I [updated](http://codepen.io/alexmccabe/pen/sELFA “updated”) the reverse that you asked for with CSS comments, so that you can hopefully understand what is happening. It really is very simple, it just looks like a lot.
Paulie_D, hmm odd the figcaptions seem to be playing nice for you, but when I tried with it, they seemed to sit way off from the left and top and had to use minus numbers to get them to line up…Thanks =]
DeTodo, I would take Paulie_D’s code for use, but, notice the image isn’t centered.
Here is the general idea but please bear in mind that improvement can always be made.
See, you’ve wrapped in a div which isn’t really necessary as a figure is just a div with a ‘specific’ function and so acts the same.
So, once I’ve defined the width & height I just set a positioning context (relative).
Then, since the figcaption is inside the figure, I can apply absolute positioning (top:0) and it’s automatically aligned. Granted you have to make it the same size as the image but having set specific dimensions on the figure and overflow:hidden it won’t matter.
Then set the opacity to ‘0’ as you did and transition that on hover.
You can make sure that the cursor can see through the figcaption to the underlying link by using the ‘pointer-events’ property and so you don’t need to link the figcaption text at all.
Is it perfect? Nope, and we’re not exactly using the figure element in the way it’s supposed to be used but you could replace the figure & figcaption with divs and it would still work..you’d just need a couple of extra classes.