Digital Innovations
Isn’t It Ironic? The End Of Kodak’s Black And White Photo Paper

"The supreme irony of life is that hardly anyone gets out of it alive."
--Robert Heinlein

After 100 years, Eastman Kodak has stopped making black and white photographic paper that the Associated Press called "a niche product for fine art photographers and hobbyists..." I don't think there is any such thing as "fine art"; there is just art. Some of it may be fine, and some of it may not be, depending on your perspective. In a bit of an oxymoronic understatement, the AP further stated that Kodak "...will continue to make black and white film and chemicals for processing."

Just because digital cameras capture color files doesn't mean that black and white is dead. Sometimes the power and simplicity monochrome images produce are more important than what color might add. This photograph, I call "Training," was made with a Canon EOS 20D and EF 85mm f/1.8 lens at ISO 100 in color. Exposure was 1/800 sec at f/5 in Program mode to minimize depth of field. Monochrome conversion was made in Adobe Photoshop CS2 using The Imaging Factory's ( Convert to B&W Pro 3.0 plug-in.
All Photos © 2005, Joe Farace, All Rights Reserved

While listening to Alanis Morissette singing "isn't it ironic," on the same day that Kodak discontinued its black and white darkroom paper, I received Lyson's ( Daylight Darkroom system. This combination of ink and software lets you use an inkjet printer to accurately mirror traditional darkroom techniques.

Seven- and eight-channel inkjet printers expand the possibilities for black and white printing, but the OEM printer software has typically been designed for color, not black and white. Over the next month I'll be using Daylight Darkroom with an Epson Stylus Photo 2200 and will let you know how it goes.

Lyson's Daylight Darkroom imaging system provides the ability to accurately mirror traditional darkroom techniques using an inkjet printer.

Plug-In Of The Month
In a world of unending movie sequels, PictoColor's ( iCorrect Portrait marks the return of iCorrect Professional--in a slightly different form. The skin tone technology in iCorrect Portrait is different than what's used in iCorrect EditLab Pro and may be the best skin tone algorithm available in plug-in form. With an all-new interface, iCorrect Portrait automatically sets black and white points, lets you adjust brightness and contrast, and automatically corrects color balance and skin tones with a single mouse click! You can save corrections as Custom Settings and apply them to multiple image files. iCorrect Portrait is Action enabled and compatible with Adobe Photoshop CS2 in Mac OS and Windows versions.

You can't keep a good plug-in down. After being replaced by PictoColor's EditLab Pro, iCorrect Professional is back with a new interface and a new name but the same wonderful skin tone technology, making iCorrect Portrait a must-have plug-in for people photographers.

Hoppin' Hard Drive
Where do you store image files? If you shoot lots of images, having a high-capacity external hard drive is just the ticket. Kanguru Solutions' ( QuickSilver hard drives have a high-strength exterior alloy case that permits heat dissipation during prolonged use and you can place the drive horizontally or vertically depending on your desktop space. The QuickSilver is durable and can withstand up to 200Gs of shock, but I wouldn't be the one to tell you to test this, although it's nice to know. Available in both USB 2.0 and FireWire/USB 2.0 versions, QuickSilver drives have a high-performance 7200RPM drive and up to 400GB storage capacity, which is the one I would recommend. QuickSilver is compatible with Linux, Mac OS, and Microsoft Windows.

Donald Brown was looking for a unique name for the new, mobile storage solution. Playing off the name Kangaroo, to convey a mobile product capable of hopping from one location to another, he modified the spelling to "guru." My personal favorite is the 400GB-capacity model that sells for $399.95.