Before I left for Japan I knew that travelling by itself would get boring, so I started a photoblog to document my travels. It's a great way to reflect on where I've been and consolidate my thoughts on those experiences.

Here you can see an early concept. Ironically enough, I never did manage to get a shot of mount Fuji.

Meeting a friend in Osaka

I got a light travel kit for my photographic needs. A Panasonic GX7 with 20mm 1.7 and the kit zoom.

At the start of my journey I knew almost nothing about photography, but coming from the 3D/graphics world composition and lighting were familiar territory.

I looked at the various photoblogging options, but I wanted something a bit more unique.

My ideas were to incorporate:

1 - A magazine-ish layout where text is a part of the composition

2 - photo-quality "cinemagraphs" that add motion but blends in with the photos

That second one is a bit tough to implement, but I figured a generous pre-load with short looping videos should be serviceable.

Once in a while I get featured on a social news site.

Originally I hosted everything on Amazon S3 - the theory is that for spiky loads the site won't die, or even slow down at all. The problem as it turns out, is that images and video take a lot of bandwidth to serve (roughly 150MB per visitor!), and S3 bandwidth is really expensive. This particular spike cost me about $450 CAD.

I got to thinking about reducing costs, and now I use a hybrid solution. I host two copies of the site - one on S3 and one on a linode. The default copy is on S3 to maximize reliability, and on load an ajax request is sent to the linode. If the request never finishes, has high latency, or reports high resource usage the script continues loading from S3. Otherwise it switches a flag, and the images that haven't yet loaded will be routed to the linode.

In 2015 I've upgraded to a Sony A7ii. So far I'm seriously missing the e-shutter/built-in timelapse/touchscreen focus point features of the GX7.

Asia was fun, but I did miss driving and having a real PC and mechanical keyboard. Next stop, maybe somewhere closer to home. But first I gotta finish these projects!

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