Tuesday, November 05, 2002

November 2002 Update

5th update

are beginning to move again. We have uploaded some more pictures and there are
almost 100 more in the pipeline, including some new Tiffany works. In addition
we posted some of the shots of Connick works at the Basilica of the Immaculate
Conception in Washington, DC and some of the studio's more recent works from
St Luke's Episcopal Church in Montclair, New Jersey. Both of these last two
can be found in folders on the photo.net website and are accessible via a link
in the Links section.

the last month or so I have shot windows in two churches in Montclair, both
of which feature some Tiffany windows, and I am in discussions with a third
which is said to have some particularly fine examples.

are looking into ways of streamlining the process of uploading pictures which
presently consumes too much of Eric's valuable time and if we are successful
in achieving that then visitors should see a big change in the pace at which
new pictures are added and we should see a broadening out of the makers represented
which is currently slanted towards the works of Morris and his associates.

addition the enhancements referred to in the last update are still in the works.

Saturday, October 05, 2002

October 2002 Update

5th update

am very happy to report that
in Glass" is getting rave reviews and we have yet
to hear a single complaint about it.

The most positive comments have probably come from lovers of Tiffany work who
are seeing for the very first time some exquisite works though admirers of "English"
glass are not being disappointed either.

a token of appreciation to our audience, and to show off our printing capability,
for a limited time only we are going to give away a beautiful 10"x8"
full colour print of a Tiffany angel with every CD purchased. Or, if you prefer
to think of it the other way around, buy the print and we will give you the
CD-ROM totally free of charge. Either way it is a tremendous value and you will
not be disappointed. It is also a great gift (or even two great gifts!) for
the coming holidays.

have a few enhancements to the site in the pipeline so do keep checking back.
First and foremost we will be uploading more pictures. Adding to the Tiffany
section is our number one priority but we will enlarge others also. Secondly
we plan to offer visitors the means of sending free electronic greetings, featuring
a selection of the images. I am thinking of calling some of these "E-Blessings".
Last but not least we are going to enter into some affiliations with reputable
companies who sell books and artwork etc. This will not entail a lot of unsightly
advertising banners or, God-forbid, pop-up displays but we simply provide links
and if a visitor uses one of these links to buy, say, a book on stained glass
then we will get a small share of the profits from the bookseller to help towards
the upkeep of this site. This is at no cost to our visitors, they pay the same
for the goods as anyone else buying from the same place, and does not entail
intrusive advertising.

Saturday, August 03, 2002

August 2002 Update

August 3rd

In light
of the renewed interest in Mary Magdalene as a result of the publication of
the popular 'Da Vinci Code' I decided to add a folder containing a few images
of her. All of these images are in other folders on the site but this way they
will be easier to find should anyone be keyword searching using the name Magdalene.
I also decided to add another folder which should have been uploaded last year
but somehow missed the boat. This new folder includes an interesting variety
of works. Many are from Church of the Incarnation which is home to some splendid
Tiffany works as well as others by leading 19th and early 20thC makers. Also
in there are a few pictures from St Paul's in Irton, including one of my personal
favourites - the Tibertine Sibyl and some works from two churches in Scotland.
All-told this has added 115 new images to the site.

4th update

trip to Maine was great. It is a beautiful part of the world and we had fun
just exploring and enjoying the natural beauty of the surroundings and being
close to the sea.

was constantly on the lookout for examples of stained glass but in the places
we visited there were few examples of the kind of pictorial windows which I
like to photograph. Two churches are worth mentioning, however: The Second Congregational
Church of Searsport Harbor and St Saviour's church in Bar Harbor.

were directed to the church in Searsport Harbor by an artist who makes stained
glass artwork who told us that it contained some beautiful Tiffany windows.
A few days later we visited and met with Bob and Jane Mercier, two of the 5
remaining members of the congregation, who told us all about the windows and
about the campaign to raise funds for their restoration. It seems that opinions
are divided as to whether the windows can definitely be attributed to Tiffany
but there is no disputing the fact that they are exceptionally fine works of
art and certainly the quality of materials used and the craftsmanship are consistent
with a studio such as Tiffany's. I shot a roll of film in an attempt to capture
the glowing, jewel-like, colours and will add them to the growing list of work
to be uploaded onto the site.

we did not find St Saviour's episcopal church in Bar Harbor until one evening
towards the end of our trip. We were driving around Bar Harbor and were passing
the church when I noticed what appeared to be some interesting and fine windows.
I parked the car and was looking around the outside when I met with the Senior
Warden of the church who had just locked up for the night. Although I was not
able to go inside I was given a leaflet and have determined that this church
could, of itself, be justification for a return visit to Maine. The church has
no less than 42 important windows. At least 10 are by Tiffany studios and many
others are by great makers including Maitland Armstrong (senior) and Heaton
& Butler. The windows span over a century, from the late 1800's to the last
20 years or so. It is thought that this church has more Tiffany windows in one
building than anywhere else in the state of Maine.

23rd update

it is launched at last! "Angels in Glass"is
finally available for purchase.

I say it myself, this really is a fine product. The images are quite varied
but what they have in common is quality - the works which they illustrate
are simply exquisite.

have been running a prototype of this screensaver on my own PC for some weeks
now and I have to say that it looks superb. If you like the images on this website
then you simply have to see some of them full-screen - the difference is amazing.
Also, with 62 images in total, it takes a long time to even get familiar with
the screensaver never mind getting bored or tired of it!

you like Morris and Burne-Jones or Tiffany or some of the other makers you are
sure to find works on here that you will enjoy.

is also a really great and quite unusual gift for a friend or loved-one, a gift
which combines art, love and spirituality with utility.

don't forget that all purchases from us are protected by our 30-day no-quibble
guarantee and by 'no-quibble' we mean just that. If for any reason you
need or wish to return the product we will either replace it or give you a refund,
whichever you request.

on another topic, there are now some pictures taken in Cologne Cathedral on
the photo.net site which can be accessed via the Links section. The few shots
I was able to take of these beautiful and richly-coloured panels are well worth
a visit.

7th update

to mention that I have uploaded a few shots of the windows at the Second Congregational
Church in Searsport Harbor, Maine, to the photo.net website. They are in a folder
named after the church and can be found via a link in the links section. At
time of writing I have only uploaded 5 shots but I should be getting others
back from the lab later today and may add to the folder if the results are good.
As I mentioned earlier the maker of these fine windows is unknown but they really
are exquisite and are rich in both colour and texture.

Sunday, July 21, 2002

July 2002 Update

21st update

was in Europe on business this past week. It was a painfully short trip which
had me arriving in and transitting the UK on Wednesday morning, flying to Brussels
and then driving to Cologne where I had several meetings. However, I did manage
to stop along the way and took some pictures in two churches before the trip
back on Friday.

first church was in a place called Warenne in Belgium. I had stopped to break
the journey from Brussels to Cologne and there was an old Catholic church which
was open to exploration. It is a tall structure and I was travelling light with
only my 28-200mm zoom but I did take a few shots of two sets of windows high
above the north and south transepts.

second church I visited was Cologne Cathedral or the Dom, as it is more often
known. I had some free time in between meetings and the hotel I was staying
at was only about half a mile from the Dom and so I went to take a look around.
I have been to Cologne countless times in the last 15 years but I cannot recall
having spent much time in the Dom and I have certainly never paid any serious
attention to the glass there.

first thing which struck me was the range and quality of the stained glass.
The building had been very severely damaged by bombing in WWII and I suppose
that I had assumed that most of the glass would have been destroyed but this
clearly was not the case. I can only speculate but perhaps the glass was removed
for safe-keeping, as I know was the case with some important windows in Cambridge,
or perhaps by some miracle the glass survived the devastation but in any event
there appear to be surviving examples of the original 13thC glass as well as
glass which appeared to be from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

took pictures of 3 sets of windows, all dating from the 1850's or slightly later
and all in rich, beautiful colours. As with the windows in Warenne these were
high up and challenged my less than adequate equipment but, again, it was angels
which caught my eye and which I tried to capture for the CD. When I got to the
3rd window I thought that I had struck lucky. There was a raised platform which
had been erected underneath them for an orchestra or choir and I was able to
get relatively close and almost level to the window. Unfortunately this also
made me more conspicuous and after only taking 3 or 4 frames one of the wardens
in a bright red robe rushed up to me speaking harshly in German. Eventually
he made it clear that he wanted to see my permit and when I admitted to not
having one he ushered me off the platform. Photography is certainly allowed
in the building - there were flashes constantly firing as tourists walked around,
individually and in guided parties. However, it seems that either the use of
tripods is frowned on or my particular use of a platform was an issue - in any
event I did not venture to take further pictures in the Dom.

had time to look briefly in 2 other churches before resuming my meetings but
in both cases the glass must have been destroyed during the war. As is commonplace
there were pictures on display of the churches which had been taken immediately
after the war, alongside earlier pictures from, say, 1900 and the war-damage
was truly catastrophic. Both had modern glass in many of the windows but time
was short and it was not to my taste so I made no attempt to record it.

Sunday, June 02, 2002

June 2002 Update

as at June 2nd 2002:

This section has been created so that our visitors can check back and quickly
discover if anything new has been added or updated since their last visit as
well as reading about works-in-progress which may be of future interest.

The site has been operational since April 9th 2002 and although we have made
good progress there is still much work to be done and we have many images in
various stages of inclusion.

The following is a list detailing all the work to date with an indication of
current status: -

1. Church of the Incarnation NYC - work needs to be organised, labelled, sized
and uploaded.

2. St Martin's Church, Brampton - most need to be organised, labelled, sized
and uploaded.

3. Jesus Church, Troutbeck - Fully uploaded.

4. Ponsonby Church - Fully uploaded.

5. Lanercost Priory - a few pictures to be uploaded shortly.

6. Ruthwell Parish church - Pictures to be uploaded shortly.

7. Dundonald Church, Ayrshire - Pictures to be uploaded shortly.

8. Trinity College Chapel Cambridge - Pictures to be uploaded shortly.

9. St James's Church, Staveley - Fully uploaded.

10. St Paul's Church, Irton - Pictures to be uploaded shortly.

11. Trinity Church, Saugerties - Fully uploaded.

12. St Paul's Richmond - Most need to be organised, labelled, sized and uploaded.

13. St Paul's Paterson - Most need to be organised, labelled, sized and uploaded.

14. Flemington Presbyterian Church - Most need to be organised, labelled, sized
and uploaded.

15. United Methodist Church, Hudson Falls - Fully uploaded.

16. Holy Trinity Ayr - All need to be organised, labelled, sized and uploaded.

In addition to the above, during the course of the last week we have taken pictures
of the windows in St Margaret's Church in Washington DC as well as pictures
of some of the Connick windows in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception,
also in Washington DC.

Now I would like to describe the events of Saturday May 25th and the following

Firstly, while in Washington that weekend, by chance I noticed a sharp increase
in our hits statistics. This is an indication of the traffic going through the
site and we had been 'clocking' an increasing number but were still only in
the range of around 2,000-4,000 per day (perhaps 100 people) whereas on Saturday
25th this number grew to over 38,000 in one day.

It was only after doing some investigation that I discovered that the reason
was that we had been declared Yahoo's "Pick of the Day", something we were extremely
pleased about.

The hits dropped slightly on Sunday and Monday but then rebounded with a vengeance
to about 42,000 on Tuesday and the month-to-date figures for May were showing
over 4,000 visitors and close to a quarter of a million page views.

On Wednesday disaster struck and our web-hosting service closed down the site
because the volume of traffic was "taking up excessive bandwidth". However,
they did not apparently perceive a need to communicate this to me and neither
did they respond to my many communications for a full 48 hours. During this
time all that anyone trying to visit us could see was a big sign saying "Forbidden"
and implying that they had no rights to be here. This was all VERY upsetting.

By Thursday night we had selected and signed on a new hosting service - one
which we believe will be much better able to handle the volume of traffic, have
much less downtime and be much faster-loading. All of this is at a price but
we feel that based on the accolade from Yahoo and the level of interest that
people have shown we will eventually recover the extra cost by some kind of
'Gift Shop' sales.

Transferring to the new host server was not an instantaneous event but we were
able to make the transition by very early morning on June 2nd.

Our goal is to become the definitive site for anyone interested in stained glass
windows with particular emphasis on windows and designs by important glassmakers
of the 19th and 20th centuries. The scope is huge and however hard we try we
will only scratch the surface but we are determined to do more.

9th update

site has been running on the new server for a week now and to the best of our
knowledge it has not gone down and it is undoubtedly much faster loading than
previously - moving was clearly a good decision, albeit at a financial cost.

Washington DC shoot went quite well last weekend and we have some quite good
pictures of 3 fine Tiffany windows as well as others in St Margaret's and in
the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. Unfortunately time constraints and
a queue of work will mean that they will not be uploaded for a while.

23rd update

why have we changed the home page? Well, this week we tried out a new software
package to analyse the statistics concerning the traffic on the website. The
hosting service provides some analysis of the data which is accumulated but
we wanted to try to get a better understanding of what people seemed to like
to spend time on and how the various parts of the site compare in terms of traffic.

new software which we found is really quite powerful and produces reports which
are far more informative than those we had been getting. Among many other things
we can now get data on actual and average times spent on the site and the routes
that visitors follow from page to page.

was this last item which led us to discover an item of concern. Based on the
statistics for June month-to-date it appears that about half of the visitors
to the site only got as far as the home page. This is very hard to understand
since by far the majority of visitors seem to come directly to the site, mostly
by typing in the url, and we just cannot figure out why they would simply look
at the home page with St Luke and go away without at least exploring something.

some of these will have decided that the site was not what they thought or what
they were looking for but we just cannot believe that this would apply to all
of these people - and we are talking thousands, not hundreds. One theory is
that some of these people may not realise that the words they see are actually
buttons which open up new pages. Unless they actually scroll their mouse over
the words they will not see the underline come up and for someone who is perhaps
not very 'Net-experienced' this could be confusing. Another possibility is that
some of these visitors could have been hoping to see mention of Tiffany or Morris
and as the maker buttons are below the bottom of most peoples' browser pages
they just might move on without realising that they could scroll down on the
home page.

situation has definitely improved during the course of the month and on a daily
basis the number of visitors who do not venture beyond the home page is now
between a quarter and a third but we would like it to be even lower and so,
as an experiment, we added the new button which will lead people to the makers'
buttons. We also tried to make it look a little more like a button.

will now see whether this translates into more people entering the site and
looking around and less people just taking one look at the home page and going
away. We do apologise to anyone who preferred the aesthetic appeal of the home
page before this change but sometimes aesthetics have to give way to functionality.

week the site was made 'Website of the Week' by Amateur Photographer magazine,
a publication which I have admired for more years than I care to admit to! As
someone who took photographs for over 30 years while living in the UK I had
always wanted to have something published in AP or one of the other popular
photographic magazines but I could never have predicted that it would come about
at this time and in this way.