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Photography by Dale Hudjik
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01FEB04 - Changes

A few days ago was looking at an advertisement for an inexpensive 1TB external hard disk. If I did my arithmetic correctly, one could store over one million photographs on this device at the cost of about 1000th of the cent each.

I got to thinking about how relatively recent technological advancements have improved communication and especially communication of photographs and other images.

Another relatively recent innovation is the introduction of tabbed browsing. With a tabbed browser one can look at hundreds of web pages in a few minutes. A list of bookmarked web pages can be brought up in a few seconds with a high-speed Internet connection. What used to take, perhaps, hours to do on the Internet now can be done in five or 10 minutes. Best of all, some of these browsers are offered as free software.

One more improvement that more and more Web browsers have is the ability to block distracting pop-up and other ads. This saves a lot of time by reducing the amount of distraction on web sites and by cutting down the size of web pages that one has to look at.

For those are designing web sites, and that seems to be everybody these days, browsers that correctly interpret cascading style sheets and other Web standards have greatly simplified Web design and have reduced the need for complex, difficult to learn and costly development software.

Another time-saving innovation on the Internet is news feeds, called RSS for some reason. A news feed is simply a standard format for listing changes to a web site. A news aggregator can then scan this information and consolidate it into an easy-to-read format. It is an easy to keep up-to-date with information in 100 or more web sites in just a few minutes because one only has to read what one is interested in.

It is great to watch the fall in prices of capable digital SLR cameras. One was just announced, and still is reasonably expensive, that takes eight megapixel pictures at speeds of up to eight frames per second. Using the equivalent of digital negatives, RAW files, the amount of color information that these cameras capture is huge, giving the photographer a great deal of flexibility when adjusting white balance, dynamic range, contrast, sharpness and a myriad of other types of fine-tuning a photographer wants to do.

The capacity of memory cards is also greatly increasing. I believe the largest I've seen is 4GB. It is good that this capacity is increasing, because at eight frames per second even cards of this size will fill up quickly.

I've talked about the delivery of images via the Internet, but also the delivery of images on paper media is fairly easy with the relatively inexpensive photo printers that are now available. The photos they print not only look good, but the also can last several decades.

Technological change has not really changed how photography is done, but it is sure has made it easier to learn and do photography. Of course, photography and the other visual arts is not about technology, but the vision of the artist.

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