ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 17 * * All Arts News On the Web * * June 13, 2013


      ArtBits always features a calendar of the goings on of Franklin County artists. Check out these events around Franklin County. Each issue includes the entire text of our weekly newspaper column.

      Stop in for live music and more at the Fairfax Music Sessions at the Foothills Bakery in Fairfax most Saturday afternoons at 1 p.m., at various restaurants around Franklin County throughout the week, at the Bayside in St Albans Town most Sunday afternoons, and the Cambridge CoffeeHouses at 7 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of every month.
     These gatherings bring new opportunities, gossip, "show-and-tell" and occasional workshops. The booked performances and acoustic Open Mike Nights feature music, readings, and more from the best new artists in Vermont.

      Find links to these events and more in our Spotlight!

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SHELDON--Summer Music at Grace presents Vermont singer-songwriter Patrick Fitzsimmons at the church on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
      A 2011 and 2012 Solarfest national songwriting contest finalist and three time Ploughshares finalist, Mr. Fitzsimmons has shared the acoustic music stage with Shawn Colvin, Dar Williams, Roger McGuinn, Ellis Paul, Vance Gilbert and more. He has also composed music for several independent films.
      Mr. Fitzsimmons' latest CD, Hope Is, is available at CD Baby and iTunes and from his own website. It is also available at this show. This album is his definitive statement after a victorious battle with cancer.
      Grace Church is located at 215 Pleasant Street, Sheldon. The suggested donation of $15 benefits the performers. Click here for more info about Mr Fitzsimmons. Call 802.326.4603 or click here for more info about the music at Grace Church.

QUECHEE--The 34th annual Quechee Balloon Craft and Music Festival presents a Young Tradition Showcase with the Zeichners on Sunday at noon and again at 2 p.m. The three-day weekend event is full of art, performances, and balloon photo ops.
      Yasi, Oliver, and Louli Zeichner are three home schooled Vermont teens. They play Old-Time/Appalachian as a trio with Yasi on fiddle, Louli on claw hammer banjo, and Oliver on tin-whistle. Yasi and Oliver also play sets of Irish tunes.
      Click here for more info.

MORRISVILLE--Moog's Place hosts their third annual Bob Dylan Festival on Saturday at 8 p.m.
      Moog's Place has "live music every night we're open, starting between eight and nine pm" with open mic night scheduled most Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. The Bob Fest is part of their commitment to local musicians.
      Click here for more info.


     This series is coming to the beginning of the alphabet. We have looked at several POD sites and considered how and why an artist or photographer might use Print On Demand fulfillment services.
      This week, I'll showcase two more firms that produce exceptional prints and send them back to the photographer for framing and delivery to the end customer. Print quality is exceptional in both labs: good skin tones and accurate detail from shadow to highlight. Color adjustments, if you want them, are not automated at any of these labs; real people make the changes on calibrated systems. They also accept embedded color profiles.
      Adorama Camera is a camera and film equipment store in the Flatiron District is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan. [Disclosure Note: I use Adorama and their online photo lab, AdoramaPix, for equipment and for most print purchases that I fulfill myself.] The company is also allied with
      Pro: AdoramaPix has been producing professional quality prints from digital images online for about ten years. All prints are "wet" or chemical prints. They use Noritsu QSS-34PRO printers and accept either JPG or 8-bit TIFF file input. The prints I've received, on Kodak Professional Supra Endura in Luster, Matte, or Glossy, and Kodak Professional Metallic were excellent overall, richly colored and crisp. Their paper has the hand feel not there with other printers. They ship by USPS in seriously sturdy packaging. The price per print is better than any other lab in the country.
      Con: Print sizes are somewhat limited, especially for artistic crops (they offer just 29 different print sizes). The website leaves a lot to be desired in both design and navigation (I still don't know how to order a matted print from them) although the "robust online ordering wizard" does make ordering bare prints very straightforward.
      Overall: They're my first choice for printing that fits their sizes, or the printing that I'm willing to crop by hand. click here for more info.

     Miller's Professional Imaging is the largest professional photo lab in the United States. They have printing services for hobbyists, semi-pro, and professional photographers. Their family of labs includes Millerís Lab for larger studios and bulk orders, MpixPro for smaller studios (offering only the most popular products), and for professional and amateur photographers who want quick orders of 1 or 2 prints at a time. Mpix and MpixPro partner with
      They laser print all color images but "wet" print all true black+white with standard black+white chemicals.
      Pro: Papers include Fujicolor Crystal Archive Professional Paper (E-Surface), Fuji Pearl, plus Ilford True Black & White photographic paper with several coatings such as luster, pebble, and linen, as well as laminations available.
      They will mail two sets of 8x10" prints from each of four images of your choice. One set will be showcase their color management; the other set will be printed "as is" to compare the results, and to see how your monitor is calibrated. They will also mail a big sample kit of paper choices with your first order. They have free overnight shipping for prints smaller than 30x40; boutique packaging is available.
      Con: They offer only 30 standard print sizes but custom sizes are available. All files must be in JPEG/JPG format only. In order to view their pricing, you must be a customer with a login. The linen paper texture is nice but greeting cards printed on it are flimsy. The free Mpix color correction is worth exactly what you pay for it.
      Overall: They're pricey (thrift prints cost about twice as much as Adorama) and do chemical emulsion only on black+white but shipping is free, most pros like them, and they are a good choice. My sample set was darker than the monitor image which is not surprising; the color corrections darkened each image. Your color spectrum and saturation on the Fuji papers will be different than on Kodak papers. click here for more info.

     Best advice? Experiment. Test four or five photos with a few labs (my test "suite" includes two foliage shots, a portrait, a sunset, a piece of digital art, and a black+white of the 7-Mile Bridge). Some professional labs require you to set up an account with them and you order through a Java program called ROES using your account number.
      Next time, we'll wrap up with the recommended full-service sites. Do you use a professional print house? Email the All Arts Council to tell us what you think of them. Links to each of the reviewed sites as well as to my own test suite are online at


     John Willis of Dummerston is professor of photography at Marlboro College. His work is included in many private and public collections and his photographs have been exhibited throughout the country and internationally. His site includes biographical and contact info, an artist statement, as well as several portfolios.


      ArtBits features a quick weekly peek at the bookshelf or night stand of the folks you know in and around Franklin County. That popular feature has a page of its own at the Franklin County Bookshelf here on the AAC site.


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      This article was originally published in the St Albans Messenger and other traditional print media. It is Copyright © 2012 by Richard B. Harper. All rights reserved. Archival material is provided as-is. Links are not necessarily maintained (if a link in this article fails, try or your favorite search engine).
      Thanks to recent misuse of copyright material on the Internet by individuals and archival firms alike, we emphasize that your rights to this article are limited to viewing it and printing it for personal use only. You must receive explicit permission from the All Arts Council and the author before reprinting or redistributing this article in any medium.