Thursday, February 26, 2009

Yay Me!

Bear with me for a moment while do a little self-congratulation. A while back I wrote a brief post called Night Sky Shooting which included an image of the Milky Way over Osgood Pond in the Adirondacks. For the heck of it, I submitted this image and a few others to the Adirondack Life magazine's annual photography contest. This image won the grand prize and is published full-page in the April 2009 issue of the magazine.

In addition, another image I submitted (Mossy Cascade Waterfall) won second prize in the color photo category.

I've been a subscriber to Adirondack Life magazine for many years; I've always admired the quality of the writing, design, and photography; but I never participated in their contest (or any other for that matter) until this past fall. So, as a first-timer, I'm quite pleased.

This concludes the self-congratulation blog post. Thanks for your indulgence.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Zenfolio and the Art of Web Maintenance

Over the years I've kept tinkering with the gallery portion of my Web site, adding features, streamlining maintenance, improving usability. But I kept putting off the most daunting task of incorporating print ordering. I realized after a while that as I listed my requirements and plotted my development path, I was slowly and tediously inventing Zenfolio.

After taking the trial version out for a test spin for a few days, I realized that Zenfolio neatly addressed the main issues I was confronting. I occasionally get queries about prints of images and, although flattering, I find it tedious to deal with billing, printing, and shipping. The same issues apply to photos for friends and family. I enjoy doing it but it is very tedious to deal with soliciting print orders, dealing with different size requests, etc. With Zenfolio, I can forget about all that and let the site handle all the billing and fulfillment chores. Plus I like the classy look of some of the Zenfolio site styles as well as the raft of configurable features.

So, I've taken the plunge and bought myself a Zenfolio subscription and retooled my Web site to incorporate Zenfolio for the gallery portion. (Some use Zenfolio for their entire site.) I have a couple images being published in April that I suspect will garner a few print requests so this will be a good test of how this new approach works.

I realize this all comes off like I've become a Zenfolio salesman but that's not the case—I'm just pleased with how well it addresses some of the issues I was dealing with. There are other services that do similar things like Shutterfly. If this sounds like something you would be interested in, take one of them out for a test spin to see if it meets your needs.

Next up for me, I want to fold the blog into my Web site. I'll be converting over to Wordpress hosted on my site and we'll see how that goes. I may even actually put out some more frequent updates. We'll see.