Alison Wright


About Alison Wright >>

I strive for precision and clarity with my cameras and lenses so it makes sense that I would want the same for my editing viewing platform. I love the set up of my two side-by-side MultiSync PA302W screens that give me edge-to-edge sharpness and precise color clarity. As the digital world becomes more finessed we need all the elements to come together to help us produce the best images possible and my NEC color monitors are a great aid with that process.  The large monitors seamlessly switch back and forth to help me edit with ease and cause less eye fatigue. I love having the large area real estate--the only drawback it makes me less inclined to edit on my laptop in the field! They are the envy of everyone who walks into my office.

www.alisonwright.com 
www.natgeocreative.com 
http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/photography/photographers/photographer-alison-wright/
twitter: @awrightphoto
instagram: alisonwrightphoto
Linked in: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alisonwrightphoto

David FitzSimmons


About David FitzSimmons >> Q & A >>

What advice would you give people just starting their color critical workflow editing process?

Successful color-critical workflow starts with planning. Consider how you are going to create and edit your files and how and where you plan to output them.

I begin with my cameras. I choose the best cameras. I shoot with two 45 megapixel Sigma SD1 bodies and one Nikon D800E, plus a wide range of pro Sigma lenses. When it comes to capture, I work in RAW. I then process my images utilizing the widest color gamut available, ProPhoto RGB. This ensures that my conversion produces the most colors possible in my images.

The most critical part of color control comes next: working with color-accurate displays. What I value in a good studio display is precise color reproduction, high resolution, and consistent color. The system I work on day-in and day-out is configured with dual NEC PA301W displays, both calibrated with the NEC SpectraView II system. The color accuracy of these PA301W displays allows me edit pictures with outstanding color accuracy. Few monitors allow for 30 bit color—the PA301W displays do. With spot-on color, I can on-screen proof 4-color publications and know exactly how they will look when printed.

I mentioned consistency. While we all might aspire to calibrating weekly, of course, there are times when I do not follow such a regimen. My NEC monitors are forgiving for such errors. For more than a decade and with different NEC displays, I have seen highly consistent colors , day after day. Even when I forget to run my calibration, colors remain consistent.
Finally, there’s your output. As a publisher of photographic books, the vast majority of my output comes through partnerships with designers and four-color printers. When my studio setup, my designers’ systems, and my printers’ equipment are all synchronized—meaning we all calibrate precisely to the same standard—we produce consistently top-notch reproductions.

Beyond printing, I also present many image-based programs to all kinds of audiences, from photography groups to nature-focused organizations, from elementary and middle schools to college and graduate students. For these presentations, I have been using NEC projectors for over a decade. They are rugged—I’ve never had one fail—and, even more importantly, produce beautiful, bright, and color-accurate images. I currently travel with an NEC NP-M402H projector. It produces 1080p images that are bright and beautiful—they make my work shine. And, as a professional presenter, I am happy to say that I have never been let down by any of my NEC projectors. They are built to last.

What do you currently use to edit your work?

My photography is edited in Sigma PhotoPro, Adobe Photoshop, Photomatix Pro, and Helicon Focus, running on a Intel-based PC that drives two NEC PA301w displays. While many photographers prefer Macs, I cut my teeth in high school programming early PCs. Today I build my own PC systems to match my photography and publishing workflow.

In terms of software, Sigma PhotoPro and Adobe Camera Raw are my RAW image converters. I use Sigma PhotoPro for my SD1 Merrill images. These extraordinarily-detailed files require unique processing software in that Sigma cameras contain sensors that are different from all other brands. Their color-accurate Foveon chips record all three colors—red, blue, and green—at every pixel site, unlike the interpolation of two of the three colors at every photo site in all other camera sensors. This produces extremely even color gradations and results in precise edges. My D800E images are processed in Adobe Camera Raw.

The bulk of my photo editing—mostly optimizing images—is done in Photoshop. I work in many layers as I work on landscape and wildlife images. And I use a combination of Photoshop and Photomatix Pro in producing HDR images. For focus stacking, I use Helicon Focus. This amazing software allows you to focus on different planes of your subject and combine them into one almost infinitely-sharp image.

When photographers are searching for new equipment, what would you suggest to them before buying?

As a photographer, I always talk to other shooters. I read reviews. And I visit brick-and-mortar stores. Magazines and online publications provide all kinds of good insight. I enjoy both editing content on sites such as DPReview, Popular Photography, and other photo sites. I also extensively read consumer reviews. Besides the numeric rating, such as 4.5 out of 5, I find discursive comments highly useful.

Of course, nothing beats going to your local brick-and-mortar retailer to find out whether your dream equipment is a good fit for you. Seeing many choices before you, and trying it out, is invaluable. Trade shows are great places not only to see gear first-hand but also to get good deals.

How did you get started in photography?

It was handed down to me: My grandfather was a photographer, and my father is a photographer. I was inspired by them, and I had a number of cameras handed down to me—I cut my teeth on an Argus C-3. I loved winding the shutter, focusing using the split-image range finder, and taking double exposures of myself using a tripod and the screw-on self-timer!
My parents were both teachers—now retired—and our family of five traveled extensively in the summer. We took lots of pictures. When we got home, Dad would project his slides, and we would critique them together. It was a great way to learn about subjects, composition, color, texture, and other components of good photographs.

After teaching for a couple years, I decided to start my own photography business. I took pictures of whatever I could, for whatever fee I could get. My craft improved, and my images started appearing in newspapers and magazines. In 2010, I caught the eye of Dave Metz, marketing, at Sigma. He was assembling a team of Sigma Pros. I now travel around the country teaching people how to produce better images.

That same year I began work on my award-winning Curious Critters children’s books. These have sold over 100,000 copies. There are now five books in the product line, and eight more are coming out by the end of 2016.

The message is we all start somewhere. If you are looking to take the next step, do it. Learn always. Have confidence in your work. And share it widely. You are your best salesman!

Do you have any current projects that you would like to share with us?

I am really enjoying working on my Curious Critters photography series. This fun project began by taking a few high key photos of animals for use in Sigma ads for Outdoor Photographer magazine. Quickly I realized the potential for other uses of these up-close and personal, white-background animal portraits.

Right away, people kept telling me I should create a children’s picture book with the whimsical images, so I did. Right away the book started receiving awards. It sold out in four months, received six national book awards, and was licensed by Scholastic for their book fairs and book club. To-date, “Curious Critters” has sold over 100,000 copies.

Naturally, I began work on additional books. In 2014 I released “Curious Critters Volume Two,” which featured more common North American animals. And on Earth Day 2015 I released “Curious Critters Marine,” focusing on creatures of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, as well as the Gulf of Mexico.

To accompany the various critters staring readers in the eyes, I wrote short narratives in which the animals share fun facts about their natural histories. To write these, I imagined that I talked with the subjects during our photo sessions and then wrote down what they had to say. I try to create different personalities for each one.

I am now introducing state board books for the youngest readers—forthcoming are Curious Critters books on Ohio (my home state), Michigan, Texas, Florida, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri—and I have four exhibits of Curious Critters prints traveling across North America. In addition, I lead photo workshops teaching people how to photograph live animals using my signature high key approach.

See more of David’s work at www.fitzsimmonsphotography.com or www.curious-critters.com

I have a dual PA322UHD setup in my studio, and—Wow!--these extraordinary displays have greatly improved my productivity. I anticipated how two large, extremely color-accurate displays would aid my image editing, but I never anticipated how much the spacious screens would facilitate other aspects of my workflow. Keeping multiple browser, word processor, and spreadsheet windows open at one time allows me to move from document to document easily and efficiently. And, of course, the brilliant color and sharp image-rendering make working with my photos a real pleasure.

As far as seeing my work during editing, doing my post-production on NEC’s PA322UHD displays is unbelievable. Their super-high resolution, accurate colors, and beautifully large size of these 4k displays create an incredibly immersive experience. I feel like I am in the scenes—right there with my subjects—in a way unlike any other before. Jumping from one display to multiple displays only increases this experience.

To see more images from Curious Critters, visit www.curious-critters.com or my website at www.fitzsimmonsphotography.com

Eric Meola


About Eric Meola >> Q & A >> Current Projects

What advice would you give people just starting their color critical workflow editing process?

Your monitor is the most important part of your workflow.  It’s critical that you not only get the best, but that you calibrate it and understand how important it is in insuring your images are reproduced the way you intend them to be seen.  The old computer saying of “garbage in, garbage out” is just as important here as it is in anything dealing with accurate data—why waste your time with something that isn’t the best? 

What do you currently use to edit your work?

Two NEC PA302W-BK 30” monitors. They’re arranged in a visual “V” in my line of sight, so I have a virtual 60” wide monitor setup. I calibrate every week so I can feel assured the color file I deliver is accurate.

When photographers are searching for new equipment, what would you suggest to them before buy-ing?

Do your research, but also ask those whose opinions you value what they are using and why—color has been the focus of my career in photography, and what I am known for. An accurate monitor that can be hardware calibrated is, ultimately, the single least expensive and yet single most important component of your workflow over time.

How did you get started in photography?

As a kid I was interested in magic as a hobby, and my father was a doctor. A patient of his—an engi-neer—taught me how to develop film and make prints. Seeing my first print come up in the developer was a moment when I actually watched my own future “developing” in front of me—it was a pivotal moment. I apprenticed in NYC and then opened my own studio, doing editorial and advertising work.

Do you have any current projects that you would like to share with us?

I’ve always wanted to do a landscape book on America—but where? The cities and the canyons of the West, and the coasts have been the subjects of so many books. I’ve always been drawn to the work of the photographer David Plowden, whose minimalistic images of the “commonplace” in America’s heartland became all the more compelling when I made a road trip to Nevada in 1977 with Bruce Springsteen. So I’m working on a book about the landscapes of America’s Great Plains called “Tornado Alley: The Sky Above the Land Below”. Just this year I’ll make four trips out to the prairie as I work towards finishing the book. I’m three years into the research and photography and hope to have it published in 2020. An exhibit of my prints from the project is scheduled to open in NYC in September 2015:

“Chasing the Storm”, Bernarducci Meisel Gallery, 37 West 57th Street. September 3 - 27, 2015

Some of the images from this project can be seen at these two links:

http://www.ericmeola.photography/portfolio/photography/tornado-alley

http://www.ericmeola.photography/portfolio/photography/prairie-light
A Window on the Universe

- Eric Meola -

As a photographer, I’ve spent a large part of my life looking through a very tiny window— concentrating on the image, the composition, and the placement of the elements in the frame. I’ve always been looking through that tiny window at the universe in front of me.

But that was in the film era—my world in the 20th Century. As I began shooting with digital cameras, I started looking at my images on CRT monitors, and then graduated to Cinema Displays. And as I learned more about color profiles, I began profiling my monitors, and working in the ProPhoto color space.

In the past few weeks I have had the opportunity to hook up two exquisite, identical 30” NEC MultiSync PA302W-BK monitors, which use LED’s that run cooler and are more energy efficient than their predecessors, the PA301W’s. This allows “instant on” and far more precise control of the whitepoint.

The first thing I did when I set them up was to profile them using NEC’s incredibly logical and intuitive SpectraView II software, which handholds you through the process of not only creating profiles, but profiles that you can tune to your own specifications—in my case, I changed the default intensity from 140 to 120 cd/m2.

Built-in, drop down choices for color temperature range from D50 through D65 up to D75 and even 9300 K. Once the monitor is calibrated, it’s easy to toggle between the monitor’s gamut, and sRGB, as well as Adobe RGB, and compare them to this monitor’s vastly larger color space.

It’s important to understand that what you are paying for in a monitor of this caliber is hardware calibration, as opposed to software calibration. Although software is used in the calibration process, the NEC alters the display electronics internally (using 14-bit LUT’s, or look-up tables), resulting in a display that shows reds and blues that Adobe RGB just can’t reproduce. This is a completely different approach than using a “puck” to modify the video signal.

What do I see when I look at the NEC PA302W-BK ? I see a universe I never knew existed. I see a screen that is uncannily even from edge to edge. Calibrating both monitors, the profiles match each other almost like fingerprints overlaid on one another. Viewed side by side, the same image on each monitor looks exactly identical, and they look like no monitor I’ve ever seen before—these are my images displayed in a way that allows me to adjust them far more accurately than ever before, and apply those adjustments with total confidence that what I am seeing is state-of-the-art color. This is calibration as close as is currently possible to the parameters I have chosen and that the monitor has set. I could look at my images on these monitors for hours and my eyes would never get tired, because the color is so accurate and so even. These are windows on a universe I never knew existed, nor ever realized was possible, and for the first time I am not only seeing digital photography’s full potential, but revisiting my “analog” film images with an appreciation for the subtle and not-so-subtle differences in the two mediums.

It is also possible to have the monitors adjust themselves to the current ambient illumination, and just a day with these monitors makes you rethink every single aspect of your working space. I’ve had so much fun with them in just the first week that I’ve already set up a number of macros that let me work a lot faster and much more efficiently in Lightroom. Now that they’re in front of me, I’m editing a lot faster, and my entire workflow has improved—for the first time I have complete confidence that I’m seeing sharpness, tones, contrast and gamut that is as good as it gets. I’ve read all the technical explanations and specifications, but in the end my eyes don’t lie to me. What I am seeing makes my long days in front of these windows on a new universe a lot more fun and give me complete confidence in the digital files that I send to the people who reproduce my images. I can’t imagine looking at my images again on a lesser monitor, and why should I?

Jeff Schewe


About Jeff Schewe >>
"I've been doing digital imaging for over 20 years, and in that time, the real weak point has always been the computer display. Being able to actually trust what you see requires an excellent display and of course, proper color management that ensures that your display is accurately profiled."

"Today's displays need to have a wide gamut of color and a bright and uniform backlighting but they also need to have the ability to calibrate and profile extremely accurately. Applications like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom base their image display upon that profile and without an accurate one, you really can't trust your own eyes."

"For my digital imaging studio area, I chose NEC displays because they had the right combination of resolution, wide screen display, wide color gamut and yet extremely accurate profiling so I can rely upon what I see on the display. I use it day in and day out and it's proven trustworthy... As a visual artist, everything depends upon what I see. From left to right in my imaging area I have 3 displays on my main imaging machine, an LCD2690WUXi for Photoshop panels and dual LCD3090WQXi 30" displays for maximum real estate. The 4th display is a PA241W for my second workstation."

John Paul (JP) Caponigro


About John Paul (JP) Caponigro >>
"Investing in a high quality monitor is one of the most important things we can do to ensure our digital files and prints achieve the highest quality. Visual artists who don't invest in a great monitor are like audiophiles who don't invest in good speakers. The monitor is what we look at; the speaker are what they listen to."

"NEC's LCD2690WUXi monitors are among the monitors that achieve the widest gamuts available today, making it possible to see more of the color contained in your digital files and more accurately represent the saturated colors that are printable with today's fast-evolving digital printing media."

"Simulating print brightness and contrast with monitors has always been one of the most challenging tasks. NEC's unique combination of hardware and software solutions are the most sophisticated solutions available for setting monitor white, far exceeding the accuracy of the vast majority of other LCD monitor's too bright results. As a result, predictions of print quality are significantly more accurate, saving time and media."

"The image on screen looks gorgeous and so do the prints made based on it. Excellent results are achieved more quickly. And, I enjoy the whole process more."

"It wasn't easy to recommend an LCD monitor to the thousands of people who read my columns, attend my seminars, and participate in my workshops - until the NEC LCD2690WUXi monitors were released. Now, the choice is clear."

Michael Grecco


About Michael Grecco >>
"We rely on our NEC MultiSync PA271W-BK to get us the accuracy in color I require for my work. In two major projects, converting all my Lighting and the Dramatic Portrait book images for an eBook and a composite image for a major client, our NEC display gave me the confidence to know that I am delivering the best product possible. My work rides the edge of both mood and color and the NEC is the most neutral, yet vibrant, monitor I have ever used."

Michael Grecco
Photographer & Director   http://www.michaelgrecco.com/

Seth Resnick


About Seth Resnick >> Q & A >>

What advice would you give people just starting their color critical workflow editing process?

The ultimate goal of most photographers is to capture a great shot and produce a print, book, blog, social media or some other form of output and do so as efficiently and as accurately as possible. Many photographers spend enormous amounts of time and money on their cameras and lenses but often neglect to consider the actual workflow, which can be a huge mistake. For the workflow to flow the color management must match as the image moves from through the chain from camera to output and it all really starts with with an accurate color profiled monitor. Folks fail to realize that the monitor as just as important as the camera and lens. Maintaining accurate color not only insures quality but in the long term in lowers the amount of time and money you will spend because with accurate color management you can produce a print or any other output faster, cheaper and more efficiently.

What do you currently use to edit your work?

I use Lightroom and Photoshop with two NEC MultiSync PA302W monitors.

When photographers are searching for new equipment, what would you suggest to them before buying?

I think the most important thing for photographers to do when searching for new equipment is to understand what their goals are and to fully understand the process to get their. For example if you want to make a print and you spend $50,000 on camera gear and use an old monitor without proper color management you simply won’t succeed at your goal. Read books from trusted authors and take the time to take workshops and then talk with other photographers and finally shop around and buy from a reputable vendor.

How did you get started in photography?

I wanted to be a photographer since high school. Back in the Kodachrome days I was just starting my career as a newspaper photojournalist in Syracuse, New York. Syracuse, according to the Farmers Almanac, ranks fourth among the rainiest cities in the U.S. and cloudy 212 days annually. One might think that I would be unhappy in Syracuse but gray is a wonderful background for color and images standout against a dark sky.

My career has changed dramatically over time based on what inspires me. My inspiration in Syracuse was photojournalism and I completed what is still one of my most rewarding stories ever in Syracuse. The story was about a little girl who was burned and it ran on the cover of Empire Magazine. I continued photographing Renee and photographed her college graduation and even her wedding 20 plus years after working on that story. Finishing that story also made me realize that I had accomplished what I wanted to do with journalism and the publishing of that story led to my conclusion that it was time to move on.

When I finished the burn story I had grandeur ideas of changing journalism. My first assignment when I went back on the street after that story was an assignment photographing a woman with a very large cucumber in Baldwinsville, NY. It was great to get that assignment because I realized that it was time to move into my next phase. Sometimes we can get very comfortable in an uncomfortable place and we need a kick in the pants to move forward.

The moving on led to magazine journalism and eventually onto corporate annual reports and then to teaching and self generated assignments and fine art. Each phase of my life has come naturally but I would have never guessed that I would be teaching and traveling the world while I was in Syracuse. If I had to do it all over again I would take the exact same path. Working at a newspaper provided an excellent foundation for my future and I cherish that experience to this day.

Do you have any current projects that you would like to share with us?

For projects involve teaching…teaching is part of the growth process for me and I love it. I have the ability to work one on one with students and watch them grow. We tend to have many repeat clients and there is an immense amount of joy is witnessing the growth that takes place when you have the opportunity to work with someone over and over again. As a teacher I strive to engage, challenge, and inspire growth in my students. It is my hope that every student is capable of the same passion that I feel for photography and with that philosophy in mind, I teach within a structure which I believe fosters critical thinking both creatively as well as technically.

My teaching philosophy revolves around the idea of being as well-balanced of a photographer as possible. Technical skills must be mastered as well as conceptual skills but it must start with a solid image. No matter how accomplished you are technically, if your ideas are weak, then your images simply won’t work, and, conversely, no matter how good your ideas are, if your technical skills are lacking your images can’t work. No matter how innovative the idea is, it is not worth showing if it is done poorly. My teaching philosophy is to enable each photographer to create their own vision—to see things others would not see if they were standing right next to them. In this way, you learn how to see the subject matter that you might otherwise overlook. We all see color, but no two of us experience it exactly the same way; my shade of red is not what you’re seeing. Yet as a photographer, I want you to see what's in my mind's eye, which is where the challenge lies to capture and render a particular vision.

My second goal is to hone in on a students personal aesthetic point of view. We examine the choices that we make when producing a photograph, the choices that differentiate a great photograph with a lasting impression from a mere snapshot. I want to enhance their vision into the world of reflections, patterns, gestures, tone, abstractions, movement, and texture to name a few.

I want to extract their personal creativity and bring it to a new level.
I believe that photography is best learned by immersion. To challenge and be challenged by my students is my third goal. I begin with the belief that every student possesses unique capabilities that can be shared with others if given the appropriate supports. I challenge my students to share opinions with and to mentor one another. I also expect to be challenged by my students. I encourage my students to ask questions, and I am straightforward about not having all of the answers. When I become “stuck” I seek the input of my colleagues. Above all else, I challenge my students to understand that I am open to their thoughts, eager to hear their opinions, and thrilled to learn with and through them.

Finally, I attempt to inspire growth in my students.
For myself, teaching provides an opportunity for continual learning and growth. One of my hopes as an educator is to instill a love of learning in my students, as I share my own passion for learning with them. Teaching is never stagnant and it is a constant process of learning about new philosophies and new strategies, learning from fellow photographers and colleagues.

I believe in a flexible manner of instruction, responsive to the unique atmosphere of a given class. I am aware of students’ different experiences and temperaments in hopes of developing their strengths while ameliorating their weaknesses. Every student, regardless of background, can improve his or her abilities and be emboldened to push beyond their own experience expanding their skills and their vision.

My schedule for teaching and workshops is always available at
http://www.sethresnick.com
http://www.d65.com
http://www.digitalphotodestinations.com

My workflow mandates absolute critical color and my two NEC Multisync PA302W monitors deliver in every conceivable way. The monitors are incredibly sharp and deliver edge to edge accuracy. I am able to find details that would have been lost on other monitors.

The gamut of these screens is among the widest of any monitor and the color is bold and rich and accurate. I have two monitors with an exact match allowing me to really take advantage of utilizing a grid of my selects on one screen and a loupe view on the other.

With precision control over contrast and brightness my prints match my screen which is a big time saver and ultimately financially more advantageous and ecologically better, because I am using less paper. I also love the ergonomic adjustments which allow me sit at my monitors for hours without strain.

There are a lot of monitors on the market but NEC is a clear winner for my workflow.