Web Site Of The Month
DigitalTruth Photo Source

The content of DigitalTruth: Photo Source proves that digital technology can peacefully coexist within a web site focused on traditional photographic imaging.
Photos © 1999, Jon Mided, All Rights Reserved

This issue's Web Site of the Month is DigitalTruth: Photo Source, which can be found on the World Wide Web at www.digitaltruth.com. The content on this web site is real proof that digital technology can peacefully coexist within a site that's mostly focused on traditional photographic imaging.

As befitting the worldwide nature of the web, DigitalTruth: Photo Source was created by Jon Mided who is based in the United Kingdom. The web site's opening screen is attractive, deceptively simple, and features a table of contents of what's available for reading or downloading. Even a casual glance at the major sections listed tells you there's a lot of information available for photographers interested in film processing and darkroom technique. Significant features of the site include:
The Massive Dev Chart. Mided claims to have created the "world's largest list of development combinations" and who am I to argue with someone from the home of the Guinness Book of World Records? The development times shown on the chart are primarily oriented toward 35mm camera users and include a combination of data from manufacturers as well as independent information obtained from the author's own experience along with other contributors listed on the page. To find a specific developing time, simply choose your favorite film from a pop-up menu that includes a long list of black and white films beginning with Agfa Ortho and ending with several Tura films. After selecting your film, you'll be hyperlinked to another page showing charts listing developer, film speed, and development times for those specific film types. If you prefer, you can download all of the data for every film covered by The Massive Dev Chart. All of that information is contained in a text file that's only 92K in size, which the Webmaster claims is regularly updated. In addition to developing times, the same start page lets you access a time/temperature chart as well as the steps required for push processing film.

You can use The Massive Dev Chart to find specific developing times for a long list of black and white films starting with Agfa Ortho and ending with Tura films.

Photo Links Meta-Index. Links are the glue that holds the WWW together and lets you move seamlessly from one home page to another. This set of links is designed to help you find "just about any photo site of the Internet." It's a good source of data for web sites about photographic techniques, and you'll find information on traditional as well as digital imaging techniques. Given the film and darkroom orientation of Digital-Truth, I was surprised to find that the numbers of links for digital imaging are greater than the links for traditional photography. There are few, if any manufacturer's sites listed, so I'd suggest another place to compliment the links you'll find here. The Meeting Place for Photography (www.fotograaf.com/ links3.htm) is a comprehensive listing for most photographic manufacturer's web sites that are located in the US, Europe, and Japan.

Web Forum. This is the location on DigitalTruth: Photo Source that serves as a bulletin board, where visitors can post queries (and hopefully get them answered) as well as discuss various photographic and darkroom related topics. So far, this seems like the least visited section of the web site, but I did find an interesting discussion going on about the merits of using Perceptol with Tech Pan and Delta 3200 with XTOL.

The web site contains a selection of Mac OS and Windows freeware and shareware that's useful for the traditional photographer or digital imager.

Technique And Data Sheet. There's tons of photographic darkroom advice to be found here, beginning with information on reciprocity failure and filter factors, but also tips on making a cyanotype along with how to make and use a chromium intensifier. Darkroom fans will find the formula for Farmer's Reducer--subtractive and proportional--along with instruction for its use. When I last visited not all of this section was complete. The information on sepia toner, for example, was not completed, but the formula and instructions for using Fix Test were. All of the formulas shown in this section contain weights and measures in grams or milliliters, so the Webmaster kindly includes a brief conversion chart for those of us who are not Metric-aware.

Deals And Bargains. The content of this section is sparse but includes information on how to get a subscription to a free photography E-zine, as well as discounts on a modest selection of photo books and magazines. If you're not familiar with the E-zine concept, read the sidebar "Here To Stay?"

Photo Booth. You don't have to be William Wegman to have a sense of humor and this section certainly proves it. Mided suggests you have a JavaScript-enabled browser to take advantage of this "latest technological breakthrough in interactive imaging" and since most browsers these days are JavaScript aware this may not be a big issue for you. If you have an extra minute or so, click Photo Booth and follow the instructions. I won't ruin the surprise by telling you what happens next, but if you visit the site more than once, try it each time you do.

Shareware And Freeware. This contains a modest selection of Mac OS and Windows software that will be useful to the traditional photographer or digital imager.

DigitalTruth: Photo Source is not fancy. There's no color or animations (thankfully) to rob system resources and slow loading on your screen. Instead, you'll find gobs of practical information and links to useful web sites wrapped around a great-looking design. Occa-sionally you'll see an advertising banner--especially on the Web Forum --but they are few in number and tasteful in size. This simplicity translates into a site that pops on screen when you move from one page to the other or are searching for processing information for a specific type of black and while film.

When I contacted the Webmaster to obtain his permission to feature his site, here's what he had to say about Shutterbug: "I pick up a copy whenever I'm in the US. It's a treasure trove for bargain hunters and camera enthusiasts and has been a favorite publication of mine for many years." Thanks Jon, we think DigitalTruth: Photo Source is pretty special, too.

In selecting potential Web Sites of the Month, I use Macintosh and Windows computers with a 56K internal modem installed in each one. My Internet Service Provider is CompuServe Information Systems and I use the current 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 your favorite web site, drop me an e-mail at: editorial@shutterbug.net

Here To Stay?
Webzines or E-zines--call them what you will--are never going to replace Playboy, Shutterbug, or even the Brighton Standard-Blade anytime soon. You can't take an E-zine to the restroom with you and if you fall asleep under your laptop while reading the latest monkeyshines in Primates Monthly on the WWW, you're liable to wake up with some dents in your physiognomy. Nevertheless, a Webzine offers many advantages over a conventional paper publication. There is immediacy. New products or information can be rapidly posted, without waiting the two-three months a print deadline typically imposes. Multimedia is another advantage. Video clips can show some photographic techniques better than print media enabling readers and browsers to understand how a situation was in real time--not just for 1/125 of a sec. Webzines are interactive. Readers can instantly respond via e-mail, with no stamps to lick or post office or mailbox to visit. Finally, E-zines are cool. That should be a good enough reason for Web-centric Shutterbug readers to check them out.