The changes on the website have been tremedous with the new interface and website software, WordPress. We can now update our website more regularly and even my email. Keeping track of us has become easier and maintaining the site is not only easier but definitely more fun. Less time is spent converting everything to HTML and more time can be spent on the real joy, sharing good stories, educational material and beautiful images with you. We have spent over eight months putting WordPress to the test and it survives beautifully. Not bad for free!
We have made the move to Mobile, Alabama, to even more sweltering heat, humidity, and mosquitos than we suffered through in Israel. I didn’t think it was possible, but we keep going from heat to hot to hotter. I hate heat. We’ve thought about running from several hurricanes and actually ran from one so far, but the hurricane season is still young and we have a few more months of debating running, turtle like with our home on our backs, out of hurricane alley. Yes, it can get “worse” and we seem to be in the middle of it.
To expand the stories of our life on the road, we’ve started a new category called Campground Life to share some stories about the people and activities of life in a campground. We’ve met some amazing people and heard stories that are courageous and shocking from those who travel the highways and byways of North America, right alongside us.
We’ve also started FINALLY working on the book, Home Is Where Lorelle Is, and some chapters will be added to the Telling Stories of Life on the Road from 1996-1999 category on this site.
We’re also excited about a new series of articles we’re starting in August called Know Before You Go in the Going Zone, featuring information you need to know before you go on the road, including planning for the road and taking your camera on the road. We look at information about airports, airport security, language and translation information, insurance, camera equipment, packing, and more. We will even provide information about staying in touch and how to get informed about terrorist activities and war zones around the world – to head towards them or stay away.
And, because more and more photographers are turning to the web to display and sell their photography as well as tell their stories, we continue to provide a lot of information to help you with your web page design and development, and we will have more photography, photoblog, and other articles about promoting your work on the web coming soon. We keep busy!
We’ve made a home, sorta, in Mobile, Alabama, and are still dealing with the culture shock of returning to the United States. It’s a very slow moving, hot and humid place, with lovely trees and plants but a lot of bugs and…well, the list of likes and dislikes about being in once again in the southern US will have to take place elsewhere.
Major work has gone on behind the scenes to turn this cumbersome website into something easier to manage. We’ve switched to a PHP and database generated site, making a lot of improvements along the way, but also screwing things up during the transition. After a bit of research, we decided upon WordPress, a blogging and sorta Content Management System program. It’s simple and fairly easy-to-use, and it has the features we wanted to give you the best website possible.
In keeping with our tradition of sharing our new-found knowledge, we’ve added a section in our Learning Zone on techniques for WordPress users and others interested in web page design and development. This will grow and expand over time as we learn more about this process.
Brent has also started more opening contributing in a space all his own called The 12th Fret, discussing his interest in guitars, handmade guitars, classical and fingerstyle guitar music, and sharing lessons about learning the guitar.
Well, a lot of things have happened. Such is our life, a never-ending traumatic adventure.
Highest on the trauma scale is our move after five years living in Israel back to the United States. It wouldn’t be so traumatic, but we’ve moved to Mobile, Alabama. Yes, home of football, football, football, mosquitos, sailing, football, heat, humidity, football, and more football. And yes, we’re learning a new language. Actually two of them: Southern and whatever they call the new black eubonics speak. Personally, I call it mush mouth since words aren’t pronounced as much as they are mauled on their way out. A lot to learn, adapt to, and tollerate.
And as if the move wasn’t enough, of course we are doing tons of changes, updates, improvements, and fixes on our web site. Most of them are behind the scenes, but a few are visible.
Through the improved services and features of our web site host, we are better able to analyze page errors and bad links, so we are making vast improvements to fix all the little annoying broken links among our more than 500 pages. To make this even better, I hope we will be slowly changing over to PHP for encoding and processing our pages as the quantity has now reached critical mass for upkeep. It will take a while, and I’ll be babbling about the trauma of the process on our weblog, Journal Thoughts, so you can follow the bouncing Lorelle as she bangs off the narrow walls of the trailer and pulls her hair out during the process.
The weblog, Journal Thoughts, is gaining popularity among fans and the naive who think blogs should be consice. Sorry folks, Lorelle is verbose by the buckets. But it is still a great way to keep up with our daily travils – sorry – travels. I’m still making improvements in the look and feel as I become more confident and familiar with the process.
And of course, there are plenty of new articles to explore:
- Web Site Development and Design – A Step By Step Process
- I’ve started a long promised series of articles on web development and design to help people begin or revise their web sites and web pages. It includes a really well done, if I say so myself, form and chart to help set up your web site.
- File Sharing Software Programs
- Desperate to get some English language television shows, specifically ones of high interest to us, has increased our use of file sharing programs known as peer-to-peer or p2p software programs. We’ve been keeping notes and update this article and review from time to time to give you new information on this great use of the Internet.
- CSS Experiments
- Wow, I never realized how popular our CSS and HTML experiments would be. They continue to get a lot of attention and people are enjoying them, and hopefully learning more about the possibilities of CSS and HTML. I had so much fun, I will be adding more as I come up with them. In the meantime, I’ve been checking them out in different browsers and making a few fixes to make sure they work across the various browsers and computers.
We thought we’d start out the Fall of 2004 with a lot of changes. Oh, you’re going to be hearing about a lot of changes on this web site and in our lives coming very soon!
First big change is the new web site address of www.cameraontheroad.com from www.vanfossenpro.com. We weren’t happy with our choice of vanfossenpro.com a long time ago and have been trying other names out in our minds for a very long time. Over nine years have passed and now it is time to change our name.
Along with the name change are a few visible changes on the web site. We’ve created a new logo that we’re still playing around with and made a few other minor changes in the look of the site.
We’ve also changed web hosts and we’re much happier for the change. Our old host went through changes in a buy out and we were never satisfied with the service of the new owner, so it was time for a new name and a new host.
Have we changed the content? Not a chance. The web site is still jammed with more than 500 articles and pages filled with information on travel, nature photography, the business of photography and writing, and the Internet and web page design and development.
Here are some of the new and updated articles:
- CSS Design Experiments
- Fun! Fun! Fun! We never thought our little experiments with CSS on web pages would attract so much attention, but our site traffic is now off the charts. At least four blogs picked up the CSS experiments and gave it a mention (in Dutch and German, too!) and our site was flooded with visitors. Wow! We’ve been playing with CSS designs to create titles, headings, pull-quotes, blockquotes, lists, menus, geometrics, tables of contents, funky border effects, and a full range of fun and exciting pure CSS designs. And the great part is that they are free – open to everyone to borrow and steal. If you make them better, let us know. Either way, check out the pure CSS design artwork layout examples!
- Online Weblog, Journal Thoughts
- After trying it the hard way, I’ve decided to take advantage of great free technology and use WordPress, a free PHP driven blog software program, to manage our online weblog or journal. We’ve kept the same name, Journal Thoughts, and the whole thing is MUCH easier. I highly recommend this software. It is easy to use, but if you want to use it well, it has a bit of a learning curve. It’s a great way to get a very simplistic step forward in learning PHP.
Summer has arrived early, as usual, in Israel and we’ve been baking since about February with only a few days of nice moderate temperatures that makes you believe living in Israel is a great thing weather-wise. It’s a lie. The baking returns and we all wonder why anyone would suffer the sand, dust, heat and humidity.
We ended our spring with a quick trip from hell to the US on a business and family whirlwind trip. Our laptop was siezed and confiscated at the Tel Aviv airport and returned to us days later broken and battered. We’ll keep you updated on what happens next in the soap opera of our lives and battling the crap of traveling today. After a couple weeks back, trying to recover from the hard drive crash, we took four days off and went to Eilat to photograph birds. Well, Brent, the bird bonkers boy, is off with the birds and I’m restoring the computer and catching up on much delayed work, articles, and newsletters.
Here are a few of the additions and changes to the web site, which has been a great hit with everyone so far who has checked out the new design, layout, and structure. We’re slowly making even more changes, so expect to see a lot more design elements shifting and changing. I’m so thrilled with it and it is easier to work with, too. Much happier!
- Background Magic
- No matter how great your composition and lighting, if you have a messy background, your picture may be lost in the background. We’ve created a two part series on the magic of backgrounds in nature photography and an entry in our new Behind the Scenes section looking "Behind the Background Magic".
- Behind the Background Magic
- In our new Behind the Scenes section, we examine the challenges and choices we had to make to create the appropriate and interesting background for a variety of photographic subjects including flowers and birds.
- Under the Hood: A Look at Our Web Page Design
- As you’ve seen in the history of this web site, we’ve put a lot of work into making it look "simple" while meeting web standards. We opened up the hood of our web page design and revolutionary and innovative layout techniques to help you understand more about web page design through a new extensive series of articles. We also have provided extensive articles and tips on web design techniques, tips and tricks, including some fun CSS tricks and amazing CSS experiments we created as possible candidates on these pages. We’ve even created a list of books on CSS and HTML web page design to help you get even more information.
- Ain’t No Mountain High Enough… The Art of Mountain Photography
- We not only love being in the mountains, we totally love photographing them. We decided to share some of the fun and technique behind many of our popular mountain images in this innovative article about photographing mountains.
- Patterns in Nature
- The patterns found in nature are intriguing and fascinating. Spirals, lines, ripples, curves, they all stimulate the imagination as we recognize the familiar among the anarchy of nature. We’ve taken our extensive notes from our Patterns in Nature workshop and reproduced them here with additional information. Come discover the wonders of patterns in nature.
- Two Years Living In Israel – What’s It Like?
- Two years into life in Israel, Lorelle wrote a long letter to friends back home about our life in Israel, the Intifada, the history, the sights we’ve seen, where we’ve been, what we’ve been doing and thinking.
- Digital Camera: Tips and Tricks
- After interviewing a few pros using digital equipment, we’ve completely updated and revised our article on digital photography and digital cameras.
- Photographing the Wind
- How do you photograph the wind? Photographing the wind is a real challenge because you can’t see it directly. People rarely think of the wind as a photographic subject. You can’t do morning light on wind. Front light has no effect. Learn to pay attention to the effect wind has on subjects and before you know it, you may not be photographing the wind directly, but you will be photographing the wind.
Winter – Spring 2004
Whew! We’ve been working our buns off to really repair, change, update, and shift all our pages around to meet the standards of web page design. It was critical for us to have our pages be as accessible as possible, not just to handicapped or disabled users, but to everyone. This is an ongoing mission for us behind the design of these pages. We’ve updated and revised almost every one of our almost 500 web pages. We’ve done so much work, we decided to write articles about the process of creating, updating, and validating web pages and web sites.
After a summer and fall spent cleaning up our lives and returning to normal in Israel, we’ve got the newsletter back in production and we are making good progress on our book, Home Is Where Lorelle Is. It also means that Lorelle is still hibernating and on hiatus from social activity and teaching in Israel. We’ll be back in full action soon, but the work is fun and exciting and obsessive!
- Close ups in Nature
- Close up photography or macro photography is a favorite nature photography subject for us. We’ve decided to share our class notebook online called "I Long To Be Close To You: Close ups in Nature". This nine-part article series takes you inside the magic world of close up photography and the minature world of nature photography, learning about the special photographic equipment required, techniques, and exploring various subjects of close up nature photography.
- Computers, Internet and Web Pages
- We are so dependent upon them for our work, we decided to share some of our tools, tips, and techniques, including articles about tips and tricks on how the Internet works and how to work on the Internet, avoiding viruses, spam, and other nasty emails, spyware and popups, web page design and development, web page and web site validation and optimization for search engines, and more. We even have some lists of search engines, directories, and indexes to help you with your web site submissions.
- The Sparrow, An Exercise in Rewriting (fiction by Lorelle VanFossen)
- An essay Lorelle wrote in a writing class that received high acclaim but was lost in our move to Israel. It’s been found and published here first. It is her only fictional work, a short story about how the life and dreams of a young girl can be changed by watching her aunt fight for her life and her dreams and lose.
- Good News from Israel
- While those living outside of Israel seem to see nothing but bad news coming out of Israel, we also seem to be surrounded by the same bad news. So we decided to do a little hunting for some good news and we found some worth sharing.
- Updated Going Zone
- Thinking of going on the road traveling? We have updated many of our popular articles in our Going Zone including how to plan your nature-oriented travels and take it with you when you go and tips on packing.
- Updated and New Articles in the Living Zone
- We’ve completely updated all of our articles on staying in touch on the road, including using wireless Internet connections, and working on the road. New articles include Storage Tips for RVers, Is Full-Time Living Right for You? and Choosing a Full-Time Recreational Vehicle for Nature Photography travel.