Prints That Win: Alabaster Aster

For Dover, Ohio classic portrait artist Christine Walsh-Newton, working with people is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a photographer, so it would seem rather curious that her Sunset Award-winning print, “Alabaster Aster,” is something as simple – yet geometrically stunning – as a flower. “Working with people is great, I get to interact with them, but as a photographer, you don’t always have 100% control,” Walsh-Newton says. “Sometimes I just want to chill. Photographing flowers is sort of a means of meditation for me.”

Adding more meaning to her choice is the history of the Fuji Mum (in the Aster family) that is the subject of her winning piece. It was part of a bouquet given to her by her husband for their 19th wedding anniversary. “I rarely shoot flowers, unless it’s for my own entertainment, but I thought this would make for a great image, especially in black and white,” she says of “Alabaster Aster.” “I like to use alliteration for the titles of my flower pieces, and alabaster is a much more descriptive word than ‘white’, it was perfect for this selection.”

A Second Opinion: Sunset Fibre Rag Reviewed at Shutterbug

Inkjet photo paper reviewIf you’re looking for an in-depth review on LexJet’s latest fine art/photographic paper, Sunset Fibre Rag, and how it might fit into your workflow check out George Schaub’s post at Shutterbug. Schaub tested 17″ x 22″ sheets of Sunset Fibre Rag on an Epson 4900, putting the paper through its paces in both color and black-and-white images.

“I tested the paper on monochrome, color and low saturation images, and worked with Photoshop CS6 Beta software on a MacBook Pro V6.2. The monochrome images displayed a deep, rich black with fine repro of the mid-tone values. When an image had a range of bright highlights, the slightly warm base added to their reproduction while not muting their place in the image. This encouraged me to work with numerous images that often came out too contrasty on pure gloss or metallic base papers (and too flat on purely matte surfaces) and I found that they had newfound life on the LexJet surface,” wrote Schaub.

Schaub’s review covers the entire process, from print preparation to the characteristics the paper brought out of the images Schaub printed, and all the details in between. As an example, Schaub writes: “And when you rub your finger across the surface of the paper you get that satisfying sound that only a medium to heavyweight fine art paper delivers. That is what could count as a ‘feel the material’ type of qualification, but I often use that as part of how I judge a paper. The weight of the paper makes it easy to work with when matting and mounting, and the durability is a strong factor in paper choice.”

To read the entire review of Sunset Fibre Rag, click here. And, for more information about Sunset Fibre Rag, the Sunset line of fine art and photo papers, or anything else in the inkjet printing workflow, contact a LexJet customer specialist at 800-453-9538.

Prints that Win: End of the Line by Duncan MacNab

Award winning competition print

A great print can make all the difference at photography competitions. It’s certainly not the only difference, but it can provide that little extra boost that makes judges take notice. Take, for instance, Duncan MacNab’s entry, End of the Line, which won a LexJet Sunset Award for Excellence in Image Quality at the 2011 PPA Western District Competition.

MacNab turned to friend and fellow professional photographer Michael Timmons of The Portrait Gallery is Vasser, Va., to turn his image of a train near Nevada City, Mont., into a printed piece of art. Timmons used LexJet Sunset Photo eSatin Paper to capture all the depth and detail of the image.

“When it came in and I unwrapped it, I called Michael and damn near cried I was so happy with it. The paper is phenomenal. When you really look closely at it, it really has a nice glow,” says MacNab. “The paper lends itself to competitions and Michael’s a master at printing. He knows what I want and off we go.”

MacNab used his Panasonic LUMIX digital camera with a 7-14 mm lens for the capture and converted the image to black and white. He also submitted a color version in another competition, but the black and white image was the award winner.

“It’s one of my favorites that I’ve done in my long career. It just grabs you and demands attention. It came up on the easel and instantly the judges got up and looked at it,” explains MacNab. “I’ve been a jury chairman for 25 years and when I watch the judging panel as the prints come around I can see their eyes and which prints grab their attention. Sometimes they’ll take a closer look at it and find a bunch of things wrong with it and it goes down the tube. Most of the time when you see that pop the judges will look at that image a lot closer. When you see that first reaction you know it’s going to score pretty well.”

More Great Inkjet Canvas Options from LexJet

Printing canvasBuilding on more than 15 years of researching, developing and bringing award-winning inkjet printable canvas products to the fine art, photography and graphics markets, LexJet introduces Sunset Reserve Matte Canvas and Sunset Reserve Bright Matte Canvas.

Both canvas products are now available and shipping from one of LexJet’s ten nationwide distribution centers and, like all LexJet products, come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Sunset Reserve Matte Canvas and Sunset Reserve Bright Matte Canvas round out a diverse portfolio of LexJet inkjet canvas products that include the award-winning Sunset Select Matte Canvas and Sunset Select Gloss Canvas, the solvent and UV curable compatible Sunset Select Satin Canvas SUV, and Instant Dry Satin Canvas.

“Both versions of the Sunset Reserve Canvas have a nice subtle texture for true artistic color-critical canvas reproduction,” explains Alex Ried, LexJet product manager. “And, since some customers prefer a bright white base to a more neutral white tone and vice-versa it was important to offer that option with the same performance, quality, consistency and color gamut.”

Compatible with aqueous printers from Canon, Epson and HP – and specially engineered to take advantage of the wider color gamuts provided by the latest generation of their printers – both canvas products are perfect for a variety of applications, from commercial and corporate graphics to gallery and museum wraps and other fine art and photographic output. Both are optimized for LexJet’s Sunset Coatings – Gloss and Satin – and work well with other spray and roll-on protective coatings.

Canvas printing
Mark Lakey, Art Warehouse, Chattanooga, Tenn., printed this black-and-white photo by Nashville photographer Ed Rode on Sunset Reserve Bright Matte Canvas.

“It prints great. I love it because when I profiled the canvas, I could amp up the sharpness with photography and get more detail out of it. And, the coating allows for a high ink load, so if someone wants to produce high-quality prints they can do it with this canvas,” says Mark Lakey, owner and president of Art Warehouse, Chattanooga, Tenn., who prints for renowned photographers and artists. “You see more vibrancy with this canvas in color prints and for black and white printing I can hit the tonality marks I’m after.”

Stretching and wrapping canvas
Lakey stretches and wraps Beach at Sunset, photographed by Jim Begley, Corbin, Ky., and printed on Sunset Reserve Bright Matte Canvas.

Sunset Reserve Matte Canvas has a neutral-white finish that produces a wide color gamut without optical brighteners. Sunset Reserve Bright Matte Canvas features a bright white base. Both are a water resistant, acid-free and pH-neutral with a poly/cotton blend so they’re easily stretched for gallery and museum wraps.