Blog entries tagged with "printing"

The end of twenty seven metres

Thursday, January 7th, 2021 at 07:14pm

How long does it take me to use up twenty seven metres of photo paper? Four and a half years.

At least that is the interval between buying the roll of paper and when I am at the end of the roll, with enough for two more prints. Over that time my usage has changed. After the couple of large prints I was making two prints a month (only ten months of the year) for camera club competitions. Then the club comp dropped down to one print per member per month, and then in 2020 we had to drop the print competition.

So what made me get to the end of the roll now instead of early last year, because I have been entering international competitions. I usually only enter digital competitions, but I need to get acceptances from Australian competitions, there aren’t many of those and a big one closing soon is a print competition.

So, after not printing anything for ten months, last night I printed out twenty images:

I had a couple of failed prints so I am glad that when I realised I was at the end of the roll that it wasn’t quite the end.

This all means that it is time to buy some new paper, with a big question being do I want to get another roll, or should I go back to sheets?

The main advantage of the roll is that I have the option of making quite large prints, but a big disadvantage of the roll is that the paper has a curl. If I cut a piece off and want to print with it immediately I need to roll it back on itself to remove the curl, otherwise it doesn’t feed through the printer right and at the start/end it rises up and gets marks on it. This is usually ok as it is outside the image I am printing which is then covered by the matt board, but it would be good to avoid this. (My printer is 13″ wide so doesn’t support the 17″ wide roll, as I am feeding it in 90° to the curl that is part of the issue, if it was fed in normally that would be ok)

If I had planned it out better I would have known I was getting near the end of the roll and saving the last few metres in case I wanted to make large prints, then buying normal sheets for most of my use.

Getting another roll does work out cheaper and if I plan ahead I can cut a bunch of sheets and let them lay flat for a while to remove the curl, though right now I am not able to make the decision as both rolls and boxes of A3+ sheets are out of stock at the local places I know of, so I will have to wait…

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Printing big

Thursday, June 9th, 2016 at 10:09pm

I have written before about how I print images, but I haven’t mentioned what I do with them once I get them back from the camera club competitions.

As they are images that I like and they are all the same size, I bought a number of 16×20″ frames so I could hang them up at home. I like the look of the simple black frame around the off-white mat board, and I have a few larger frames containing some other posters which includes Up Goer Five.

There were two locations that I wasn’t quite sure what would be best suited, in one spot a single 16×20″ seemed a bit lonely and in the other two 16×20″ images seemed two crowded. I realised that panorama images would work better. But what images and what frames?

It didn’t take me long to come up with the two images that would work:


Downtown behind

After playing around with the numbers I worked out that Mechanical could be printed at 21×10″ to go in a 28×16″ frame, and Downtown behind printed at 28×9″ for a 34×16″ frame. Then it was time to work out the various components…

The mat board comes in 40×36″ sheets and the last time I got some I had them cut them into quarters, much easier to handle and no further cutting required as that takes them down to the 16×20″ size. For the larger images I picked up a full sheet, cut it down the middle for the 16″ dimension, then cut those down for the 28″ and 34″ lengths.

The frames were also straightforward and I went down to the place where I got all of the other frames and ordered them. While they have 16×20″ at a standard size, they didn’t have what I wanted as a standard size, but a couple of weeks later (I was in no hurry) I picked them up. At the same time I also ordered a frame to fit the 12″x48″ Up Goer Five poster.

Printing the images involved a lot more research and thinking…

While I had previously printed both of these images, I had printed them on A3+ paper to be mounted on 16×20″ mat board. The A3+ paper is 13″ wide so that is sufficient, but the other dimension is 19″ which is too short. I briefly thought that I could get an A2 sheet that I could cut in half, but that would still only give me a 23″ length which isn’t enough.

So I started to investigate getting the images printed, but as well as the cost there is the uncertainty about the quality of the print. Until something made me think about roll paper which my printer supports.

A significant issue I would have with printing on roll paper is that my printer only supports paper up to a maximum 13″ width. Epson make roll paper at that size, but my preferred Ilford paper is only available in 17″ and up. I could cut the roll paper into smaller sections manually, but apart from being able to print these large panorama images would there be any cost benefit?

If I am printed for mounting on 16×20″ mat board I will leave at least a 2″ border. This means the largest visible image will be 12×16″, but bump that up to 13×17″ to allow for a generous overlap under the mat board.

Hmmm, 17″ is the width of the Ilford roll paper and 13″ is the maximum width of what the printer can take. The roll of paper is 27 metres long, so can be divided up into 81 and a bit sections. A price for a roll is $193 which translates to a per section price of $2.38. From the same place a box of A3+ paper (13×19″) is $57, that contains 25 sheets at $2.28.

So far the roll paper is looking like it would be both more expensive and less convenient.

Looking around I found another site that that has the roll paper on special, for a price that brings the cost down to $1.68. Even once postage was allowed for this is a small but significant saving, so I ordered a roll of paper.

I picked the paper up from the post office after work and I spent the evening printing and then mounting these images. I haven’t been able to get a decent photo of it, but I am quite pleased with the result.

The first image I printed myself for a camera club competition (after various test prints on different papers) was Mechanical, so it was a nice coincidence that it would also be the first print I did on the roll paper. Trimming the width of the first piece of paper was a bit of a juggle as I was cutting along a 24″ length but using a mat that is only 18″ wide. Working out where to set custom paper sizes in the print dialog also took a couple of minutes but once that was entered it was a straightforward matter of selecing the custom size, setting the dimensions of the image, centering it and then starting the print. It was a little bit nerve-wracking watching the print slowly appear, but it worked out.

I also increased the difficulty with mounting this image as I repeated the same treatment I had done previously which was to leave a 5mm border between the print and the mount. This means no overlap and the mount must be cut very accurately, but the final look is the image, 5mm of the white paper, the white core of the mat board on the 45°, the off-white of the mat board, then finally the black frame.

Printing Downtown behind was easier as I had already figured things out, and this time I had the mat board overlap the print, no ultra-precise cutting to leave a 5mm border.

Now that I have gone through all this effort I don’t know when I will next print an image larger than A3+, but it is now an option and once I have used up the last few sheets of A3+ I will be using sections cut from the roll…

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How I print and mount photos

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 at 09:23pm

Last night I lugged a bunch of stuff – computer, printer, mat cutter, supplies, past images – up to the camera club to do a demonstration on how I print and submit images for the monthly competitions. While I rambled on and showed things in a non-sequential manner I think that at least a couple of people got something out of the night.

In case this might be useful at other times, here are some notes from my process: (with the disclaimer that this is just my process, there are other ways to print images)

  • I was very lucky that at the time I decided to start printing my own images I was able to pick up a secondhand printer at a reasonable price.
  • From the beginning I decided to stick with genuine Epson inks.
  • I got a sample pack of different Ilford papers and did some test prints with both these and some Epson papers.
  • I decided to just use Ilford Galerie Smooth Pearl paper, even though some types of images can benefit from certain types (matt, gloss, art, metallic) of paper. I looked around online to get A3+ paper at a good price.
  • Ensure that you use the profile for your paper/printer combination, you get these from the paper manufacturer.
  • I do not try to match the print against my screen, instead I care about a print that looks good.
  • Do a nozzle check if it has been a while since you last used the printer. The one time I forgot to do this there was a blocked nozzle (fixed by a head clean) that ruined a full size print.
  • Any unused areas of the A3+ sheet are salvaged into 6×4″ pieces. Test prints are made on these before committing to a full size print.
  • The size of the printed image is worked out based on the size and orientation of the mat board, the border width and allowing for a small overlap.
  • Leave a small margin above the image on the paper, this is the area that will be used for tape later.
  • Mark everything out on the back of the mat board. These markings are then lined up with the edge of the rail in the mat cutter. I cut slightly longer (both before and after) to ensure a clean cut in the corners with no tear out.
  • Only use tape across the top of the image, this allows it to float between the mat and backing, otherwise it might buckle.
  • I use double sided tape (squares in the corners, spots along the edges) to attach 3mm foam core board as the backing. As no tape is exposed it cannot peel up and cause damage when in the box with other prints.
  • The foam core board is larger than the 16×20″ mat board, this is attached and then trimmed down to the size of the mat board instead of trying to align exactly.

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