by Chuck McKern
With over 12 years of retail and professional experience Chuck thought he'd heard it all - until he took this job.
Send us your questions for either the Beginner or Advanced columns by clicking HERE. Please include as much detail about the technique, camera, lens, or film as you can so Chuck can answer your questions.
Way back in film days I would slip my photos into a hot mounting press and - "Presto" - out came a photo firmly mounted to a piece of mat board. I've been advised not to do this with my Epson Prints digital prints. So what do I use to get the same results? Stickey stuff and goos I have found so far are not satisfactory.
How do you mount ink jet photos on mat board?
You're right, you can't use a hot press or you'll wind up with a mess. The secret with the 3M mounting adhesive (the most common one I find in stores) is to use a lot of it and coat both the mat and the print. There is a tendency to just get a thin coat on. When you do that the print tends to lift from the mat with changes in humidity. Use a heavy application and you'll avoid this problem.
I also like to weight the print for a few hours after application to make sure the adhesive gets a good bond. To protect the print I cover it with a sheet of paper the same size and place books or magazines on top of it for a couple of hours (don't overdo the weight). It's also not a bad idea to let the print dry overnight before mounting.
I have been considering "moving up" to medium format, but don't want to spend a lot of money, just in case I don't like it as well as 35mm. I am considering a Seagull from China. My main question is: are there different lenses for the Seagull like 35mm? Must I go to a better-known brand (such as Hasselblad) to utilize different lenses? Looking at KEH, a bargain Hasselblad is $700 and up.
What's your advice?
A Seagull camera would be a good choice for a budget level introduction to medium format. But there are a couple of things to consider first. The Seagull medium format cameras are twin lens reflex, not single lens reflex. This means that when you are using the viewfinder, you are actually seeing a slightly different composition than the picture-taking lens. Generally this would be fine for most shots, but as you get closer to your subject, the difference between the two lenses becomes more noticeable. As far as other lenses for the Seagull cameras, I only know of 1.5x teleconverters that can be put on the lens for more magnification. I don't know of any other attachments for them.
Cameras from Bronica, Hasselblad, and Mamiya are system cameras. They can be customized by changing prisms, waist level finders, lenses, film backs, and grips. These cameras are single lens reflex (with a couple of range finder exceptions). Overall these cameras are far more expensive but are considerably more flexible.
If you are concerned about the quality of 35mm images verses medium format, keep in mind, the medium format images are 4 times larger than the 35mm. That yields to sharper more detailed negs/transparencies that do not need to be enlarged nearly as much for printing. If you just want to check out the quality difference of medium format and 35mm, the Seagull would be an inexpensive way to do it.
I've started a project to build a family history for our family all the way back to Ireland and Germany. I've got photos of family members back to the 1920's in the U.S. and some from Europe where I'm not sure of their age. I have two questions. When I'm scanning some of the old photos I get odd patterns in patterned clothing that aren't in the original picture (I've seen this on TV sometimes). Can I get rid of those patterns using Paint Shop Pro? My other question is how do I preserve these photos? Some are badly faded or the colors look odd. Is there any way to slow the aging process?
Thank you for your advice,
Sounds like you've taken on a big project. The patterns you describe are most likely Moiré patterns and they're fairly common when scanning images that contain repeating patterns (as are often found in clothing). You mentioned using Paint Shop Pro. If you're using the current version (7.0) it's pretty easy. Choose Enhance Photo from the Effects menu and then pick Moiré Pattern Removal. Paint Shop will open a dialog box with a split screen that allows you to control the effect. Chances are no two pictures will be the same so you'll have to fiddle with the controls for each image. You don't say what flatbed scanner you're using, but most have a setting in the scanner software that will do the Moiré pattern removal as part of the scan. How effective this is will vary from scanner to scanner. But your best bet is to not have to deal with the pattern removal at all.
Proper storage techniques will vary depending on what you're storing - photos, slides, or negatives and may be different depending on their age. Contact the folks at Adorama and B&H Photo and talk with them about archival storage products for your specific needs. Make sure you avoid storage in hot dry attics and damp basements.
It's easy to go overboard here, so talk with the pros and let common sense be your guide.
I purchased a Nikon LS2000 scanner a while back and I've been thrilled with it until now. I've finally gotten around to scanning some of my old black and white negatives from when I was in school and the results are terrible. Thinking that it might be because the negatives were so old I bought a new roll of Tri-X and tried scanning it and had the same problems. The scanner is no longer under warranty and I'm afraid I have a bad scanner and didn't figure it out until now because I didn't try scanning black and white film. Is my scanner bad or am I doing something wrong? It still scans color film and slides great.
Well, it's impossible to say for sure based on an email but it sounds like a simple problem. The LS2000 uses Digital ICE for scratch and dust removal. It works great with color slides and negatives but it won't work with black and white films. If you try and scan with Digital ICE enabled the resulting images will look terrible. Try rescanning those same negatives with Digital ICE turned off and I would bet the images look fine. If you're not already doing it wear good quality photo lab gloves and clean each negative with a negative cleaning cloth prior to scanning. That will dramatically reduce the amount of dust and fingerprints that you'll have to clean up after scanning.
I'm just sick. I started scanning my slides with a Nikon scanner about four years ago and burning them to CD. I recently pulled one of the CDs out so I could make a print for my office and got a message that the disk was unreadable! My computer is a brand new Dell Dimension 8250 that is only a couple of weeks old. I still have the old computer, an HP with a CD burner (I'm not sure of the model, the sticker was peeled off), that my 10 year old daughter uses for doing her homework and I can read the CD on that machine. I have stacks of CDs full of photos that took hours and hours to scan. Please don't tell me I have to rescan all the images! My daughters machine has a small hard drive (10MB) so there's not much room for the images and if I get them there I don't have any way to get them onto the new machine!
Unfortunately I expect to see more and more emails like this as time goes on. Since your Dell is a new machine I went to their Web site and looked it up. It comes standard with a DVD drive rather than a CD ROM drive. A separate CD burner is available but you didn't indicate if you purchased one with your machine. If so try the CD in both drives as a first step. If that doesn't work you'll need an easy way to read in the disks on your daughter's machine and transfer the images to your machine.
The first and easiest way is to get an external hard disk drive. Assuming your old HP has a USB port (check before you buy) all you'll have to do is copy the CD's one at a time to the external disk. Then just take the disk and plug it into your new Dell, which will recognize it as a second hard drive. If you don't already have a CD burner on your Dell you can add one and burn new CDs from the external drive. I would keep that drive hooked to your Dell and use it for creating backups. Just make sure you buy a USB drive and not a firewire drive. If your HP is four or more years old it won't have a firewire port.
The second approach is to connect the two machines using a network cable and the networking software built into Windows. You Dell comes with a network card built in. You'll probably have to add one to your HP. The good news is that today network cards are dirt cheap. After hooking the two machines together you'll be able to set them up so you can access the drive on your daughters HP from your Dell. The advantage is that it will be less expensive than buying an external drive and you'll be able to copy the CDs directly to your Dell's hard drive. The downside is you'll have to install a network card in your daughter's machine and configure the network software so the two machines can communicate. If this intimidates you buy the external drive. Using it is as simple as plugging it in. If you want to be able to hook the two machines together but you're not quite sure how to go about it pick up the book Networking For Dummies. It will give you the information you need to get going.