Dan MuranoPhotography

I'm the guy who keeps this site running, and I'm honored to share this forum with these wonderful friends as both current and future contributors. I've been a photographer for most of my life, and I look forward to sharing much of the work I've done within these pages. And for photographers,  I also look forward to sharing tips on how best to capture and display your own work, either film-based, digital, or a combination of both.

Jun 08, 2017
Written by: Dan Murano

Many of these images are scans of prints I made shortly after the March, along with some more recent scans of the negatives. Be sure to check out the gallery at the bottom of the page for a wider selection of images. (updated June 19, 2017.)

Disabled participants at the head of the march wait for the signal to start.Disabled participants at the head of the march wait for the signal to start.Spectators watch the march as it moves down Pennsylvania Avenue.Spectators watch the march from in front of the Old Post Office building on Pennsylvania Avenue.

 

Young men watch from a building overlooking the march route.A group of guys watch from a building overlooking the march route.

 

A rally on the National Mall followed the march.A rally on the National Mall followed the march.

 

Click through the gallery below for more images.

 

Jun 02, 2017
Written by: Dan Murano

A few photos from the Women's March on Washington which took place on January 21, 2017, the day after the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump.

Click the images to see a larger version in a gallery window.

May 12, 2017
Written by: Dan Murano

When did I learn to love looking at photos? Probably, when I started making them. A more interesting question might be, when did I start seeing them?

Before computers took over my time in the 1990's, I read every photo magazine that came into my hands. Some of them taught me to make better photos, while others left me lusting for gear and gadgets and salivating over camera ads that promised to ratchet my skills beyond the nth level of greatness.

I miss the look and feel of those old cameras. I miss their ruggedness, their mechanical dials, the whirring springs, light meter needles, flapping mirrors, and hinged backs I would swing open to load up with whatever choice of film my budget made affordable. Whether it was color or black and white, negative or slide, high speed or low speed - each choice was deliberate, and so were the frames I exposed.

Four or five rolls of film were sometimes all I had to last me a month, so I exercised care over how many frames I exposed at one time. That mindset persisted well into the days when I stashed bricks of film in the freezer. I learned to enjoy the slow and meditative process of previsualization and evaluating how focal length, film type, processing and printing might change what I saw in front of my lens.

Digital cameras remove the consideration of film type, and huge memory cards and rapid-fire shutters wreak havoc with my meditative process. Too often, it's 20 frames in a a minute, followed by chimping over the screen to see if the exposure is right. I miss the mystery of waiting to look and the magic of chemical science, and have yet to master the discipline of checking only the histogram and ignoring a preview that never seems to capture the magic I see through the lens. Each method has its advantages.

When I use film (and I still do), I usually set it aside for processing later, so "chimping" happens months, if not years after pressing the shutter release. My record processing gap was 23 years for a roll of Kodachrome that I developed as black and white after commercial processing was no longer available. It was magic pulling those tack-sharp negatives out of the film tank.

I love how photography brings my life back to me.

Have fun and be a better photographer

When people ask me how to improve their photography, the best advice I can offer is: Study your photos.

Study your photos before you press the shutter release, and study them when you see them on screen. Even better, make prints and tack them up where you can look at them every day. You may be surprised to see something different each time you look. Ask yourself what makes one image stronger than one pinned beside it. What weakens the image? What is the subject? Were you close enough, or too far away? Are you sick of seeing it after a week?

May 04, 2017
Written by: Dan Murano

Even though scanning prints on a flatbed scanner is fast and easy, a little extra attention to detail can save a lot of post-processing work. One of the most important things is to make sure that the scanner glass stays streak free and clean for every print.

My old Epson 4990 flatbed produces high quality scans, but it often sits idle for months, during which time a haze builds up on the underside of the glass from the outgassing of the internal plastics. I don't want this haze in my scans, so before each session, I carefully lift up the top assembly and clean the underside of the glass with streak-free glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth. I do this so often that I don't even bother putting back the screws to secure the lid to the base.

On the top of the glass, even a gloved hand can leave a nasty smudge, so I wipe that clean before laying down every print.

This process works great for images up to about 9x12 inches, but for larger prints, I use a camera and copy stand.

Leveling the camera. The old stand that I have here is sitting on top of a rolling file cabinet. The pole and camera mount assembly can be taken off for storage. Items that can be easily broken down are important when you work in a small space.Leveling the camera. This old copy stand is sitting on top of a rolling file cabinet. The pole and camera mount can be removed for easy storage. Gear that can be easily disassembled is helpful in a small space.

 

My copy camera stand doesn't have lights, so I use swivel-arm lamps at a 45-degree angle on either side of it. I keep the lights far enough away to allow for a 1/15 - 1/30 second exposure to avoid any horizontal banding from the LED lights that I use. (I first noticed this banding with my Iphone.)  I set the camera on manual and measure the light with an incident meter.

I use a 55mm f/3.5 Nikon macro lens on my D610, stopped down to f/8 or f/11. The 55mm has a recessed front element which reduces flare from the lights, and the focal length allows me to fill the frame without raising the camera too high. Black paper extends the lamp hoods and reduces the amount of light bouncing back from the ceiling and walls. I wear dark colored clothing and use a cable release to keep any reflections from my hand or clothing away from the print.

A level verifies that the camera and baseboard are parallel. I set the camera for ISO 100, meter the light and set the white balance with a white card. The images are sorted to minimize column height adjustments while I work through the stack. I use back-button focusing on every image and change the lens opening according to the brightness of the images. I quickly check each image's histogram to make sure there is no clipping of the highlights or shadows. The camera outputs both NEF and JPEG files.

A metal base can be useful for holding down wide-bordered prints with small magnets. Low-tack tape is also an option. RC prints will usually lay flat on their own. A self healing mat with a grid also makes a good base, and the grid can help verify camera alignment through the viewfinder. Placing a sheet of glass over the image is an option, but there is always a chance that Newton's rings will ruin your copy work.

I used a computer side panel under the print to both raise the image a bit and to allow the magnets to hold down the print edges. Keeping dust off the print is important. I used my computer's side panel to raise the image and to allow magnets to hold down the edges of the print. A microfiber duster removes dust from the print.

 

A cable release will keep you from shaking the camera and will also keep reflections from your hand away from the image.A cable release helps avoid camera shake and will also keep the reflection of your hand away from the image.