All computer monitors are different. In addition to variations in brightness, contrast and color even between similar monitors, Macs and PC's operate in entirely different "gamma" ranges - images that look right on a normal Mac (1.8 gamma) will look dark on a PC (2.2+ gamma); an image balanced for a PC will look washed out on a Mac. My images were created on a Mac but balanced to a gamma (2.0) somewhere between the two systems.

In addition, monitor images are severely affected by ambient light (the brightness of the room the monitor is in) with images appearing brighter as the room becomes darker. In rooms lit by daylight the change is considerable over the course of the day. These images have been created in a darkened environment and ideally should be viewed in a similar one. It should also be noted that monitors have a warm-up period in which the screen and images steadily become brighter.

Most monitors at this point are flat lcd or led screens. Laptop screens, which have continuously variable contrast dependent on the exact viewing angle and which have a poor ability to render subtle tonality and a complete tonal range, are not very good for viewing of photographs. But large flat panel monitors do a much better job. Now that I have habituated myself to pixelated edges of slightly skew lines, the color rendition, tonality and crispness of my Mac cinema monitor is quite good. And now both the iPhone and the ipad are both fantastic for viewing, providing even lackluster photos with a cleanness and pop not seen on larger monitors.

The best I can do in this situation is to try to show how the images appear on my monitor:

On my monitor the central squares of this gamma chart (adapted from the late Spurgeon gamma calibrator) most closely blends with the background. It helps to squint. The left most square is slightly darker than the background, and the right most square slightly lighter.

The background colors of the pages on this site are a neutral gray. If they appear either greenish or reddish then the color balance of your monitor is off.

On my monitor I can see each of the tones of the grayscale below, with the white appearing white and the black appearing black.

Three groups of images are used below to illustrate my monitor's gamma, color saturation, and color balance. The center image of each group is the same and is the image that looks the best on my monitor. Should you wish to see the images as I see them it may be necessary adjust your monitor so that the center image of each group is the most natural.


This image is somewhat dark and muddy on my monitor

As intended

This image is somewhat light and washed out on my monitor

Color Saturation

The colors of this image are somewhat saturated or garish on my monitor

As Intended

The colors of this image are somewhat unsaturated or gray on my monitor

Color Balance

This image is somewhat magenta or red on my monitor

As intended

This image is somewhat green or yellow on my monitor

Back to Notes