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Kleptography -- All images and site content are Copyright 2001-2004 by Don Ellis. All rights reserved. Images may not be used without written permission.


The images in these galleries were all photographed with a Canon G1 and G2 since June 2001.
     I carry one or both of the cameras about 350 days a year, so I update these galleries regularly. Three galleries that won't change are "the peak," "lantau island" and "lotus pond," since they tell small stories that are over.
     There are approximately 900 photos here, which is about one for every 80 or 90 that I've taken.

As for Kleptography, the name is a reference to the old American Indian belief that photographs could steal your soul. I've always liked that notion and remind myself to treat the souls I steal as best I can.

Although I created the term Kleptography in the privacy of my own mind, it wasn't until six months after registering and creating this website that I learned it already existed. In 1997, Adam Young and Moti Yung coined the term to refer to "the study of stealing information securely and subliminally." When I contacted them, they were very gracious about the duplication, to the extent of not sending large goons -- is there any other size? -- over for a chat. You can find out more about cryptography on their Cryptovirology website. You should visit just to see the cover of their latest book which is proof that scientists can also be artists -- click on "The Book" in the navigation pane.

I created Kleptography in 2001 and in 2004 I was ready for a redesign. For those who have visited before, these are the changes:

Gray Background -- In 2001, I chose a reddish-maroon background to set the galleries apart from others, but it has served its purpose. Gray is a better, more neutral background for displaying photos, whether color or infrared.

Image Size -- All photos are now 640 pixels on their longest side. When I realized that some people were finding 1024-pixel photos too large, I created a parallel website displaying 500-pixel photos. It only took a few months of that for me to discover that adding new photos was tedious and time-consuming, so I settled on a single size and a single website.

Line Galleries -- As a temporary solution to "coding fatigue" in the days of two parallel websites, I started posting "line galleries" that put a dozen or more photos on a single page that scrolled left to right like a museum gallery. But while it had the advantage of convenience, the photos lacked any commentary and the entire page had to download for viewing. Those have now been converted to normal galleries.

EXIF Data -- I've eliminated the EXIF data for several reasons: 1) it doesn't offer a true picture of what's going on with the photo; I set my in-camera Sharpness, Saturation and Contrast to the lowest level, but I change these attributes in Photoshop, so they're meaningless; 2) the data doesn't tell you what macro lenses I'm using; 3) I shoot 95% of my photos in P mode, so the aperture and shutter speed are what the camera chooses, not me, so that information is of little value; and 4) it adds time to my posting.

Attrition Rate -- I dropped the "Attrition Rate" indicating how many photos it took to get a particular photo. Again, it was somewhat time-consuming -- I had to figure it out. Let's just say I keep shooting until I get what I want, and if I don't, I discard everything I've shot and wait for another day. I generally don't shoot more than 100 shots to get one. And sometimes I get one for one. Everything else falls in between and the information was included originally just to let new photographers know that it often takes many pictures to capture a photograph.

Notes -- Now at the bottom of each gallery, rather than on a separate page.

Workflow -- Same as before, at the bottom of the home page.

Equipment -- A page on what I use, also at the bottom of the home page.

I'm Don Ellis and you're welcome to contact me at

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