Introduction and Links

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The Purpose of this Site

The White Creek Gallery (located in Calgary, Alberta / Canada) is about the enjoyment of photography, sharing some images and discussing the elements of good picture taking. An important theme you will find here is the exercise of craft in producing photographs. Whether your photographic interest is the travelogue, vacation scrap-book or salon, your creative potential will be best realized if you understand and learn to control the many factors influencing the appearance of a photograph.

Photographs at this site range from snapshots to commemorate the season or an event to images offering something I hope will prove special in a more lasting way. Text sections explore various subjects in photography, based on personal experience and findings with supplementary web references.

This being the Digital Age, that's the dominant imaging context here but you will also find reference to film and to scanned film in particular. For small format photography, digital has come of age but medium and large format film remain superior to both digital and 35 mm. You will find some medium format images and discussion on this site.

Some favorite links are included farther down this page and these include a few especially useful pro sites.

Because this is a new site (launched September, 2008) it is hoped you can bear with temporarily unavailable links, occasional formatting changes and evolving page/section behavior.

This being an amateur site, the emphasis is on photography for its own sake. You will find tips on photo business practice elsewhere on the Web. The hope is that you will come across something here that makes photography more enjoyable and that the technical information and links will help save you time and money.

If there is a theme here at all (apart from photography in general), it is this: anyone can find great subject material in the National Parks but the real fun often lies in looking for something interesting, surprising and compelling in what's around us every day.



This site is organized as a home page ("The White Creek Gallery") with links to various content sections as identified in the home page main "MENU". Links to sections will often launch a new instance of your browser or a tab and the section will then function as a web site on its own. To exit a section, delete the browser instance or tab and choose something else from the home page main menu.  Of course, you can keep open as many sections as you wish. The reason for this organization is that I prefer images displayed with a minimum of page frames, side menus and other clutter.


Web Style

A minor purpose of this site is to support experimentation with various presentation styles and software technologies. Accordingly, you will find some inconsistencies in appearance and behavior throughout (along with a few peculiarities) although these are generally minor. Once clear preferences are identified, style will gradually become more uniform.

Other aspects of style and presentation possibly important to your viewing experience are discussed under "Scaling" in "System Requirements" (Main Menu or Click Here). To summarize briefly - these pages have been formatted to look their best on a high definition (1920 x 1200) display. This is, after all, a site having to do with images and their appearance. Lower resolution displays (or display settings) should work well but are not optimum. Be aware there is no perfect "one size fits all" scaling strategy. If you have your monitor set to 1024 X 768 or lower resolution, it may be necessary to scroll some images or temporarily choose from solutions described in "System Requirements".


Text Sections

Many of the subjects in the major text section, "General Topics in Photography" have been extensively covered at other sites. My intention in exploring these subjects from the standpoint of personal experience and understanding is that a fresh perspective can often lead to helpful insights otherwise eluding the reader. The target audience for "General Topics" is the newcomer to digital and those having a digi snapshooter but wanting to move on to something more advanced like a DSLR although advanced visitors may also find something useful. 



My photographic experience includes forty-five years use of Nikon, Arca-Swiss (medium format), Sony, Panasonic and Mamiya (medium format) cameras.

My formal educational background (including graduate work) comprises physics, engineering, computer science and English literature.

For the most part I use Nikon digital equipment (DSLR) which is why this site will usually reference those products when discussion of hardware is warranted. This is not meant as a disparagement of other brands. Canon, Olympus and others also make superb products any serious amateur or professional can be happy with. You will obtain best results with a camera that satisfies your personal expectations regarding features, feel and approach to imaging. No one brand could possibly please everyone. For the most part, performance differences between well-known brands offered at similar price levels, targeting similar customers are minor or the perceptions resulting from over-active imaginations and product loyalty. Insofar as possible, opinions and observations here are based on direct experience which means reference to what is actually being used. (This site has no commercial connection with Nikon, Panasonic or any other photographic product or software manufacturer named.)


Whether new to digital photography or a veteran you will have heard about this site:

Rockwell does a good job of exposing photo-hype and the perils of techno-obsession but I am increasingly hesitant to recommend more than one visit - and that only to satisfy your curiosity.

The site is infested with contradictory advice, bullying as to what you should or should not photograph, hyperbolic recommendations and flat-out errors. Rockwell claims to make his living on the "cut" he receives from the online sellers he promotes. As a consequence you will find a huge amount of commentary and product discussion subtley (or otherwise) aimed at massaging you in the direction of purchase from those businesses he has a relationship with. This is hardly the best prescription for objectivity. On one page he will tell you "The camera doesn't matter" but then, on the next, he remembers this is no way to generate the sales upon which he depends for his income so there insists a $10,000 Leica is your best choice. And so it goes. Lately, he has become a Canon "fan boy", which suggests his cut from sales of those products may be better these days than from others.

Quite frankly, I find his fanatical advocacy of online photo-shopping (and patronage of specific businesses in particular) an influence of dubious merit at best. My personal experience is that the best deal can usually be found locally with the enormous benefit of customer service only minutes away should there be a problem. Furthermore, you are supporting the local economy.

You might pick up something useful at his site but ... watch your step as you might if walking through a cow-pasture and - beware the "bull". .

Here are some of my favorite photo links addressing technical and artistic topics in photography: Hosted by British photographer Phil Askey and his army of colleagues. Askey has tested and compared a vast number of digital cameras using consistent, accurate and repeatable measures of performance and posts photographs taken with the units he tests. He doesn't just shoot test patterns but interesting landscapes, portraits and urban scenes. A nice combination of art and technology. Very up to date. Very commercial and self-congratulatory for my taste but worth a regular visit If you want to keep abreast of technology developments. Hosts many huge forums with vast memberships, contests, tutorials etc. A bit of a circus but always useful. Excellent technical reviews of Canon and Nikon lenses plus much more. Hosted by Klaus Schroiff. Excellent resource for the avid photographer - many topics in digital photography, "how to" - including working from scanned film. Don't miss this. Koren covers every important aspect of making fine images. Unfortunately, he has moved on to other activities and the site is gradually falling behind the times. Needs some serious updating to reflect recent technology advances. Thom Hogan caters for Nikon enthusiasts but most of his excellent material is generally applicable to digital photography regardless of what you are using. Unlike Rockwell, there's nothing insane or off the wall here and remarkably little partisanship - just solid information and a lot of experience. I wish Hogan would post more pictures as his work looks very interesting but all we get are a few offerings at postage stamp size. A finely crafted site both visually and technically. Covers a wide variety of photo topics including an excellent section on color perception and color management. Hosts forums and an active visitor community. Highly recommended. One of the best looking photo sites on the Web. 

The following two are more mainstream/commercial in terms of content. You will find news, shopping links, forums etc. Lot's of interesting "stuff".

Nikonians should bookmark the following for Nikon's own technical tests ...

Nikon owners can also do themselves a lot of good by joining this Forum:

There you will find professional quality moderating, a lot of really useful information, photo galleries, contests, technical articles, answers to questions and ... some malarkey as well.  

Recently discovered ... American Society of Media Photographers. Many excellent articles and references. Funded in part by the US Library of Congress

Featured sites where pictures come first:

The links in this new group are photo sites first - where the emphasis is on images while discussion of technology is a secondary consideration or not present at all. I will add additional worthwhile sites of this type as I come across them.

A former industry colleague and fellow Calgarian is now sharing his fine work at the following location. You will find there a unique, dramatic style, talent for isolating what's compelling in a visual experience and the sort of attention to craftsmanship I promote in "The Art of Photography" (General Topics). 

There are many other useful sites you'll find easily enough. These are just to get you started.

When visiting sites providing review of equipment use a grain of salt, or maybe even a full shaker. Professional reviewers have to cover all the bases and can be nit-pickers. Some flaw they find in a particular product might be all-important in one or more photographic situations and totally irrelevant  in others. Keep your own needs and preferences in mind. If you  seldom take flash pictures, why reject an otherwise perfectly fine camera if a reviewer down-rates it because the flash is lousy?

Be especially careful with amateur commentary (even this) you find on the Internet. Many amateurs fall into one or the other of these compromised categories:

  1. The type who loves and approves everything and who fails noticing even the most obvious flaws in a product. His enthusiasm is for the activity of photography and the peripheral goings-on, not the quality of the image. He gives everything a 10 out of 10. To his credit, he spends more time taking pictures than obsessing over equipment and is liable to prove a better photographer than the next type ...
  2. The opposite variety who can be satisfied with nothing less than his concept of perfection. He finds the tiniest fault and condemns the product outright, often returning it to the store. The only "lens" he ever finds acceptable is the lens cap itself, because it cannot disappoint. This type is frequently a "pixel peeper" or "measurebator" (credit to Rockwell for that term). Clinically, he is an obsessive-compulsive.
  3. The product fan-boy who can find no sin on the part of Canon or Nikon or ... you name it. Economics dictates that a majority of us have to commit to a single product line for most of our photo needs but this is a poor reason to waste time "dissing" other brands.
  4. The bumbler or "schlemiel" who cannot fathom even the workings of a flashlight. "This is a terrible camera because I cannot find the shutter release", etc. Often he will whine at length about mysterious failures in capturing an image, his flash not firing or how difficult it is to determine which side is the front of the camera.

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