do an A 3 or even A2 for little money and very well, with the latest machinery…so…that is another way to go for less hassle. Good post, Andy.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Paula. For the last two years I’ve been using Loxley (based in Glasgow) for all my printing. I’d highly recommend them – order on-line before noon, and the prints arrived the next day. Very close colour matching, not overly expensive, but the P&P doubles the cost of an A3 print. No hassle for sure, but it means you don’t have the option of printing what and when you want and trying out different papers. I think I’ve made the right decision for me, but I spent months thinking about it!

  5. Heide says:

    Welcome back, Andy — and happy new year! Congratulations also on your new printer, even if it gave me twinges of anxiety to read about your unboxing it and setting it up (as I’m still fiddling with the profiles for mine a full three years after buying it). I’ll be eager to hear how you get on with the various papers. In the meantime, hats off for a really lovely collection of images!

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Heide. We all have stories about misbehaving printers, they demand attention! One thing I’ve decided is that I will print on a regular basis so that I avoid (hopefully) clogged nozzles. Glad you liked the images, it weasn’t a good day for photography – what I call a dismal desmond day (with aplogies to any one called Desmond).

      • Heide says:

        “… with aplogies to any one called Desmond.” HA HA! I’ve just decided to name my printer “Dismal Desmond” in honor of your last sentence, Andy. 🙂 All joking aside, you do make an excellent point about the need to use ink-jet printers often. I’ve been quite lax in that, but will follow your example and begin printing more often — if only to keep Desmond in good shape.

  6. Sue says:

    Ah, I look forward to more images of Kingley Vale…I recall visits over 20years ago, and have no photographs!

    • LensScaper says:

      I suspect Kingley Vale hasn’t changed much in twenty years, Sue. I think patience is going to be required to secure some good images, but at least I now know where the closest car park is.

  7. alan frost says:

    First and foremost – Happy New Year Andy. Thank you for mentioning me in this interesting post – much appreciated. I am using an Epson 3880 and have considered switching to the Fotospeed Ink System but have never found the right time. Still might do so. Up until recently I was using the Adv. B&W driver for all my prints until I started to use Platinum Etching – a paper you like and the one I used for the exhibition prints. I found I could get better results using the Fotospeed Profile. Having said that printing is something of a ‘dark art’ and I certainly used a lot of matt proofing paper to get the results I wanted before the final prints were prepared. I guess its a matter of trial and error to find out what settings works best for you and the style of photographs you are printing. Glad you enjoyed Kingley Vale – it’s an area I can visit on a regular basis and will be doing so for my next major project.

    • LensScaper says:

      Greeting to you too, Alan. I had been dodging the issue of buying a new printer convincing myself it wasn’t the ‘right time’ to buy one! I’m glad I finally made a decision. The folk at Fotospeed are very helpful and reliable and I should have ICC profiles working by the weekend. I will experiment with the options for B&W printing, I hadn’t realized there would be benefits from using an ICC profile for a B&W print (ignorance showing!). I will return to Kingley Vale, we came in the long way round from Stoughton and it was only when we descended down the hill – slid would be more apt – we discovered the much shorter way and easier was in from West Stoke.

      • alan frost says:

        I found that I needed to use profiles for split toned prints. Although the Adv B&W driver allows you to tone a print it’s not quite the same. Good luck with the new printer. Kingsley Vale is within the area for my new long term project so our paths may well cross in the future. West Stoke car park is definitely the place to park but the pub at Stoughton is well worth a visit!

  8. paula graham says:

    Beautiful post of a beautiful area.

  9. shoreacres says:

    I’ve never printed a photo in my life, partly because I only have an older Canon printer, partly because I’ve taken few print-worthy photos, and partly because every time I start reading about all the complexities of the process I grow terrified and back away again. But I’m glad it’s working for you. I certainly laughed at this: “It sat in its box for a few days while I observed it from a safe distance.” I think we’ve all been there.

    Despite hearing for decades about yew trees, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one. These photos are wonderful. It will be fun to see what they look like when you have opportunity to see them in a better light.

    • shoreacres says:

      I just bumped into this article about glass and photography, and thought of you immediately.

    • LensScaper says:

      I’m quite sure, from what I’ve seen, that you are under-valuing your photography Linda. A lot of your images would print very well. However, I do agree that when one starts to read about ‘colour management’ and ‘paper profiles’ and related topics the immediate reaction is likely to be: this is beyond me!. There is a hurdle to be leaped, but as with so many things, apprehension is worse than the actuality. Technology can be immensely frustrating at times and as I get older I find complexity outstripping my capacity for understanding. I’m very fortunate in having a son and daughter who both live and work with Mac computers and know all the answers!

  10. Congratulations with a new printer. How exciting is that! And of course, there always seems to be problems with setting up new equipment – seems unavoidable. Now that it’s fixed and you have new profiles waiting for you; enjoy! As I could enjoy your gorgoeous black and white images. Wish you a creative 2018, Andy.

  11. bluebrightly says:

    Your leafless tree and the final yew are excellent, Andy – beautifully done. I wonder if you’ve printed either of those. I admire your determination with the printer – I took a great workshop once on printing, and that’s as far as I got! Terrible. I do love so much about this platform though, so I can’t complain,. but one day i will print, or get images printed by a really good printer. I look forward to hearing how it goes for you.

    • LensScaper says:

      Hi Lynn. Thanks for your comments. Life seems awfully complicated these days, it must be something to do with getting a little older! Printing is an example of that, I guess. No, I haven’t printed those images; maybe I will. I spent part of yesterday fine-tuning four images for a ‘panel of four’ competition at my Camera Club, and I plan to print them later today. That will be the first real test of how well the printer will print now that I have received ICC profiles which should mean I get a very close match between screen and paper. Fingers crossed.

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