Photo Gallery

Aside

In addition to viewing my wonderful pictures on Flickr ( 🙂 ) you can now check them out on the Why Dont You Gallery. In addition to this, Heather is currently working hard to create a gallery / ordering system where you can buy prints or purchase digital rights to a wide selection of images. If all goes well the Ogum site should be up and running in time for Christmas. Feel free to purchase some huge prints to hang on your atheist walls 🙂 .

Boer War Effect

One of my favourite recent photos (has to be recent as my favourites change daily) is this one; taken at the Festival of History and then given an antique look in photoshop.

Boer War Photograph

It was, in all, a great weekend and I would strongly recommend any one in the UK around this time next year go along – even if you aren’t (yet) a history buff you’ll enjoy it.

The Sky is on Fire

No wonder the birds are flying away…

Red sky at night... the air is burning...

Red sky at night... the air is burning...

Fame!

(sorry, more ego massaging, but then what are blogs for?)

In the past I have boasted about my photos getting pride of place in Flickr for reasonably obscure areas. Today, I have discovered one of my pictures in pole position for a very, very popular place:

Screenshot of Flickr\'s geo page for Walt Disney World.

You can see the original picture on Flickr and it would be great if you could stop by, leave a comment and add it to your favourites 🙂

Photo Time

Well, the blog is looking text heavy again, so its time to throw in some pictures. These are bird photos from my flickr stream. Oddly, the one I think is the best is a lot less popular than the other one. I would love to know what you thought:

Gramat Eagle An Eye

More pictures to come.

Time to lighten the mood

I will applogise for the last few posts here being a bit morose and screaming about the doom and gloom of our crazy world. To try and make things better (and to shamelessly get more hits on my flickr stream 🙂 ) I want you to have a look at these four castle pictures and let me know which one you think is the best – comments on flickr would be preferred but here will do 🙂

Chirk Castle Tower Scrabo Tower Killyleagh Castle Clouds over Hillsborough Fort

Thanks for your patience and the normal miserable service will resume tomorrow.

Fame and Fortune

Status

Well, actually maybe neither fame or fortune, but I have just realised I am a “featured photographer” on Flickr now! (Check out the Strangford pages, you may have to scroll down a bit though…). I am sure this is of little interest to any one who is not in my immediate family, but I couldn’t resist 🙂 [edited to add Newtonabbey pages as well! Wow!]

French Village

Aside

If you are looking for a holiday to the south of France anytime soon, can I suggest you stop by Clairac for at least a visit. It is a gorgeous little town – you can see some shots of it on Flickr.

Loyalty you just cant buy

What must be the corporate Holy Grail is having a customer base so loyal to your product that it doesn’t matter what you do to them, they will just suck it up, keep paying you and ask for more. Before the Internet, I am not sure I ever encountered any examples of this loyalty, I am not even sure it existed.

As with much of life, the Internet changed everything.

We, consumers, are often subjected to watchdog type programs saying we should stand up and complain about bad service more – and I agree. For too long people have sat in quiet anger while companies have taken advantage of them.

With this in mind, it is ironic how some internet “companies” (for want of a better word) have managed to develop an almost slavish fan base who will defend them from even the slightest criticism.

Take Flickr as an example. Today it is having some massive database problems. It has been playing up for at least the last three hours, maybe longer. This is not the first time it has happened, and every few weeks it has has a few little “hiccups.” For most people, on free accounts, this is just something you would expect to live with – you get what you pay for some might argue (not me but that is another rant).

However, for people who have paid US$25 per year for a pro account things are, I think, quite different. The amount of money paid is not the issue. The fact is Flickr have taken a payment for a service. If they are unable to provide that service then they should be held accountable in the same manner as if it was a US$25,000 a year account. For some people in the world, US$25 is a monstrous amount of money so there is no argument to say it is “cheap” so we should expect a poor service.

Now in the flickr help thread, there is quite a mixed bag of comments (and hundreds of them). Basically though, they fall into some clearly defined camps:

  1. People who are outraged and annoyed with flickr for failing to provide them with a service they have paid for.
  2. People who, for whatever reason, feel the need to defend flickr no matter what.

There are some people who appear “neutral” but they generally make comments that fall into the latter camp, such as:

Get a life [aimed at complaining comments]. And learn that in that life nothing is perfect. Suck it up and be patient. (link)

What a day for this to happen! The day after I signed up , but I must add to the chorus saying, ‘Thank you Kevin for letting us know what’s going on’, there are many many sites out there who would simply leave their users in the dark. (link)

No problem Sir. Thanks for informing us… fail in the system is very normal, because it is created and made by man… very human. Dont worry. Thank you… and take your time (link)

These are not neutral posts – the are basically people who are happy with bad service. I am all for having some tolerance over problems but tolerance is not the same as cheerful acceptance. “Take your time” was too annoying for words. The idea that flickr is great simply because other people wouldn’t tell anyone is nonsense as well.

On the side of the slavish Flickr Fans there is one commenter who really stood out- SF Lights. This person has made dozens of posts basically flaming anyone who complains about the service and then, when people make the inevitable threat to go elsewhere he points out there is no where else to go. Some examples:

Guide [a commenter], you can feel free to leave and go to a more mediocre photo sharing website. (link)

Seriously, learn your facts before posting ignorant crap here. (link)

Byebye Panos, Be sure to upload a video on whichever other great photosharing website you….oh wait, there aren’t any. (link)

He really does come across as annoying. One commenter (Panos) seems to think SF LIghts is flickr staff and I have to say I agree – It is weird to think of a paying customer making authoritative comments like this.

All in all, you have to read the thread to get a full feel for how much the flickr supporters are willing to bend over for this. The idea that their wonderful flickr could ever be at fault seems alien to them. The idea that you should be able to expect a service you have paid for to be fit for purpose seems alien to them.

Just to finish, I actually think this is a trivial fault – it takes about two minutes longer to upload pictures and sometimes you have to refresh a few times to get a page. However, imagine you were in a restaurant and had to order each item of food three of four times… Would you complain? Would you say it was the best restaurant ever?

Bodiam Castle? Google Is Your Friend…

I have been looking through the website logs to see just what it is that drives people to this site and, while lacking in raw comedy value (unlike some), it has been interesting.

Running a combination of Firestats, Feedburner and Google Analytics it seems this blog is getting around 400 visits a day. From these around 80% are new (which shows just what a non-loyal readership we hold…) and of those around 70% come here from a search engine – nearly all from Google. For the numbers-fans, this translates to about 200 hits a day from Google searches. Given the insanely varied nature of topics here, you would be excused for thinking this was reflected in the search stats. Not so.

Of the top ten search terms used to come here, seven are image searches, and this accounts for about 90 of the incoming hits. Even stranger, of these over a third are all searching for images of Bodiam Castle.

Now, Bodiam Castle is a gorgeous, fourteenth century fairytale castle in East Sussex, run by the National Trust, so I can understand why people are interested in it. In fact, I understand this well enough to have uploaded another photo!

Bodiam CastleIf you have come here searching for Bodiam Castle, I hope you like this, and you can even see more on Flickr. It has been a long time since I have been to Bodiam so please, forgive me for the photos being out of date now. If you have links to other pictures of this gorgeous castle, please let me know and I will be more than happy to link to them from here.

Back onto the search topic, there is the determination issue to consider now. Will my posting of a new Bodiam article increase the amount of hits I get for this? Are people massively disappointed when the Mighty Google sends them here rather than elsewhere? Why dont people use Yahoo to search for Bodiam?

The other common terms people use for an “images search” are:

  • Schwarzenegger
  • Nice Art
  • Fine Houses
  • Holy Wafer
  • Jesus Toast (around 5 people a day come here using that search term… MADNESS)
  • Future Castles

Now, some make more sense than others, but I can only guess at the disappointment people must feel when their searches lead them here.For completeness, the most common search terms that bring people to this site are:

  • HDR How To (use Photomatix)
  • Cool Viking Names (well all of them)
  • Bad Journalist (again, all of them)
  • Firefox Memory Hog (it is)
  • Pipex Download Speeds (almost non-existent)
  • McCanns Blog (wrong place, I didn’t even know they had one)

One last point, a bit of an oddity is a search term Feedburner has identified leading some poor unfortunate here: “blog: I cannot read, feel distracted” – I have no idea what this blog has to offer this poor person.

river, new hampshire

river, new hampshire

river, new hampshire,
originally uploaded by iris.rigby.

I mentioned in the past that I was planning to try and find some nice pictures to post on an irregular basis, to liven up the the generally text-heavy nature of the blog.

It has been a while, but I found this one on Flickr and it impressed me enough to want to blog it. I love the mysterious, magical, tolkein-esque feel to the photograph.

I love photographs like this and it makes me wish I lived in New Hampshire!

Scrabo Tower – Pinhole Effect

Scrabo Tower - Pinhole Effect

Scrabo Tower – Pinhole Effect,
originally uploaded by etrusia_uk.

This blog has been a bit text-heavy of late. Heather has posted some excellent, thought provoking articles (example, example and example) and I have been slack – spending most of my time working or travelling.

In an effort to try and lighten up the blog, I am going to (irregularly) post images here – hopefully to get some feedback and constructive criticism, but if not it will cheer me up 🙂

My first choice is “Scrabo Tower” from just outside Newtownards, Northern Ireland. This is an odd little tower and I am not really sure about its history, however it is picturesque and the views around it are amazing. As this is a fake-pinhole (a picture edited to look like it was taken on an old-fashioned pinhole camera), it doesn’t really add much in the way of “colour” to the blog – but it looks nice! 🙂

[tags]Pictures, Flickr, Pinhole, Photography, WhyDontYou, Photoshop, Scrabo Tower, Digital Photography, Photo Editing, Black and White, Photos[/tags]

SAN BORJA – HDR on Flickr

SAN BORJA

SAN BORJA,
originally uploaded by werdugo.

This is a fantastic example of the good quality pictures HDR processing can produce – sadly, it is not a picture I took!

It captures a wide range of colours and light, making the picture stand out against the normal “digital” photography people have become used to.

The best bit is this picture does this without creating the strange, otherworldly impression that some HDR pictures have. While I am actually a fan of the hyper-real tone mapping effects on HDR pictures, they can be overused. For me, when a photo has lots of vegetation the HDR looks better if it is more natural.

If you have a flickr account, drop by this guy and tell him what you think of his pictures.

[tags]Flickr, HDR, Photos, Pictures, Photographs, Photography, High Dynamic Range, Photoshop, Photomatix, Picture Editing, Digital Photography, Photo Editing[/tags]

Pinhole Camera Photography

chijmes01.jpg

chijmes01.jpg,
originally uploaded by Jeff @ 8Banner Cams.

My recent visits to flickr have uncovered another new (to me anyway) source of some fantastic photography.

This time is in the “Pinhole Photography” section and by the looks of things this is legitimately pinhole – rather than the poor by comparison ones I tried with the help of photoshop.

This photo was taken with a large format (4×5″) camera and a six second exposure. The quality and effect of the photo are amazing. One of the main advantages of pinhole cameras is the massive depth of field, and here it is shown to great effect.

One day, if I win the lottery for example, I may be tempted into actually buying a pinhole camera but until then, I think I will have to make do with photoshop. Either way, if I could produce pictures like this I would be proud.

[tags]Photoshop, Pictures, Flickr, Pinhole, Pinhole Cameras, Cameras, Photos, Photography, Digital Cameras, Photo editing, Pinhole Photography, Singapore[/tags]

Free Digital Calendars

Ok, it might not be as good a bargain as it sounds but these really are free 🙂

Continuing my exploration around flickr, and thanks to Alun Salt, I came across “fd’s Flickr Toys” – one of which allows you to take your flickr images and convert them into calendars. Not being one to miss out on the chance to play with “gadgety” stuff like this, I had to give it a try. As a result, I now have three images you can download and use as desktop calendars (or if you are browsing this with a mobile device, you can use these as backgrounds – if you have a big phone…). All three images are saved as JPEG files and are 1280×1024 pixels in size.

Unlike most images here, these will not open in a lightbox but will open as the full image. If you want to use them, I suggest you go along the lines of a right click and “save target as” or “save link as” (or whatever your chosen browser does to save the target of a link rather than the thumbnail image).

October CalendarNovember CalendarDecember Calendar

And now I will return to finding more odd Flickr things 🙂

[tags]Photos, Flickr, fds Flickr Toys, Calendars, Free Gifts, Wallpaper, Digital Images, Technology, Fun, Fun Things[/tags]