Late into last night, whilst doing my best snow-dance, I continued fighting the good fight against bad print from my Epson R1800. After a flash of brilliance, I think I have discovered the problem at hand.
I’ve been using Red River papers exclusively, and I have absolutely loved them. They’ve been inexpensive, seething with good quality, and flawless so far. For some reason though, my stack of 4×6 UltraPro Satin seems to have stopped carrying a good image. I don’t know if there’s some kind of tolerance issue from the beginning to the current point in my box of paper, or if there’s some other kind of gremlin at work.
I went through a quick flirtation with Ilford papers on my journey with the R1800, and still had some Ilford Smooth Gloss and Smooth Pearl papers around, and decided to print on both of those, along with some Epson Premium Semigloss paper.
And guess what? The prints were stunning.
After dozens (literally!) of prints on the Red River papers to try various print settings, and expending a ton of ink on head cleanings, my problem wound up being the very media I was printing on. Note to self for next time I have some printing challenges, eh!
Now, I still believe that Red River has great papers — I’ve had nothing but good luck with them until this little bump in the road. Until my 8½x11 and 13×19 Red River papers start showing problems, I’ll probably continue doing some printing on them.
Quite deliberately, I decided on the way home this afternoon — an adventure in itself, given the snow and ice — to stop a Creve Coeur Camera and pick up some Epson papers to play with. Quite by accident however, I ended up buying matte papers. Typically, I print on luster coated papers — I like the sheen, and despise a full-on glossy paper, so luster’s where I have headed.
I got home, opened the new package of 8½x11 heavyweight matte paper, and cringed when I saw that it was truly matte — not just flat gloss, but no gloss. Urgh. Well, I had it here, it didn’t cost that much, and I hadn’t played with matte papers since DLWS at Yosemite in November ’05. So I ran my troublesome little image, expecting to not like it, and…
I loved it!
Something about that paper just punches, way harder than anything else I’ve been printing on. Guess I’m glad I bought that box of 13×19 Epson Enhanced Paper! 🙂
So the love is back… for now. Like lovers, printers can be tempermental, and the timbre of the relationship could change just like that! But tonight, on the eve of Valentine’s Day, my Epson and I have kissed and made up, all thanks to the mediation of a little box of paper.