Prints that Win: The Artisan’s Workbench

HDR award winning photography

David Jeffery’s eye for photography comes naturally. Having grown up in a creative, artistic environment (his father was a painter, his mother a musician) he was naturally drawn to the arts. Jeffery’s creative outlet is photography and the artistic ethos he absorbed growing up shows in his award-winning work.

“When I grew up and we went on a trip my dad always talked about the colors of the landscape, and that affected the way I see and think,” says Jeffery. “People say my images are painterly, because people are used to seeing pictures with clipped shadows and highlights. But artists paint what they see and the eye takes in a lot more than the camera.”

Jeffery’s photography was recently decorated with three Kodak awards, three Courts of Honor and a LexJet Sunset Award at the recent PPA Northeast District photo competition and Photo Northeast.

Lanscape photograph on canvas for decorThe Sunset Award winner is entitled The Artisan’s Workbench. The piece is representative of Jeffery’s ability to translate the true nature of the scene into a photographic image. Shot in HDR with a Canon 5D Mark II, the trick is not so much in the high dynamic range, but in how Jeffery builds the image during capture. He places the camera on a tripod to ensure perfect alignment and takes three exposures – two stops down for the shadows, at the correct exposure for mid-tones, and two stops up for highlights.

Then, the three exposures are blended in Photomatix HDR software and with a little work in Nik Color Efex Pro the masterpiece is complete. The subject of the photo, Steve Cohen, is a retired woodshop teacher in Woodstock, N.Y. (where Jeffery is based).

“By taking multiple exposures, it looks more painterly. And, I try to be very gentle on the HDR controls to render the scene accurately; HDR has gotten a bad name from people going crazy with the controls,” explains Jeffery.

Jeffery adds that he likes to print his painterly landscapes on LexJet Sunset Select Matte Canvas. It’s the perfect medium for rendering his style writ large on canvas, enhancing the enjoyment of the viewer.

Blue Ribbon Printing with Sunset Photo Metallic Paper

It was Rodney Clark’s first experiment with LexJet Sunset Photo Metallic Paper and the results were award-winning. Clark won a first place and three blue ribbons this past October at the Professional Photographers Association of Pennsylvania (PPA of PA) competition held in State College, Pa.

“I’m one of those photographers who’s used to working with high-gloss lacquered prints on f-surface paper for competitions. With the Sunset Metallic it’s that way out of the box. Even if you do laminate, it still shows the same principles and properties that make a metallic paper so nice,” says Clark.

The three blue-ribbon prints – images taken of Main Street in Shepherdstown, W.V. – were photographed in HDR. Clark says Sunset Metallic was the perfect fit for the extreme saturation produced by HDR. The judges agreed.

The other image won first place in the commercial category and was also printed on Sunset Metallic. The metallic inkjet paper, designed to replicate the same look as the old Kodak metallic used in the darkroom, brought a pearlescent shine to the image that helped catch the judges’ eyes.

“The image you see is basically au naturel, other than taking out a couple of dust spots and pulling the density down for competition-quality printing,” explains Clark. “It’s a bridal dress showing the designer’s ribbon and wedding rings shot at a 45-degree angle. Sand, water and sky in the background account for the gradient you see from beige to dark blue. I used a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens on a Canon 1D Mark III to capture it.”

Clark says he’s hopeful that his success locally will translate to more regional and national competition recognition, all that are within grasp thanks to his ability to print his own work with the addition of the new paper and a Canon iPF6100 inkjet printer he bought about four months ago.

“Pretty much right out of the box it was as accurate as you could get. The only thing I had to do was add the 10 points of brightness through my Photoshop plug-in for the Canon, which I use instead of the print driver. What I get out of it is absolutely phenomenal,” says Clark. “With some help from Kelly [Price, LexJet account specialist] and the gang at LexJet, I have the profiles I need to print accurately every time.”

Rodney Clark, M. Photog., Cr., CPP, owns Clark Photography in Waynesboro, Pa. Photos courtesy Rodney Clark.