July 6, 2004 > Ohlone Photo/Digital
Daniel Silva and his family have been working with photographic images since 1990. "We started as a family operation and it still is," he says. They have seen the industry change and helped the bewildered and professional through the changes, making sure that equipment and expertise are matched to the times. Although Ohlone Photo/Digital does not sell cameras and camera products, this is a community resource that should not be overlooked. After all, they see the results of the efforts by novices and professionals using a wide variety of equipment.
Nestled in a small shop in the Ohlone Village Shopping Center, Daniel proudly displays his state of the art equipment for developing and digitally enhancing images. "We try to stay current with technology. We look at every picture and correct every image." He admits that Ohlone Photo/Digital is not the answer to all requests, but his motto says it all - "If we can't do it, we'll tell you who can."
With the change in photographic equipment, many photographers are experimenting with digital cameras and Daniel says his business has shifted dramatically towards digital printing from film. Often people assume that with a digital camera, what they see in the small screen is the image that will emerge. The quality of a picture is dependent on many factors, not just a sales pitch of the number of pixels that are displayed in an image. Not only does the camera make a difference in the final result, so can the paper and printing technique. He says, "Two and a half years ago we went from analog to digital processing. We are one of the few Digital Minilabs in California and probably the only independent lab in the Tri-Cities certified by the nation's top two photo industry associations, Photomarketing Association and Independent Photo Imagers."
An indication of the quality from Ohlone Photo/Digital is the increase of professional photographers using their services. Daniel says, "We have three phases of our business; the traditional 35 mm consumer, the digital consumer and now the professional photographers." Although digital photography is widely available and touts inexpensive printers as a quick solution to printing an image, Daniel says that for a quality print, Ohlone Photo/Digital offers a better answer. "We know what we are doing - this is our business - and our equipment is calibrated on a daily basis. The prints from our lab will last at least 20 years because of the materials we use. The other point is that printing at home is costly. It costs, on average, 35 cents a print at Ohlone Photo/Digital while home printing costs an average of 67 cents!"
"We can handle any recording device that a camera has to process," says Daniel. Ohlone Photo/Digital is in the process of setting up an FTP site that will handle large files for processing. When that is completed, Daniel says they will have the capacity to accept all images, even very large ones, through the internet.
For those interested in a change in their photographic equipment and a bit bewildered by the choices, Daniel says that he can help. A complimentary service of Ohlone Photo/Digital is an evaluation of the type of camera that will suit a customer, providing price comparisons including available outlets for the product. "We stay up on digital cameras so we can give our customers advice. If you are thinking of buying a camera, come in and talk with us. Tell us how much you want to spend and how many 'bells and whistles' you want and we will do research for you and give you options. Then you can decide what brand and where you want to buy a camera. We will help you to maximize your investment." Daniel cautions that just because digital cameras are available and give an instant preview of the picture captured, "you can't forget the basic principles of photography." For instance, settings for indoor or outdoor mode are important in any camera, even digital. "A digital camera is not a cure-all device," says Daniel.
Expertise at Ohlone Photo/Digital extends to pictures that have been damaged. Daniel says that in most cases, they can be repaired. Often, digging out old photo albums yield pictures that appear beyond hope due to tears, yellowing and mistreatment. Even if some appear close to irreparable, he urges a visit to Ohlone Photo/Digital. He says that they often can conjure a bit of restorative magic to restore and renew these remembrances. With advances in digital technology, restoration can often be a matter of expertise and Ohlone Photo/Digital has plenty of that. Restored photos (and any others), old 8 mm film or other formats can be stored electronically and used in a CD or DVD presentation!
The Ohlone Photo/Digital family wants to make sure that "once you walk into our store, you will never feel like it was a wasted trip." Daniel says that if they are unable to take care of your needs, they will send you the right way. The future may see a further increase in digital photography, but Daniel believes that there will always be some who prefer film. No matter what type of processing is required, Ohlone Photo/Digital will be there to help consumers make their pictures look the best they can be!
1560 Washington Blvd., Fremont
(In the Ohlone Village Shopping Center)