Craters of the Moon

craterm1.jpg (40539 bytes)Not really too much to say about this place.   It is a geothermal park near Lake Taupo.  It has many active steam vents and bubbling mud pools.  It is inexpensive or free, I can't remember.  It is about a 1 mile walk mostly on a boardwalk that winds you very near these sights.  It is really worth a visit.

Being as there are many more pictures which look better with text winding around them I will use this space to explain my strategies for designing the web page.

I started out with a pretty high capability in the area of digital image manipulation but with no experience in web page design.  I look at the web craterm3.jpg (22628 bytes)page as our photo album of our trip and our postcards home so I put a lot of emphasis on the pictures.   I also really enjoy photography and coming from a computer background I was quick to embrace the concept of a digital darkroom.

Starting out I only knew what I learned in FrontPage 95 combined with my understanding that the page would be viewed with resolution from 640X480 and as low as 256 colors.  With the emphasis in color pictures I decided to ignore 256 color users because it would compromise the quality of the pictures too much to optimize them for 256 colors.  Most computers work well at 16 bit or 64K colors and this is effective with this site. craterm6.jpg (51138 bytes) 24 bit or 16 million color is best and most newer computers will support this with no problem.  All pictures in this site are save at that color depth.  You may change the color resolution of your computer in the Screen function in the Control Panel.

I continue to ensure that the site is compatible for 640X480 users.   This presents more of a problem than you might think.  It means that I must ensure that each page will not go beyond 600 pixels in width.  Initially I did this by preparing pictures in strips not to exceed 600 pixels and then laid the text in paragraphs above and below that would justify to the width of the users screen.  I found it limiting from a picture standpoint but it worked.  Recently I have changed to individual pictures with the text wrapped around but to craterm2.jpg (71720 bytes)ensure that the text remains formatted the way I intend I place the whole thing inside a table which is centered and 600 pixels wide.   Because of this this site actually looks best at 640X480 screen resolution but it is very acceptable at 600X800 which most people use.  The pictures start to get pretty small at higher screen resolutions.

The pictures are all saved in single pass JPEG compressed format at an average size of 30 to 40 K.  I try to hold the size of a single page to 200 K or less so it won't take more than a couple of minutes to load.  It is a constant struggle between the number of images, their fidelity and the time they will take to load on your computer.  I am also limited by slow phone lines in rural ports which is why I loaded all of the picture for New Zealand while still in New Zealand even though the pages weren't complete.

I sometimes prepare a banner for the places that really made an impression but I only do it for the most special places because it is time consuming.

Hopefully this will help or at least show why I am not more help to people that send e-mail asking questions about the development of this web page.  I am not the most sophisticated web master around but I get by.  I do think I am pretty good with the digital photographic work on the web.  I would be available for contract work in this area as long as you were patient on the time required to turn around a project.  My rate is $50/hr US and a fixed price could be agreed for larger projects.   Contact me by e-mail at gowestsf@yahoo.com for inquiries and allow a couple of weeks for a reply.