Paul Vosper: Technical Artist

Photo Web Blog Project

I've been wanting to post photos from a 2016 backpacking trip tp Hell's Canyon, but it's been hung up on technical details. The site is finally up (yay!) and I wanted to write about some of the goals and challenges for the project.

Hell's Canyon 2016

The blog post tells the story of hiking Hell's Canyon principally through 38 photos. Each photo is from a hi-res source and must be converted to three sizes for web presentation (thumbnail, main display and zoom-able). That's a daunting 114 png files that need to be generated, something I'm not anxious to do by hand.

For the 2015 trip to Jasper, I used Sandvox. It worked really well and allowed me to focus on the images and words without having to worry about the html or css; but, it didn't allow me to match the aesthetics of the website and having to reverse-engineer the templates was annoying.

We've been talking about GIMP and Python at the TA Social. I've fiddled around with it a bit but never done anything serious, so this seemed like a great time to create some simple tools to help with the image processing.

The GIMP tool is really basic: from the source image scale using Sinc (Lanczos3), apply an Unsharp Mask filter then save the file in PNG format with a given name to a desired location. You've probably seen my posts as I worked through this, so I'll spare y'all the details. In hindsight, none of this was terribly difficult and I just need to do a bit of investigation and experimentation. Most of the experiments are up in GitHub with the final code and some scratchy notes.

Creating the page template was the next task. As with most web pages, the design is the hard part and the code is easy (or easier, anyway). Once I had the template, I could start creating the actual blog pages.

I knew I wanted to arrange everything per day, and wanted the narrative to describe not just the image, but the journey. I chose a picture of our tents at the beginning of each day to help set the general location. Eight pages per day seemed about right - enough information to describe the day, without becoming too tedious - and they fit neatly in two rows in the site's page layout. The words are not as cohesive as I would have liked, as some images sparked fond memories for me while others were simple 'connective tissue' (you can tell by the simpler descriptions).

As with most projects, I'm happy that it's finished but not completely satisfied with the outcome. The only projects I consider failures are the ones I haven't finished - yet - so I'll check this one off as a success and move on to the next.

Right? Right