Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tradition: Innovated

Our new show featuring photographs by Charles A. Meyer captures a slice of life rarely seen by anyone not buying or selling a mule. Vintage in feel and intimately voyeuristic the images were shot over the past five years at the Dickson Mule Auction, the countries oldest and largest, held outside Nashville TN. Meyers’ explores the intersection between commerce and community, tradition and innovation, supply and demand, humility and profit.

Who knew these sterile crossbreeds to be such a complex and current topic? See Susan Orleans’ New Yorker article, Riding High: Mules in the Military, in the February 15 & 22nd issue.  Alongside the Mennonite, Amish and Mid-American family farmers buying and selling these exceedingly strong, intelligent, and endlessly tolerant, pack animals is the U.S. military - looking to fly some to Afghanistan.

Our opening was full of it’s own intersection of tradition and innovation, including friendship and state-of the-art technology. Charles A. Meyer taught Digital Silver Imaging’s owner, Eric Luden, traditional darkroom photography at Boston College twenty-seven years ago. Meyer shoots with a traditional medium format Hasselblad fitted with a 645 back and Ilford Delta 3200 film. DSI scanned his negatives to create digital files and used Nik Silver Efex Pro to retouch, edit and enhance the detail of his warm and moody images.

The crowd was filled with fellow photo professors: Peter Laytin, Lisa Kessler, and Rachel Loischild. Barbara Hitchcock, former Director of the Polaroid Collection and painter, Mark Cooper, joined Griffin Museum staff and Griffin family members at the show.
We were pleased to welcome newcomers to our gallery including the in-coming PRC director, Glenn Ruga, Stan Trecker, Director of The Art Institute of Boston, and freelance writer Delia K. Cabe. BC students came to see Meyers’ work and were introduced to the new technology by DSI production manager, Christopher Bowers. They stated; ”It smells like a darkroom in here” and were “blown away” by the capability of DSI’s Durst Theta.

The exhibit is on display through June 6th and the gallery is free and open to the public Mon - Fri from 9 - 5:30.  All of the images are custom framed by Ava Art of North Andover, MA.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

It's INFRARED season

Now that New England has finally thawed out, the trees are beginning to show signs of life and the warmer weather is bringing new growth.  For some, this is time to start gardening and preparing the lawn.  But for photographers, the photosynthesis and all that heat energy make us want to shoot infrared photographs.  Shooting in infrared is another way to create stunning black and white images.

Once Kodak stopped making the infamous HIE-36 Infrared Film, many photographers were left with few choices to create infrared photographs.  Many people have tried to recreate the IR look in Photoshop, but these are not authentic infrared images. With the advent of digital cameras, many photographers are discovering that they can convert an older model digital camera to capture in true infrared. The IR blocking filter is removed from the camera's digital sensor. It means that once the camera is converted, it becomes a dedicated IR camera. But, the advantage is that you don't need any special filters on  the lens (like we did with film) and you can shoot at any ISO, handheld, and be able to see what you shot on your camera preview!  If you have a newer model DSLR with liveview, you can actually see the image before you shoot.

This year also marks the 100th anniversary of infrared photography.  The interest in this medium continues to grow and more photographers are looking to find reliable and affordable ways to convert their cameras to capture in infrared.  Digital Silver Imaging has been chosen by Precision Camera as their key partner in Infrared conversions.  Precision is able to provide top notch conversions with spectacular service and turn around times.  As their largest customer of infrared conversions, Digital Silver Imaging's IR Conversion Service is competitively priced.  Compact cameras are only $149 and DSLR's range from $299 -$349. We can convert in three different wavelengths, depending on the photographer's interest.
The chart shows 2 different wavelengths, 665nm and 715nm.  The 715nm is your typical Infrared Conversion. It blocks wavelengths shorter than 715nm and allows those longer than 715nm to go through. It is a true Infrared filter that should primarily be used for B&W photos, although very limited color Infrared pictures are possible. Conversions performed with the 715nm filter are capable of rendering beautiful and rich Black and White images with a dramatic Infrared look to them.

The 665nm is a specialized Infrared Conversion. It blocks Wavelengths shorter than 665nm and allows those longer than 665nm to go through. This conversion is especially well suited for color Infrared Photography because of its broader transmittance properties. With this conversion a more saturated color infrared image is possible. B&W Infrared is also possible with the 665nm although the results will not be as dramatic as the 715nm.

The 830nm is also now available.  Deep Infrared Filter which allows for a very dramatic B&W IR look. Not suitable for color work. Filter has a cutoff point of 830nm, which means that only wavelengths over 830nm will expose the sensor. Since visible light cuts off at 720nm, the 830nm will give you a deep infrared look which is reminiscent of the old IR Black and White films.

Once a camera is converted, the file is still captured in RGB, so some post production is always necessary.  We have been working with Nik Software Silver Efex Pro   for all of our black and white work at Digital Silver Imaging.  DSI's exceptional silver gelatin prints are enhanced by the power of Nik Software's Photoshop plugins.  Silver Efex Pro has become our standard for all of our black and white printing at DSI.  It does an excellent conversion from color RGB to black and white RGB by preserving all the values in each of the 3 channels.

We have found that the Infrared files out of any of the 3 choices work very well with Silver Efex Pro.  One of the presets provided in their software is called "High Structure" and this does a very good job of enhancing the file.  The software works with Photoshop, Lightroom, and Aperture and most versions of Photoshop Elements.  It is easy to learn and use.  We recommend downloading their 15 Day Free Trial and trying the software.  But remember to save some money, buy the software from Digital Silver Imaging!

As an authorized reseller for both Nik Software and IR Conversions from Precision Camera, Digital Silver Imaging has been leading the way in providing exceptional black and white workflow solutions for today's digital photographers.   Combine these two creative black and white digital solutions with our true black and white silver gelatin printing and you can recreate the beauty of classic black and white photographs without having a darkroom.

As part of our ongoing campaign to help educate our clients about the benefits of Nik Software, we are sponsoring a free 1 hour webinar on Silver Efex Pro on Wednesday April 21st.  Vistor Ha will be leading the online seminar and the best part is, you can join in right from your own computer! Registration is required for the online training.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Black & White workflow using Nik Silver Efex Pro-Wed April 21st

Digital Silver Imaging is pleased to announce our 2nd FREE Webinar on Nik Software and Silver Efex Pro.

When: Wednesday April 21st 1PM Eastern Time
Where: Your Computer

Registration Required at the DSI Site

Join Victor Ha of Nik Software and Digital Silver Imaging for an in depth training on the award winning Nik Silver Efex Pro. Silver Efex Pro from Nik Software is the most powerful tool for creating professional quality black and white images from your digital files. For the first time, all the advanced power and control required for professional results have been brought together in one convenient tool. We will demonstrate how to work with your digital files from RAW to print in an easy to follow online training.

Digital Silver Imaging's exceptional silver gelatin prints are enhanced by the excellence of Nik Software Photoshop plug-ins.  We have been using Silver Efex Pro in our lab since Nik Software launched the software in July 2008.  It has revolutionized the way we worked and saved us many hours of wasted production time.  It provides an excellent conversion from color RGB to B&W RGB and preserves all the necessary information in the channels to provide smooth transitions form highlight to shadow in our silver printing process.  In addition, the Upoint Technology developed by Nik Software makes use of the Control Points in their plugins for precise control of specific areas of your files, without having to make multiple masks.  In addition, the film grain simulation that is built into Silver Efex Pro is phenomenal!

We have printed images for Nik Software, for their trade show booths, and made many successful black & white prints for clients around the world.  As a result, we have become a reseller of the Nik Software and have excellent pricing on all of their plugins. 

Be sure to join us for the free webinar training on Thursday April 21st at 1PM Eastern Time.

Intrepid Visitors from Maine Media Workshops

Facing south and driving through a few hours of torrential rain did not dampen the enthusiasm of this Maine Media Workshop class visiting Digital Silver Imaging yesterday. Professor Brenton Hamilton brought this international group of shooters to learn about the process of creating silver gelatin prints from digital files.

Their interests range from street photography to portraiture with the majority deep in exploration and hopeful to find a career path at the end of their intensive study. A few are dedicated to creating silver prints and one is using Nik Software's Silver Efex Pro and happy with the Dfine plug-in that reduces noise from digital files available in the Nik Complete Collection. One teacher and some students are multi-media focused with still imagery just one piece of their portfolio.

Owner Eric Luden gave a brief overview of his vantage point of the digital revolution and it's impact on classic B&W output solutions. They received a hands-on demonstration of DSI's blend of traditional silver gelatin printing practices and new technology solutions.

Students took in our present show by Jonathan Spath.