Well, after nearly a year after I registered the domain I've finally gotten this site live. I spent a long time working out different options for designing the site and how much I was willing to do by myself. In the end, I took the advice of a friend of mine who recommended to quit trying to build it from scratch myself (or coding my own templates) and to use some 3rd party themes and plug-ins instead. The result? A week later and the site is live, lesson learned.
I'm hoping to get a good workflow for the site so that it's easy for me to keep the posts coming fairly frequently. So far it seems like I've hit on a pretty good combination that lets me update things relatively easily and even integrates in with Lightroom so I'm pretty happy.