Photographer to cut back Web site

Posted: Monday, December 19, 2005

Juneau photographer Pat Costello has run since 1997, posting a Southeast Alaska photo every other day and drawing more than 1.5 million hits a month.

It appears, however, that the eight-year run is over. Costello, a state worker during the day, plans to close the site at the end of the year and devote more time to his wife, Julie, his 2-year-old fraternal twins, Owen and Elliott, and various creative endeavors.

"What I've been doing for the past eight years is going to end," Costello said. "I'm not going to stop putting stuff on the Internet, but I'm not going to post every other day. It's going to turn into something else, and I'm not quite sure what."

Costello has developed an international following with his pictures of Juneau wildlife, landscapes and every-day existence. He's thought about shutting down the site before. The last two years he organized membership drives - asking people to chip in $25 to help him defray the costs of maintaining the site, taking pictures and traveling to destinations beyond the Juneau road system. He had more than 500 members in 2005.

This time, though, the site is closing for real. He may post more regularly from May to September and run the site with a password-protected mechanism. But the year-round look of the space will change.

"This time of year, it's dark when I go to work and dark when I come home," Costello said. "It gets to be difficult to fit photography in. It ends up blotting out all the daylight hours on the weekends."

"It takes a lot of time to answer all the e-mails, and all the other administrative work that goes with the Web site," he said. "The choice needed to be made, and I'm going to choose to hang with my kids rather than continue to spend the amount of time it takes to run the site."

Since Costello announced Nov. 30 that he was contemplating closing the site, 103 people have written notes his guestbook.

"It just shows that photos do affect people," Costello said. "You can see a lot of that in what people have written. That's really why I've continued to do it.

"There's other folks out there doing this already," he said. "Now, if you go look up 'photo blogs,' there's a whole genre of Web sites. There's all sorts of people doing photos (every) day."

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