So I bet you're all wondering, "What does Prof. D do for Spring Break?" Well, I'm glad you asked. First, I shot a wedding and then edited all the photos with Adobe's Lightroom. Then, I did my taxes. And finally, I got to do what I wanted for a few days: test digital printing papers!
Yes, I know I'm a photo geek, but I had a great time testing out new media on my Epson printer. It's been a while since I've done this and I had been in the routine of using 1 or 2 different papers. The interesting thing is that there are a huge number of digital printing papers these days, which seriously outnumber the variety of traditional black and white printing papers. (A very simple comparison at Calumet is that they have 257 choices of b&w paper from 7 different companies while they have 491 choices of digital paper from 21 different companies.)
In grad school I had to do a toning project to sample different papers, developers, and toners. My professor referred to it as a "Matrix." So, I reinvented the project, this time printing digitally. I still have work to do, but as of today, I have finished 40 different samples for digital b&w prints. I'll also end up with 40 tonal varations of those papers. I've also tested 13 papers for color images with some more work to be done. In the end, I've tried around 50 different papers from about 15 different companies.
Now, why would I do this? 1) So I can know what paper will produce the perfect nuance and finished print from my printer. 2)So I can keep up to date with today's media options. 3) So I can pass my knowledge on to you, to make recommendations (as well as develop future class projects, when I finally get the chance to teach a digital class).
The biggest danger in such an undertaking is to lose sight of the ultimate goal, great photography. Never let technology, gear, or toys sidetrack you from producing strong images. Afterall, that is the true endeavor of the photographer.
Oh yeah, and I watched a LOT of basketball.