Light in a Dark World
In the dear old days of my colour darkroom the most magic moment was opening the processing drum to discover whether I had got it right – whether the colours of the original scene had survived capture on film, development, filtration via the CMY subtraction method, and final temperature-sensitive processing. We’re talking about a workflow that encompassed HOURS....
Nowadays it is minutes – shoot, download, crop, and correct in the computer, and then fire it to the Epson 3800 printer. No fumes, no corrosive chemistry, no groping around in the dark swearing at the negative.
But the magic is still there when the print slides out of the printer. The magic and the doubt....is the colour I see in the print really right? Is it too warm, too cool, too dark, too light? How do I know if it will look good in daylight or room light? Help!
Help is at hand. I can do one of two things:
- Inspect the print outside between the hours of 10:00AM and 2:00PM on a day with clear sun but a high scrim of white cloud – about 20,000 feet for preference - and no bushfires for about a week. Sun behind my right shoulder and a light wind.
- Look at it right beside the printer using a Grafilite standardized light source.
My efforts to organise the weather and cloud cover have so far proved a little difficult, but as soon as the new Grafilites arrive at Camera Electronic I am going to take one home. They are small, light, and have a neutral backdrop upon which to place the print for judgement. They run cool and cheap and are configured to prevent glare from hitting the print and bouncing back. I can assess prints at night – provided it is between cocktail hour and 10:00PM.