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About the site

I started this site in 1995 with about a dozen photos after a hitchhiking trip across West Africa. At the time, I viewed the camera as a nuisance, and used it quite sparingly, taking just enough photos to be able to remind myself later of where I'd been. When I got back to the USA, the web seemed like a way to bring people a glimpse of a region that gets very little tourism, so I scanned a handful of prints and put them online.

Since then, as my interest in photography has grown, the site has become a way to share with friends and family without forcing them to endure tedious slide shows or sit next to me while I page through photo albums and tell boring stories.

Perhaps arrogantly, I imagine that they might be interesting for others as well. The Saudi Arabia section draws hate mail on a fairly regular basis (usually complaining that I don't show the modern side of the country, which I largely gloss over because it doesn't seem so interesting), so I know somebody's looking.


Cameras I've used over the years:

  • Minolta SLR (film): 1990 - 1993

  • Ricoh point-and-shoot (film): 1993 - 1997

  • Minolta Freedom Zoom 105EX (film): 1997 - 2001

  • Canon Powershot S30 (digital): 2001 - 2007

  • Canon PowerShot S3IS (digital) 2007 - present

I retreated from the SLR early on because I found that its size was such a deterrent to carrying it around that I simply never took any photos. It was just something to take up space in my bag and keep me worried about theft or damage.

The Ricoh and Minolta point-and-shoots each held out for a few years before finally succumbing to the travails of life on the road. The Ricoh has a decent excuse: It was stomped by a goat. Even after that it continued to work, but maintaining its duct-tape prosthetics became annoying after a while.

The Canon S30 I used until February 2007 held up quite well for 6 years. It's small and solid and fits into my pocket, yet offers full manual controls - rare in a compact digital. Eventually some of the buttons stopped working, which made it impossible to delete photos or use the manual settings. So it had to be retired.

The jury is still out on the latest camera, the Canon Powershot S3IS. I bought it online in California, then took off on a flight to Korea. Five days later - despite being coddled like a baby - it had stopped working (all photos just came out as random gray noise). I phoned Canon in the USA and they told me tough luck, it has a US warranty, I can get it repaired next time I am back in the country. They wouldn't even accept a shipment from Asia at my expense.


The site runs on PHP, Apache, and MySQL, a complementary trio of open-source software that allows anyone with a bit of patience and programming experience to undertake some pretty ambitious projects. The code and design for the current site were hacked together over the Labor Day long weekend in 2003.

I do a little cleanup on the digital images - cropping out my thumb, rotating them a few degrees to cancel out my apparent inner-ear defect, and adding the copyright notice - with Photoshop, all on my trusty MacBook.

For the benefit of search engines

You can ignore these - I'm just making sure they get picked up by google.

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