Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dane Creek Fine Art Prints - Printing with a personal touch

If you are a long-time reader of my blog, then you know from my article entitled “Canvas on Demand versus Brian Morgan” that I’m not opposed to giving the little guy a shot against the big boys. So when a member of my photography club at work, Neil Enns, asked if I could do a review of his work I was happy to oblige.

The Images

This is a picture I took recently of my in-laws in my kitchen. I post-processed the shot taken with a Canon 5D Mark II (24-105mm lens) in Photoshop CS4 using Scott Kelby’s 7 Point System techniques and Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro. The printed result was 6.6x10" on 8.5x11 Ilford Galerie Gold Fibre Silk. The printed image was a little more orange than i expected, but perhaps that was my fault in the post-processing.

This is a picture I took on a Chicago river boat cruise in 2008 with my 1D Mark III using my 16-35mm lens. The printed result was 7.5x8.7" on 8.5x11 Ilford Galerie Gold Fibre Silk. The results of this print were fantastic. The buildings were super sharp and the colors just popped! I really enjoyed it WAY more than the results I obtained from WHCC and Nations Photo Lab. In fact this one is so good, I’m seriously considering ordering a huge poster of it. In many ways it is a boring shot of a building useful only for a brochure, but I love the detail, colors and pop – especially the way Dane Creek printed it!

This is a shot I took at the Bailey Lighthouse in Howth, Ireland with my 1D Mark III and 16-35mm lens. Although the picture above is mostly unprocessed, the one I sent Neil was heavily processed. Unfortunately I made the mistake of processing it as a 16-bit ProPhoto RGB image in Photoshop CS4 and saving it as a 8-bit sRGB JPEG in Photoshop so the colors crushed and the results were horrible. Lots of detail was lost with the blacks, and there was a nasty magenta cast over the image – it looked dreadful! However, I sent it to Neil to see what he would do (and didn’t say a word about the fact that it was a known flubbed image). A normal printing company would just print what I sent them and I’d get back terrible results! However, that’s the difference with using a small service like this with a personal touch because Neil immediately recognized this image would print badly so he contacted me and asked (good) if he could modify the image to get it closer to what he believed it was supposed to look like. I didn’t send him a new image, and let him fight with the JPEG image I had sent him (even though I had the raw and PSD versions). The final image printed at 6x10" on 8.5x11" Hahnemuhle FineArt Baryta paper. The results of this print were good, probably better than the on-screen version, but a little more of a purple cast than what I see on a variety of displays.

Of course, I had to try out a black and white and I owe my Mom a shot of my newborn son so I chose this image that I captured with my 1D Mark III and 100mm lens. It printed 15x19.4" on 17x22 Ilford Galerie Gold Fibre Silk. I recently printed this same shot using MPix.com’s True B&W paper (article), and the results here were far superior to what I got from them (especially their E-Surface paper). I thought this print turned out fantastic – gallery worthy for sure!

The Equipment

Neil prints his images on Canon imagePROGRAF iPF5100 printer using 12 LUCIA inks (including 4 different blacks) and top quality paper as mentioned above. This is what you’d see prints in a gallery from a Canon Explorer of Light, so this isn’t your typical Office Depot ink jet printer!

Conclusion

Just as the case was before with Brian Morgan, I found the result to be fantastic. In fact, I’d say they are the best prints I have to date! The total cost for the four images shown here is about $50 plus shipping and handling, so it’s quite a bit more expensive than larger shops like MPix.com. However, the results really feel like “fine art” stuff that you’d see in a gallery – not large printed photos. I was a bit disappointed that these weren’t borderless prints, but these images are easier to custom frame (a bit more tricky to frame on the cheap since the results are non-standard sizes). However, Neil explained that these inks are a bit more sensitive to touch so the border makes it easier to handle them without damaging them. Overall I am extremely pleased with the results and feel that for art exhibition caliber results you’ve gotta go with the Ilford Galerie Gold Fibre Silk! You won’t be disappointed!

Neil offers personal service and an attention to detail that you just can’t get from the large print services. If you have that special image that nobody else has been able print just right you might want to give him or Brian Morgan a shot! To learn more or to place an order, go to Dane Creek’s Custom Fine Art printing page. Dane Creek also makes very nice Folio Covers for you to present your custom printed images to clients.

Special Offer

Until the end of August 2009, Dane Creek will be offering a special 15% discount to readers of this blog when you mention the discount coupon code ronmart15 when placing your order.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

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The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

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