Close Call

I'm always just a bit nervous when I fire up my aging Epson R2400 photo printer. If there were a Hall of Fame for such devices, I would certainly enshrine it today. It has been the shining star of my studio for years.

I've been working with a series of monochrome images with the Sigma DP2. The R2400 is my printer for black and white. You've probably heard me talk more about its brethren, the Epson R2000. That's a wonderful device for color. But nothing prints monochrome like my trusty R2400.

This past Saturday I thought our time together had finally come to an end. The first symptom was that it would no longer feed paper through the top opening. It would grab and grab and grab, but to no avail. It was painful to watch it struggle.

Then, after feeding paper from the back, patterned streaks began to appear on the output. "Maybe the heads are just mis-aligned," I thought. I decided to run the utility to fix it, only to discover that I could not because I had just run out of yellow ink.

"But I'm only printing black-and-white!" I exclaimed. "I don't need color…"

This makes no difference to the printer way of thinking. "You shall do nothing until all cartridges are functional."

So I ordered a yellow cartridge.

Today the yellow cartridge arrived. I quickly put it in the printer replacing the expired one. Then I nervously pressed the power button and waited to see what would happen. After a few minutes, I got a green light.

I fed a sheet of paper in the top, even though that didn't work before. I sent the command to print from the computer.

Then I waited.

It was a holiday miracle! The printer grabbed the paper and fed it through the device. And the image that emerged was perfect. I fed another and then another. Perfect. Perfect.

Surely a yellow cartridge could not be responsible for the mayhem that happened on Saturday? Yet, magically, all is right with the world now.

It's the photographer's version of living with an elder who you love - enduring one close call after another.