Happy Homepages For The Holidays

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Robert Buelteman's website has the best looking, easily navigated design I've seen this year and is filled with nature images that are as delightful as they are unexpected.
© 2003, Robert Buelteman, All Rights Reserved

"The grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere..."--John Muir

This month's department is organized a little differently. There are big presents in the form of
in-depth reviews of image and how-to sites, sprinkled with stocking stuffer mini-reviews of fun new sites, and even a revisit to previously featured homepages that are worth a second look. Auld Lang Syne you might say.

Website Design Of The Year
Not only does Robert Buelteman's website (www.buelteman.com) have the best looking, easiest navigated, slick but not too slick design I've seen in 2003, it's populated with nature images that are as delightful as they are unexpected. The design uses Macromedia's Flash (www.macromedia.com) to produce animations that make sense within the context of the site and never overpowers ease of use or most importantly, Buelteman's remarkable photographs.

Clicking on any of the galleries begins a sequence that enlarges its name, displays a quote, and loads thumbnails in a horizontally scrolling window beneath it. Buelteman's images include strikingly new age color photographs of Kirlian-like leaves, such as "Eucalyptus Polyanthemos," or powerful monochrome nature images, like "Ferndance," that resonate with humanlike forms and rhythms. The gallery sections can be slow to load and even friends with broadband connections report delays. Hang in there and you will be rewarded with vibrant images, many of which defy convention. Except for the flowers, most of Buelteman's work is monochrome, but bits of color creep into his Triptychs gallery, which you must visit before departing. Books and posters of his work are available at affordable prices in the Reproductions section that lists places where they may be purchased.

In case you're interested, the brilliant website design is by Waterwork Art (www.waterwork.com) and was suggested to me by my pal, Scott Peck (www.scottpeckphoto.com), a nature photographer who creates flower photographs that, while different than Buelteman's in concept and execution, redefine the genre. If you think there's nothing new in nature photography, visit both of these sites and have your eyes opened.

Robert J. La Follette recently completed a new site that he calls NYC Vertical whose images of The Big Apple let you see "the city" in a whole new way.
© 2003, Robert J. La Follette, All Rights Reserved

Some Notes
If you've been a regular reader of this department you might remember a guy named Robert J. La Follette. His website (www.sublot44.com) has been totally redesigned since I last saw it. It looks great, too. He just finished a new site that he calls NYC Vertical (www.sublot44.com/nycvert). Readers familiar with history will remember that Robert La Follette was a Wisconsin politician, labor activist, and 1924 presidential candidate as well as a real/fictional character in at least one of Kurt Vonnegut's books. This Robert La Follette is a talented photographer whose images of The Big Apple let you see the city, as many people who live there call it, in a whole new way.

My website (www.joefarace.com) has been redesigned by Bryan Byas of Magma Studio (www.magma-studio.com) and his makeover should be completed by the time you read this. If you have a chance, give it a visit and check out the free wallpaper.

Start planning ahead: 2004's Take Your Camera To Work Day will be on May 21st. In anticipation of the big event, its website(www.takeyourcameratoworkday.com) will be redesigned and promotional efforts will be staged at next year's PMA Show to build awareness.

PinholeArt.com is the homepage of the Internet Pinholephoto Mania Club and abounds with great-looking images and tips. It's in Korean, but there's enough English on the site for you to look around and have fun.
Photos © 2003, Pinhole Art, All Rights Reserved

Pinhole Photography Around The World
As a dilettante in the pinhole photography world, I nevertheless enjoy being a practitioner and admire other's work. When I came across PinholeArt.com (www.pinholeart.com) I was thrilled. It's the homepage of the Internet Pinholephoto Mania Club and abounds with great-looking images and tips. Sure, most of the text is Korean, but there's enough English on the site for you to look around and enjoy the photographs--a true international language.
Beate Knappe has been a professional photographer for 30 years but a pinhole aficionado since 1998. Visit Knappe's site (http://kunst.freepage.de/cgibin/feets/freepage_ext/41030x030A/rewrite/knappe/pinhole00.html), being careful to type it correctly, and see some exquisite color and monochrome images. This site is in German, but the English that's there will help you navigate and explore the photographer's vision.

Zero Image is an Asian manufacturer of
high-quality, hand-crafted pinhole cameras that are available in medium format as well as this inexpensive 4x5 large format camera.

You can make photographs with a Quaker Oats box, which was my first pinhole camera, or you can use one of the exquisitely crafted wooden cameras from Zero Image, the way I do now. Their website (www.zeroimage.com) has information on their products as well as galleries of images from enthusiasts around the world. Their least expensive model sells for $85 and one that takes 4x5 sheet film starts at $96. A Zero Image pinhole camera also makes a great holiday gift. Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day was April 27, 2003. Check the Zero Image website for information on next year's event for pinheads everywhere.

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

The Photoshop Mama website contains lots of practical advice for Photoshop users of all levels, including galleries, step by step tutorials, and an "Ask Mama" forum.
© 2003, Shan Canfield, All Rights Reserved

Photoshop Mama
My friend Michael Patrick Hunt (www.tgiphoto.com, tasteful nudity advisory) told me about Shanzcan.com and I fell in love with the work Shan Canfield, a.k.a. Photoshop Mama, produced. She's a self-described "tutorialist for hire" and conducts workshops on Photoshop for camera clubs and CompUSA. This site (www.shanzcan.com) contains practical advice for Photoshop users of all levels, including galleries, step by step tutorials, and an "Ask Mama" forum. The galleries can be slow to load on dial-up but broadband equipped readers won't notice. Mama Shan combines photographs and graphics in ways beyond the mundane. Her fantasy images, such as "Night Layer," are phantasmagoric creations that made my eyes bug out and will humble the typical Photoshop "expert" by showing how much we all have to learn, and how Mama always knows best. Even her commercial images such as "Faery Shades" will blow you away with their clever, yet understated style. There is so much stuff here that I urge you to look at the galleries first, visit the tutorials, then click on the buttons to poke around every nook and cranny. Everything is done with a sense of style and humor and wrapped around a stunning design that's fun to navigate. Some sections are "members only," but this is not the kind of site you might think. Everything is aimed at education and is family friendly.

If you want 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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