Category Archives: Site News

Site Availability: 22-24 March

It has been quiet around here for a few weeks mainly due to the fact that I’ve been working solidly since the beginning of the month and today is my first day of rest, weekend or otherwise. Not that I’m complaining as it pays for my travel photography which, as you can probably guess, is not cheap.

However, now that I do have a couple of days where I am not stuck in a data centre knee-deep in servers I’m going to do something that I have been meaning to ‘get around to’ for over a year – revamp the web site. When I first set it up at the end of 2012 it was my first attempt and I didn’t really have a clear idea as to how I wanted it to look, nor the direction that it would move in. Over the next few days galleries will be moving, a lot of images will be removed and finally, the Ethiopia gallery will be uploaded. The final result will be much more in line with my vision and I hope you’ll find something that makes you reach for your passport…

Site Update: Israel, Iceland and the New Menu. Oh, and Regret…

Despite there not being many updates of late, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been busy behind the scenes making a few things happen.

The first is that the Israel photographs are now on the web site and can be found here. In the end I picked 21 photographs. Two are very similar, but I include both silhouettes as I prefer the shot of the guy on a bike, but the young surfboarding-wielding couple remind me of one of the pleasures of photography – meeting new people.

The second thing is that there’s a new ‘destination’ site navigation menu. When I initially created the site I liked the idea of dividing photographs into different themes but the first galleries to be included were the ones from Antarctica – which weren’t included in the themed galleries at all. That should have been a clue for me right there! As time allows I will work through the photographs currently in the themed galleries and create destination galleries but the future of the themed galleries is as yet uncertain: My early work was more miss than hit and so Egypt – where I took only one photograph I like – would be somewhat empty.

The third thing that I have been working on is finalising the Iceland photographs. I am tempted to simply upload all 68 in the second pick, but I’ve always wanted the site to show what I consider my best work. Whilst I like all the second pick photographs, I do need to learn to self-critique my work.

Speaking of self-critique, some photographs will be disappearing. I’m learning that, like any creative art form, the artist evolves along with the art. I look back at my work from seven years ago and feel a sense of regret. I have been very lucky to go to some great places and have some great experiences but my ability to capture the moment was woefully poor. My regret is that, if I honest with myself, I know that I will not be returning to these places. My moment has been lost. But as my body of good work grows, I do not want to keep images, on the site at least, as the token ‘Because I went to China’ shot.

Site Update

Just to let people know that over the next couple of days there will be some minor changes to the web site as I play around with the social media and comments options.

All the galleries should be unaffected.

Not Quite Natural Selection. More Like Photographic Genocide…

I’ve just completed the six-month edit of the photographs from my trip to Antarctica and uploaded the selected images. It has been an interesting process; when I first started in photography I used to select my favourites and uploaded as soon as possible. These days I go through a more measured process. It works well for me, so I though that I would share it.

First I make the initial select pretty much on the spot as part of the end-of-day keywording. This selection usually forms the broad outline of the final selection and the obviously strong images get picked up here.

Another selection gets made when I return home – the Lightroom catalogue from my travel laptop gets merged with the catalogue on my desktop PC and I then take the opportunity to run through the images on a 30″, calibrated, monitor. Mostly the in-the-field select survives this second critique more-or-less unscathed – after all not too much time has passed between the two. Sometimes I drop a shot or two out, sometime add a couple.

After about two months comes the next select. It’s a good time to return to the work; enough time has passed that the memory is beginning to get hazy whilst still being able to remember enough of the context in which the shot was taken. I also take the chance to go through all the initially rejected shots as the distance of time allows me to be more impartial.

The final select is about six months in. At this point I go through everything and apply the acid test: would I pay to print this? If yes, it makes the cut, if not it’s deselected.


In the case of Antarctica, the above process works out as follows:

Total taken: approx 4400 shots.

Initial field select: approx. 140 shots.

Initial home select: approx. 180 shots.

Two month select: approx 210 shots.

Six month select: 99 shots.



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Prevarication is my middle name…

Every time I sit down to work on the site I find myself struggling to decide on how best to deal with image captions. On the one hand all the captions were originally written as part of a greater narrative and to be read in the context of the original photoblog. However, the main galleries of this site pick-and-choose images so often the comments you see are partial descriptions of a greater story.

So I can either sit down with Lightroom, generate duplicate images for each of the shots selected for the main galleries and rewrite the comments – a process that will take weeks to complete – or I can simply leave the comments for a moment and just have the images. Unfortunatley, the Photocrati plugin I’m using to display the photographs also disables the image title when you disable the comments…

Either way I don’t want to fall into my usual ‘it has to be perfect’ mode as then I’ll never get the site public. I just have to accept that it is my first attempt at something like this and that there will be mistakes. So, the site is going live. Soon. This weekend, assuming the consultancy job I had on Saturday is now cancelled.

So tik-tok… Image galleries are now appearing and being populated. Quotes for each section are being searched for and fonts are being selected. The overall theme still bugs me. White background? Hmmm, much prefer grey so I suspect it will change!



One step closer…

Well, January has been and gone and the site is still not completed. That said, work has been terribly busy and, as it pays the bills, it has to take precedence.

That said, as you can see there has been some activity. I have some images up primarily to test the gallery views and the look-and-feel. Still got a lot of changes and tweaks to make, but I think I’m on the right track. Designing a web site is turning out to be far, far harder than I expected and so I have a newfound respect to all those who have already gone through the pain.

If I see one more photograph…

Getting close to sorting out the Lightroom catalogue to a point where I can reliably use it to create the galleries for the web site. It has been a learning experience, not least about why it pays to have a process in place from the moment the shutter closes. In Antarctica I started keywording the shots at the end of the daily shoot, if only becuase there was so much to take in. I now realise that this needs to be a general thing, irrespective of the length of the shoot. Looking at my work from 2009 and it is coming back to bite me hard.

The aim, currently, is to have a reasonable ‘showcase’ gallery up-and-running by the end of January; then start populating the gallery views from there. The travel blogs are quite easy as they’ll just be the old Picasa galleries, albeit taken directly from the now updated Lightroom catalogue.

Now I understand why many professionals have managers for this part of their business.

Oh! Lots of posts planned on stuff like backups, advice on destination preparation and the like.



Work, work, work…

Work continues apace on the site. I was secretly hoping to have the showcase gallery up-and-running by now, but shortly after beginning to work through my Lightroom catalogue I realised that it was in a pretty horrific state. So, I’ve been spending my free time simply working my way through the catalogue and cleaning it up. For example, every trip I make has two collections; an ‘All Images’ and a ‘Selected’. However, what finally appears in the finished photoblog is usually a subset of the ‘selected’ collections and usually includes at least one images that  has had additional work on it, such as selective colour, removal of something I didn’t spot, or even Imagenomic’s Noiseware filter applied.None of this was reflected in the catalogue and that’s now coming back to haunt me. Another example of the issues I’m facing is that the whole point of the photoblog series I started back in 2007 was to allow the viewer to not only see some images from a destination but to also understand from the associated comments a little about the image. This really is the nexus of The Veiled World, after all. The problem is that all my comments have been added after-the-fact in Google’s Picasa and as such are attached to the final JPEG images, not the Lightroom RAW files and the post-processed TIF files. So, they’ve all got to be added.

In short, a lot of housekeeping is going on behind the scenes., but I think I have decided on the categories I’m going to have. More on that in a future post.

The current plan is to have the showcase gallery up by the end of the month. Hopefully 🙂

Work is well underway on experimenting with different gallery styles with Photocrati. The home screen is preety much ready and will simply be a running slideshow of some showcase images, though right now it’s simply cycling through three I had randomly picked for testing. I’ve decided on simply having the images displayed, with no comments, on the basis the I don’t want to clutter the screen and detract from the images.

The galleries are the biggest challenge. After looking around at various web sites I’ve decided on the the sizes I’ll use; 1200px wide for landscape format and 900px high for portrait format. I think that most modern displays should be able to cope, though I do know that some of my more verbose comments may cause issues.

At the moment the galleries are in thumbnail format, but I do like the whole lightbox look.

One annoying thing is that Photocrati doesn’t appear to be very flexible on the IPTC fields it makes use of and, at least by default, makes use of the Headline and Caption-Abstract fields. Annoying in that the other display apps I use (for things like the iPad) don’t use the Headline field, but rather the ObjectName field. That’s nearly three thousand photos I’ll need to change…

So, things are moving along and I’m still hoping to make the self-imposed end-of-Jannuary public unveiling 🙂



Photocrati: The Clock is Ticking…

I’ve decided to give Photocrati a try; they offer a thirty day money-back guarantee so the clock is ticking for me to configure a basic web site to see if all works as I want.

The biggest pain is going to be resizing my images to 960px/limiting the image size to less than 2MB, the maximum size that Photocrati appears to accept. There is an auto-resize 0n upload option but I wasn’t having much joy with that. Some of the photo album resizing can be automated but a lot will need manual intervention.

The site will appear and disapper over the next month as I try out various options.