Jo Avila

Testing Never Stops

There is a saying that goes “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The underlying wisdom of this often-quoted saying is the need to recognize when to leave along what already works. A friend reminded me of this when I downloaded a software update that wreaked havoc on my workstation. However, leaving well enough alone doesn’t always hold true.

New ideas, product development, skill enhancement, wanting to learn new knowledge all run counter to leaving well enough alone. There is a danger to being complacent and being too attached to the status quo.

A former student whom I haven’t seen in a long time dropped by our printing center at ShutterMaster Pro QC. He wanted to have one of his digital images printed. He watched me post process his file and remarked that it hadn’t changed much when he took my class several years ago.

I recall telling him a half-truth, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

True, the steps hadn’t changed on the surface. What isn’t apparent are the minor tweaks that I’ve made to my post processing workflow based on doing printer and paper tests.

That’s why I had to once again print a ramp test yesterday using one of our large format printers and Ilford Galerie Prestige Gold Fibre Silk paper. A ramp test is a basic test of how much shadow and highlight detail can be produced for a given printer and paper combination.

One of these days I will accumulate enough incremental changes to my post processing workflow that a former student will say, “Hey, that’s new!”

The testing and improvement will still go on even after I hear someone say that to me.

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