New Autumn Gallery

I’ve added a new gallery page to the site, one specifically for Autumn. This gallery contains Fall images that didn’t necessarily fit in with the overall feel of my existing landscape galleries, but I still wanted to share these images, so I placed them here. Going forward, I may duplicate some between the landscape and Autumn galleries; not sure on that strategy yet. Going back to my last post, this is where I think Squarespace has a huge image management weak spot, not being able to have logical collections that pull from existing physical albums….

Anyhoo… I’ve initially made the format on this gallery page a little different than the others, going with a universal square thumbnail format instead of going with the varied dimensions that map to the ratio of each individual image like on my other gallery pages. How do you like this format? Is it better than the other way, or do you prefer how I have it setup for the other galleries? I welcome your thoughts, so please share in the comments.

I was able to get up north for some fresh Fall images about a week ago, so will hopefully have some new images from this season coming up on the site soon, depending on when I get time to work on them. Stay tuned!


Squarespace's Image Management Problem

Squarespace has what I consider an image management problem, at least when it comes to using images in blog posts.  Inserting an "image block" into a post in order to display an image is relatively straightforward, but when it comes to choosing the image in that block, that's where the problem lies.

You see, oft times the image I want to use as the leading image for a blog post is an image I already have on my website in one of my existing galleries.  However, as SP's image blocks work today, you can't simply point to an image in one of your galleries; no, you have to upload a new image.  So that means, even though I have an image on my website already, and thus already taking up some of my allotted space, I have to re-upload that image separately into the image block if I want it displayed in my blog post.  That's ridiculous!  You should be able to point to the image files already on your website without having to duplicate it - hell, I could easily do that with a super-basic HTML-only website.  But I can't do that with an advanced CMS like Squarespace?  Again: ridiculous.

With slideshows, as I have displayed at the top of this post, there's a little more functionality, but there's still really less than there should be, in my opinion.  For a slideshow, you can at least point to an existing gallery on your website; you don't have to upload new images.  That's a big step in the right direction.  If they gave us that same functionality for single images, I'd be relatively happy.  However, one thing I'd like to see them implement is the "collection" functionality like you get on photography image-hosting web platforms like Zenfolio or SmugMug.  On those platforms, you can create galleries that are really just collections of photos from other other galleries; that is, the photo isn't being duplicated in the new "gallery", but is simply pointing back to the photo in the original gallery.  This makes it easy to create a collection of Fall photos (for example) that's really just collecting Fall photos from your other various landscape image galleries, and then present that collection as a slideshow in a blog post, on another custom webpage, etc.  It's a really handy feature.  I've been a Zenfolio customer for years, and I've really enjoyed that functionality.

Now, you might be thinking, "well, just use Zenfolio or Smugmug then; Squarespace isn't a photography site."  I would get your point, but really, Squarespace markets itself heavily to visual artists, and to photographers in particular.  Listen to any photo podcast or watch any photo vlog on YouTube, and Squarespace sponsorship is all over those things.  I don't think you can find a single one that isn't sponsored by them!  As such, I think these photo management touches should be a major focus for them.  I don't really do photography professionally anymore, so I've been thinking it's time to finally turn the second, professional site off (it's already got a front page saying, "thanks for the memories; buh-bye").  I'm kind of debating whether the platform I stick with should be this Squarespace or my other Zenfolio site.  My personal space has always been here, and yeah, there's a little more website customization flexibility overall with Squarespace, but...  I still get a blog with Zenfolio, the templates are mostly good enough, and the use of my existing imagery within that blog is MUCH easier/better there than it is here.  Considering most of my focus on my website is on my photography and I mostly use the existing images in my galleries for my blog posts, what's the argument to stick with Squarespace over Zen?

So Squarespace, I hope you're listening, as I really doubt I'm the only one that feels this way.  These asks are actually pretty basic things to implement - one of your interns could probably code it.  So please get with 2011 and get us this functionality already.

A frustrated photo blogger.

Updating and backlog...

Upper Falls on the Brule River in Judge C.R. Magney State Park in Northern MN

I'm finally getting around to updating my image content in the photo galleries.  I realized just recently that I hadn't updated the website in some time, even as I've processed and posted images to other image hosting sites I use (Flickr, Instagram, 500px, etc.).  If you look now, you'll already see some new images posted in the galleries, and I'll be posting some more over the next few days.

I've also come to realize that I really have quite a backlog of photos to edit.  I've been kind of down on myself lately for not getting out for proper photo outings nearly enough, but honestly, with all the photos I still haven't edited from various trips over the past 5 years, I could probably be busy with my existing stock of unedited photos for some time.  For instance, I only had one new (edited) photo to drop in my Nightscapes gallery right now, but I also have folders of images from night photo outings back in 2013 and 2014 that I still haven't touched to date!  I really need to get on it! :)

Anyway, just checking in, as I haven't blogged in a while again, and just wanted to let you know to keep checking the galleries, as they are finally getting updated with some fresh content.


Colorado Fires

  The 416 fire outside Durango...

The 416 fire outside Durango...

Once again, Colorado finds itself in a very nasty fire season (as does much of the West).  The conditions out there are horrible: very dry and very hot.  It seems crazy to me just how severe of a drought they're in this year, as when I was out there for my Colorado Trail trek last July, it was the wettest summer I'd ever experienced, and we lived out there for 15 years.  For a large chunk of my trek, I was setting up and/or breaking camp in the rain.  I remember driving back to Colorado Springs after one outing, and South Park was super green and lush.  In July!  I'd never seen South Park green even in the spring when we lived there - not once - and we drove through there all the time as we took weekend trips out to Fairplay, Summit County, Buena Vista, etc.  Alas, most of CO didn't see much snow over the winter (if I recall correctly, I think most areas only got like 20-30% of average annual snow pack), and there weren't any spring rains to make up for it.  Hopefully a healthy monsoon season picks up here in the next month or so...

It's kind of weird: as I read about the fires online, discuss with friends back there on social media, etc., I feel kind of bad for not being out there myself.  I feel like I want to be there as a matter of solidarity: to commiserate, to provide any help as needed, to inform, etc.  It feels weird being separated from it.  I think the reality is, that even after four years back in MN now, I still really identify as a Coloradan.  The landscape, the outdoor culture, etc. - these things are still an important part of me; "in my blood", so to speak.  I've been thinking a lot lately about going back...

Anyway, I digress!  For those of you looking for the latest reports on current wildfire situations in Colorado, besides the major news news outlets, check out these online sources for the latest:


Mobile blogging...


It's occurred to me recently that I often have thoughts while I'm out walking or riding, out with the family or at work, etc., and I think, "I should blog about that when I get home." When I'm at home later, though, I either forget completely about it (most common scenario) or just get too lazy and watch TV or something instead.

My reasoning for wanting to wait until home has been kinda stupid. One of the reasons has been that I don't want to type out a post using the annoying mobile keypads, which is kind of valid, but since I crank out a crapload of texts and tweets on the phone, I kind of contradict myself. Another reason is that I feel photos, etc. that I post should be of a higher caliber on my website, so I don't post mobile photos. However, almost all the photos I do post online are on Instagram, so...  

Time to chill out about the website being some more sacred thing, and just share the thoughts and images as they hit me. So with that said, the photo above is a photo I took with my phone whike walking along Lake Harriet, and I type this now while sitting at the south beach of said lake. 

Have a good evening!