A Home For My Photos
Years ago, I wanted to showcase my photography outside of Flickr or Instagram and figured I could integrate it into this very blog. Unfortunately, the backend that I built didn’t make it easy to post new photos. I had to upload the photo to a server somewhere, then go into the content management system and make my edits to point to those images. It was very much shoehorned in and reflected that fact. As a result, after posting maybe half a dozen photos, I never posted another photo again. It was just too much effort.
Reexamining my relationship with social media spurred me to reconsider finding a home for my photos. Thus, I decided to build a photo blog.
Interestingly, I had actually started the design of the site a few years ago and stalled on the execution. It made picking up the mantle that much easier, though. So easy, in fact, that I had the site finished in less than a week after deciding to move forward.
I took some time to think about what I wanted, structurally, out of the site. Is it like Instagram where it’s just a stream of photos? Is it like Exposure where text is intermingled with a series of photos, all carefully art directed? Or maybe it’s posts with one or more photos?
Constraints are helpful and I didn’t want to go down too many rabbit holes. I decided to take an approach that is closer to Flickr than anything else: primarily single photos with a title and description along with photo details like shutter speed and focal length included.
(I say “primarily” because I left the door open for myself to augment descriptions with additional photos but I won’t worry about that right now.)
Built with 11ty
To anyone who has paid close attention to my development approach over the last few years, it should come as no surprise that I built this using 11ty. I adore its simplicity.
We’ll see if I still have the same appreciation after I have a few hundred photos added. Sometimes the rough edges make themselves known after the friction of an abundance of content.
One feature that I’m particularly happy about is the location-based backgrounds. They’re somewhat subtle, depending on screen brightness and device, but you’ll likely notice either a street map or topographical map behind the photo. These are generated using Mapbox. I created two styles and can specify on a post whether to use the street style or the topographic style. They’re based on the approximate latitude and longitude of the location of the photo.
I use the 11ty Image plugin to access the Mapbox API and cache a local copy of the image so that I’m not hitting Mapbox on every single page request.
I’ve just kickstarted the blog and, therefore, there’s only a few photos but I’m looking forward to practicing my photography some more and adding them to the site. I hope you follow along on Photos by Snook. (Yes, there’s an RSS feed all ready to go!)