Friday, January 13, 2012

CES: Day 4

Over and out. And while there's a whole lot we didn't get to see, there's a whole lot more that we did. This morning we headed back to the Venetian and I finally got to see the Serta display. Still not sure just what a mattress display is doing in an electronics show, but, what the hey. The main reason I returned to the Venetian and the PMA@CES show was to introduce Kevin to Chuck, the fellow from Calgary who has a very interesting way of framing photographs. I look forward to working with Chuck in the future, and using his "technology" with my own work--and that of others.

I also wanted to see more of the photo book technology that's out there, and as Kevin and I browsed the various displays, we found two that were most interesting. The first, by Noritsu, is a kiosk based machine that reads your images from a flash drive or memory card, allows you to pick and choose which ones you want, then prints them out in a nicely done booklet, approximately 8 1/2 x 5 1/2. There's a picture of it below where Kevin and the vendor are watching a woman printing her own photobook.

Across the aisle from the Noritsu display was the KIS booth. KIS is a company based in France which has a very similar machine. The main difference is that the KIS booklet is 4 x 6. But the KIS kiosk also allows the customer to scan photos on an attached flat-bed scanner, take a picture with an attached digital camera, and print out booklets, passport photos, calendars, or 8x10 prints, all at the touch of a button or ten. I was so taken with the technology, that I rushed back to our room, loaded all my blog pictures from the week onto a flash drive, then ran back to the Venetian to get my own photobooks done. With a copy of each in hand, I have to say that I like the Noritsu product better, but much prefer the KIS machine. I'm seriously thinking of putting one of these machines in my gallery/studio, so if you have any photos you'd like to turn into a calendar, or if you want a photobook of your latest trip abroad, let me know. The one drawback of both machines was that pulling my photos off the flash drive worked just fine, but I had no say in how they were presented in the finished product. The answer to that problem is that both companies have on-line software that allows you to design your book, save it onto a flash drive, then put the book together following your own dreams.

Yesterday, while sampling the various booths, I noted a great number were featuring printers of various types and styles. I've long wanted a large-format printer, something that would allow me to print my images at 20 x 30 or even larger, and on canvas or specialty papers. One of my bucket list goals is to have my own fine art printer, and so I looked carefully at what was being offered. At one point I stopped at a booth, absolutely dumbstruck by an image laid out on the floor. Obviously a city scape from some West Coast city, but which one I couldn't tell. It wasn't one that I recognized immediately. But what was truly striking was the dimensions of the print. Almost two feet wide and at least twenty-five feet long, it stretched across the floor along the entire front of the display booth. And the image quality was superb. As I was gasping at this wonder of modern technology, Kevin called. I tried to explain what I was seeing, but he remained unimpressed. So much for my powers of verbal persuasion. But that was yesterday. Today, when Kevin saw the photo for himself, he too became lost in awe. The city, by the way, is Vancouver, British Columbia, and the technology is old-fashioned dark room chemical printing. None of this ink jet stuff, no sirree. The company has the audacity to make their machine in the U.S., and you can have one for a mere $134,000. I don't think I'll be putting it on my Christmas list, not until Kevin wins the mega millions lottery, that is. My poor picture below doesn't do the print or the machine justice, but I h0pe you'll get an inkling of what charmed us so. I should say that the stunning image was made of a series of pictures stitched together and taken using a 6 megapixel camera. So much for being limited by your camera.

Turns out that while I was getting my books printed, Kevin was actually talking to vendors. By the time we caught back up with each other, he was ready to carry a new Epson printer out of the showroom. I succeeded in convincing him to wait, if only till we could talk about it, but satisfying my size-queen fantasies, there was this wonderful Epson machine, just outside the PMA display area. Now that puppy should be able to print just about anything, but no it's not the one we're going to get.

The printer in the photo above is designed to print banners and other such commercial artwork. The fine art printer we're considering is an Epson Stylus Pro 9900 which can accept rolls up to 44 inches wide. It has eleven ink cartridges and more bells and whistles than I care to imagine. If we get it, and with the show price, they're practically giving the machine away, we may go into the art print business at home. As I said above, it's been my dream to have such a machine almost as long as I've had my digital camera, so I have a feeling that a new piece of equipment will be headed toward Missoula in the near future. The woman facing the left edge of the picture was very helpful, and even gave me a sample book of the various Epson papers available. I can't wait to start playing with my own work, and with yours, if you wish. And Sharon--you said you wanted some of my work on canvas. Let me know which photos you'd like, and I'll get them ready. I'm grinning from ear to ear as I put together new business plans in my head.

And with that, the show was over. The booths were being dismantled around us, and the vendors weren't in as much a hurry to talk to prospects as they were to make their flights home. We are staying one more full day, maybe doing some sightseeing around the area. We had originally thought of renting a car for the week, but it turned out we didn't need one yet. We may get one tomorrow for the day, or maybe not. But to close out the show, I just had to call to mind Magritte's famous painting, Ceci n'est pas une pipe. What you see below is not a violin. Rather it is a violin-shaped audio speaker from a Chinese maker of high-end acoustic systems. It seems a fitting way to close this series on the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ceci n'est pas un violon.

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