Ron McLean's

10 Years Of Digital Photographs

September 19, 2012 marked the tenth anniversary of my getting my first DSLR digital camera: a Nikon D100

Coincidentally I bought my first 35mm film SLR camera thirty years ago in September 1982: a Nikon FE

 

After buying my DSLR camera, I decided I wanted to create a way for others to see my digital pictures.

In 2002 there were no Social Media nor Photo Sharing sites like FaceBook nor PhotoBucket or Flikr.

There were a few crude photo hosting sites available from camera and printer manufacturers, but they were transient and unpredictable.

 

I decided to create my own web site and display my photos there. I decided that rather than renting web space from a commercial provider, I would host the site on a computer in my own home. My experience as an Electronic Technologist and Electronic Hobbyist led me to that decision and I have enjoyed the experience and learning that I have gained from this project. I started with a software package called HomeServer which I purchased and downloaded from a service that started as "home2all" and evolved after a software upgrade to "ip-hs2go" It was specifically designed to run on my own computer and was intended primarily for sharing digital photographs. Soon I wanted more options and diversity in how the pictures were displayed. I taught myself the basics of web site design and HTML coding to create and modify web pages by trial and error, and soon had gone far beyond what the original software from "home2all" would have allowed me to do.

 

Shortly after learning enough about web page construction to build a simple web page, I read suggestions on the Internet that E-Cards could do two things for a web site: 1) increase traffic to your site, and 2) act as a showcase for your digital photographs. Both those options were things I wanted to do.

 

I signed up with a couple of free E-Card systems to test the process, then subscribed to the My Postcards Network and created an E-Card site called "Cards From Ogden Point" which was an interesting and rewarding process. The site had several hundred possible cards, and was made up of over a thousand individual pages. I learned a lot about web site navigation and search engine optimization to get it all on line and navigable from page to page.

Cards From Ogden Point was on line from late in 2003 until early in 2009. During the busy years, the site was heavily visited especially considering that it was all driven from a computer in my home using my ADSL connection to "serve" the site to visitors. The 2005 count was 9,028 visitors viewing 100,278 pages. The 2006 count was 14,111 people viewing 157,693 pages. That represents an average of 1.6 visitors per hour, and 18 pages per hour for each of the 365 days of 2006. In 2007 the Storm and Sasser Worms hit the Internet, and the visitors to my site and every other E-Card site dwindled to almost none due to the security dangers caused by the viruses the "worms" carried into people's computers. By that time Social Media site like FaceBook and photo sharing services like Flikr or Photobucket had become the way most people shared information and photographs on the Internet. My total visitor counts in either of 2007 or 2008 were less than lots of days in 2005 or 2006. When the renewal payment came due in 2009, I was out of town dealing with a family situation, so I let the payment lapse, and then took the site off line when I returned home.

 

When I first put my home server on line, I also put a webcam in my kitchen window that looked out at a thermometer in my back yard. I gradually added more webcams looking out various windows in my house. They get a lot of visitors, especially on the rare occasions when Victoria gets snow.
The original webcams were still photos that refreshed every minute. They came from USB webcams that were connected to the server computer. The software that broadcast them had to be manually restarted one by one every time the computer was restarted. The current ones are stand alone units that each have a built in web server. They use Java Applets to give a continuous streaming effect. The combination of internet connection speeds of my connection and the viewer's connection may cause some "jerky" appearance rather than a continuous stream.

 

The Webcam Index is at:

http://www.webcams.ogdenpoint.ca

 

During all the time Cards From Ogden Point was on line, the photos that were used in the cards were "served up" via another site I refer to as my PhotoServer. The PhotoServer has resided on two different computers that sat in my living room, and now resides on a Synology Disk Station that is a much simpler device designed specifically for displaying digital photographs on the Internet. It is less powerful as a computer than most smart phones. However it does the job of making my photos available for everyone on the Internet quite nicely. It requires much less maintenance than the previous computers did because it runs a fixed program that can't be changed nor updated. The fixed program limits my ability to change the layout of pages etc, which can be a bit frustrating. However that same fixed program keeps the system very secure against hackers and malware. The Synolgy uses much less energy than a computer, runs completely quietly, and takes up a very small space, so it is perfect for my Server.

The PhotoServer is at:

http://www.photoserver.ogdenpoint.ca

There are links from that page to both my webcams and my photo pages.

 

The Photo Page Index is at:

http://www.photoserver.ogdenpoint.ca/PhotoServer/index.html

 

Please feel free to visit my PhotoServer any time.

I have just updated it and made sure all my photographs are separated into albums that are easily viewed.

There are several albums of specific dates or places I visited, and the bulk of the albums are sorted by date -- newest to oldest.

For those of you visitors that are interested in photography, the Synolgy system includes an "Information" function when you are viewing a particular photo. There is what looks like a link over the photo you have open that says "Information". If you put your mouse over that link, an information applet will show what camera and what settings were used to take the picture. Unfortunately it doesn't include the lens model or focal length. There may be a few pictures that don't have the "Information" available if they are from scans or are heavily edited.. If you notice a group that are missing the "Information", please let me know. I had to edit all my pictures from 2002 through 2005 because the software I was using back then stripped the EXIF data from the photos.

There are roughly 30,000 photographs in the collection. If those pictures had been taken on film, they could have cost roughly $1.00 each for film, processing and prints from one hour processors. The single copy of the print would be in an album somewhere in my house collecting dust. Whether you consider it good bad or indifferent, the use of digital pictures, and the ability to display those pictures on the Internet has transformed Photography and the sharing of photographs in the past ten years for everyone, not just me. In that same time, Kodak has gone from being a huge corporation to nonexistence because the use of film in photography has gone to almost zero.

 



 

The pictures on the PhotoServer are all copyright by Ron McLean. The pictures are reduced in size for easy viewing on the site and to limit unauthorized downloading of the pictures.

The pictures are small enough they won't make good prints nor computer desktop wallpaper.

If you are interested in obtaining a full sized copy of one of the pictures, you can contact me at rwmclean (at) gmail (dot) com

 

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