Moab Entrada Rag Natural 300 – Absolutely Gorgeous
In my final push to have some large, matted photographs for sale on Saturday** (see below), I started printing with the Moab Entrada Rag Natural 300 paper today. As I said in the title: Absolutely Gorgeous!
Entrada is a 100% cotton rag paper with no optical brightening agents (OBAs), hence the “natural” designation – the “bright version has brighteners. The 300 refers to its weight – 300 grams per square metre or gsm. A 190gsm version is available, but I prefer the heavier weight.
The first thing I noticed upon opening the package was the smell. It smells like a high quality, natural paper. The same pure smell as when I’m cutting mats. Sounds strange, doesn’t it, but smell is as evocative as sight and taste. (No doubt, someone will email to tell me the smell is actually a by-product of the manufacturing process and not the paper itself – I hope not!)
The paper has a great feel to it as well; heavy enough for handling easily but not stiff. The texture is beautiful – a lovely wavy stipple as beautiful as any watercolour paper, which is what this paper is. It’s not pure white (thank goodness!) but has a warm creaminess to it. All of my photographs are of the great natural world around us, so it is fitting that the paper is not stark, “machine” white, but warm like the beautiful light I am most apt to be photographing in.
Printing with Moab Entrada requires Matte Black ink which meant the big switch-over from Photo Black. that went smoothly enough as soon as I hit print. I had previously changed the print setting sot reflect the Entrada paper, so the driver picked up on it and after 5 minutes or so, it was done. Yes, it means losing about 6mL of ink, but it’s done.
I was pleasantly surprised at how similar the Entrada Matte Black ink prints are to the ones printed on Galerie Gold Fibre Silk and Canson Platine Fibre Rag in that the colour profile maintained the identical colours. Although the dmax of the Entrada prints is not quite as great, there is beautiful pastel-look to the prints. Yes, they are still photographs, but they have a much more organic look to them, less “machine-like” and more natural – which is the whole intent of my photography. The Entrada prints benefitted from an increase of about 20 in Contrast and 0.1 to 0.2 in brightness (Lightroom settings).
I just checked the printer to find ink usage for the prints that ranged between 12×20- and 16×20 and found it ranged between 1.0 and 2.0mL – very respectable. The cost of the paper is reasonable as well – I paid $4.80 per sheet and needed just one or two test strips to verify colour balance and brightness.
One interesting feature of the Entrada 300 is that it is “double-sided”meaning it is coated on both sides for fine art printing. Bizarre, or so I thought, so emailed Moab and got this reply from Nick Therriault:
I can see how it can be perplexing from your traditional presentation [matted and framed], but being double sided gives you the flexibility to either present your work traditionally or in a portfolio and limited edition books. Being double sided will allow you to double the amount of work in your portfolio in the same amount of space. Now all we have to do is invent a double sided frame lol. Anyhow the 290gsm Entrada is actually single sided and probably more cost effective for your use.
As it turns out, the 290gsm paper is just over a dollar cheaper on a per sheet basis and certainly worth considering, but it is only available in rolls which the Epson Pro 3880 cannot directly handle. Something worth considering, though, when I start printing panoramas.
I can see that I’m really gong to enjoy printing with this paper. I thought I would settle on Platine, but the organic beauty of the Entrada just might be what I settle for.
**By the way – I’ll be at Applewood United Church on Stanfield (south of the Quensway) in Mississauga on Saturday 1st October selling my wares. Drop by and have a look and a chat.