Saturday, July 26, 2008

Foto Funk...

A breathless return from a midsummer blogging vacation...I lost my daily dose of blogging discipline a few weeks ago. It was a combination of top priority issues, a power surge of Farm at Coventry business after a large and colorful feature appeared in a local newspaper and intense preparations for a major presentation at the International Herb Association conference last weekend. More on that adventure later. However, my true loss of blogging mojo came after spending an entire day sorting through and choosing a selection of photographs for a new series of Farm at Coventry note cards. By the time I got the call from the printer to come and view the proofs, I was already designing my packaging and display. This was 'phase one' in an effort to showcase the photographs in anticipation of unveiling a 2009 calendar at years end. Since the fall of last year, I have been racking up seasonal photos around the farm, with a critical eye, dumping many but meticulously storing many more in month-appropriate folders on my computer. It was a 12 month plan, which I have been faithfully executing since October of 2007. In ten months of exploring this piece of land on my hands and knees and tippy toes in all sorts of weather I have captured nearly 5,000 images. So, when I walked into the print shop I came prepared to plunk down a big note card order on the cream of the crop....until I saw the proofs. In a matter of seconds, ten months of photographic splendor began to unravel for me. A little background: Last fall, a graphic designer at the print shop helped me with a small series of note cards that I pulled together for the Christmas season. He seemed to be having trouble with the images that I emailed him. He kept noting that they were 'too rich' and made some suggestions on modifying my camera settings, to which I complied. He also made suggestions on cropping the original images in his own 'creative style'. The job, which should have been straight forward, was taking too long because of his own admitted 'tweaking' of my images. Tensions between the force of two creative minds ran high. The original quote for the job was reasonable. The final cost, after his unrequested 'tweaking' and my insistence that they be 'untweaked' was astronomical. I complained first to the manager and then the owner of the shop and they eventually adjusted the difference and I got my cards printed to my own specs. I left happy with my victory, but exhausted from the experience of 'butting heads' with someone who claimed to have a degree and major experience in this arena. I have a good eye, but I am somewhat lacking in understanding all the bells and whistles of the digital and electronic gadgets I own. Interestingly, a week later I discovered that the employee was let go from his position. I was secretly relieved that I would have someone new to work with in the future. However, all these months later, I was again reminded how this fellow inflicted his 'expertise' upon me. His sage advice on my camera settings has come back around to kick me from behind. When I mentioned this to the girl holding my oh-so-less-than-perfect new proofs, her mouth dropped open and she excused herself to bring the manager out. I soon discovered that the 5,000 photos that I have been gathering for nearly a year were not suitable for print. The resolution setting on my camera was set too low for a sharp crisp image. I had to wonder if it was true ignorance on his part or a deliberate attempt to sabotage my future photos. I was (and still am) devastated by this discovery. I left the print shop biting my lip and forcing back tears until I could get to my truck. They were extremely apologetic, offering to try to 'tweak' my images on photoshop free of charge to get them clearer....I said, Thanks, no more tweaking. Sigh. Long story, I know....but it crushed me for a few weeks.I have finally pulled my camera from it's pouch again and began the tedious process of reading the user's guide that came with it. Good start. I have adjusted my settings and moved forward. With more than a bit of trepidation, I started shooting again and made a few more adjustments. I'm looking into digital photography classes and perhaps replacing my 10 year old camera. The good news is that all of those photos that I have collected are perfectly suited for web viewing so I will never be lacking for shots for the blog and the website. Another learning curve I've begun to tackle. Another lesson learned. whew, tough one. But glad to be back....

9 comments:

Clare said...

Oh, Sue, what a journey....

You do know that you can purchase your own copy of PhotoShop and tweak your photos yourself, right? I don't think it's that hard, and you may be able to bring the calendar together afterall. Ask the print shop for specifics on what is required, and then do it! I KNOW you can! I'll be waiting in line for a calendar!

Susan said...

Thanks Clare. I do know about photo shop but all the photos need is to have clear, crisp edges and definition. Not sure all the tweaking time in the world would give me my original photos back. I may consider that at some time, but for right now, I can only look ahead.

Aunt Jenny said...

Dang it...sorry this happened to you Sue!!!
I will sure be wanting a calendar or notecards if you do one!!
Meanwhile..I just love the photos you post on your blog..and I am glad you are back!!

Anonymous said...

This is a very sad story. I'm glad that employee got HIS major tweak ....out the door. Sigh.

Hildie

kansasrose said...

How did the meade tasting party go???? What was your favorite combo? With bated breath I wait to hear...:D Bet the babe rocked it out with cheesecake, goat cheeses and biscotti. YUM

kansasrose said...

ps I'd be linin' up to buy your calenders/notecards for Christmas gifts. YEP!

Anonymous said...

Sue, I know a thing or two and may be able to help. Phone-date-chat meeting? Your eye is amazing and your screen images are tops. A future of high rez print quality images is ahead!

Chris

Ellen said...

I like the first image of your phrase on this post more than your photos.
You turn my fancy.

Breathless from a power surge sounds stirring --

cool media exposure in the paper, did you ask that photographer for advice on new cameras or settings, or was that before the swirl of the printer vortex sucked your air out? do you use a SLR?

I sat tweaking my settings one football night game to what some Gatordaffy told me, only to get home to blur upon blur of my baby boy. Didn't lose breath just the enamel on my teeth=I'm a grinder.

I used a couple images by double printing them into this slomo blur.

So the tweaker had ya set the resolution for the web? You never printed these they were only on a video card?

Can you make your old photos into artsyfartsy images by using ink washes or paint over them kinda like those painting farm notecards ya sent me from some CSA in PA?

Susan said...

Chris,
yes, let's talk....my new high rez images are now taking FOREVER to load on the blog. Jeez, I need some tutoring.
email me. please.

Sue

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