New photo blog!

A little while ago I wrote about recent experiences with digital imaging software and online systems. (See:

After much exploration and many false starts and trials, I came to the conclusion that to do what I want, I really needed to build a photo blog using Movable Type. So that's what I did. You will find the new blog - "Dancing with light," linked on my home page - which incidentally, has been revised.

Why go this route?

1. Because most of the public photo sites are either loaded with ads, intent on selling merchandise and prints, or simply too restrictive in terms of design.

2. But I thought you liked Pbase? I do. But I couldn't really get it to look the way I wanted things to look and I kept running into problems with uploads. (I assume this is because of my dial-up connection, since I know others who love the site.)

3. Isn't ease of use critical and putting photos on your blog harder? Well, yes, if you are just putting up photos quickly to share with family friends, speed and ease are critical. And when I want to do that I will use my .Mac account. But I really want to make "Dancing with light" a multimedia experience - words and images which I hope complement and expand one another. So taking a little more time with what I put up and being a little more selective won't hurt.

4. So was it hard to build a photo blog? No. Well, yes. Well, no - not once I knew what to do and stopped trying to reinvent the wheel. For Movable Type fans the key here was to use a "plug-in called "MTGrid." Before I discovered that I spent hours trying to come up with a way to get my thumbnails to appear in a table on an "album" page and couldn't do it consistently. ( See: album example. So i bared my heart to the Movable Type forum and a kind soul pointed me towards MTGrid and the problem that had taken me hours not to solve was history in less than five minutes! If you're a Movable Type user and want to know more about the specifics of the photo blog, drop me a note at

5. OK - then is there anything that PBase does that your blog doesn't? Yes! Pbase can extract "exif" data. What's that? All the technical information about your photo - shutter speed, camera type, aperture, date, time, etc. - that all digital cameras record. They embed this information as part of the JPEG image. (See: Most of your photo manipulation software - with the exception of the latest version of Photoshop - removes this stuff, unfortrunately. But I discovered I could crop and export images in Iphoto without losing it, then upload them to Pbase, and Pbase would extract the info and display it with the photo - real cool! Hopefully someone in the Movable Type community of wonderful, generous geeks will figure out how to do that in Movable Type. Until then, I'll live without it.

Finally - I discovered a neat Web site that will help you choose a commercial system based on personal needs, wants, and costs. It's a great way to review what's out there. So I urge you to visit the Online Photo Resource Guide.

Oh - and stop by my new and improved home page:

And/or the new Photo Blog:

Posted by Greg Stone at February 17, 2004 05:50 AM