Monday, October 27

You've Seen This Before But....

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See this? Yeah, I posted it before during the Summer, just click on the keyword "sailing" below to see the series. That's not the point. Fun is the point.

Steve wasn't posing here. I was standing in the gangway to below decks, taking picture for so long that I became invisible. Now I like it that this mid-afternoon picture is something that we can do today that used to take me a bank of lights to create back in the day. But that's not the point either.

The point is that Steve's just had a major birthday. So I took the image over to Dave at Poppit Studios and he blew it up for me to a size that would get big-time attention. The idea was that Rita and I would invite Steve and Maria to dinner at a top of the line restaurant. And we'd arrange to get a table off to the side last Saturday night where we could prop the image against the wall behind a covering. And of course we'd rip away the cover during the meal, and well... embarrass the hell out of him... heh heh heh...(Okay, women won't get this... but to men it resonates, right guys?) Think of it as a really big Birthday card.

So Dave, he blows it up... and up... and up... to FOUR feet by SEVEN FEET!!!! SEVEN FRIGGIN FEET!

You should see it. It is tack sharp (where it is supposed to be tack sharp) and the colors ROCK! And I invited my buddy and partner Steven and his wife Julie so we could carry the thing and.. and...

Well Dave doesn't own a truck at Poppit Studios. And we couldn't get the print into any of our cars. Or into our station wagon. And well, what the hell to do? The practical joke careened back on me! How to give it to him when I couldn't take it out of the printer's studio?

Meantime Dave was so proud of it that he set it up right by the door of his place (the guy owns massive printers, and cameras, and even a large device that will computer-cut images out). In fact he offered to have it cut Steve out of the big image as a stand-alone figure. Have you noticed, or imagined, that he's life size in the image? I took it with my old Canon 20D and you can count the hairs in his mustache... it's that detailed. Imagine what my new 40D will do... but I digress.

So what to do? Well finally my colleague Tammy, the layout artist at my magazines brought her huge RV over to Poppit and last Friday we got it to my house. So.. we changed plans and had a dinner party for the six of us.

During cocktails my partner and I went upstairs and hefted the thing down the steps et voilá .... we swung the thing around to reveal... "Heroic Steve At The Helm".

Great reactions... Everyone loved it. Super fun... BUT.. BUT!!!!!! He couldn't get it home. The BILLBOARD is sitting in our living room. YIPES... Didn't see that coming.

Steve's first reaction was, "Holy S**T, that thing will cost a grand to frame!" Um, well, yeah. It's printed on a fairly solid substrate so it stands up by itself. But what do you do with this .. object the size of Romania?

I suggested he take it to his plant, frame it in busy golden gilt, and put a tiny plaque engraved... "Our Founder". Mount it right behind the receptionist, right? Get her a tiny sailor uniform.... Somehow Steve isn't crazy about my suggestion. Particularly my plans for installation of track lighting. Pity.... Some folks don't have enough imagination, huh?

What do you do with a 24 foot square heroic image? Steve told me that "It ain't my problem!" He's right. It was fun, but I'll probably throw it away tonight.

The moral to all of this? A four by seven foot portrait might not be the best idea. Bummer.


Barry Armer said...

What a teriffic idea for a birthday present! I suspect your friend will consider any difficulty he has transporting the photo to be well worth the effort!

It would be interesting to know how the enlargement was done to still have such great detail. Do you know if the printer used some type of "blow up" software to create a huge file or was the enlargement done from your 20D capture file? I always worry about cropping to much from my 40D capture files for fear of hurting image quality in a 13X19 print (I would never have imagined a 7' print would be possible at more than billboard quality)!


Ted said...

Hiya Barry:

Actually my printer is a graphic specialist. Poppit works with high end artists and digital technicians to create custom graphics from digitl files. He also does extremely high end reproductions of art for limited Giiceé runs of their work. His reproductions are always exquisite.

He works with the client utilizing in my case psd files on his macs. We calibrate our screes with the same devices so I'm comfortable that his output will come as close to the rgb-space images that I design ... as I anticipate. Needless to say his work flow is pristine and all of his equipment is state-of-art (he has one 5X7 digital capture camera which takes about half an hour just to capture the image of an artist's original work into a file that's over a third of a gig!)

I don't have the file for this image of Steve where I am just now, but I'm going to guess that it was heavily worked in PS at a resolution of at least 270 dpi. I don't know, but I don't think that Dave at Poppit used any fractal enhancement software to create the final enlargement.

The thing is a tribute to Canon technology along with my MacPro/Photoshop software. I did work it a bit more beyond the image I've posted here to feather some of the background against the sky which I drew (remember, this is an original image which was captured in full sunlight with a subject shaded beneath the bimini of his cockpit.

Hence the background into which I was shooting upward was blue/black. Hence I could do almost anything I wanted to do in PS to capture a studio quality lighting effect.

That allowed me to shoot at an ISO of about 200 and still shut down the lens a bunch, reducing noise, particularly in the skin tones and shadows (of which there were few).

Even though the work-chain was pretty ideal here, again, I'm ecstatic about the technology crammed into a 20D. And gives me a lot of confidence in the 40D I've just bought. Prosumer technology is astonishing, eh?

Ted said...

A last point Barry.... While I cropped out some 15% of the original image of Steve, I did create an additional 30% of "sky" above him in PS. It was shot through my 10-22mm Canon zoom, probably at something approaching 10mm... Hmmm... that's a guess... As I wrote above, I lack the original file and support data at my present location. Sorry.

John Roberts said...

I disagree, Ted. I think the moral of this story is that you need a pick-up truck!

Barry Armer said...

Thanks for the extra insight into the enlargement process Ted!

I've had my 40D for a little over six months now and I'm really pleased with it (expecially in low light)!