I've recently come to the realization that my computer monitor screen is not properly calibrated. In different web forums where photos are posted, I'm noticing that I can't make out a lot of the pictures people are talking about - they're too dark. I've also noticed this when printing out CD covers - detail in the shadows that I never saw on the screen. Also, every time I show people digital photos, I have to turn up the brightness (in Photoshop) to anywhere between 25 - 50 %! Needless to say, I need to calibrate my monitor. For a test, I downloaded one of those "black level" graphs whrere the squares go from dark to light and you should be able to see every square clearly - I can only see half before they disappear into all blackness.
I have one of those old "turn of the century" big Dell Monitors that came with my original computer back in 2000. It has two "select" buttons (- +) and two "adjust" buttons (- +) with a row of icons (showing which parameter you're adjusting) with lights underneath on the left. I know that the "sun" icon is brightness and the "half moon" icon is contrast, but I don't know what the rest are.
After selecting "brightness," I hit the adjust "+" button a couple of times and I expected to see a bar graph showing my adjustment, but there was nothing, so I left it alone. I don't want to screw up my monitor so I want to make sure that I'm doing this right. It says "recall" under the select and adjust buttons with "arrows" pointing to two buttons. I assume that you press these to go back to your default settings.
So, how do I go about doing this correctly?