Technical Information

Photo Equipment

When I first started this web site in 1996, the majority of my photos were taken with a Pentax compact zoom. This camera then developed technical faults which meant it wasn't worthwhile getting it fixed. At this stage I had a 6 week hiking trip in India organised and quickly bought a cheap replacement camera. This was a Ricoh weatherproof compact with panoramic mode. I also took my Mum's old Olympus Trip to use with different film. Well, as luck would have it the new camera turned out to be a dud. As it was a duty free camera, I wasn't able to check it beforehand. The Olympus Trip saved the day. This is a very reliable camera and I was so thankful that I had taken it with me.

About this time I met the woman of my dreams (who is now my wife), who was very interested in photography. She had an old Minolta X-300 manual SLR with a 24mm wide angle, 55mm macro and 100-300mm zoom lens. We started going on lots of hikes together and she could see I was getting frustrated with the limitations of my compact camera. I then started to take the odd shot with the Minolta and pleasantly surprised myself with the results. After we were married, my wife purchased a Mamyia RB-67 medium format camera. My prize was to claim the Minolta for myself. Being a fully manual camera, I found it very useful for learning.

In 1998 we decided to go off travelling for 6 months. We both decided the RB-67 would be too heavy to drag around and we didn't want to fight over the Minolta. The solution - we bought two Canon EOS-50 bodies with a Tokina 20-35 wide angle and a Tameron 100m 1:1 macro lens. Just recently we have added a Canon 28-105mm zoom lens. Of course, the trusty old Minolta was not forgotten. My experiences in India had re-enforced the view that manual machinery can be a savour when all the fancy electronics in the new stuff has problems. This is one of the reasons my wife bought the RB-67 over the equivalent electronic version (RZ-67).

Our film choice has now settled firmly in the Fuji Velvia court. We have tryed various film types, but the colour contrast in Velvia takes some beating.
When I owned my compact camera, I pretty much always used Fuji ISO-100 neg film

If I take any negative film these days, I am really impressed with the Fuji Superia 800. The grain on this film is amazing for the speed. When I was doing a colour processing course, I compared the grain to a ISO-100 film and could not see a huge difference.

With using slow film, it is essential to take a tripod along. I have a Velbron tripod which manages to add a bit of weight to the pack. For filters, I use polariser and UV pretty much most of the time, unless I'm doing macro or the light levels are low.

Computer Hardware

The majority of the photos on this site, were scanned in on a HP Scanjet-5. Most of the photos are untouched, but for those that have, I've used Photoshop. Later on, when I had converted to using slide film, I had some put onto Kodak Photo-CD. Some of then scans were good, but a lot were too dark and very difficult to make usable. In the meantime my slide collection was getting bigger and bigger (particularly after the 6 months travelling overseas).

With the prices of computer hardware coming down all the time, I decided to invest in a Nikon CoolScan LS30. This is a great scanner and produces scans far better than most I have on my Photo-CD's. I will be using this scanner over time to convert some of the backlog slides I have sitting in boxes.

Web Site

The design of this web site has stayed pretty much the same since 1996. Obviously I have added new features and improved (IMHO) the layout of some pages.

All of the CGI scripts on this site (apart from the guestbook) we written by me. I'm a great believer in reusing code, but when I first started to look around a slideshow CGI programs, there was nothing around to do what I wanted. The only way to solve this was to write my own. Thus Slideviewer came into existence and has been constantly developed.
The same thing also applied to postcard CGI programs, so I ended up writing my own. The good thing about Postcard Direct is that I was able to reuse some of the code and concepts from the slideviewer CGI.

The editor of choice for writing HTML is vi. Occasionally I might use FrontPage to play around with colours, fonts and tables, but I still prefer handwritten pages.

Recently all of the pages were cleaned up using the wonderful HTML Tidy tool.