Posted by: kerryl29 | July 14, 2014

What Have You Done for Me Lately?

For the past six or seven weeks I’ve spent just about every free moment working on a long overdue project to overhaul the content on my website.  This is something I’ve been planning to do for several years; the primary goals are to:

Bond Falls in Morning Mist black & white, Bond Falls State Scenic Site, Michigan

Bond Falls in Morning Mist black & white, Bond Falls State Scenic Site, Michigan

  1. Cull images that are mediocre, redundant or both.
  2. Impose a uniform size standard on all images.  A few years ago I decided that the images on the site were too small, so from that point on all photos that were uploaded were roughly 50% larger than their predecessors.  I did not, however, go back and increase the size of all previously uploaded images.  I’m doing that now.
  3. Fix bad links.
  4. Apply new processing skills, techniques and tools to all of the old images that meet the criteria necessary to remain on the site when doing so will enhance their appearance.
Lake Bridge in Autumn, Matthiessen State Park, Illinois

Lake Bridge in Autumn, Matthiessen State Park, Illinois

As you might imagine, it’s the fourth of the listed goals that’s the most time consuming.  Some of the images on the site are considerably more than a decade old.  I’ve learned an awful lot about image processing in that time and the majority of photographs would benefit substantially by applying my current skill set/tool set to the task of image optimization.

Newfound Gap at Sunrise, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

Newfound Gap at Sunrise, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

The culling part of the process is a big deal as well.  In the past, due to an evident reluctance on my part to choose between images, I had the tendency to post anything I thought was halfway decent on the site, even if there were several other shots that were just about identical in appearance.  I’m rectifying the redundancy issue now.  Additionally, my standards have changed over the years and I’ve removed everything that I regard as run-of-the-mill (or worse).  I haven’t officially kept track, but my best guess is that roughly half of the images have been removed from the galleries I’ve updated; several galleries have been reduced in size by approximately 75%.

Foggy Morning black & white, Ft. Harrison State Park, Indiana

Foggy Morning black & white, Ft. Harrison State Park, Indiana

There were more bad links on the site than I care to admit.  I always knew that there were some present, but I had no idea just how many.  The process by which the update is taking place is allowing me to uncover most, if not all of them, and I’m fixing them as I go.

Blackwater Canyon at Sunset from Lindy Point, Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia

Blackwater Canyon at Sunset from Lindy Point, Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia

Still, the most intriguing part of the process has been the reprocessing task.  I’ve really seen some old images come to life as a function of using tools and skills that weren’t part of my kit once upon a time.  Images made since the beginning of 2012 are mostly unaffected by all of this, but anything older than that is a potential update candidate.  Every image accompanying this post is among those redone.

Sea Star Pair, Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington

Sea Star Pair, Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington

So that’s a quick and dirty explanation why I’ve done so little blogging of late.  I’m about 75% of the way through the process and hope to have it completed within three weeks time.  I’ll get back to the images from my trip to Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio with my next post.

Chagrin River Falls, South Chagrin Reservation, Cleveland Metroparks, Ohio

Chagrin River Falls, South Chagrin Reservation, Cleveland Metroparks, Ohio

Thanks for hanging in there with me.

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Responses

  1. Kerry, that is a HUGE job! The idea of going back and reprocessing older files with new skills is analogous to what my husband does with restoring older audio recordings – remixing, etc. Or perhaps what I just did with the paths in my garden, come to think of it. Good luck with the project!

    • Thanks very much, Lynn. It’s quite a project, but I’ve been able to maintain some momentum, which helps make me feel that it’s completable.

  2. Kerry, a huge task, but one that will be very rewarding when finished. I have to say that looking at the images on the post, you really do have a great variety of landscape images that are just fantastic. Just a wonderful representative body of work that you should be proud to call yours! Keep it up.

    Ward

    • Thanks, Ward, very much. Yes, when it’s done it certainly will be rewarding, partly because I think it will come closer to doing some of the locations I’ve visited justice and partly because…well, it will be done. 🙂

      Hope all is well on your end.

  3. Hello Kerry ,

    Thank you so much for coming up with such a beautiful post, not just for the incredible images but the wealth of information that you share.

    You are doing a great favor for people like me, who’s just stared honing this craft 🙂

    Have a beautiful day…

    • Thanks, Sreejith, for the very kind words and sentiments.

  4. So good to go back and reassess but also maybe remember the pointers highlighted and bear them in mind for future

    • Thanks for the suggestion; I will undoubtedly follow it. However, I’m unlikely to tackle anything quite as comprehensive as this ever again. My biggest regret is having procrastinated for so long.

  5. It is funny that you are doing this now as I too have made this same commitment more than four or five months ago. It is very difficult as you have already figured out and to say that it will suck up a bunch of time is an understatement. In the end it is very much worth it as you have to realize that you have changed in those years and your site needs to reflect it. As always it is great to hear from you and I love the photographs. I know that you hope to be done in three weeks and I can say that I hope to as well but realistically for me I am just hoping that end of summer will have me free from this task. Keep up the great work Kerry!

    • Hi, Terry. Always good to hear from you; thanks for stopping by.

      Quite a coincidence that we’re both engaged in the same basic task–and you’re right, describing something like this as “time-consuming” doesn’t begin to cover it. I’m also in agreement that this will be worthwhile when it’s done–I’m so certain of it that I’ve been able to remain relatively optimistic about the entire thing throughout the process. I’d originally set an informal goal of the end-of-summer to complete things, but I’ve been able to keep my nose to the grindstone for the past 6-7 weeks and I’m now well ahead of my anticipated pace. At this point, I’ll be disappointed if it’s not done by the middle of August at the latest.

  6. I shudder at the amount of time and work involved in what you are doing. De-cluttering anything is hard but photos we become emotionally attached to as we have the memories attached to the place and time. Best wishes for the rest of the task at hand.

    • Thanks for the good thoughts–I appreciate it greatly. Just to be clear (because I certainly wasn’t originally) I’m only removing images from my website–I’m not deleting them outright. When it comes to imagery, if it makes it off my flash cards it doesn’t get deleted. I have “digital negatives” going back years that I’ll probably never glance at again, but they’re unlikely to ever be permanently trashed.

  7. great work, and lovely photos, thanks

    • Thanks very much!

  8. An overhaul of a website is definitely an ordeal, especially if it’s been awhile since you’ve done that, but updating images with new techniques is often very worthwhile and fun. Wishing you great progress with your project!

    • You’re absolutely right–it can (and is) worthwhile. I was already of that opinion, but today I spent about six hours (seriously) reworking the images I decided to keep in the Mt. Hood/Columbia River Gorge gallery. I took the trip to the Pacific Northwest five years ago; I started writing this blog less than two months after returning and in that time I doubt I’ve posted 10 of the PNW images here–I’ve always been disappointed with how most of those image came out.

      Perhaps coincidentally, it was around then that I started to gain some traction with a postprocessing technique that’s made such a big difference when used with some of my images. But I never went back to the PNW images to try this technique out…until now. What a difference. It’s literally night and day. Now I can’t wait to go through the rest of those galleries, even though it’s going to take many, many hours to do so.

      • Excellent. I can’t wait to see the new results of your PNW trip. 😀

  9. I can’t imagine how much work that you’ve taken upon yourself going through your older images and re-doing them!

    I also have a hard time believing that there was much room for improvement, as good as your photos always are.

    • You’re too kind. But I have to say, I’ve been surprised at just how transforming a “proper” editing of some of these images has been. As I noted in an earlier comment, the impact has been greatest on the images in my Pacific Northwest galleries. I’ve re-posted more than half of them, at this point, and I anticipate having all of them up on the site by the end of this weekend.

  10. What a huge undertaking! I am impressed!

    • Thanks, Naomi. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel; I’m roughly 90% done at this point and, with a bit of luck, may have the entire project complete by this time next week.

  11. Blackwater Canyon give me to desire of going down the forest to the river and down. Congratulations.

  12. I’m thinking of doing the same thing myself, but just haven’t found the time for it. It would be a good winter project when it’s too cold to be outside.

    My husband used to check out Hocking Hills when we lived in Columbus (Ohio). People were amazed at the great photos he came back with from there. For some reason, no one thinks there are good photo spots in Ohio!

    Nancy

    • Thanks very much for taking the time to leave a comment. I finished the reprocessing project last Thursday night after an estimated 400-500 hours of work. Ugh.

      BTW, if you think Ohio is given little regard as a photography destination you should see how Illinois and Indiana are treated. 🙂

      • This is true. Everyone thinks Illinois is about Chicago only and they don’t realize the state is pretty big and awesome (I grew up in the far far western suburbs of Chicago).

        • Whereabouts specifically in the Chicago area, if I may ask? I still spend half my time in DuPage County (Glen Ellyn, to be exact)?

  13. I grew up in Bloomingdale when it and Wheaton were still farm fields. Harry Volkman would do the weather and say “and from the boondocks of Bloomingdale”. . .

    Of course, it isn’t boondocks anymore and hasn’t been for a long time. I love Glen Ellyn. It’s a gorgeous little town and some really neat shopping too.

    My husband grew up in the town next door – Roselle. His family is still there, but mine is now all out of state.

    But cool places for photos were Volo Bog, Ryerson Woods, and the locks down south (Streator? Down by Starved Rock State Park). Galena and Lockport have some neat areas too.

    • I remember when Harry Volkman made the move from WGN to WBBM-2 back in the 1970s. (He’s still alive, BTW.) And I remember Bloomingdale before the Stratford Square Mall was built.

      The jewel in the Glen Ellyn crown is Lake Ellyn Park: http://www.lightscapesphotography.com/Boathouse_0973_de-tc_-1&0&1&2.htm

      I’ve spent some time over the years noodling around in many of the DuPage Co. forest preserves (Churchill Woods, Springbrook Prairie, Danada, Blackwell, etc.), but my favorite location in the county for photography is the Morton Arboretum. It remains a tremendous oasis in a sea of suburban sprawl. Elsewhere in nothern Illinois, I never get tired of mining Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Parks and I’ve had some luck at Nachusa Grasslands, Midewin (on the grounds of the old Joliet Arsenel) and Chain O’Lakes. I keep threatening to get back to Illinois Beach for sunrise, but that hasn’t happened yet. I’ve never checked out the area around Galena, or anywhere that far west in the state, though I know I should. I ought to poke around Messenger Woods (in Will Co.) during the spring bloom as well.

  14. I forgot about the Morton Arboretum! That was so cool. It’s for sure Illinois isn’t boring. I love that photo of the Lake Ellyn boathouse. I’d forgotten about the Lake Ellyn Park. Thanks for sharing!

    Here’s a picture of my childhood home, on Bloomingdale Road halfway between Army Trail Road and Lake Street (west side).

    http://livingtheseasons.com/2012/04/30/my-childhood-home/

    How fun to run into someone that knows my old stomping grounds so well!

    • Thanks for the link. You probably already know this but that stretch of Bloomingdale Rd…it looks a bit different than it used to. 🙂 That whole area has been completely developed, mostly with sub-divisions, but there are some town houses, apartments and some quasi-commercial development in a few spots as you move north from Army Trail Rd. The Bloomingdale Park District has a museum located a block south of Schick Rd. on Bloomingdale Rd. and I have cause to head up that way a few times a year (I participate some of their art exhibitions).


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