My interest in photography has recently been re-sparked and I’m really enjoying it.   As seen on my website Dig Our Pics!, you can see that we have a nice little “club” where we take pictures based on a weekly theme.

This week’s theme was “colors”.   I have a lot of neat colors that I’ve been posting.   One in particular, I want to have a print made of.   So, I pulled my Canon S9000 out of mothballs and decided to print some prints.   I loved what that printer could do for me (I used it primarily for my business, but I knew it could do some really good large-format and 4×6 prints as well).

It’s been so long since I’ve used it that either I can’t remember HOW to use it OR something went funky with the printer OR when I did use it a lot, I was using it in Windows XP (versus Mac OS X, which is my primary computer these days).

So far, I’ve eaten thru a lot of paper (photo and otherwise), and I’ve been getting less than exciting results.

For example, the picture I want to make a print of is this:

Crop of a larger picture

I love this picture.   It’s actually a crop of a larger shot, but I thought that offsetting the middle of the flower and getting up close and personal would make it even more interesting.   I tweaked the colors a bit and cleaned up some of the imperfections on the petals, etc.

Now that I’m happy with the way it looks, I want to make a print.     I started with a 13×19 print – yeah, I know that’s HUGE, but I though this would look pretty cool over my desk and it would give me something “sunny” to look at over the coming winter months.

My first attempt was nothing short of UGLY.   There was serious banding issues and I couldn’t seem to find the right driver settings to make them go away.   I tried several sheets and decided to give up before I cranked thru $60 worth of ink!   This was disappointing because I’ve done large-format prints before (for customers) and had not had the banding issues – I’m sure it’s a setting problem, but at the moment, I’m not willing to do the necessary trial and error to get it right.

I decided to make a 4×6 and be done with it.

Again, somewhat disappointing results.   I KNOW I’ve gotten some decent prints before, so I’m really thinking it has to do with the OS X drivers… I had good results with the Windows drivers and generally, the Windows drivers are MORE ROBUST than the OS X equivalent.

Here are three prints I made… (click on the image to view the full-size scan)

The first print was made with the “Photo Paper Plus Glossy” setting… came out okay, but lost the vibrant yellow and red and oranges.

The second print was made with th “Plain Paper” setting… much more vibrant colors, but notice the banding in the photo.   No doubt because of the setting… one more try.

The last print was made with the “Photo Paper Pro” setting… while the colors were more vibrant than the first print, they weren’t AS vibrant as the second print.   A little too dark and generally kind of ‘eh’.

I’m going to keep working on the settings and probably going to burn thru several ink cartridges in the process.   Either that or I’m just going to send a batch of prints down to Walgreens to see how they come out on that end.   Ultimately, it’s going to be cheaper to get my printer to produce the prints, but I’m not a big fan of the trial-and-error approach.   This should be much easier than it’s become.

Nevertheless, I’m enjoying getting back into picture taking.   Perhaps this is what I’ve been looking for all along and it’s been right under my nose!

On a related note, I saw a commercial last night for a “new” Nikon D90 camera.   Oooh, it looks NICE.   The one thing I like about it, besides it being a 12MP camera is that it shoots HD movies as well.   That’s a really, really, really appealing feature for me, since I’ve used my Finepix S9100 more than my Nikon D70 for that exact reason.   I don’t tend to take alot of video in general, but specifically of the kids – I know I should, but I’m not into taking a camera, video camera, etc.   Too much junk to carry.   That’s why using the S9100 is so great.   If I’m in a situation where a short video would make sense, I can take video with it and it’s decent enough to put up on YouTube or burn to DVD.

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