Thursday, 14 July 2011

Monitor Blues

For some time I've known my monitor has been hiding a multitude of sins in the shadow areas. People seeing things in my images which I thought weren't there or talking about each others photos in a way that made me feel like some passive background entity unable to contribute. I've used a Sypder3 calibration device for some time, which did help, but it was still obvious that I had problems.

Two days ago I switched monitors, reviving a second one that has been left dormant attached to an unloved PC in the corner of the room. Well it made a difference alright. Suddenly nice enjoyable blues took on a weird turquoise quality - I was scared to look up any of my favourite images to see what they looked like. Out with the Spyder, and a giant step in the right direction, but those shadow areas, they still didn't look right. And my black and white images were distinctly greenish!

Finally, I discovered an extra layer of controls on the Spyder software. Half way through the calibration process it paused and asked my to manually tinker with the separate rgb values. I thought the idea was for me to go and enjoy a cup of tea while the Spyder made the world perfect. Its all a bit hit and miss, altering the rgb settings, then asking the Spyder to take another look. After about 3 cycles of this, the software then plodded on to complete its process.

At last... or was it? The colour temperature left the highlights looking a touch warm. No choice but to repeat the cycle, and a closer look at the °K options.

Weeeheee, another 20 minutes gone, but its now working great. The tonal range gives lovely deep blacks, shows me things I've never seen before in shadow areas - and gives pure white highlights. Its taken a lot more effort than I expected, but the results have been well worthwhile.

Just in time too. I've found a Landscape Photographer of the Year competition run by Charlie Waite what I want to enter. The deadline is tomorrow, and I know that I need to reprocess several images before pressing the button.

Not so much a tip as a moral. I think the moral of this story is that labour saving devices such as the Spyder can be hard work, but ultimately worth it. After all, the monitor is the window to your computer's soul.

Time to go and search through my photographs to decide what to enter into the competition!

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