McDowell – Reaching peak colors
I do my best to keep an open mind about things; however, I do have certain things that, let us say, don’t change so easily. One of them is paper. From way back in the day, I liked to have good contrast and deep blacks on my photos. So, in the darkroom, I used Poly Contrast paper and used the appropriate filters to make the photos pop. Regarding surface textures, I started with glossy, but soon found that it was too high maintenance, so I moved to luster type surfaces, and there I stayed. I printed a few photos on matte papers and high fiber content, or rag papers, but those were special occasions.
Now, I have before me, a box of Red River sampler papers. Everything from glossy to fine art papers. I did order some ink, only to have to order some more because I didn’t notice how low my Light Magenta was, but I have enough to print a few sheets. This weekend, I printed some of my favorite photos on different types of paper, glossy included. My thoughts:
Glossy – I still like punch and the deep blacks, but don’t like how easy it is to get fingerprints on the photo. Also, I don’t really like all of the glare that you get when viewing at angle.
Matte – I didn’t think that I would really like it; however, the blacks are pretty deep, though not shiny, and, the photos still pop and don’t have that annoying fingerprint problem, nor do they have the glare when viewing at angle. I tried several different matte types that they offer and I liked them all, but my favorite was the 60 lb Polar Matte Plus. It’s a nice, heavy stock, and has brilliant whites. I cannot really tell the difference between the Polar Matte and the Premium Matte. I printed the same photo on both and cannot distinguish between the two. I guess that I’ll go with the less expensive.
I am curious, though, about their “Natural” papers which don’t have brighteners in them. Those work well for portraits and subdued images, say like fog.
Canvas: I just loved the 60 lb Paper Canvas. I think that if I were doing formal portraits, this would be ideal. It’s got a lovely look to it.
River linen: I’ve not used this sample just yet. It’s got a nice texture to it. I’m just looking for the right photo to use it on. I know that I have one, but just haven’t found it yet.
Overall, I guess that I would say that I will use the above mentioned matte paper, but may keep some other papers on the side for that special print, or order that paper when needed. After all, no one says that I have to stick with one type of paper, right?