From Darkness To Light 2009 Calendar Cover

From Darkness To Light 2009 Calendar Cover

I spent most of today at the printers – Akido Printing in San Leandro at a press check of the 2009 From Darkness To Light wall calendar. It is a fascinating process to watch. On the older presses, like the Heidelberg Speedmaster it is still a very fly by the seat of your pants operation. Here is how it generally goes. The four aluminum plates go into the press, about 100 sheets are run, and then once the press starts putting out clean sheets, they are checked for proper color registration by using a loupe and the printed cross hairs in the slug area. If an adjustment is needed then the plate has to be loosened and hand adjusted and anouther 100 sheets are printed and checked. Its a tideous process but in the hands of a seasoned pro like Mark, the Press Master at Akido, it does not take long.

Once the registration is locked in, then the color tweaking begins. A little more cyan here, a little less magenta there. The repeatability is near non-existent. Color matching is basically attained by one’s eye with regards to the printed image. At the same time Mark pulls out a Gretag photospectrometer and reads the CMYK color swatches on the slug area of the sheet in the various zones across the sheet to check for the color balance across all the section and makes small adjustments in the color densities which gets electronically sent to the press where it will lay down more or less ink on the plates. Once I sign off on the proof, it is set aside and all other sheets coming off the press for that plate set are checked against my signed proof and colors are managed to the CMYK swatches of the proof.

The odd thing is once one set of plates are used for the run, they are trashed! A next set of plates are mounted and the whole process starts again. There really is no cross checking from plate set to plate set to maintain the same color as the previous run, although I think it could be done. I am going to reasearch this topic and report on it soon.

With the printing all finished, I should have the calendars as early as Thursday of this week! The front and back cover of this year’s calendar is shown in the image above. Visit The Calendar Page on the Organic Light Photography website to order your copy today!

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