Prints that Win: A Bridge to Remember

    A bridge can be a metaphor for many things. For photographers, it’s about bridging the gap from capture to print.

    Award-winning pro photographer Darrell Moll did just that, both literally and figuratively, with this stunning black-and-white image of a bridge over Cape Cod Sound that commemorates people who have passed on.

    Moll bridged the gap between capture and print, ultimately capturing the judges’ attention at the recent Professional Photographers of Ohio conference. The print scored a 96 – the competition’s highest score – garnering a LexJet Sunset Award in the process, as well the People’s Choice Award, and numerous other accolades.

    Moll judged the competition in Michigan the previous week, and says: “The LexJet Sunset Award is quickly becoming the most coveted award you can win for an image.”

    Printed on LexJet Sunset Photo eSatin Paper by Michael Timmons, The Portrait Gallery, Vassar, Mich., Moll says competition printing is not something to leave to chance. Though Moll prints his own work regularly, he prefers to use Timmons’ expertise for competition prints. “Since I’ve been working with Michael for competition prints, it’s ridiculous how many awards I’ve won. Printing definitely has an impact on scoring at competition,” he says.

    “What good does it do to have all this expensive equipment and use the best techniques in the field to make it look as nice as we can and then just send it to the printer and print it on anything? Why not use a RIP and the best media and ink we can? I print everything on LexJet paper; it doesn’t do any good to do all the right things and not follow through with a calibrated monitor and the right print media. It’s the final step for the finished product, so you leave nothing to chance,” says Moll. “Michael [Timmons] thinks eSatin has the best white point of all the papers he’s tried, and I tend to agree. It doesn’t get blocked up, it sets the ink very well and dries nicely. The finished product is what it’s all about, and in this case it was the reproduction of the subtle gradation of tones and light. With really good black-and-white printing there’s a luminescent quality that comes through; the eSatin paper lends itself well to that and a lot of other subjects. It’s the nicest everyday paper you can use.”

    Of course this would be all for naught if not for the photographer’s talent to capture the moment properly and at the right time. Moll was on Cape Cod shooting a wedding and would venture out super early each morning (5 a.m.!) to see what he could see and capture.

    He ran across this bridge and all the elements were in place: early morning light, fog and still water. He set up with his Canon EOS 5D Mark II with a 24-105 L series lens and graduated neutral density filter to darken the top of the horizon and show more detail in the foreground. He captured the scene at f16 for four seconds at 100 ISO.

    Everything was perfectly in place, and Moll knew right away that this scene would render best in black-and-white. “I made sure it was tack sharp after I shot it before I moved onto another subject. The last thing you want to do is go back home 700 miles from the shot and realize you weren’t sharp,” he says.

    Regan Dickinson
    Regan Dickinson

    Regan has been involved in the sign and wide format digital printing industries for the past two decades as an editor, writer and pundit. With a degree in journalism from the University of Houston, Regan has reported on the full evolution of the inkjet printing industry since the first digital printers began appearing on the scene.


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