Web Site Of The Month
WJ's Photo Homepage

Beneath 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 Wide Web.
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/ phomepag/markerink/mainpage.htm.

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 Home-page.

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.

WJ's 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 image.

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: editorial@shutterbug.net.