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Photos: Introduction and General Notes



 


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I have tested several different types of “photo gallery” software for arranging and displaying these photos on this web site (and I’m not fully pleased with any of them).  As I’m doing the initial planning (to put October 2012 East Africa photos up onto the web in early 2013), I’m using Shozam software.  However, I may use other software at some later time.

This web site contains (or, hopefully, will someday contain) several different photo galleries.  Each Shozam gallery can contain multiple albums (but some galleries will contain only a single visible album).  Each visible album generally contains several photos or images (possibly over 100). 

The initial version of this is being written (and edited) in early 2013.  At this time, I’m planning to organize photo galleries into folders by decades (1970s, 1980s, 1990s, etc.).  It may be a few years before photos from each decade actually make their way onto the web site.  Some galleries and albums may contain images taken in more than one decade.  Those galleries and albums will probably be placed in the decade-folder that seems most appropriate for the images.

 My understanding of Shozam is that a photo or image in the album can be viewed in at least two different sizes: Thumbnail and Quickview.  Photos or images may also be available for viewing in two other sizes (Large and Original), if I set the album up to enable these (but two or three of the three sizes larger than Thumbnails (i.e., Quickview, Large, and Original) could be the identical in a given album, depending on the number of pixels in the original digital image (and, as indicated above, some of the three sizes may not exist at all).  The size of the image that is displayed depends on the type of Shozam page that is selected by a visitor.  In all cases, the images contained on this web site may be cropped or adjusted versions of the initial out-of-the-camera image.

The normal entry screen for a gallery is a special page with a slideshow.  That slideshow is a special album (which should be invisible to the visitor, except for that slideshow).  Similarly, each gallery can contain a page giving “Information About This Gallery.”  That information page is another special album, which should also be invisible to users.   The information page might have a slightly different title.  The name can be selected when the gallery is constructed.  I may be careless in the future and fail to use consistent terminology.

When viewing galleries created by Shozam, one can toggle between several views (displaying the photos in various sizes).  Some of these views include what Shozam calls the “Description” (which is where I sometimes place what is referred to elsewhere in this Introduction as a “story”). 

Shozam does not seem to have the capability to provide much formatting in the descriptions and captions (although it provides more than some software that I considered and tested).  For example, there is no capability to use italics in the descriptions (or, if there is, I have not yet been able to “find” it as this is written in early 2013).  Also, if the url for a web site is given in one of the descriptions in a gallery prepared with Shozam, it is not a link (it cannot be “clicked” to go to that web site).  The text manipulation features of the program do not seem to include an automatic spell checker (or a search-and-replace capability).  Because of these program “features” the descriptions may be a blander (and possibly less clear and less “smooth”) than I would have wished. 

The navigation links above and below the main "frame" in the photo galleries are similar to the links that appear at the top and bottom of the HTML-pages (such as this page) -- except that the (1) fonts and graphics are smaller and (2) the second line of the bottom row of links does not appear in the photo gallery pages prepared with Shozam.  Using any of the above-and-below-the-frame navigation links will take the user out of the photo gallery.

The links "inside" the the main frame all relate to the current gallery.   The Intro link within the gallery will take the user to the home page for the gallery, which allows selecting an album from within the gallery (if the gallery has more than one album accessible in this way).  The "Information About This Gallery" link takes the user to a special album (accessible only from this special link) that usually contains overview or background infomation about the gallery. The other "inside-the-frame" links go to various types of page formats within the current album. 

The only ways I have found to determine the name of the current album (once the album has been entered via the landing/menu page for the gallery: the page that can be returned to via the Intro link) is to use the Index link and or the Detail All link (from the Details page for an individual image).

As indicated above, the “Home” navigation link near the top of each page (or “screen”) in each of the galleries prepared with Shozam will (or should) take you outside the gallery pages (those created by the Shozam software) to the main Home Page of the entire web site.  The “Photos” navigation link near the top of each page also takes you outside of the gallery pages (but to the top-level menu page for selecting photo galleries). The “Intro” link (just above the photo, not at the top of the page) should take you to the beginning of the current gallery, which is usually a slideshow of some of the pages in the gallery (the slideshow may contain photos from multiple albums if the gallery contains more than one visible album). 

One feature of Shozam I am somewhat unhappy with is that (for at least some photos) the entire photo is not visible on the screen in the initial Large view (a portion of the photo extends off the bottom of the screen and you need to scroll to see it – this may vary depending on type of display monitor one is using and what settings are being used for the display).  Based on tests that I have done, it seems that going to the  “Original” item on the menu will provide a full-image onscreen display (in cases where the “Original” image is available in the gallery).  Then the next mouse click will make that “Original” image disappear taking the user back to the image mode used previously.  Another option is to view photos initially using the Quickview screen, then click to the Large view only for photos the user is interested in examining closely.

I am also not terribly excited about Shozam’s normal landing page for each gallery, with the slideshow and the reflection of each image in the slideshow, or that the title of an individual album is generally not visible (this is a factor only for galleries that contain multiple visible albums.  As best I can tell during initial testing, the album title appears only in (1) the Index page and (2) the “Details all” screen or page, which can be reached only from the “Details” screen or page for an individual image.  The landing page slideshow is well done, but that was not a “plus factor” in selecting the software.

An important factor (for me) in choosing this “gallery” software is the ability to incorporate (and readily display) detailed descriptions.  This is because I want to (sometimes) (1) tell a “story” about the photo and/or (2) tell a story through use of the photos. 

Another factor in selecting the gallery software is that I did not want to have to deal with the capability for viewers to be able to make comments on the folders (I could not figure out how to disable the comment-making capability in some of the programs, I was unsure that I would have the capability to moderate comments with some software, and I was certain I would not have the time to do it or any interest in moderating comments).  I’ve seen instances where the comment section of a blog, web site, etc. has been taken over by spammers.

For several reasons, the versions of the photos that will go up on the web are (in most instances) “cut down” in the total number of pixels from their original “out of the camera” (or, in some cases, “out of the scanner”) versions.  As already mentioned, the galleries created by Shozam have the capability to include what is called the “original” image.  For some images (such as “especially attractive or colorful” photos), this “original” version will indeed be the actual “out of the camera” image.  For most images however, the “original” will be a version “cut down” by some amount to minimize the time required to upload the file to the web server (and also to minimize the amount of time for the “original” to open in the user’s browser). 

If anyone is interested in an “original” image (with the original number of pixels) that is not available on the web site, please contact me -- and try to clearly identify what you want (I hope to eventually have well over 1000 images on this site).  A possible reason for wanting an “original” image (one containing more pixels than are needed for an on-screen display) would be to make a print (on paper).

So far as I know, all of these photos are free for taking/downloading, subject to the restrictions on copyrights and Creative Commons usage in the Copyright Section, linked from the main page of this web site.  I’m trying to share these photos, not to make money from them.

In some cases, the descriptions included with the photos are adapted from e-mails previously used to send out versions of the photos.  I’ll try to edit these older descriptions, but I may miss some phrases from the earlier version of the write-up.

It appears the Shozam software has the ability to capture information (called EXIF information) that many digital cameras (and perhaps scanners) store along with the image (including the date) (several similar gallery programs can also capture this information).  I plan to have the descriptions of the photos included these captured dates, wherever possible.  For the photos originally made as digital images, this is probably the date the photo was taken (except for possible time zone differences – I normally don’t bother to change the time setting on my cameras when traveling).  For photos that have been scanned from prints, any date stored with the digital image would, of course, not be the date the photo was taken.  Original dates seem to retained when I modify the photo some time after it is taken (for example, by cropping a photo), but sometimes the date the image was modified is added.  However, I’m not sure the original date is always retained.

In the preliminary testing that I have done, some images modified by others do not contain the stored EXIF information (such as the date and time the photo was taken and exposure information).  When the information is not available, Shozam seems to omit all mention of it from the description.  I have seen a few instances where Shozam has omitted this information from the description even though it apparently is there.  I’m still trying to understand those cases (as I’m writing this in early 2013).

Some photos include images of living people and some descriptions include names of living people.  In the older photos especially, my memory has gotten fuzzy and I no longer remember the names of some people in photos (or couldn’t recall them while working on the descriptions of the photos). 

If your photo appears here and you are not identified in the description (but would like to be), please contact me.  I’d love to hear from you.  Similarly, if your name appears and you would like you name removed, please contact me.  Again, I’d love to hear from you.  Also, please contact me if you would like an entire image removed (for this one, please tell me why – if there are people or things in the photo that I want to show, it might be possible to alter the photo to remove only the objectionable portions).

Also, please contact me if you spot any errors in the descriptions with respect to dates, names of people and/or places, etc.

Finally, I’m putting this web site up before I have been able to fully test it using all browsers (and I’ll never be able to test it using all combinations of display monitors and display monitor settings).  I’d appreciate any feedback on oddities that might show up when others  try to view these photos.  In these cases, please try to describe what you see, give the type of browser you are using (Firefox, Microsoft Explorer, Chrome, etc), give type of computer or other access device (Mac, Windows, etc. and also laptop, desktop, “pad”, etc.).   I might be able to adjust things at this end to improve visibility.

Best way to contact me is via the Contact Form off the main Home Page of the web site. It can also be reached from the Adminsitrivia Page and from the “Contact Us (Feedback Form)” link near the bottom of most pages of this web site. 

 


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