Photo: Red Laser

Photo: Red Laser

A 1-second exposure of a red laser pointer that I moved in this pattern. This is the same type of photo as Fiery Hearts, at the same place. The line is dimmer because this photo is exposed less.

The break in the laser on the left is the indent for the window. There is a line of reflections in the center which looks interesting.

Canon Rebel XTi, EF 50mm 1:1.4, 1/1, F2.0, 50mm, ISO800, 2009-11-01T20:56:42-05, 20091102-015642rxt

Location: Thripp Residence, Ormond Beach, FL  32174-7227

Download the high-res JPEG or download the source image.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.

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What printer should you buy for your office?

My Mom just sent me this question:

Dear Son,
My coworker Mark asked me if you have any good suggestions on laserjet printers. His printer at home ran out of ink and he doesn’t want an ink jet. If you know of any good deals out there, could you let him or me know?

Thanks.
Love, Mama

My answer:

Dear Mom,

I used to recommend Lexmark and HP, but I no longer recommend them because they gouge on toner in their low-end laser printers. I now recommend BROTHER.

I have a Brother HL-2140 and I like it. I paid $50 on sale (OfficeMax)… it’s $80 on Amazon now. Watch for a sale. It prints fast and clean. While it doesn’t duplex, you can just put pages face up, top toward you to print on both sides manually. I’m still on the starter cartridge (1000 pages) but you can order third-party replacement cartridges online for $30 shipped (refilled), which print 2600 pages. Much cheaper than new Lexmarks which have no refilled cartridges… $100 a cartridge with them. Brother is usually cheaper.

If he orders it have him order through this link: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0010Z1W06/brilliaphotog-20

Then I get 4% ($3.20) and it costs him the same. That link puts an Amazon tracking cookie on your computer… I get a 4% commission on anything you order within 24 hours as long as you don’t delete your cookies.

Black and white (monochrome) laser printers are the de facto standard for printing text and documents. They use them exclusively at my college. Inkjets don’t even compare. Laser printing is one-tenth the cost of inkjet and the text quality is better. It’s also much faster… I can print a 20-page document in under a minute.

The HL-2140 is really for 8.5*11 paper… I think it’s not good with envelopes or other sizes.

Love, your son,
Richard

I haven’t printed a document with an inkjet printer in over 2 years. Photos are great on inkjets. However, if you’re going to print walls of text, you need a black-and-white laser printer. I have one of both.

As for printing a lot of photos… you’d be best to go through an online printer like Snapfish or Shutterfly. They produce resin-coated chemical prints from a digital source using a laser, usually with very expensive Fuji Frontier machines (expose and then develop, stop, fix, wash, all automated in darkness). It’s cheaper, the quality is miles beyond inkjet prints, and the prints are WATERPROOF… I can put one of my 4*6 prints from Snapfish underwater for hours. Then when I hang it out to dry, it’s just fine. Awesomeness.

Color laser printers also exist… but I wouldn’t recommend them for photos. I also wouldn’t recommend them for the office, unless you want to spent $500 or more. I have a Lexmark C534N ($700 printer I got free after rebate 2 years ago), and after printing 1500 pages it just says “service fuser”… I don’t know what to do. Color lasers are more expensive per page, even in black and white mode. They’re expensive, large, heavy, complicated, and failure-prone. In the office, stick to black and white laser printers.

Trivia: toner is finely ground bits of black plastic (also: yellow, red, and blue plastic in color laser printers). The laser printer etches toner onto a drum with a laser. Then, it literally fuses the toner to the paper at a temperature of up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The paper doesn’t catch on fire because it passes through the fuser in just a few seconds. But it comes out nice and hot…

What printer do you recommend? Post a comment!

Photo: Fiery Hearts

Fiery Hearts

I had this idea of drawing a heart with a laser pointer. I set the camera up on a tripod, set the timer to ten seconds, and then drew this with the laser in the 3.2 seconds the picture was exposed.

Actually, it wasn’t easy like that. It took me 50 tries to get right. Have you ever tried to draw a heart on the wall with a laser pointer? I did two of them, and getting them to look anything like hearts, timed to 3.2 seconds, is quite a feat itself. This was the best I could do. I like the hearts—they look jagged, which is good because hearts aren’t perfect, nor is love. Perfection just doesn’t exist, and life would be boring if it did. The only perfect state is continuous personal growth; you can’t become perfect and then stagnate, wallowing in your perfection.

I drew the hearts on a window because the reflections on the glass turn up much brighter in the camera. In Photoshop, I brightened the laser trails and heart outline to make it more distinctive, while adding contrast and darkness to the surroundings. This was at ISO1600, so the end result is grainy and riddled with artifacts, but spirited nonetheless.

When your hearts meet, let them have fire!

Canon Rebel XTi, Sigma EF 105mm 1:2.8, 3.2″, F2.8, 105mm, ISO1600, 2008-09-06T02:26:48-04, 20080906-062648rxt

Location: Thripp Residence, Ormond Beach, FL  32174-7227

Download the high-res JPEG or download the source image.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.