Be Thankful For Friends

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The 'Net Links The eWorld Together

"We are advertis'd by our loving friends."--Shakespeare

Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday when friends come together and share a meal and their feelings for one another. The World Wide Web is another way we can share images with others, no matter where they may be on this planet. Over the years I've made some great friends that I would never have met except for the Internet, which is its true power.

Bruce K. Haley is a West Virginia photographer whose elegantly understated website contains portfolios with subject matter featuring imagery appropriate for what John Denver sang about in his song "Take Me Home, Country Roads."
© 2003, Bruce K. Haley, All Rights Reserved

Almost Heaven
Bruce K. Haley is a West Virginia photographer whose elegantly understated website (www.bkhaley.com) forms a perfect vehicle for his work. The galleries section (note the lower-case "g") contains six portfolios with subject matter featuring imagery appropriate for what John Denver sang about in Take Me Home, Country Roads. When opening a portfolio, a horizontally scrolling window at the top contains nicely sized thumbnails; clicking on one opens a large recessed window and, heavens to Mergatroid, caption data with information about the subject matter.

Some of Haley's comments echo my statements that great photographic opportunities exist in your own backyard, but his poetic images and text take it to new levels. Images such as "Country Morning" or "Fences In The Mist #1" show that bad weather not only offers great photo ops, it can also produce natural special effects that let you capture great images. As traditional as Haley's photos may appear, the Paintings portfolio contains impressionistic images of nature, such as "Mystical Trees," made in the camera using vertical panning techniques and slow shutter speeds. If you would like to purchase a print of anything you see, visit the Shopping section. The About section contains information about this fine arts photographer and I was surprised to learn he began his photography career during the late 1960s as a combat photographer in Vietnam. The images of gentle beauty of his native West Virginia are in stark contrast to sites he must have witnessed then, but obviously paved the way for a quiet, contemplative vision. Be sure to make some time to walk down a country road with Haley.

You won't find a Nikon-based site at www. coolpix.com. Instead it's Stephen Schoff's homepage and you'll be able to tell by the homepage image that you're in for something completely different.
© 2003, Stephen Schoff, All Rights Reserved

The Coolest Of Pix
What do you think you're going to find at www.coolpix.com? A Nikon-based site showing their point-and-shoot consumer digital cameras? Nope, instead you'll find Stephen Schoff's homepage. (Somebody in Nikon's marketing department dropped the ball on that one.) You can tell by the image on the homepage that you're in for something completely different. The photography gallery contains collections in many eclectic categories, as witnessed by the lunar cactus on the introductory page that's followed by a wonderfully evocative portrait of a rowboat in Maine, which made me curious to see more.
Schoff's commercial images are crisp and competent, featuring some neat grace notes, like the handsome spaniel in the photograph of an antique shop's interior. His black and white portraits show affection for his subjects, while his color images seem more direct. The legal images are not what you might call forensic, but are portraits of attorneys in a law firm, which I could not get to load in the Windows version of Internet Explorer or Opera. Look around at his web design and what's new sections, but before you go, be sure to check the gallery section if only for the whimsical portrait of "Jen & Amanda." Oh, by the way, if you want to see Nikon's Coolpix cameras, visit www.nikonusa.com/usa_group/group.jsp?cat=1&grp=2. Kinda rolls of the tongue doesn't it?

Dragonfly Digital Media contains the kind of images you might find on any successful portrait operation's homepage--oops, I forgot the military aircraft.
© 2003, Joshua Hudson, All Rights Reserved

Fly, Fly, Swift Dragonfly
Dragonfly Digital Media is the name of a portrait/media consulting business started by veteran combat photographer Joshua Hudson. His website (www.dragonflydigitalmedia.com) contains the kind of images you might find on any successful portrait operation's homepage--oops, I forgot the military aircraft. Hudson uses a Spartan approach to web design, with itsy-bitsy thumbnails that, when clicked, redraw the entire page with the selected image displayed larger.

I peeked at the Military gallery first and was heartened to see that Hudson focused his camera on the brave fighting men and women of our armed forces, but there is a stunning shot of ships underway at sunset I really enjoyed. Another showing three men inside a helicopter--one sound asleep--is a warm portrait of men at war. Changing gears, his Children collection displays a non-traditional, candid approach to photographing kids showing how they respond to Hudson, because they trust him. The photograph of four children sticking their heads and arms through a fence echoes the one in the helicopter because there's this one kid doing something different. The Portrait section includes fashion photographs, including an ultra-wide angle lens shot of a female model with red dreadlocks hanging from a red caboose. His Art & Pet gallery offers nice snapshots of dogs and cats, but the Art photographs clearly deserve their own section, especially the strongly graphic Kabuki portrait. There's lots of other stuff here, too, including information on Hudson's web design and publishing activities; so take some time and poke around.

Rebecca Wilkowski is a self-taught photographer who works as a free-lancer and designed this website featuring her work. Its clean, stylish look contrasts delightfully with her often cutting-edge images.
© 2003, Rebecca Wilkowski, All Rights Reserved

Eclecticity
Rebecca Wilkowski is a self-taught photographer who works as a free-lancer and even designed the website (www.rebeccawilkowski.com) featuring her work. Its clean, stylish look delightfully contrasts with often cutting-edge images. Her galleries run the gamut from fashion to weddings to documentary. If it's out there, Wilkowski shoots it! Clicking on a collection's
name opens a window with a medium-sized image along with forward and back arrows that let you navigate from the displayed images to the next pleasant bolt from the blue.

Images are color and monochrome and load fast, even on a dial-up connection, which is a tribute to the Webmistress' HTML skills. Photographically, she has equal dexterity with color and black and white, especially when photographing people. While we've seen all of these wedding images before, their spontaneity shows Wilkowski has fun when creating them and her clients appreciate it. By contrast, the landscape photographs include an interesting blend of traditional with a splash of color--a lagniappe--to delight the eyes. Likewise, her architectural images lean more toward documentary than standard photographs of buildings and their bits and pieces while, interestingly enough, the documentary section contains the weakest part of her otherwise appealing portfolio. The shot of the circle of flags, however, did knock me out. Wilkowski is clearly a young person with a future and I look forward to watching her progress on this interesting site.

Check out the "Friends" section at http://farace.smug mug.com to see photographs of my friends made by me and some of me made by my friends.
© 2003, Joe Farace, All Rights Reserved

Latest Web Updates
Although the Associate Editor and I check all of the websites at deadline, gremlins occasionally sneak through. Bert Katzung's site (www.astronomy-images.com) inadvertently had a hyphen left out, which takes you to another site. Place that hyphen where it belongs to see examples of Katzung's amazing astrophotography, With the peace treaty AOL and Microsoft signed, the future of the Netscape browser is no longer in doubt. It's toast. Those of you looking for an alternative should visit www.opera.com and download the free version of Opera 7. It's fast--much faster than Internet Explorer for Windows.

Building a website can be expensive and complex, but SmugMug (www.smugmug.com) makes it possible to put together a nice-looking set of web pages where visitors can post comments and order prints. Check out the Friends section at http://farace.smugmug.com to see photographs of my friends and some of me made by friends, including several Shutterbug contributors.

If you'd like to recommend your own or a friend's website for an appearance in this department, e-mail me at editorial@shutterbug.net.

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