The Austin Power Plant Project

I've written before about my intent to print more of my work. Over the years I've photographed some things that I think are pretty neat. Sometimes I feel like I have a bit of photographic attention deficit disorder. I'll shoot a bunch of photos, maybe post process and share a few online, then move on to something else that catches my eye. I end up with a bunch of orphan photos that are mere clusters of bits on on my hard drive, never seeing the light of day. It feels like there is a lack of closure to some of my photo projects. 

One of the projects that has been nagging in the back of my mind is a set of photos I'd taken a few years back at Austin's decommissioned Holly and Seaholm power plants. I'd wanted to do something special with these photos, even if it was simply committing them to print for my own enjoyment. Over the past couple of weeks, I did just that. I had a screw post binder and some Moab Lasal Photo Matte punched and scored paper that I bought a while back and hadn't decided what to do with them. The power plant photos seemed a perfect match.

I started the process of preparing the images for printing. In the process of soft proofing, I realized that I wasn't happy with my initial post processing efforts years ago on some of the images. My first step ended up being a reprocessing of all my original images, most of which were bracketed exposures for HDR processing. Over the years my techniques have changed and I typically do things a lot quicker than my newbie days. Once I had a look I liked, I processed enough images to cover the 50 pages of the 25 sheet double sided pack of paper.

It was a slow process to do the printing at home. I have limited space to lay prints for drying and I like to dry my prints at least 24 hours before placing them in portfolios or printing the reverse side. Doing a few pages a night, it took about a week to complete my prints. After getting all the pages placed in my book, I got to sit down and look at them leisurely under the lamp light by my chair. It was a great feeling to hold something I'd created in my hands and I finally have a sense of closure to this lingering project.

Having printed books through a few methods now - Blurb, Adorama, home printing in sleeved and most recently post bound books - I have to say that I prefer this presentation. There is nothing quite like the feel of good thick paper in one's hands. The only drawback is that paper selection with pre-drilled holes and fold scoring is very limited and pricey. The Moab paper I used is frankly not my favorite. It has good weight but the matte finish makes it difficult to get deep blacks and there is a lack of texture. Still, I am happy with my results and proud of my small accomplishment.

My full collection of photos from the Austin power plants can be viewed here.