(by Jürgen P. Esders)
Available for almost anyone now:
Brillant astronaut and space glossies
Do you want some nice 8"x10" glossys with space photographs or astronaut portraits to illustrate your album or have them autographed? Until recently, those beautiful glossies were only available to the happy few working for the media or having special contacts. The rest had to buy them from commercial dealers for usually $10 - 12 a piece. Those days are gone - a large range of NASA photos are now available online. And the availability of good color laser printers in many department stores or specialised photo shops makes it easy to
print them in excellent quality. How is it done?
Download those digital photo files from the Internet. Do not go for the low resolution thumbnail photographs you find on the net - they won't enlarge well. You need high resolution images - minimum 5 KB. As this are fairly large files, a very fast modem connection is recommended (ISDN). As you will have to store them somewhere, and again store them when transferring them to the lab that will print them, you need good storage capacities and media as well (a large hard disk to start with, a CD burner, etc.)
The following are a number of websites that have excellent and copyright free photo files:
Some early manned missions, but many recent shuttle flights in excellent high-res quality:: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/
The most recent shuttle events at KSC (including training), in reasonably good
high resolution quality: http://www.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/photos/
Many shuttle images: http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/pao/media/images.html
All space missions, but unfortunately only low resolution: http://images.jsc.nasa.gov/
Test pilots (X1, Lifting Bodies, X15, you name it): http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/gallery/photo/index.html;
European astronauts: http://www.esa.int/gallery/pag0.html
Now you got the images you want to print - how to get them printed?
-You can use one of those affordable color ink jet printers. They produce reasonably good prints these days. Use special photo paper.
-However, really good, crisp and glossy quality only come from professional color laser printers. Look out for a department store or photo shop having those.
If you have no such professional printer near your home, there is an online company now offering this service. You upload your file and you order the prints you want. 4"x6" are at 49 c, 8"x10" cost $2.99. You get 50 4"x6" free to start with. Payment by credit card. Delivery has been extremely quick. URL:
In case you have made your own experience or have additional tips, just write.
-Have you discovered other web sits with good and high resolution photo files?
-Do you know other good labs capable of printing high quality digital photos
at a competitive price?
Jürgen Peter ESDERS
It's easy to view my new photo album. Just go to the Web page below.
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Notes from the Webmaster
1) Another useful media for transfering large files is a zip drive. These are now almost a standard and readily available.
2) With the rise of digital cameras most photo shops should now be able to produce photos from digital files (as mentioned by Jürgen). Check with your local store and ask what formats they can handle, what media should it be on and what method is used to produce the final product. If they require a different format to the standard Web formats of jpg and gif, there are many programs available (including freeware) on the Internet and commercially for converting picture files from one format to another (eg Paintshop Pro).
3) A fairly expensive technology that can produce excellent results is a hot wax printer. Depending on the type of picture, these printers can produce a better result than a colour laser.
4) Another area worthy of discussion (some time ago there was such a discussion on one of the email message boards) is the life of photos produced by different printing methods. For example I've seen some colour laser prints (a few years ago now) that faded badly even though they were kept indoors. Hopefully modern laser printers produce better results. The life of prints done with dot matrix printers are dependent on the type of ink used in the print cartridge.