Web Site Of The Month
Pete's Page: Astronomical Photography And More

The opening screen of Pete's Page shows the photographer's major areas of interest: astrophotography, panoramas, and travel including his "fly-fishing," Galapagos Islands, and Salt Lake City images. You'll also find a section on vintage cameras.
Photos © 1999, Pete Augello, All Rights Reserved

Serendipity: Sometimes you accidentally find something wonderful. That's the case with this Web Site of the Month. While researching astrophotography sites, I found Pete's Page, which includes astronomical photography--digital and film--along with much more. I was attracted to Pete's Page because it is a site that celebrates photography instead of just selling it. Webmaster Pete Augello has set up a homepage that features examples of his outer space and earth bound travel photography. You won't find any banners, ads, or sales pitches here. Instead, Augello uses the site to share the images that he creates with other netizens along with information on the tips and tools he uses to create each photograph. You can visit Pete's Page at: members.aol.com/Paugello/index.html.

It's Animated. The first thing you'll notice when you arrive is that "Pete's Page" logo is animated. Every minute or so, the letters disassemble then reassemble themselves. While some animation sequences on web sites tend to slow browsing, this one doesn't--at least not with a 56K modem. The second thing you will notice is that this Web Site of the Month is divided into six distinct sections:
· Astro Images. This section contains two different galleries of the Webmaster's astrophotography. One is devoted to photographs made with conventional imaging equipment and the other for those created using digital techniques and hardware. Clicking on an image in either gallery opens a larger sized version along with information on how it was captured. Even those of us who are not involved in astrophotography will find Augello's images to be compelling. While the photographs made with digital methods are impressive, his film images are truly breathtaking. While most of the pictures in this section were made using film, many of them were also digitally enhanced, something scientists and engineers at NASA and Jet Propulsion Laboratories do with the images captured by their space probes.

· Panoramas. Augello creates his panoramic images using a conventional camera, shooting multiple photographs while rotating his camera about the "nodal point" so the images can be properly spliced together. The position of the rear nodal point may vary depending on the lens used, but Augello suggests that if "you take the focal length of the lens and measure this distance in front of the film plane you will be close enough." He then uses "stitching" software to assemble the completed panoramic images. The Webmaster displays these digital images in two formats. One is a conventional JPEG file and the other uses Live Picture's RealSpace viewer to provide zooming and interactive viewing. In order to view them in this latter format, you'll need to install Live Picture Zoom Viewer 3.2 (as I write this) in your Internet browser's plug-in folder. Augello does not provide a link to let you download this plug-in, so here it is: www.livepicture.com/download/clients/lpviewer.html.

The astrophotography section of Pete's Page features galleries of images made using conventional and digital methods along with information on the equipment and techniques used to capture them. An index section provides information of the technology involved in the Webmaster's astrophotography.

· The Galapagos Islands. This section of Pete's Page contains images from his trip to these mythic islands. In addition to the photographs of native wildlife that are typically seen from such expeditions, Augello has also documented some of the sights and people of Ecuador. In addition to the photographs, he's posted a diary of the nine-day trip including commentary and observations about his journey. Anyone contemplating a similar trip should read it. Augello made this trip with a tour group, but when venturing out alone he was not afraid to ask questions when taking photographs.

· Fly-Fishing Pictures. It's been a long time since I've been--or wanted to go--fishing, so I approached this section with some reservations. What you will find here is a gallery of images--snapshots really--that the Webmaster made on a trip to the Green River in Utah. Readers who are interested in fly-fishing may find this section of interest.

· Salt Lake City. This gallery of images was made in and around Salt Lake City, Utah, and features some first-rate travel photographs, in black and white as well as color.

· Cameras And Photography. This section contains information about the eclectic assortment of cameras that the Webmaster uses. Clicking on small pictures of the cameras, such as the Koni-Omega, provides some history on the camera, lenses, its 6x7 format, and how the author uses it to capture images. Other cameras featured include a Graflex press camera, Nikon FE, Yashicamat TLR, also Fuji and Mamiya 645 cameras. Augello's opinions about different kinds of film and the medium format are also amplified in separate areas and can be accessed by clicking the appropriate buttons.

He's A Shutterbug Reader. What drew me to this site and the reason it's featured here is that Pete's Page is an amateur photography homepage that exemplifies the true meaning of the word amateur; Augello clearly is passionate about photography and it shows in his web site. When I asked for permission to use his images for this month's column, Augello said, "Wow! Shutterbug is about the only photo mag I still read regularly and it would be an honor to be featured." The feeling is mutual, Pete.

If you think your web site should be featured in an upcoming column, please drop me an e-mail at: editorial@shutterbug.net.