About Me

My Photo
Spofford, New Hampshire, United States
Jeff Newcomer has been a physician practicing in New Hampshire and Vermont for over 30 years. Over that time, as a member of the Conservation Commission in his home of Chesterfield New Hampshire, he has used his photography to promote the protection and appreciation of the town's wild lands. In recent years he has been transitioning his focus from medicine to photography, writing and teaching. Jeff enjoys photographing throughout New England, but has concentrated on the Monadnock Region and southern Vermont and has had a long term artistic relationship with Mount Monadnock. He is a featured artist in a number of local galleries and his work is often seen in regional print, web publications and in business installations throughout the country. For years Jeff has published a calendar celebrating the beauty of The New England country-side in all seasons. All of the proceeds from his New England Reflections Calendar have gone to support the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at the Cheshire Medical Center. Jeff has a strong commitment to sharing his excitement about the special beauty of our region and publishes a weekly blog about photography in New England.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A New Web Home for My Photography (Finally !)



Today there is a dizzying number of places to show your photos on the web. Flickr, Facebook, Google +, 500 Pics, and even Twitter all have their own advantages, but it has become impossible to keep up with an appropriate amount of posting and commenting and still have time to actually take pictures. The requirements of shooting and actually having a life dictate that choices have to be made regarding my commitment to social media. As I try to find a reasonable balance, it seems to me especially important to keep my web presence firmly grounded in a strong personal web site.

The Goal
It seems axiomatic that a photography site must be about the visuals. Most important is a beautiful gallery which shows my best work to maximal advantage, organized in collections that allow easy navigation and searching. But the site must be more than a simple collection of images. I want it to inform visitors about my photographic focus and goals and, beyond the usual artistic babble found in most "About" pages, I feel my story is best told in my blog. Finally a site must provide a clear path for those wishing to offer the ultimate compliment of actually purchasing my work. It is a lot to ask, but fortunately there are solutions which are comparative easy to create and surprisingly inexpensive.

Ancient History
After years I have finally update my gallery website. I started designing web sites back in 1995. Yes there was an Internet back

My Cheshire Medical Site 2005
then, but in the olden days "designing" meant coding. It was clunky, laborious work, but, at the time, I found it remarkable to see how a few lines of HTML we're transformed into text and pictures when plugged into a browser. It still seems miraculous to me that I was able to talk the trusting folks at Cheshire Medical Center into letting me design their first web site, at a time when even a single web "page" was considered revolutionary. For ten years, as Medical Center web master, I was fortunate to experience the early development of the Internet and world wide web. I went from HTML editors to Front Page and Dreamweaver, but as the web became more automated and database driven, I found the photography to be a more fulfilling and creative outlet.

 

My Recently Deceased Gallery Site
It was about this time that I designed my web gallery and it has been essentially unchanged until this month. . This was before Facebook, Flickr and the others. The site was a place to drop my favorite images into simple tables, organized by season, with additional pages for seacoast images and a "whatever is left" page for images of our travels away from New England. The site was designed with a ancient version of Microsoft Front Page and had no search engine, slide shows or shopping cart. I displayed relatively small compressed images ranging from 300-430 pixels.  It worked well for a simpler time, but, by today's standards, the site did not portray a polished, professional design and, with over 2000 images, the constantly elongating table format had become increasingly unwieldy. 


Time for a Change
I had intended to update my web presence for a few years, but never seemed to have the time to start over. I was finally pressed into action when my old web host decided to go out of the hosting business. Suddenly I had to find a new home by the first of the year and it seemed the obvious time to make a major upgrade.

I considered a number of options, but narrowed my search to two excellent choices, SmugMug and Zenfolio. Both offer professional appearing web sites with a large array of easily customizable templates, easy organization, social media sharing and commerce solutions that make purchasing images quick and painless. They both offer unlimited uploads providing the added benefit of an easy cloud-based location for my most important images. I eventually settled on Zenfolio, partially based on price, but also for ability to incorporate my blog and the ease of a self-fulfillment option. I expect that I will eventually use the affiliated Photo Labs for many orders, but for now I still like to control the printing and matting of my work. 



Migration
The migration process was surprisingly painless. Both Zenfolio and SmugMug offer free trials.  I was able to get the basics well

Part of my New Front Page
established before I actually had to repoint my domain to the new site. I moved my galleries of old low resolution images to collections on the new site. I also began to process the originals of my favorite images as high resolution jpg's for upload into a "Featured" gallery.  It is this gallery which runs as a slide show on my front page and these images will be the appropriate size and resolution for lab prints directly from the site. After filling in the contact information and the "About" stuff, I copied information from my old site such as the price list and blog index. I am still using my "Blogger" blog, but it connects seamlessly and has a matching color scheme. There is still much to do, and many features to explore, but one of the great advantages of these services is that themes and organization are easy to change without any arduous and costly reprogramming. 




One Page of my Autumn Gallery

Check out my new site and let me know what you think. The address is the same as always :


partridgebrookreflections.com
 
Be kind there is still much work to do. And feel free to turn off the music when it, inevitably, becomes annoying.  If you are considering developing your own web site, it has never been easier, and the results can make a significant difference in the professional appearance of your web presence.


3 comments:

  1. Your new photography website looks really good, Jeff! And you take amazing pictures too! It does look a whole lot better than your previous website. I think the black background of the website helped in making the colors of your pictures stand out and look livelier. I like that the center of your website is a flash application of your best shots because it really captures one’s attention. Also, the simplicity of the layout makes it easy to navigate. You really did a great job in redesigning your website!

    Darryl Tay

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