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Home : Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Not too many people have asked questions yet. So, you will just have to be satisfied with the answer: 42

If you don't understand the answer, then you probably have not read the Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. To be honest, I haven't either. But I do know the answer. And for those who are wondering, the question is, "What's nine times six?"

Go Figure.

If you have a question, let us know!

— Dave and Ginger Rathbun

But for now, here are some answers to some questions that I anticipate...

How did you put your site together? It's fantastic!
Well, (blush) thank you for asking! The site has changed structure over the years and is currently written using the scripting language php. It is an open source project that is hugely popular on the Internet, especially when combined with the very robust database from MySQL. We selected the templating engine and forum package from the phpBB Group as the base database and then customized it extensively to integrate it within this site.

This site is a showcase for what we can offer in the line of site development and hosting. If you have a need for a dynamic database-driven site that is easy to use and maintain, please contact us for more details.

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So, since everything is done with pictures, why did you pick a plain background?
Before we started any development on this site, we looked at a number of other sites on the web that featured nature or landscape photography. We reviewed things that we liked, and things that we didn't like.

One of the things that we found that we hated was a site that had great photographs hidden in the pattern of a fancy "wallpaper" background graphic. So we decided that to best display our pictures (which is the intention of this site, after all) we would use a basic background. We selected white after testing a number of other colors (our first choice was actually black). In fact, our first photography web site did use white text on a black background because it felt more "artsy". But some of the feedback we got told me that it was harder to read, so for this site we changed our approach.

A side benefit is that you see the site right away, without having to wait for a fancy background graphic to download.

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Speaking of speed, most of your graphics seem to load fairly fast. What did you do?
This is a hard one. There are two formats commonly used for graphics on the web: GIF (like the peanut butter) and JPEG (Jay-PEG). Some of the menu items are GIF images, while the photographs are all JPEG files. JPEG supports true color (16 million color) images, while GIF does not. Photographs, therefore, do not display well as GIF files.

GIF files do have one advantage: there is essentially one way to save them! If you create a GIF file, that's it. There are no other decisions to make. A JPEG file, on the other hand, has several options that you can set. JPEG allows us to compress the images (make them smaller) so that they download faster. (Compression only involves the actual number of bits in the image file, it has nothing to do with the size of the image on the screen. More on that in a minute.)

For more on the JPEG vs. GIF debate and some technical details (if you are interested) on JPEG files, check out the JPEG FAQ.

Oh, and one more thing. If you haven't looked around much yet, you might have missed the fact that we have some animated images on this site. One is an animation of a sunrise. Animated images have to be GIFs! So that explains why the quality on the animated pictures might not seem to be as good as some of the other images on the site...

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Since you went to all that effort to make the images load fast, why did you make them so small? I can barely see the pictures on my super-jumbo monitor with the pixel resolution turned way up!
There are a couple of reasons for this. First, not everyone has a super-jumbo monitor that is able to display a pixel resolution of 1280 x 1024 (or bigger!). If we made all of the images that large, then the rest of us would have to suffer by not being able to see the entire image. So we selected 800 x 600 resolution as the target size.

The other reason is harder to justify without seeming to be paranoid: theft. Since there is essentially nothing we can do to keep people from stealing the images once we upload them to the web server (except introduce you to our enforcer) we decided to make things not worth stealing. So, the maximum resolution image we will post on our web pages is 300 pixels (either across or down) at 72 dots per inch (dpi).

However, there are some images that you can click on to review a larger format. At the same time we increase the size of the image, we also add our name and the copyright symbol somewhere on the image to try to discourage theft. So again it's a trade off; a bigger image, spoiled by having us type all over it.

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So, if you are worried about theft, why even put pictures on the web at all?
That's a really great question.

Part of it is because we can. That is almost the same reason given for originally climbing Mount Everest, in case you are wondering.

Part of it is because we feel fortunate to be able to visit and photograph some of the places in this grand and wonderful country of ours. We like being able to share our pictures, our thoughts, and our creativity with the world via this new medium called the World Wide Web. Our site was first launched in 2000 and has gone through several major revisions along the way. What you are seeing now is our latest effort.

Just the same, you would not go into a store and take a picture off of the wall without paying for it. Yes, you could. It's not that difficult! But we understand that stealing is not really socially acceptable. By the same token, people can easily take pictures off of our web site. We can't really do anything to stop it. We won't worry or lose any sleep over the fact that it is probably happening anyway. But we will make it more difficult to take our pictures and do anything commercially viable with them without our knowledge or consent.

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I really like one of the pictures I saw on your site. Can I get a copy to use on my computer / hang on my wall / give as a gift / tell everyone else that I took?
Sure. That's what we do. This site was set up to sell photographs and other digital services that we may offer. You may have noted that on the bottom of each page of my web site is a link to "legal" stuff. If you haven't noticed, or if you normally avoid fine print, here it is again in bigger letters:

Reproduction or distribution of any content on this web site is not allowed without written approval as detailed below. Content includes, but is not limited to, html, php code, javascript, java or other items defined as "source code", as well as graphics, page design, images or other items available on this site. Reproduction includes but is not limited to copying, saving, altering, manipulating, or any other actions beyond viewing the content on your screen. By using this site, you acknowledge that you do not acquire any ownership rights by downloading copyrighted content from this site during viewing. All content unless otherwise noted copyright © David G. Rathbun as Moments of Light. All rights reserved.

No use of any content from this web site in any means, electronic or otherwise, will be permitted without the express written permission of David G. Rathbun or legally designated representative of Moments of Light.

Whew! That was a mouthful. What does it all mean? It means that if you want a picture to use, you need to contact me so we can discuss terms. If you want to look at it on my site, then that's okay... you have my permission to do that. Read more about this on my copyright page.

Having said that, my favorite way to display my work is an 11x14 print, a plain white mat, and a 16x20 frame. I used to try to cut individual mats in specific colors to complement a photograph. What I ended up with was a bunch of pictures that didn't match anything else in the house, plus a whole bunch of brightly colored (coloured if you're speaking the Queen's English) mat board scraps.

If all of this is too much, remember that you could take a trip of your own. Get out! Look around! Even if you don't have a camera, remember that the mind takes pictures just as well. And they're free!

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Don't you know that nine times six is not 42?
Of course! But for an explanation on how, when, and why 9 x 6 is actually 42, check out any discussion of the works of Douglas Adams, and the significance of the number 42.

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