I got up this morning thinking about printing two more of the PhotoCalligraphy series. I turned on the printer and made tea while it did its thing. When I pulled out the paper, my heart fell. The scrapes were back. Refusing to panic, I checked the platen gap. It was set to standard. Turning off the printer had set it back to the default. This is a little strange, especially since the manual warns to you set the gap back to standard when you’re done printing on special paper. Strange or not, once understood, this is an easy situation to deal with. I set the gap to wide, and banged off two more pictures.
While the printer was working (the 3800 is a lot slower than the 9800, partly because the 3800 print head has to travel across the short dimension of the paper.), this thought kept lurking around the back of my mind: “I wonder what the Nighthawks series would look like printed on the Harman paper?” I’d printed a few images from the series on Exhibition Fiber, and I liked the look. It was quite a bit different from the way the images appeared on Arches Infinity or Hahnemuele Photo Rag, my go-to matte papers. The colors were more saturated because the gamut was bigger, especially in the darker tones. The images had more snap, which seemed to improve some and harm others. It was a bit hard to judge because the looks were so different. I decided to stay with the matte papers.
But now I had a new glossy paper, and I was itching to try it. “What if I like it?” I wondered. “Will I have time to print the whole series? I’ll probably want to do it on the 9800; it’ll be a lot faster, and isn’t doing my back any good bending over the 3800 to load the paper. Do I have enough Photo Black ink? I just have the little 110 ml cartridge that came with the printer. By the time that it’s charged the lines, will there be much ink left at all? For that matter, is the ink too old? It’s surely outdated.”
I decided to cross that bridge when I came to it, and print out a few sample prints on the 3800. First, I created a collection called “PhotoLucida” under the collection “Nighthawks” in Lightroom, and I added all the photos that I wanted to take to Portland. I then picked a group of those images that were quite different from each other in tonal range and color palette, and printed them on the Harman paper.
Critical examination of the Nighthawks images on Harman paper produced a surprise: the editing that produced delicate, but rich, colors on matte paper looked wimpy and washed out on the glossy paper. It wasn’t true of all images, but there was enough of a tendency in the watery direction that the images needed to be re-edited for the Harman paper. I created another collection under “Nighthawks,” and called it “Photolucida Glossy.” I put the images into the new collection, telling Lightroom to make new virtual copies. Then I started working on the images with the intention of making them bolder. I made some progress, but stopped to go out and buy some Photo Black ink for the 9800.
The ink-purchasing trip was a success. I now have 440 ml of Photo Black ink, enough to print more than 50 pictures, even after charging the lines.
So here’s the plan. I’m going use the 9800 to print enough matte Nighthawks pictures to have a complete set. While I’m doing that, I’ll be printing different versions of the same pictures on the glossy paper on the 3800. When I’m sure I have enough matte prints, I’ll change the 9800 to Photo Black ink, and print out a set of glossy prints. Then I’ll decide which prints to use for the review.
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