The Photographs

All of the photographs that appear on this web site are taken using a Canon Digital Ixus V camera. The photos can be stored in best digital android tv box. The camera came supplied with an 8Meg compact flash card. This would allow me to take about 8 big images or lots of smaller ones. As I wanted to take all the images at the highest size possible in case I wanted to print any I soon found 8Meg to be insufficient so I invested in a 128Meg compact flash card, this again was soon found to be insufficient as my fingers seemed to press the shutter button more and more, I convinced myself that I needed to take more and more pictures as I might not venture to a particular area again! Also the batteries did not last the full day on long walks so I invested in another battery! This now means that I have 2 128 Meg cards that I invariably fill during a walk. This means upwards of 200 photos per walk, some are good, some are bad but at least I can look back and remember them all!

The camera gives you the choice of 1600 by 1200 pixels, 1024 by 768 pixels or 640 by 480 pixels. Also there is a choice of compression. Super Fine, Fine, or Normal. I always take images at 1600 by 1200 and Super Fine Compression because I often want to print out onto paper an image that I took. That is fine for printing but an image size of 1600 x 1200 pixels would more than fill any screen resolution that is in common use, apart from the 1 visitor who uses a screen resolution of cinema screen proportions! So I have to reduce the image size down to something that can be viewed. If I was producing a web site that had images only I would probably settle for a size of 600 x 400 such as theLakelandFells or MadAboutMountains. As I wanted to write about the walks as well I needed a smaller size so that I could fit two photos side by side, so I started by using 400 x 300 but soon got a complaint about having to use a sideways scroll!. This was obviously a problem so I settled on 375 x 281. Unfortunately I couldn’t read my own hand writing and used 375 x 287 instead! This meant a rather botched looking site so I took the decision to start again. I waded through every image and started again, resizing and reducing file sizes down (lots of work that a bit of forward thinking could have reduced!).

The image below is scaled down to 758 by 569 but with no compression. It is much smaller than the 1600 by 1200 original but scaled to fit in the web page. A screen resolution of 800 by 600 (still the most commonly used by old people, laptop users, and my dad!) works out at a visible web page of only 760 pixels wide. Take off one pixel from each side for a border and you get 758 pixels for an image. Even so the image below is a whopping 470K in file size, OK I know its only whopping if you don’t have broadband, but I don’t! By the way in case you don’t recognize it the photo is of Helvellyn Summit and trig point taken on the 9th February 2003, and is one of my favorite photos.So the photo looks good but 470K at an average download speed of 4.6K Bits per second equals a very long wait! I bet you are reading this before the image is downloaded, see what I mean! Now due to the fact that I also want to add the odd line or twenty of text, waffling on about the walk in my own inimitable way I need to get the photos even smaller!

Two images next to each other seems to look OK to me so I decided on a size of 375 pixels wide. The image on the left is scaled down to 375 by 281 pixels but still with no compression. The image on the right is the same size but compressed. Any bets on which image is displayed first?150 K16 K !!!!!!!!!Hopefully by now you will see what I have to do to produce an image for display on the web site. Even a size as small as 16K takes a while to download but it is much better than 470K or 150K, and by the way each image is different and has a different file size! Admittedly the image quality is not the same, the photos do look somewhat blurred or less crisp than the non compressed ones but they do give a general impression of what I want.  One of the great thing about the Canon camera is the software that comes with it. There is a shooting mode on the camera that enables you to “stitch” images together. In this mode you take a photo and then the camera displays a bit of that image as you “frame” your next image. This in theory lets you turn full circle going snap, snap, snap aligning the previous image up with the next. Using the supplied” Photo Stitch” software you can easily build up a panoramic view that actually works! I have found that taking a complete 360 degree panorama can be hard work as you have to keep the camera level and at the same height as you turn around, but if you take 2 or 3 images the results can be really good. A couple of examples of this are below.Again these panoramas of the Rigg and High Street, and overlooking Red Tarn are scaled down in both image size and file size.  Now for some fun! The 360 degree panoramas look very small and you cannot see much detail. When they are “stitched” together they produce an image that is over 11000 pixels wide. Just to show what they look like full size click on the panorama of Blencathra below. It will open up a new web page that has the full size version. Using the mouse (even better if you have a three button scrolling one) you can move the image around. It’s the next best thing to being there! Have fun but be warned the file is over 1.2Meg in size so might take a while to fully download!

Luckily for me I have access to loads of good software through work and night school at college so I tend to use a mismatch of programs to produce the images. When you upload the images from the camera onto a PC they are given a name such as 161_6011 IMG. When you are looking back through files of images this is pretty meaningless. At first I started to rename all the images manually but this has the disadvantage of totally cocking up the order in which they were taken! Now I use a batch process that I produced in Adobe Photoshop to rename the images to something like Blencathra 076. The only draw back of this is that any “photo stitch” images loose the A,B,C extension so I have to produce all panoramas first, otherwise it makes it hard work to find which images are part of a panorama. Next I use Macromedia Fireworks, part of the Macromedia MX suite that includes Dreamweaver. I again set up a batch process that first resizes the images down to 375 by 281 and then exports them in the compressed format of my choosing. Hard work to set up and get right at first but it saves so much time in the end! I used to have to manually resize and export each separate image, very time consuming!

So that is that, how I produce the images that appear on the web site. It might be hard work but I don’t have to go looking through cupboards and draws to find old photographs now, well worth it!