My business Mountain Images was the original and sole producer of specialist mountain prints in the United Kindgom back in 1983, and I am pleased and proud of the long-standing reputation that it achieved for manufacturing superb exclusive high quality mountain prints. I continue to exercise the same dedication to perfecting excellence in my prints as I do in creating the outstanding image in the field.
My 'classic' prints are painstakingly crafted and printed at a high resolution from my very best images. They are produced individually for each and every customer, as they have been for many years, on a bright white 260 gsm premium paper with a beautiful lustre finish.
Quality is achieved by respecting the relationship between original image size and final print size; minimising the level of magnification between the two ensures that the print that I produce for my customers contains infinite subject detail, excellent colour saturation and wide tonal range. I carry out only the minimal amount of corrective work to the original digital negatives obtained in the field; they are not colour enhanced, over-saturated, over-sharpened nor over-worked. The textures and colours you see in the final print are a true and accurate representation of the view I saw on the day I captured the image.
The vast majority of the prints that I offer for sale are reproduced from images captured on high end professional cameras and to strictly observed standards. The final step in the production cycle always involves printing a digitised image, but this image will have been obtained from one of several sources depending upon the type of camera and media that was used at the time of capture.
The Fuji GX617 Camera : Production of Prints from Images Captured on Film
The Fuji GX617 is a highly regarded, but now discontinued, professional film camera delivering images measuring 6cm x 17cm on 120 roll film; it can be deployed with any one of three specialist Fujinon lenses designed exclusively to fit - the 90mm, 180mm and 300mm. I used the GX617 extensively between 1999 and 2004. All material from this camera was captured on Fuji Velvia 50 film stock which was then scanned to produce print-ready digital images measuring 850mm x 300mm at 300 dpi resolution. This is a magnification from the original film at a scale of 25:1 which will obviously produce better results than the 150:1 magnification usually needed to produce a print of just A4 size from the APS-C sensor of a typical modern compact digital camera.
The Fuji GX617 panoramic camera fitted with the 90mm Fujinon lens and a sample of an image that it created
The Production of Prints from Images Captured on Digital Media
With the arrival of the digital age I replaced my Fuji GX617 with the Canon EOS 1DS (subsequently moving on to a Nikon D810). Digital photography offers enormous benefits over traditional film photography for those working in difficult circumstances outdoors. Equipment is much lighter and more versatile, results can be checked before leaving a location, and RAW file format enables minor adjustments to be made post shoot back in the studio.
The EOS 5D Mark III; five exposures captured with it, and the panoramic image produced after 'stitching'
Panoramic images are now obtained by 'stitching' together a sequence of parallel, adjacent and overlapping images captured using professional grade lenses and precision built tripod heads. This technique yields several important improvements and benefits over that used to produce digitised images from film. Firstly, it removes one entire stage from the production process; there is no longer film to scan so any problems with scan accuracy and quality are eliminated. Secondly, it leaves me in complete control of my material, from start to finish, from image capture to the final print, reducing the time it takes to get a newly created image to market. Finally, and most importantly, my creative skills are no longer limited by camera format - images created can be used in isolation or they can be stitched in both the horizontal and the vertical plane to provide variety in the size and shape of prints that can be produced from just one shoot.
The Future : The Nikon D810 Camera, High Dynamic Range Printers and Fine Art Papers
In a continuing quest for development and improvement, I have taken many of my recent images with the sensational and ground-breaking Nikon D810 camera and its 36.7 megapixel full frame sensor, enabling me to take my prints to an even higher level of detail and wider dynamic range.
The 'future' - The Nikon D810 and Epson Stylus Pro 7880
To take these improvements even further my images a printed on the very latest Epson printers which use Ultrachrome HDR pigment inks. These printers use two extra colours - green and orange - in their eleven ink set taking colour performance to an entirely new level with a wider tonal range. The new inks provide higher colour accuracy, greater subtlety and smoother gradations. Grass and foliage will be much more vivid and natural whilst orange tones in sunsets will be more dazzling. Careful consideration has also be given to the choice of print media; manufacturers may vary from time to time, but these will have a silky smooth surface structure designed to ensure they maintain the natural characteristics of a smooth high-white art paper whilst maintaining the necessary natural aesthetics demanded by artists and photographers. The surfaces have a special matte coating, designed for high quality fine art and photographic reproduction and print applications with inkjet (giclee) technology.
Traditional and Contemporary Designs with Quality of Manufacture
Whilst my main interest and input is in the capture of the images themselves and the production of high quality prints from them, they are displayed at their best when they are professionally mounted and framed. With that in mind all my prints are now available supplied framed in any one of a selection of mouldings which I believe work well with my images. These frames are of simple design and made externally, to order, by one of the UK's best-known framers. They are produced using only the very best quality materials to an exceptionally high standard by 'Fine Art Trade Guild' craftsmen.
In the framing process, a print is first dry mounted before being placed behind a soft white bevelled mount. This procedure has many benefits; the print surface will remain perfectly flat, it determines and maintains the print's precise position within the frame, it allows the print to 'breathe' when subjected to variations in temperature and humidity, and finally it ensures that the printed surface does not come into contact with the glazing. To reduce the overall frame weight yet maintain strength, all my frames are fitted with Art Screen Clear acrylic glazing to ensure that they are strong, safe and lightweight.
All completed framed prints are shipped in customised packaging by carrier to you, the customer, directly from their factory.
I reserve the right to change the specification of my mouldings from time to time and from batch to batch. Although the mouldings will change, I shall ensure continuity in the general appearance of my product range. I do guarantee that any customer who orders several frames in a single order will be supplied with frames made from the same batch of moulding. However, I cannot guarantee that any customer who places a return order for frames some time later will receive mouldings from the same batch.