Problem & Solution of the Month… Again!

[written by Bluffname and KopiOkaya]

F.U.N. members had their laughs after last month’s “problematic” article HERE.

This month, another problem surfaced. Some of us were seeing red. No, no, we were not angry. Hey, we are F.U.N. people! So even if we do get angry, we try extinguish the fire quickly. But we saw some “Red” Indians after Young Aunty Master posted her photographs of a performance by Rudra, a rock band from India that had classical Indian dancers perform to their very heavy metal music. In particular, one “mother-in-law” character looked like she was fuming mad – or stoned drunk, depending on how we viewed the image.

“Red” Indians

“Fuming mad” mother-in-law

[photos: Yingbin1005]

This was YAM’s debut shoot with her newly acquired FinePix S5 Pro, a purchase that, incidentally, secured her position as “Camera Buyer of the Year”. But while her shots were pretty well-composed, capturing some fine moments, the colours looked like they belonged to Santa Claus’ wardrobe  (Ho… ho… ho…).

Meanwhile, Young Aunty Master thought she spotted some anemic pictures but dared not point them out – especially since the pictures she thought most anemic was one featuring Brella Bella, the lovely Japanese dancer shot and post-processed by none other than GM (Great Monster) KopiOKaya. She did not want to offend her shifu and get kok32 from him. Good thing she restrained herself. For had she criticised that image, she would have been kok64 instead!

“Anemic” Brella Bella

[photo: KopiOkaya]

A clue to the problem showed up when YAM viewed her own photos from her office computer. Her first reaction: “Why all my photos are like red red one?”

Bluffname suggested that she calibrate her (also new) laptop monitor and he lent her his newly purchased i1 Display 2 calibrator. After calibration, YAM finally saw the light. Or rather, the red. “WAH LAO!!!!!” she exclaimed after viewing her photos. “SO RED ARGHK!!!!!”

i1 Display 2 calibrator

[photo: KopiOkaya]

A few days later, she also decided to pay another visit to Brella Bella. And she saw that Bella had recovered from her anemia (without having to take iron tablets and suffer constipation as a side effect).

So what do you see here? If you see Red Indians and a healthy looking Bella, maybe your monitor is okay. Still, it is best to be doubly sure. But if the Indians look normal and Bella looks anemic, or if everything looks strange in some other ways, then it’s time to buy a calibrator  (or borrow or rent from Bluffname).

Many digital photographers neglect calibration as an important part of their workflow. Some don’t even feel that a calibrator is necessary. With so many types and brands of computer monitors available today, most photographers just go for the biggest, widest and the latest. Not many realise their monitors have to be properly calibrated before use.

Yet this should have been clear the moment you step into Best Denki, Courts, Harvey Norman or any of the other electronic goods stores that has rows and rows of television sets lined up against one another. They all look different. They all display different colours. That’s exactly how it is with different computer monitors. What you see is not what other people see.

Here is a personal experience from KopiOkaya:

KopiOkaya has been calibrating his computer monitors since 2001 when he was working as a portrait photographer in America. His former boss (a lady) was very particular about how her computer monitor and clients’ proofs should look alike. This helped cut down turnaround time and avoid miscommunication with clients.

Their photo printer in Colorado recommended the GretagMacbeth Eye-One Display 2, which is today known as Pantone i1 Display 2. She ordered one from B&H Photo and the results were immediate. KopiOkaya realised that his computer monitor previously lacked contrast and the reds and greens were off. From then on, he became a staunch believer in monitor calibration. It saves time, effort… and embarrassment!

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