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Making Large Format Prints in the Digital Age

The Berkshire Hathaway Home Services California Properties office in Calabasas, CA recently had a major redesign, and the financial firm called upon California photographer Daniel Stein for prints to give the space warmth and local character. They wanted large prints, in the 40 x 30 range, and Stein also provided a 72 x 17 panoramic. Stein specializes in fine art photography for collectors and designers, and he also happens to live nearby the Berkshire Hathaway Home Services offices in Calabasas.

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“I returned to some of my favorite areas specifically for this assignment to create a well-rounded selection for the interior of the office. My intent was to provide a virtual tour through the beautiful natural landscape of the area, which includes the Santa Monica Mountains,” said Stein, discussing how he selected images for the collection.

Stein collaborated with fellow artist and master printer Chris Otcasek to print the photographs. “Chris’s expertise in printing large imagery was instrumental in creating the work,” Stein said.

What’s involved in producing large prints in the digital age? Even though the digtal-savvy Stein has an active Instagram feed and posts images to Facebook, his workflow is already large-format friendly. “I seem to always shoot with a large print in mind. And to that end, tripod, mirror lock up, and remote shutter are fairly important for the large prints,” he said.

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A series of three images to be hung together at the Berkshire Hathaway California Properties office were shot on film. Some of you may remember AGFA Ultra 50. Popular in the 1990s through early 2000s the film delivers super-saturated images and punchy greens and blues – perfect for the Calabasas landscapes. Stein shot medium format, and the images were film scanned and processed in Photoshop, with little post-processing needed.

“The processes that were used in manipulating images in the darkroom have now been made digital. Music used to be exclusively produced by live instruments, and now technology has opened up infinite creative doors for that creative process, just like photography.” The other images in the collection were produced digitally with a Nikon D800E. “I have been doing quite a bit of post processing using OnOne Software as well as NikSoftware plugins. Mostly for contrast enhancements, but I did use a rice paper texture for the background of the large oak [image.]” Stein uses OnOne Perfect to resize images and Imagenomic for noise reduction. The panoramic image was stitched together from three frames using Photoshop. OneOn software is what Stein uses to bring contrast out of the clouds in the pano.

To see more images from Stein’s Calabasas Mountains shoot, click here.

Lee Schneider

Lee Schneider is the creative director at Red Cup, a communications agency that uses digital media to launch campaigns and build online narratives. His podcast, TechSmart, covers start up culture and online entrepreneurism. He writes for The Huffington Post and for Medium. He is the founder of DocuCinema, a media production company. He has written, produced, directed and edited documentaries for The History Channel, Discovery Health Channel, The Learning Channel, Bravo, Food Network, Court TV (tru tv), ReelzChannel, A&E and many corporate clients. He began his career as a freelance writer at Good Morning America and was a producer at Fox and Dateline NBC.

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