Tag Archives: mac

Sorry No Images

I’m currently having problems with my Mac and can’t post any images. Hopefully, I will have this resolved soon. In case you’re curious, the problems seemed to start last year when I tried to back up my hard drive. Each time I hooked up a disk drive it would be formatted by the Mac ready for the backup. But then when Time Machine tried to write to the disk it would report there was no space on the drive. The disk then became unreadable and none of my PC or Mac Utilities could repair the damage.

I trashed three new disk drives before I had the idea of formatting the disk using my MacBook to format a disk first. That seemed to resolve the issue and Time Machine was able to do its thing.

During all this, I decided to partition my hard drive to help organise my data better. I split the drive into two partitions; one of 800Gb containing my applications and the other was 2.2Gb where I would hold data. Halfway through the partitioning process the Mac crashed and on restarting I could only see the 800Gb partition. The rest of the space was still there but couldn’t be accessed at all.

After a lot of support from Apple over a few months, the only option was to format the hard drive, but even that was problematic. Eventually, the drive was wiped, and the backup from Time Machine started. Except now the backup wouldn’t install and failed repeatedly at different points. We then tried installing just the operating system but that also failed several times. In the end, the Mac has gone to an Apple repairer.

I’m sure when I get it back and all will be well, but it’s the inconvenience and wasted time. It also really makes you question your backup strategy for images and Lightroom.

Heeding my own Advice

Remains of a volcano off the Island of Stromboli, Italy. Olympus EM5.
Remains of a volcano off the Island of Stromboli, Italy. Olympus EM5.

Around 18 months ago I published a book titled “Perfect Prints Every Time”. The book was intended to help people who struggle with print making, master the techniques and produce images that match their screens. Judging from the feedback I received the book appears to have helped a lot of people. Unfortunately, it didn’t help me – allow me to explain.

As regular readers may be aware, I recently purchased a MacBook Pro and have been very impressed. So impressed in fact that I have now upgraded my main office PC to an iMac and am in the process of switching across. As part of this I wanted to set up and use my printer (an Epson 3880) and this is where the fun started.

Now I have friends who use Macs and swear the screens come well calibrated and the colour handling is so good, you can general do without printer profiles. All you need to do is allow the printer to manage the colour. I have also seen some very well respected authorities on printing say the same. And just to prove this, I have looked through many excellent prints produced in this way with the same printer I’m using. Everything should be easy, right?

The first thing I noticed when trying to produce a print was how flat the print appeared, lacking both contrast and vibrancy. After consulting with a friend, he pointed out that I need to set the “Color Matching” section of the print driver to “Epson Color Controls” as shown below.

Color Matching in the Print Dialog
Color Matching in the Print Dialog

This would then allow me to set the “Print Mode” in the “Printer Settings” tab of the print driver to be “AccuPhoto HD2” and then set the “Color Mode”.

Setting the Print Mode in the Print Dialog
Setting the Print Mode in the Print Dialog

After making these changes I found the prints had improved but they still didn’t look like the image on screen. They were quite dark and still lacked contrast. I then remembered he had also advised increasing the Contrast and Brightness settings in the Lightroom Print module. These changes improved the results but the print still didn’t come close to matching the image on the excellent Mac screen or what I could produce when printing from my PC.

I decided it was time to check the screen calibration of the Mac and used the inbuilt screen calibration routine that comes with the Mac. The new calibration appeared identical to the old one and the images looked great on the screen. I decided to copy one of the images over to my PC to see how it appeared there. Amazingly I found the image was too dark and lacked contrast.

It was at this point that I realised I needed to go back to basics. I pulled out my Color Munki Photo calibration unit and installed the software to the Mac. I ran the screen calibration first and found the screen profile produced lacked both contrast and brightness when compared with the Mac profile. I decided to edit a couple of images and then copy these over to my PC. This time I had a good match between both systems.

Having managed to calibrate the monitor I decided to produce a new printer profile for my paper using the Color Munki on the Mac. With this new profile installed I soft proofed the image in Lightroom, adjusting it so that the soft proof matched the original (un-proofed) image. The resulting print was a near perfect match for the soft proofed image.

So there you have it in a nutshell. Calibrate your monitor, use the correct print driver for your paper and soft proof your images, adjusting them to match your finished image. I could have saved myself hours of wasted effort if I had only just followed my own advice.

Embarrassing!