Christmas Butterfly

Filed in Digital Hunter, Hong Kong Wildlife, Photo of the Day, Technology

Sometimes you get lucky…

The week before last, just as I was leaving home to go to TVB, I noticed a butterfly in the Christmas trees. The colours struck me immediately and I raced back inside to get my camera. Opportunities like these come once in a lifetime.

The result was a wonderful photograph which looks even better when enlarged.

Christmas Butterfly

The complement of the Christmas tree colours and the butterfly colours were extraordinary. Being able to photograph from below the butterfly made the photo all the more special.

For a 750x500 version, click here.

Printer Dilemmas

One day soon, I'll be able to begin printing my favourite photos. It's been a long wait but I'll be finally getting a decent printer. The problem is that most of my photos are wildlife and nature photos featuring vivid colours, and many of the printers available until recently were incapable of faithfully reproducing these colours. My Epson Stylus Photo 1290 is terrible at reproducing nature's colours.

I had planned on getting an HP Photosmart Pro B9180 but HP decided that Hong Kong didn't have enough serious photographers to warrant making that printer available here. Instead of the B9180, HP Hong Kong only offers the older Photosmart 8750 printer with nine ink colours in three cartridges making it an expensive printer to use. The B9180 is available in China though. Unfortunately, I don't know who to trust over there (China even has fake eggs!), and I'd have to make a long trip every time I needed ink supplies or the printer needed servicing. I considered getting the printer from Singapore and a friend actually contacted a familiar reseller while visiting Singapore last week but the warranty was a concern nonetheless.

Canon has the imagePROGRAF iPF5000 which is a great printer, but again it's not available in Hong Kong, and in any case, our home isn't big enough for it. And I have to admit; I simply have no way of justifying the price.

I then heard that Epson was releasing a new printer based on the Epson Stylus Pro 4800. The new one is called the Stylus Pro 3800 and is much smaller than the 4800 but uses many of the same technologies. Unfortunately, the 3800 had not been announced on Epson Hong Kong's web site so it appeared that once again, the serious photographers of Hong Kong were going to get left out.

But late last week, I had to take my Epson 1290 in to get serviced. It was printing red stripes on my photos. I had extended warranty for the four-year-old printer which expires in January of next year so it made sense to get the printer fixed now. Just before leaving the centre, I noticed a display section and walked on over. Without expecting any good news, I habitually asked the attendant about the 3800 and was very pleasantly surprised; almost shocked; to find that Epson will be making it available in Hong Kong, although not as the 3800 but as the 3850. They even had one on display! I was also pleasantly surprised that the attendant understood my technical questions, all of them except the one regarding dMax which he thought only applied to scanners. And he thought Adobe 1998 was the largest profile available. It's not. The Kodak Prophoto profile is much larger and much better suited to wildlife photography.

If the B9180 was available, I would probably have bought it although I've heard that it has problems with dark colours on non-HP paper. If Canon had a smaller printer based on the iPF5000, I might have bought that too. Apparently, they're planning just such a printer called the PIXMA Pro9500; possibly available around March of next year. I wonder if we'll see it in Hong Kong. That said, if I had more space in our home, and if I had money to burn, I'd buy the HP DesignJet Z2100. Now that's a printer, with built-in professional class calibration capabilities. Yum! But we don't have a roomy home, and I don't have money to burn, so the Epson 3850 will probably be my printer for the next few years. Incidentally, Epson's warranty service has been very reliable so that's a big plus.

So finally, I'll have a printer that respects my photos, producing almost all of the colours that my camera captured. Printers have come a long way in the last four or five years. They're still not perfect but they're getting close.

Twenty years ago, Hong Kong people prided themselves in saying that you could buy anything in Hong Kong. They were wrong. I wonder if they're waking up to that fact yet.

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15 Responses to “Christmas Butterfly”
  1. Kent says:

    The butterfly is quite beautiful...
    how come you can find a butterfly in winter??
    HAHA~~
    is it not a real butterfly?

  2. Mark says:

    Sounds like you are as discerning as a pro, and virtually a manic! Some people would spend a fortune for a pair of top notch speakers. Fortunately (and unfortunately) me eyes and ears are not as demanding!

  3. Joshy says:

    Ahh the myriad of colours in this world are so pretty and that was a great picture of the butterfly too, it being in the center of the picture...its as if the leaves were around it to accentuate its beauty

  4. Ting W. says:

    SO so beautiful capture...!wish you have a merry chirstmas!

  5. 杜格拉斯 says:

    Ha Mr Rivers, trust me, Epson is suck, I had 3 Epson before, all of them died with the same reason - printer head stuck!!!! Unless you are going to print hundred of photos every few days, otherwise don't try it.

  6. Daniel says:

    這蝴蝶很漂亮,配襯艷麗聖誕花,可真是妙到毫顛!

    btw,你的3850要多少錢?

  7. sapphire says:

    Beautiful capture! Very christmassy!
    I miss your photos and your articles on photography. :)

  8. Edith says:

    I like to read your articles as they are easy to understand. I am learning English!

  9. Fiona says:

    Greg, how was the vigil on 2nd Dec? Were there many supporters?

  10. Catherine says:

    wow AMAZING photo I'd say!! Bravo~

    You know you should really print it out as Xmas cards :)

    P.S. I like your acting :)

  11. Kat says:

    Hi Greg,

    If you need to get printers from Singapore, can email me anytime!

    I can help you scour Sim Lim Square for the model you would like and courier it over to you.

    Best regards,
    Kat

  12. jfk says:

    beautiful photo :-)

  13. Blueamrub says:

    hmm,
    i'm just curious. the printer u wanted, u can't order online?

  14. John says:

    Hi there, great capture on that stunning butterfly.
    I just want to say that aside from the printer, the quality of the paper also makes a huge different on the outcome of the print.
    Are there alot of choices in HK? I usually order mine thru amazon or ebay.
    My personal favorite is Epson (specific type) and 2nd is Canon (my printer is epson).

  15. Patrick Cheng says:

    CANON HK has just announced the new iPF5100/6100 printer, which can print very neutral B/W photos. Its improvement over iPF5000 printer is substantial. I visited CANON HK showroom and is really impressed with its output quality. I consider the small iPF5100 printer for home use.