About Middle Bass on the Web / Tips
When we first started thinking about creating a Middle Bass Web site in 1998, it was with the idea of just publishing various pictures and postcards we have accumulated over the years. My wife is a 3rd generation summer family islander who has been coming to Middle Bass since the mid-1940s, and I've been coming as long as I have known her. For years we were the primary users of her aunt's cottage, a Sears Roebuck catalog mail order house from the 1920s. That cottage never had heat, hot running water, or a shower.
In 1998, we built a new house on Middle Bass and discovered for the first time what a great place the island also is in the spring and fall, and on any cold day for that matter. In 2000, we spent 54 days on the island according to my calendar. In 2001, it was about 50 days. By 2004 it had grown to 92 days. Since we are not fully retired, that was quite an accomplishment. Our goal is to spend more time on the island every year.
Neither of us has ever designed or built a Web site before, but I do have a good software background, and my wife spends most of her time writing on a computer. Once we got the domain registered and got the first pages created in FrontPage, we got hooked. We have a scanner at home as well as 2 computers with 21 inch monitors, plus a high speed DSL link to the Internet, and my wife and I have spent many evenings working together on the site. Our original goal was mainly to make some island history widely available, but the scope of the site has clearly grown from there.
Over time, we have acquired additional URLs. The ones currently active are for
- Ottawa County: www.ottawacounty.us
- Put-in-Bay: www.pib.us (This is the only one we aren't really doing anything with.)
The vast majority of the early photos on the site, i.e., those not attributed to others, were all taken with a 35mm Canon EOS3 using either a 75-300mm telephoto zoom lens with an image stabilizer, or a 17-35mm wide angle zoom. A few were taken with a 24-85mm zoom. When the film - always Kodacolor 100 - was processed we also ordered a Kodak photo CD, so we got digital photos with a much higher resolution than that offered by most digital cameras at the time. 35mm film still has a resolution of about 20MB, while the best digital cameras were about 4MB the first few years we ran the site. And we didn't have to worry about backing up the digital photos because we have the film and CD. The pictures were then processed further through Adobe Photoshop, usually with a 3-step process that includes (a) resizing (b) contrast enhancement and (c) color reduction to reduce the image storage size, before saving in a Web format. Reducing the image from 256 or more colors to 32 has no visible impact on picture quality, but has a dramatic effect on image size.
Starting in Fall, 2002, we started using a digital camera and found for a few years that we needed both the 35mm and the digital for a variety of reasons. So from 2002-2006 photos were taken with both.
Since late 2006, most photos have been taken with a 12MP Canon EOS 5D and either a 100-400mm IS L or 24-105mm IS L lens. I usually use either a haze filter or polarizing filter, and on the rare occasions when I'm not using one of them, I'm experimenting with one of several graduated filters. Shooting at 400mm, I always use both a tripod and a cable release. And when I'm not lugging the big camera, I use an older 8MP Canon Powershot Pro, which is still a great digital camera. I shoot only in RAW, and all photos go through a 4-5 step enhancement and conversion process in Photoshop before they reach the web. Web images are always at 72dpi which allows them to load faster, but keeps them from printing well.
We are committed to site content that is suitable for people of all ages, and to a user friendly site. This means, among other things, that you will never encounter popup or pop-under ads on the site, or other glaringly offensive ads.
We love Middle Bass and have had a great deal of personal pleasure building this site, and we hope that you will also get some pleasure out of using it.
And if you are interested in the complete list of websites I run, click here.
Mike and Jean Gora
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Reproduction without written permission is forbidden for any purposes other than personal use.
Revised: 11 Sep 2008 05:07:06.
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