• ISO: 200
  • Shutter: 1/250 sec
  • Camera: NIKON D1H

Northport, Alabama

It’s official: cloudybright.com has been “jui.cc’d.”

After three years online, it was time to undergo a redesign. The site that you see today is the result — a joint collaboration between Miklos Bacso of jui.cc and myself.

It was a long process requiring numerous emails, hours of instant messages, and even more hours of work. There aren’t enough words to convey how grateful I am to Miklos for somehow managing to take my vague, disjointed want list and turn it into something so much more than I could have ever imagined. I gave him free rein to be as creative as he wished, and he proved a thousand times over that my faith in him was justified.

Virtually everything that you see here, from the clean, white interface to the slick flash galleries, is his creation.

Hopefully, you will find it easier and more enjoyable to navigate. There are still some things that are not working, but we will polish up those details over the next week. Meanwhile, you will notice quite a few changes:

Navigation: Clicking on the photo will now take you to the previous day’s photo. The photoblog links are on the upper left whereas the links to the rest of the site, my tearsheets, my professional galleries, etc. are on the upper right. This allows me to keep the two sections somewhat separate while still maintaining a cohesive gallery of my work.

Photos: Photos are smaller now. This is the unfortunate side effect of trying to accommodate viewers still using 1024×268 monitors so that they can see the photo all at once without having to scroll.

Text: I wrestled with this for quite some time, but finally decided to place the text in the comments box. This allows me to maintain a cleaner design and allows viewers to skip the text if it doesn’t interest them. Hopefully people will continue to read what I write. There are times when the words mean more to me than the images. They give me the opportunity to share something of my life — my hopes, my dreams, my struggles, and my triumphs. This is the one place in the world where I can truly be myself, and the freedom to write is a big part of that.

Other text: I will continue to post the music I am listening to because music is really important to me and often says more about how I am feeling than anything else. I have decided to drop the EXIF info because, quite honestly, images are more than an amalgam of shutter speeds and apertures. If you really want to know, just ask. Photos will also include titles now, which can be seen in the comments box at the top along with where the photo was taken. If you have a better title, feel free to suggest it 🙂

Comments: Comments will be more stable now that they are no longer a part of Haloscan. In an effort to encourage dialog and in order to make my life simpler, I will respond to each of you more via comments rather than email, though I will still send personal emails from time to time. My comments will always be in a different color, so you can quickly scan the list for my response. In addition, a list of the 10 most commented photos will be automatically updated on the “About” page. I welcome any and all comments, including questions and constructive criticism. This is your space as much as mine, so please feel free to use it.

Archives: This is possibly my favorite part of the new design. The archives now feature categories in a drop down menu. Thumbnails of select areas of each photograph are added to the page automatically in the appropriate category. At the moment, the system does not support multiple categories, so it was a judgment call for some photographs.

Galleries: These feature mostly my older work at the moment, but I hope to get them updated soon. My portfolio, for example, is three versions behind my current one. Categories are broken down into Photojournalism, Freelance, Portfolio, and Personal. I suspect I will drop the personal category and replace it with a wedding section for clients who ask to see my wedding images.

Tearsheets: Again, these are not up to date at the moment, but this section will eventually include the best of my most recently published work, updated on a weekly basis.

RSS Feed: Viewers will now be able to subscribe to the RSS feed for the site, which excites me a lot because it will encourage me to update more frequently without worrying that people are missing the updates. Ultimately, I’d like to occasionally post two or three photos a day, and this will help with that. If you do not know what an RSS feed is, then this won’t affect you. However, it is a pretty cool thing, so feel free to email me for more information.

And I guess that’s about it.

I started the photoblog section at a time in my life when I never wanted to pick up a camera again. I hoped to rediscover my love for photography and my confidence in myself. I have gained so much more. I am grateful to each and every one of you for showing up here each day to look, to read, to comment. It means more than you can ever know.

And I am especially grateful to Miklos because not only did I gain a snazzy new site, but a really good friend as well. If I have one regret, I guess it is only that he was so efficient. It was a lot of work and a heck of a lot of fun. I’m sorry it had to end so soon.

Music of the day: Orange Crush by R.E.M. (lyrics)

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