I'm glad you noticed!
We're generally concious of most of the issues on the site, and have ideas for how to solve them. The photo section was exactly like that - we saw that it had gotten extremely dead but the solution wasn't a tiny one. That is a huge part of why the new video section took so long, is that the photo galleries and entire photo handling system of the site was fucked and needed to be re-written.
So we ended up having to re-build from scratch the entire media system of the site. Good news is that allowed us to do all of these improvements. So I'm for one really happy that the splash page / upgraded photo gallery has worked out. I'm way more in love with this system than the old ones.
As for alternating POD / VOD... there's a great idea there but I'm not sure that is the exact right way. I tend to think that the splash page is much more like the cover of a magazine, where its really a photo that should be getting hyped up. We need a similar solution for video, but we don't have it quite yet. I've got a few ideas kicking around, and we'll start to play with them in a few months.
Stoked though that you guys are digging photos. Photography is an awesome art, and we want to give exposure to the up-and-coming photogs as much as is possible.
newschool is a state of mind, not a style of skiing.