its "ugly duckling" home page style, WJ's
web site contains the most extensive source of information
on infrared and panoramic photography on the entire World
Photos © 1999, Joe Farace, All Rights Reserved
The tale of The Ugly Duckling
is a Danish fable but perhaps has some resonance with the Dutch. WJ's
Photo Homepage originates in The Netherlands and while it contains the
most extensive collection of information about infrared photography
I've discovered so far on the Internet, it won't win any
beauty contests. You can find this month's selection on the World
Wide Web at: www.a1.nl/
The site was previously known as WJ's Infrared Homepage, but the
Webmaster, Willem-Jan Markerink, now includes information on panoramic
photography along with one of the biggest collections of photo arcania
you'll find anywhere on the web. You've got to love a web
site that opens with this quote that William Herschel made in 1800:
"It being now evident that there was a refraction of rays coming
from the sun, which though not fit for vision, were yet highly invested
with a power of occasioning heat, I proceeded to examine its extend
as follows..." and also includes "25 Photographic Truths,"
one of which is "color slide viewing cures insomnia." This
same dichotomy of content and irony can be found everywhere at WJ's
Infrared photographers will find technical information on the spectral
data of Wratten No. 3 and No. 87A IR filters along with a table comparing
several brands, including Schott, B+W, Heliopan, Cokin, and Hoya. Not
far away from that link, trivia buffs (OK, I'm one) will find
a link to a page explaining where the name "Wratten" originated.
Here's the scoop: In 1878, Frederick Wratten founded Wratten and
Wainwright, one of the earliest photographic supply businesses, which
produced and sold collodion glass plates and gelatin dry plates. With
the assistance of E.C.K. Mees, Wratten produced the first panchromatic
plates available in England and became a manufacturer of photographic
filters. Eastman Kodak purchased the company in 1912 and as a condition
of hiring Mees, agreed to keep the Wratten name on filters. There's
much more to this fascinating story and I urge filter fans to read what
Markerink has to tell on his web site.
infrared home page is not only a comprehensive source of
information about photographs, but he's quite a photographer,
too, as can be seen by this striking infrared panoramic
The web site is divided into
several sprawling topic areas:
The opening section contains information about Markerink, including the
kinds of cameras and film he uses for his personal photography. In this
section you will find a thumbnail gallery called "A Selection of
My Images" that shows many of the Webmaster's infrared photographs.
I recommend you visit this part of the site first because it sets the
stage for the rest of your visit by letting you see that the Webmaster
is, indeed, a fine photographer. Some of his images, especially the infrared
panoramas, are quite striking. After clicking on the thumbnails you'll
see a larger version of the photographs along with technical data about
how they were made. In these captions, he explains the camera, lens, filter,
and film uses and in some cases how he intends to improve similar images
in the future. Such humility in the photographic world is rare.
Center of Gravity is Markerink's "Infrared Chapter"
of the web site. It features some links but is mostly what seems like
endless pages of original information about everything from processing
infrared color slide film to how to develop Konica 750IR and Kodak HIE
in Agfa chemicals. In this section, you'll also discover practical
information on topics such as why the Hasselblad Xpan doesn't work
well with infrared film along with more esoteric, technical data such
as the spectral irradiance of the sun at sea level. If you are passionate
about or just interested in infrared photography, you will visit each
page of this section and revel in what you uncover.
Miscellaneous Photo Chapters is even larger than the previous section
and contains over 50 different topics, mostly related to cameras and accessories.
The general focus is on the cameras that Markerink personally uses including
Canon, Noblex, and Minolta, but you'll also find stories on the
Combat Graphic 70mm, Horizon 202, and information on fisheye lenses. It's
here where you'll find the "25 Photographic Truths,"
along with an overview of medium format slide projectors, and a dissertation
on "Why APO is not always APO..."
External Links to other IR and UV sites includes an Infrared FAQ (Frequently
Asked Questions) section that includes contributions by 18 other photographers.
Like the rest of the site, this FAQ is deceptively simple and includes
practical advice from all of the contributors about their experience working
with black and white and color infrared imaging. The FAQ also includes
hyperlinks to charts and graphs to make even the most technically minded
photographer happy, but is written in such a way as to appeal to even
an IR novice. This is must reading for any visitor to the site.
Sites containing IR Pictures is exactly what is says and it lists over
60 photographer's web sites that feature at least a few infrared
images. There's also a short list of sites specializing in UV pictures.
Sites with general photo information, FAQs, and mailing lists includes
a chunk of information on panoramic photography, including links to pano
photographer's sites and the official site of the International
Panoramic Photographers Association. There are the inevitable links to
sites about filters, including B+W and Cokin, but also sites that contain
information about Leica, Minox, Rollei, Schneider, Voigtlander, Zeiss,
and other optical companies. This section is a true cornucopia and includes
Naval Observatory links and others that will help you determine sunrise
and sunset times. Interested in weather? There are links about photographing
lightning, cyclones, tornadoes, hurricanes, and rainbows. Sprinkled throughout
the site and, in particular, this section you'll find digital imaging
information and links. Here there are pages containing information comparing
different kinds and brands of scanners along with tips on scanner characteristics
such as color depth and dynamic range. This section also contains tips
on monitor and scanner calibration. There's also a group of links
on sites where you can buy used photographic equipment in the US, Belgium,
Germany, and Holland. This one section has so many information links that
it exceeds what many people have on their entire web site.
The web site wraps up with links to a few non-photo sites including the
IBM Patents Site and a link to WJ's own Offroad Section. Yes, Virginia,
there really is a WJ's 4x4 Homepage replete with technical information
about offroading and 4x4s, including the Toyota Land Cruiser. Whew! Does
this guy ever sleep?
Like the Energizer Bunny, WJ's Photo Homepage just keeps on scrolling
and scrolling revealing ever more nooks and crannies full of treasures.
In many ways, it reminds me of a special bookstore that you discover in
some out-of-the-way place and every corner you turn reveals something
more interesting than what you just stumbled across. A beauty it ain't
but WJ's is a must-visit place on the WWW.
In selecting each month's web site, I use Macintosh and Windows
computers with 56K internal modems installed in each one. Currently, my
Internet Service Provider is Compu-Serve Information Systems and I use
the latest version of Netscape Navigator as a browser, but that's
always subject to change. If you would like to nominate your own home
page or a favorite web site, drop me an e-mail at: email@example.com.