Pretty Pictures: Announcing My Photostreams

I've been tinkering for the last year or so with a “photostream” addition to my blog, in which I can highlight the occasional not-too-bad photo I post on my blog. I'm not sure it's really ready, but I'm releasing it now and we'll see how it goes.

I've partitioned up the best images from my blog into several photostreams, including one for Japan, and one for each season: Spring · Summer · Autumn · Winter. There's also a catch-all Miscellaneous stream for odd, kooky, or otherwise interesting (but not necessarily “pretty”) photos, and a stream full of pictures of my kid that I suspect only I and my mom will use. Finally, there's an overall “Main” stream that includes all the non-kid photos.

I try to include only good photos in each stream, but I give you a way to let me know that one isn't really good enough for inclusion. (More on that in a bit.)

Visiting a stream's page, you see a gird three pictures wide. It may take a while to load, but I make sure to load images from the top down, the screen should fill up fairly quickly. You can scroll down, or hit the [reshuffle] button to see different pictures.

Clicking on a photo leads to a page like this...

Floating at the top is a control panel...

The control panel is normally intended to be hidden. Mouse down to the lower half of the screen, and it'll disappear.

To visit the next picture in the stream, use the N key.

To go back to the previous picture, use the P key.

To visit the blog post associated with the picture, hit ENTER.

To return to the grid of photos, use the ESC key.

Bringing the mouse to the upper half of the screen recalls the control panel, which you can use to start a slideshow, vote on a photo that you think is better/worse than average for the stream, etc.

Returning to the grid (via the ESC key, or the grid icon in the control panel), and in the upper-right you'll find links to the other photostreams, and to the Media RSS feed for the stream.

I spent considerable effort in building it to make it efficient (it pre-downloads the next few images while you're looking at one, for example), but there's a lot of image data involved, so the first time you try it, it'll likely be fairly sluggish for the first few pictures.

Start here

As I said, I've been tinkering with this on and off for the better part of a year. I got the idea when I saw the FoxSaver add-on for Firefox (the name coming from Firefox + Screen Saver) that could turn any Media-RSS feed into a pretty screensaver-like slideshow. You can view my streams with it, but better yet, you can view its streams of really amazing photos.

Anyway, every few months, I'd return to tinker more. It's a lot of heavy JavaScript that would have been impossible for me without the most-excellent Yahoo! User Interface Library, so thank you Yahoo!.

I finally got serious with it in May when I built the “control panel” thing. It would be an understatement to say that graphical design is not my strong point, but I was really happy with how it came out.

I had a friend whose opinion I respect take a look at my photostream stuff at that point, and his response was essentially “it's great, except for the really ugly control panel.”. Doh!

Since then, I've spent the last couple of months deep in though on how to fix things, but I've come up with nothing, so yesterday I slapped the “... to dismiss this overlay” note onto the panel in the hope that greater education is the key, and we'll see how it goes.

Give it a try, and let me know what you think...

All 10 comments so far, oldest first...

The Japan stream, the only one I’ve looked at so far, is an outstanding collection. It works incredibly well, full screen. I navigated using the arrow keys – all went well. I didn’t try the more advanced stuff yet. The “Loading” overlay could probably be a bit more subtle. 🙂

I’ll be sending the link along to a few people. This really is a compelling collection. Will be revisiting and trying the others, too. Thanks.

— comment by Bahi on July 19th, 2008 at 3:40am JST (8 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

You misspelled “Previous” in the toolbar.

Ouch, that hurts. Thanks. Fixed. —Jeffrey

Great interface. Now all i need is a faster net connection…

— comment by Andrew S on July 29th, 2008 at 2:38am JST (8 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

I think this is wonderful. I’d love to try something like this with my personal blog. Is it for sale? Your photography is beautiful. I really enjoyed looking at your pictures.

— comment by Michele Ireys on December 19th, 2008 at 8:37am JST (8 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

Just saw this post after my previous comment; I guess you took the dynamic gallery to a whole other level. Serious props!

Have you ever considered making your creations available for sale? I’m positive there are other photographers that would be willing to buy, just look at the previous comment.


— comment by Brian on January 24th, 2009 at 2:39am JST (8 years ago) comment permalink

Dear Jeffrey, I’ve been enjoying this marvellous photostream on and off for a while now. But this evening, I really let it run and run and tried to take in each photo as its proxy for the real world you recorded: you recently mourned the fact that so much has been destroyed in the terrible tsunami devastation. So much that you never got a chance to record. I’m touched by that thought. So perhaps, after a respectful time as passed (no disaster tourism of course), you might be able record some of the rebuilding? Keep the photos coming.

— comment by Annie Robinson. London on March 21st, 2011 at 4:14am JST (5 years, 10 months ago) comment permalink

nice pics… wanting to show off new android tablet. however the toolbar does not lend itself to browsing manually because of the letters. suggest right side of photo for forward, left side click for previous.

I’d developed all that stuff before there were any tablets, so hadn’t thought of it, but I just added the right/left clicking to move. I can’t find the original PSDs I used to create the graphics, so haven’t updated the memo about “N” and “P”, but you can click now. Thanks for the idea. —Jeffrey

— comment by troy on May 22nd, 2011 at 2:42pm JST (5 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

I am fully blown away by your photos. For the first time I ignored the movie I was watching and every time I would think OK i should stop with this photo now. It is a never ending journey on your photostream with never ending thoughts of how he may shot shot this, what technique he may have used or what lens.

I must say these are the best photographs I have ever seen in my life at a single place (not an exaggeration). Quite an inspirational stuff, I will keep visiting this photostream to get some gallons of inspiration and probably reduce time in watching every podcast that I come across (Unfortunately I cant download all your photos and keep it in my travel device as I could do with podcasts). Thanks a lot.

SVRK Prabhakar

Holy cow, such very kind words, thanks! —Jeffrey

— comment by SVRK Prabhakar on August 23rd, 2012 at 10:44pm JST (4 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

Breathtakingly beautiful photos! One could die happy in a place like this (Japan) because it looks like one is already in Heaven. Thank you for sharing such incredible beauty.

— comment by Meredith on January 22nd, 2013 at 9:58am JST (4 years ago) comment permalink

These photos are stunning. Thank you for sharing them online.
I wonder what is your policy regarding sharing them on the internet, especially Facebook? Is it sufficient to credit you and link to this blog? I have a Facebook page where I share poetry and quotes with pictures of gardens and landscapes, no commercial use, just for fun.
Greetings from Croatia.

Depends on the photo… many are now released under a Creative Commons license that allows what you suggest. You can see whether there’s such a license by visiting the blog post for the photo and checking the “image data” link. Otherwise, just drop me a note with specifics. —Jeffrey

— comment by Ana on May 7th, 2013 at 8:51am JST (3 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

Came here via your plugin for LR. and got stuck !
Thank you so much for your wonderful pictures. I didn’t care for my desktop background picture for more than 12 years until today ! (Dual screen 1920 x 1080… maybe should you propose 3840 x 1080 picture ? just kidding)
I think that the most valuable is your comment/story for each picture. That make them much more than “only” wonderful.
Thanks for your explanations about everything, i did learn a lot !
Congratz from France.

— comment by sunntek on February 23rd, 2014 at 7:06am JST (2 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink
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