smugmug buys flickr

smugmugflickr

Big news, smugmug buys flickr. Got the notification:

SmugMug has acquired Flickr.
If you use our products today, rest easy, they aren’t going anywhere.
The future is bright, but we’ll only get there together.
Let’s do this.

I don’t know whether to be glad, relieved or afraid. I’m hoping for the best, because under yahoo, it couldn’t have gotten worse. What used to be one of the best photography websites was completely and utterly rundown by a monster corporation. Many people are surprised flickr is still around.

I’ve heard of smugmug, they seem to be doing well in their niche market of providing storage and sharing facilities for professional photographers. An independent business, they’ve never taken on outside investment nor have they shown any interest in buyout offers. CEO Don MacAskill seems to understand, and has stated that he is a longtime fan of flickr:

Flickr is an amazing community, full of some of the world’s most passionate photographers. It’s a fantastic product and a beloved brand, supplying tens of billions of photos to hundreds of millions of people around the world.

There can be overlap. Smugmug’s core users are enthusiasts and professionals, flickr has professionals but are mainly for enthusiasts and casual users. This is a way for smugmug to expand its business.

There are a massive number of loyal flickr users. If smugmug makes it great again, I’ll probably go back to paying for pro. Member since 2005 with over 33k pics.

Oh, a little tidbit. Did Stewart Butterfield consider buying flickr back:

friday food fiesta

fridayfoodfiesta

There was (still is, technically) a flickr group called friday food fiesta where we post pics to a weekly topic. It was quite active, then less active and then totally inactive;. the last weekly topic was set in December 2011.

For some reason pics started getting posted there recently. I guess people are just blindly posting to groups that mention food. I don’t mind, the pics are good quality, food-related and it’s nice to see activity in a long dormant group. I don’t see even the admins active on flickr anymore, which is sad.

Ah, nostalgia and the days when being social online seemed more fun and interactive.

flickr explore | old websites

Tim Carmody who is standing in for Jason Kottke this week has been asking interesting hive-mind questions, like best wesbsites that are gone, hidden gem websites and best things in the history of the internet. The hidden gems list is interesting by itself.

Matt Haughey, in response to the best historical internet questions, wrote about flickr explore. Flickr has been through a lot, especially since it was bought by yahoo. Most of it negative as users abandoned it for other sites that offered more instant gratification. As an image repository, it’s been overtaken by facebook. As a social app, it’s been replaced by almost everything–snapchat, instagram, facebook again. The flickr explore page isn’t perfect, there are too many landscape pics, too many macro pics, and too many overly HDR pics. But there’s at least one that is inspiring and unlike instagram, no one is trying to get me to follow them or sell me something.

flickrexplore2017

I just clicked on the page. Random pics and I daresay I find something pleasing in every single one.

p.s. he also asked about great websites that are gone and the top one is google reader. For me, it’s google reader too, but I won’t forget about harpold.com

random flickr

ork375tastingbottles

Haven’t played random flickr for a while. Sometime during 2016 I went past 30,000 on flickr and I have 302 pages on my photostream.

A random number generator gave me 170 so I navigated to page 170 of my flickr photostream. May 2012, visit to Orkney and the Highland Park distillery. Tasted 12, 15, 18, 25, 30, 40yrs and Thor; held a bottle of 50yr in my hand. The pic is of a row of tasting samples on the shelf in their tasting room. I haven’t been drinking a lot of whisky lately, should get back to a glass or two occasionally. Good times.

flickr best of 2015

Top 10 flickr pics of 2015. Had a difficult time, as usual, paring down from 3,565 to 10. A mixed bag of pics this year, mostly of travelling. Some instagram included, because it’s part of culture now.

asi591damiano

I like this one of San Damiano. It’s a boring touristy pic, but it has so many good memories of our trip, and it’s a place of such importance, that I want to include it.

flickr 4.0

flickr401photostream

As I was uploading trip pics I noticed yahoo rolled out yet another new look for flickr. The main photostream page still isn’t as good as the original layout, but better than the horrible 3.0. Less cluttered with sharper, cleaner lines. Can sort by date taken or different permission views. The set (sigh, album) page looks cleaner too, although I’m still not a big fan of infinite scrolling.

The two major new features are auto uploading and auto-tagging for a more powerful search.

At 1TB, flickr offers more storage than dropbox, icloud and many other storage sites. Free. I’m not even at 10% of my capacity with 27k images so there’s no danger of running out (nor any desire to renew my pro account). The new uploadr, plus the 1TB storage, lets people dump all their images into flickr automatically from computer and smartphone. No need for there to be pics stored here, there and everywhere. We can still use instagram or vine or fb, but now flickr can act as central repository for all our image files.

Will I use uploadr like that? Yes on mobile, no for computer. I already use flickr as my image repository, but I go through the process of sorting and organising before uploading. Imagine uploadr taking all 3267 trip pics and uploading into one album for me to organise—-no, no, no. I want to control how and where my pics are uploaded, even though it takes me longer.

It’s a different picture for mobile. I’m pretty good at sorting my iphone camera roll, I review and delete pics that are duplicate, poor quality or temporary. Currently, I use dropbox to transfer to the mba (yes, I know I should be using pushbullet) then manually upload to flickr. If I can skip the dropbox step it will be a time-saver. It took the app a few hours to process my iphone camera roll, but going forward it will be quicker. Liking the app too, used to be clunky and non-user friendly, now I may start using it more.

asi778chimney

The other major new feature is a powerful search engine using image recognition algorithms that sees the content of an image. As an example, I had basic tags to this pic of an Assisi chimney, the flickrbots are smart enough to add building, architecture, roof and outdoor tags:

flickr402tags

Some users are up in arms about this, because they want control over their tags. I’m fine with the concept.

flickr404search

Another example: this week’s photofriday challenge is “detail” and when I plug that in as a search term, I get fairly interesting results, and advanced options to drill down into colours, dates etc. Before the update, I’d get an error or a no result page because I haven’t tagged any pic using the term detail. This is an improvement.

flickr405magic

Where all the new features come together is the camera roll. I can set it to display by the traditional, boring method of date taken. Or I can use the new magic view which sorts my pics into, well, tags. Magic view shows my pics under common criteria, when I select pattern from the sidebar, it shows patterned pics (although I wouldn’t necessarily include the pic of the space needle). I can’t stop playing around in magic view, it really is magical.

Another new feature is bulk processing: bulk download, bulk sharing, bulk editing, bulk delete. The downloading feature is one that has been requested for a long time, it’s not relevant to me but may be for people who use flickr as triage.

Not everything is positive in the update. Thumbnails are too large. For a time all my pics defaulted to family & friends instead of public. All my sets in organizr are called auto upload. My biggest complaint is that getting the html link involves a popup lightbox as opposed to a simple hover menu before. I can’t get the html code for videos. Notes have been discontinued. They are moving in the right direction for a change. The Verge has a good summary of the new design:

What’s impressive is what it’s doing for free: backing up a terabyte of photos from your main computer and your mobile devices, then making them easily searchable in the cloud. The rest of Flickr is still there: you can still follow great photographers, browse beautiful photos, and showcase your own. But among the solutions for backing up your photos online, Flickr has moved from the back of the pack to the front.

#randomflickr

I’m trying to start a new trend on twitter, to post random flickr image. It’s a good way for me to look back at old pics. I used a random number generator to get a page number (I have a total of 239 pages) then I picked an image that I liked. This was during Taste of Chicago jul-2010, my parents were visiting and we were having a great time.

This is my second attempt at #randomflickr. Let’s see if the trend picks up. Not harbouring a lot of hope. I did a quick count, even though I have 197 followers on twitter, only around 20 are active. There are about 100 real people who haven’t posted for ages, or have automatic feeds from their fb statuses. The rest are commercial or fake accounts, I also attract a fair number who probably wanted to follow @wattpad, and for some odd reason, a bunch of indonesian / filipino followers.

That said, I’m enjoying hanging out on twitter and instagram. Much more rewarding than fb, which has turned into a sad popularity contest.

 

trip report and pics

gold002dock

Finished writing up the cruise trip and uploading pics.

posts (this goes to the old website):

  • day01: seattle — flight, arrival, hotel, night walk
  • day02: seattle — pike place market, space needle, chihuly garden and glass
  • day03: embarkation — seattle, cabin, sailaway
  • day04: at sea — exploring the ship, food, formal night
  • day05: juneau — mendenhall glacier, tracy’s king crab shack, whale watching
  • day06: skagway — white pass, emerald lake, carcross, skagway
  • day07: glacier bay — margerie, grand pacific, lamplugh glaciers
  • day08: ketchikan — river, creek street, king crab takeaway feast
  • day09: victoria — butchart gardens
  • day10: disembarkation — seattle outlet, vancouver night market
  • day11: vancouver — capilano suspension bridge park, granville island market and brewery
  • day12: vancouver — grouse mountain, lonsdale quay market
  • day13: vancouver — flight home

flickr sets:

#21: 20,001 flickr photos

sap471kushidori

Task #21 of 101 in 1001 is to reach a total of 20,001 photos on my flickr account.

Considering the start count was 18,555, this was always going to be an easy task especially since I’ve already been on several trips since the beginning of 101.1001. But silly me, I forgot to keep track of exactly which photo was #20,001 so I had to backtrack and count. The page numbering system on flickr is currently broken but I think this is the one. This was at kushidori yakitori restaurant, of the young chef tendering our precious skewers of food.

flickr is ten years old

This week, flickr turns ten. Thanks, Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake. To celebrate, they asked people to add their ten best shots to the flckr10 group.

I joined a year after its launch, in 2005, because we went to New Zealand and came back with so many pictures I needed a place to store and display them. I now have 18,754 images on my account and quite honestly it’ll be hard to narrow down to just 10. My favourites set currently has 125 pics. I’ve done a best of set every year since 2007.

This is my interesting set which is automatically created by dopiaza’s plugin which takes 100 pictures based on interestingness, tags, number of likes and some other random criteria.

nz0005portabello

So anyway, this is the first image I uploaded. Taken in December 2005 at the portobello motel at Dunedin, the first stop on our NZ trip. A bit gloomy, but pretty views and we had a nice room with kitchen.

hok147marimo

My most popular pic, with 4,959 views, is of a marimo (moss) ball taken at lake akan hokkaido.

eggpotatoskin02

My most popular food porn / recipe pic is this one of eggs baked in potato skin. So easy to make, I think I’ll make again soon.

new flickr embed

It’s fairly widely reported today that yahoo changed the way flickr embeds work. At first glance there is no difference, but hover on the pic and the enhancements become visible. The small difference is the username, filename and flickr logo are prominently displayed at the bottom when hovering. There is no way of deleting the text, it’s part of the iframe. I’m not altogethr happy about this, but it will make embedding from other users easier, that I don’t have to separately add text to attribute the pic to them. And if anyone has access to my embed codes, I get the attribution credit.

The bigger change is the ability to scroll from the pic itself. Hover on the pic and two scroll arrows appear. Try it.

This was a rare snow scene at my local park in London, taken early in the morning on the way to the tube station. Scroll through to see the adjacent pics in my photostream. Apparently there is a way to enable scrolling through the set the pic is in, which I haven’t figured out how to do yet. This I like, very much.

For the moment, the old style embed is still available, so here’s the same pic again.

ldnsnow2012021001

flickr disrespect

flickrnew

I have been a flickr member since 2005, and a pro member since almost the beginning. When flickr was fun; before yahoo bought it. I kept my pro account after the yahoo takeover, and when they pretty much ignored it.

I clicked on flickr and was presented with the new layout. No warning. No explanation. No notification prior that this was happening. I saw this huge page with huge pictures of my photostream. There was a random pic from someone else they set as my cover page. I was told to upload a bigger and better avatar.

Yes, there’s now 1TB of storage for all accounts as well as a slew of other features. But here’s my problem: all the benefits I paid for are now part of the free account. In fact, it looks like the free account is even better than the old pro account. Lots of reaction, mostly negative from existing pro users. Wade through the usual resistance-to-interface-change whining and there are genuine problems:

  • not given any warning, no trial period
  • no option to change interface, some display features seem to have disappeared
  • glaring black background
  • even slower to load than before
  • organizer still doesn’t work
  • search doesn’t work, I got a blank page for a simple search on “ham”
  • infinite scrolling on photostream doesn’t work, is extremely slow
  • titles, descriptions and comments only on mouseover
  • uploader doesn’t work
  • defaulted to random cover picture that wasn’t mine — even facebook didn’t do that, they left the cover page area blank and asked the user to pick their own
  • assigning cover pic only limited to recent uploads, couldn’t search through sets
  • collections seem to have disappeared

Techradar’s post title said it all, Has Yahoo Lost Its Mind:

Most of it sounds like the sort of teething problems you encounter when a free service undergoes a radical revamp – but for its most loyal users, Flickr isn’t a free service. It’s something they pay for, and have done for a long time.

Exactly. I wouldn’t have minded the new site if I were a free member. If facebook or google or even yahoo mail change their design and functionality, I have nothing to say because these are services I use free of charge. I changed to timeline on facebook fairly early because I thought it was okay and knew it was better to embrace the inevitable early. The issue with flickr is, I’m a pro member. I’ve paid for this service for 8 years. I don’t think I’m wrong in expecting to be treated with a little more respect.

flickrprices

And what the hell have they done with the pro accounts, and pricing? They say pro accounts will be grandfathered, if it’s set to auto-renew. Mine isn’t, but I can still see the extension option. Apparently users also have until August to downgrade to a new free account, but nothing is said about refunds. My pro account has a whole year left, so what am I supposed to do? I don’t want to renew now, but I’m afraid the option will go away or the price will go up. The new pro pricing doubles to $50 and the only benefit is ad-free. I have adblock plus for that. I just don’t trust that I’ll have unlimited uploads with the new free account—I don’t upload all the time but when I do it’s a big batch.

Honestly, I don’t mind the new design. I don’t quite like it, especially how it’s In.Your.Face but I’ll get used to it. I just feel they didn’t do a good job in rolling out the new service, including the lack of a heads-up, not offering display options, and not fixing existing usability issues. This is not what we expect from a supposedly experienced business.

What really rankles is the way pro users are being treated. We loyally supported the service during the past few years, but because we’re not good ad revenue prospects, or not instant gratification mobile users, we’re being pushed to the side. Flickr was originally about photography and photographers, now they just seem to want to turn it into yet another social media site. By all means, try to attract new customers but don’t do it while alienating existing customers. This is not the way to run a business.

I know they have me locked in because migrating 15,000 images is a big endeavour, but I’ll probably need to look at alternatives. Like many others, I already have a 500px account and I just signed up for ipernity. If things get really rough at flickr, I’ll just eat that $25 fee and migrate over.

cruise pics update

med00sididoor

Over 800 pics from the cruise to sort, delete, rename, touch up, resize and upload. Yes, I rename all my pics in an organised manner and check each one in photoshop. It will take a while. Progress so far — put each batch in separate folders for easier handling. 12 folders, eg 00ship, 09rome. One per location visited and another one especially for food.

Here’s a teaser. This was from Sidi bou Said just outside Tunis, Tunisia. All the houses in the village have uniform white walls and blue doors. Together with the cobbled streets set on a hillside overlooking the Gulf of Tunis, it makes for an extremely pretty and photogenic location. Even though it was full of tourists and the usual tourist trappings like souvenir shops and street sellers it didn’t take away the charm.

flickr down

flickrdown

flickr was down for almost 2 hours on Thursday. They tried to be humorous and posted on their blog something about the servers being uncomfortable and then later

our chiropractors have found the spot and are applying gentle [massage] pressure right now

Thank goodness for twitter. As soon as I got the connection refused message, I went to check #flickr and lo and behold a lot of people were reporting the same problem. I appreciate them trying to lightened up the situation, but a major site like flickr going down has dire consequences, however much they apologise. I have 11,488 pictures and videos stored there. True, they are backed up on iphoto, but imagine if I had to reload them if something goes wrong. That’s inconceivable.

That the internet and the cloud has become so integral to our lives is no surprise to anyone. IMHO, it is a utility, just like electricity or gas or water. Prolonged outage will cause major stress.

my top 10 pics 2011

full set: flickr

This year I hardly did any artistic photography. I’d say the majority are food and travel pics. What I’ve chosen for the top 10 aren’t based on quality or skill. Each one has significance:

  • bbmm blessings rainbow — first of two rainbows that greeted us, just as one of us was feeling down, truly a blessing
  • Chicago marathon runner with US flag — I purposely ran ahead of him to get this, I”m not American but I was still moved
  • Diana’s beautiful garden — reminds me when Sis and my niece visited
  • bike at the Southbank — one of the many favourite places Mum and I discovered when she visited, this is a special shot cos it’s probably my only one that has king’s in the background
  • hot air balloon at Prague — the city is simply so pretty
  • people fising at St Ives — perfect memory of mm’s visit
  • roasted bone marrow at St John — epitomised my eating out culinary journey this year, tried many new restaurants and new dishes
  • sparkling cranberries — what can I say, simple to make and I’m very proud of the composition of this pic, even though yes I copied it
  • beet & sweet potato stack — yes, the second pic from just the past week, but another brand new recipe that will be in my portfolio for a long time
  • instagram kettle — my first instagram pic, to add a fun and techy element to the selection

flickr evolution

nz0209qt

It all started with a post by flickr designer Timoni West on how the page that shows us recent uploads by our contacts is broken. The baton was then taken up by Jason Kottke, who goes further to say that flickr has become the place to put every single one of your photos instead of how it was intended to be, sharing of good quality photos.

Oops.

I’d forgotten the original purpose of flickr. And I willingly confess that I do use it for storage rather then display. I don’t blindly upload every photo, I rename, photoshop and sort. So at least my collection isn’t random and difficult to navigate. It’s the only site, apart from my website, that I pay for. $25 a year is acceptable (well, it’s $50 for 2 accounts but who’s counting).

So, in the spirit of sharing best photos, here’s one of my favourites and I would say top 10 of my best work. Taken at Queenstown, NZ. Not photoshopped. It’s been my wallpaper for over 5 years.

uploading to flickr

Although iphoto 11 can share pictures directly to flickr and facebook, it’s still very rudimentary. Can’t edit sets, can’t add descriptions, can’t add tags and most importantly, pictures get uploaded to the photostream in the default is date order. Doesn’t work for me cos I rename and regroup pictures, I end up with a mess.

The days when the share function wasn’t available for older iphoto versions, I used a couple of external tools. So I sucked it up and spent $10 on the upgrade to flickrexport. Now to get photoshop installed on the mba and I’m back in business — it’s no big deal, I can still use photoshop on the mbp, it’s just a short walk to the other room.

31 photos in 31 days

flickr set here

The August 2010 sh1ft.org challenge was 31 photos in 31 days. It turned out to be difficult to make interesting, for the same reasons that I don’t do foursquare — I simply go between home and work during the week. On weekends I try to find something to do, in between training, so it was easier to take pictures. There are a few favourites, so I’m pleased I participated.

more food porn

red velvet cake balls with tiffany blue color themed
photo courtesy sugarcrawler, copyright acknowledged

I just wanted to type “porn” again. Yes I’m twelve.

Anyway, any interesting tidbit is that the food porn flickr group is moderated by none other than the accidental hedonist, one of the food blogs I follow religiously and probably top of my list of bloggers I’d like to meet personally, if only to ask her for the name of the restaurant she sanctified.

#30: 26 things in red

  1. structure
  2. follow
  3. covet
  4. triple
  5. hands
  6. eye
  7. fancy
  8. time
  9. rainbow
  10. sadness
  11. stack
  12. line up
  13. wheels
  14. an insect
  15. into the air
  16. direction
  17. new
  18. half
  19. set up
  20. 10 mins away
  21. in my mailbox
  22. sometimes
  23. bottle
  24. behind the scenes
  25. corner
  26. a door

In the middle of all the holiday eating, meeting with people, shopping stuff, I decided to do this month’s 26things in HK and completing another 101.1001 task, which is to use a colour theme. It wasn’t hard to decide on red. Click on each pic for brief notes. Link to full set.

best of 2009

I took 1,546 photographs in 2009, or rather, uploaded that many to flickr. Actual taken is probably 5 times that, with the rest deleted. Here’s my top 10 favourite, in no particular order.

  1. acupunture jelly blue — my 2 year old acupuncture shoes, taken with the lomo app on the iphone in my office. There’s something interesting about the colours that the lomo gives, it’s really quite fetching
  2. thunderbirds at the chicago air and water show — it was a miserably rainy day, the jets were very fast and I didn’t have a long lens. I had to do some extensive photoshopping to make the sky look decently interesting
  3. empty room at the ellis island museum — only slightly photoshopped, the original colours and (lack of) sharpness were retained
  4. kettle at lin heung restaurant — this is one of the last remaining traditional restaurants, and the geriatric waiters fill up customers’ tea pots using these kettles
  5. bowling pins at the antique shop on clark — more about its location than the actual photo
  6. cape cod cemetery — I got so many nice pics on that day, this one stood out because of the angle and the moss on the tombstone
  7. milford cemetery — it was the perfect time, perfect location and perfect weather
  8. little girl at market days — it was crowded, and loud, and a faux-abba band was on, but this girl was enjoying herself so much
  9. amber benson — this is definitely the case of the subject being a favourite rather than the pic itself
  10. mushroom and asparagus bread pudding — I had to include a food pic, and this one is for the staging and lightbox, as well as how delicious it tasted

worst shot 2009

quince03

Over at flickr, there’s a thread for people to post their worst shots. Some of them look actually nice, the photographer must either have been disappointed, have high standards or is being falsely humble.

My worst shot 2009 would have been deleted and never made it through photoshop, iphoto and to flickr. This is the closest. I had to keep it to show the process, i didn’t have another similar one. This was when I was cooking the quinces to make quince paste.

i hate the new flickr logo

flickryahoo

Yes, I’m well aware that yahoo bought flickr ages ago. But why is there a need to force the yahoo branding onto the flickr logo? I hate, hate, hate it. I don’t hate yahoo, I just think that this move is desperate and unnecessary. There is nothing to gain by diluting an already strong brand. Plus, it makes it look really jarring and ugly.

I’m certainly not the only one. Poor judgment, yahoo.

can anyone hear the screaming

flickr

Picadilly Circus, originally uploaded by IanVisits

Nowadays I’m so used to shops being open all year round, even on Christmas Day — shoppers paradise means retail trumps everything. I almost can’t remember how London is, nothing is open, no tube, no bus, no shops (apart from small corner shops may be). So i was intrigued to find via mefi phootographs by IanVisits, who took the trouble of photographing London early on Christmas Day. The resultant flickr set, abandoned london is very eerie. To see places like Trafalgar Square, Oxford Street totally empty, it’s like something out of a science fiction movie.

best photograph 2008

Like last year I thought I’d do a little retrospective on my pictures of 2008.

Total 1,512 pictures, of which 428 (28.3%) are food related. So basically, I took some pictures of travelling but my major obsession has been food. This was helped by the purchase in June of the Nikon S550, which permanently sits in my backpack nowadays. I haven’t used the EOS for ages and ages (well, since Hokkaido) and I’m feeling a little guilty I’m neglecting my main camera.

For my top 10 favourites this year I’ve selected more static shots. These may not be the best quality in terms of photographic skills, but there’s something about the colour, or motion, or feel that I like.

wheelchair button

flickrwheelchair

Once in a while I get a flickrmail from the admin of a group I’d never heard of asking me to post one of my pictures in their group. Usually I do it, cos a little publicity is no harm, right?

The latest request was from the wheelchairs group. The pic in question is the wheelchair button one I took in SF, after pushing endless ones in Vegas. Pretty cool pictures in that group, which includes a list of “wheelchair” in different languages.

So much variety on flickr. It’s good.

happy 4th birthday flickr

happybirthdayflickr

Photo by caterina

flickr is 4. It’s amazing, I have no idea what I will do without flickr. The other photo sharing sites are just…not the same. I had to load a couple of videos to photobucket cos flickr video isn’t due till April. While it got the job done, I didn’t like the interface and there were ads everywhere on the page. I like the easy, standard interface I have with flickr. I totally and completely rely on the hosting service. Tagging is intuitive. I like having sets and collections. I know there is so much more out there that I can explore. I am grateful for what I have.

best photograph 2007

photo friday ran “best of 2007” as year end theme, which got me thinking about what I could consider my best photo. I have 1,788 photos tagged with 2007 in flickr, give and take a few duplicates.

The first photo this year was taken on 3 February at the MacRitchie reservoir walk in Singapore. A rather ordinary picture, all greys and dullness.

sgmacritchie003view

The last few photos are a bunch of food related pics — Christmas lunch, yogurt cheese and this one of breakfast salad being #1788.

breakfastsalad

The last non-food photo came full circle to the first one, to Singapore. Taken on 16 December at Sydney airport it’s the Singapore Airlines A380 approaching the gate. Not a very good quality pic, again dull weather, not helped by the fact that I took it through the glass.

a38017landing

I do most of my photography during travelling and this year I’ve travelled to: Singapore, Toronto, Chicago, Santiago (and surrounds), Sydney and Melbourne. Out of the full set I selected 10 favourites, more for how I like them rather than any inspiring technique. It’s interesting that half were from Australia. I guess it’s because of a) the perennial good weather and b) timing = recent.

gallery

Gallery is in the new design. I took the html of an entry page, stripped out the contents and inserted the flashplayer script for simpleviewer.

Changed background, fixed some of the margins.

The text is still in white, even though I changed it to #666666, not sure what’s going on. This needs to be fixed because I have white text on a white background.

The viewer takes pictures from my flickr set called favourites. I need to put more pictures in that set.

get flickr put website

Researching into how best to redo the gallery. I don’t have stats but it seems to me that a typical personal website will include a blog and a place to put photos. I’m surprised that there aren’t more integration between the likes of flickr / photobucket and MT / WordPress. May be I’m not looking hard enough, but I don’t think so.

Like many before me, I hacked MT to make it a sort of photoblog/gallery type page. Six Apart say it’s straightforward — witness the number of SA staff using Byrne Reese’s PhotoGallery. But honestly, it’s not immediately intuitive, especially the treatment of thumbnails. There’s the flickrphotos plugin but there’s a fair bit of fiddling needed, it seems to me.

Of course, I don’t have to use MT or a specific CMS. There are several popular solutions:

  1. gallery
    PHP/database, flexible, seems easy to install but I’m not sure how well it can integrate to the MT-based css. Apparently some performance issues.
  2. lightboxphoto
    Full-featured, gallery maker more suited for professionals selling their photos. The most basic license is $399.
  3. pixelpost
    PHP/mysql based, developed specifically for photoblogging. Looks fantastic, allows comments and all that we’ve come to expect of a blogging software.

But I’m not going to use pixelpost or gallery (forget about lightboxphoto) because these require that my images are uploaded and hosted on my server. Not that I haven’t done that, but for the purposes of the gallery I really want to use flickr. Why? The practical reason is because of tags, sets, convenience and not having to upload to multiple locations. They’re neatly organised on flickr, I just want to link them back.

I’m glad I’m not the only one considering the options.

There are quite a few options. My thoughts:

  1. chasr
    Simple app that displays thumbnails of sets, click on one and it goes to a page with the photos, then the photo itself. Includes recent photos and popular tags. In order to view private pictures, add comments and the like, I have to sign into flickr. Feels to me like it replicates flickr feel on my own website.
    comment: not for me. I’m not looking for a flickr clone, I’d like something that looks more elegant. Apparently I can play with the demo to see how my sets look like, but I never got it to work.
    demochasr
  2. pictobrowser
    A flash widget that displays flickr pictures. Simple filmstrip design and interface. Choose a set, tag or group and it generates a block of code to embed into a webpage.
    comment: very easy, no need to worry about design. But it’s for single sets or tags only, and in order to display multiple sets, I’ll need to code it myself. Basic, but I need more functions. Here’s my 26thngs for Sept06.
  3. jetphoto
    More of a desktop photo organiser that happens to generate a flash web album after it’s uploaded to flickr. Has GPS and geotagging. In use, it’s very Windows look and feel. The flash feature generates a pop-up page that has fairly basic navigation elements. For instance clicking on the photo brings me back to the album.
    comment: I don’t want to organise my photos through their application because I use iPhoto on the desktop. The whole point is I don’t want to manage my photos in multiple places. Such a Windows-heavy application won’t make many friends with mac users anyway.
    jetphoto
  4. satellite
    Another PHP application that makes use of flickr’s API. Uses mootools and slimbox for sleekness. Displays thumbnails of pictures of a set; clicking on one dims the set and overlays the picture in question over the set. Looks nice, very nice. Comes with a black and a white theme, so I’m not sure how much it can integrate into a sitewise css.
    comment: nice, worth looking at.
    satellite
  5. flogr
    Similar to Satellite in its use of the slimbox overlay method. Themes are customisable and EXIF data is displayed.
    comment: similar in concept to Satellite, appears to have a few more features. Worth looking at.
    flogr
  6. simpleviewer
    Very popular. Generates a flash slide show with thumbnails of remainder of photos at side, makes it easy to navigate. Integrates with flickr, wordpress as well as desktop apps like iPhoto.
    comment: I like this. Clean and neat navigation.
    simpleviewer

Verdict? At the moment it’s between simpleviewer and flogr/satellite. It’s to do with navigation — do I like the slimbox overlay approach or the filmstrip approach. Ah, decisions.

big trip day 30

Somewhere along the way I lost a day. I got home at 8.30pm on Friday. Unpacked, showered, sorted mail and checked in with people. Doing laundry, then I’m off to bed. My own bed.

For the sake of completeness, here are the links to the full sets of pictures:

Texas | Washington DC | Chile

After sorting and deleting, I still end up with almost 800 in total.

old pics

I found some really old pictures in my external hard disk. Pictures from when I was in Zurich, when me and my friends used to travel all over the place — Munich, Stuttgart, Prague, Milan, Venice, Verona, Alsace, Paris, Nice and all the place in Switzerland. I must have a ton of photo CDs from those days I should try to dig out and load. But meanwhile this is one pic I really really like. Christmas 2001, a happy time. My niece was born a month ago and Mum came to London to stay with Sis. Then when I had to go back to Zurich she came with me to visit a little. With my regular travelling friends (Agnes, YL, Frank, Carolyn) we went to Munich to the Christmas Market. Here’s a picture of the famous Frauenkirche in Munich in the background, and a glüwein stall with miniature replicas of the twin towers. Very cute.

munich003tower

Quality isn’t that great, cos it was taken with my 2.1 megapixel original ixus — low resolution, small size (1600×1200). But I like this one very much. Reminds me of the good times I had in Zurich.

trip photos

I uploaded the photos from the trip: Toronto set | Chicago set

Relative to my usual habits, I didn’t take very many. Just under 500 for 2 weeks, that’s positively slacking! I go through a palaver to get them uploaded: rename in ImageBrowser, resize and adjust in Photoshop, load to iPhoto then finally upload to flickr. Then there’s all the tagging and description in flickr, even though I’m not very imaginative with my descriptions.

flickr cameras

One of the reasons I prefer flickr over photobucket isn’t just the snob factor, I do find it the better tool. Granted, photobucket is easier to use and more intuitive, but I can’t imagine uploading my pics without the tags and sets feature that flickr offer. For me, photobucket is the mass market product so the common and garden user can upload a pic and send the link to their chums; in other words, a windows user. Whereas flickr is the mac equivalent, for someone who wants a little more control.

Anyway, the reason I thought about flickr was the list of top 10 cameras on flickr:

  1. Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XT
  2. NIKON D50
  3. Canon EOS 350D DIGITAL
  4. Canon EOS 20D
  5. NIKON D70
  6. NIKON D70s
  7. Canon PowerShot S2 IS
  8. Canon EOS 30D
  9. Sony CYBERSHOT
  10. Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL

See, that’s another cool feature of flickr. If your camera has that function, when you upload your pic it’ll record which camera.

It’s also telling that actually the Rebel XT and 350D are the same, and shouldn’t they lump the Nikon D70 and D70s?

mirror, photos, site

From kottke I navigated to Heather Champ’s site. And I’m reminded that:

  1. it has been ages since I submitted an entry for the mirror project
  2. I can’t even remember what my username is there
  3. I need to move those entries to flickr
  4. I need to have a big sort on my photo collection
  5. I should redo my photo gallery section. need to investigate tools, link from flickr? gallery? simpleviewer?
  6. learn photography

crap. I need to start thinking about an overally site redesign — redo entire look and feel, use switchable stylesheets, upgrade to the latest Movable Type or switch to WordPress, add recipes. argh!

New Zealand trip report

Finally the NZ trip report and photos are (almost) done.

The trip report starts here, continues here and finishes here.

The photos on the trip report are highlights. The set of 1,600 are on our respective PBs and my external hard disk. I put about 800 on flickr:

Set 1: Dunedin to Queenstown
Set 2: Queenstown to Franz Josef to Christchurch
Set 3: Rotorua to Auckland

flickr

I bit the bullet and paid for a flickr pro account today. I made the Jan deadline of using up the free 20MB transfer last week and uploaded 151 photos. Today I thought I’d make a start on the feb quota. Heh, doesn’t give me that much, at this rate it’ll be August before I upload all the NZ pics. $25 a year isn’t bad. 2GB transfer, unlimited storage and unlimited photo sets. Doesn’t resize my pics. Gives me the flexibility to eventually move all my pics over to flickr and not use up my server space. The $20 I save from my host goes there I suppose.

What else do I like about it — tags, tags, tags. The organizer is okay, though I would like to have a functionality where I can add multiple pics to a set. It’s easy to use and intuitive. I’m up to Christchurch, 721 pics. I’ll do North Island tomorrow.

Oh, and my photostream has already been viewed 82 times and I have a few comments already. Wow. It should also let me post directly but it doesn’t respect my css, and the img didn’t have an alt, and there are too many strange html. Yeah, I prefer to html it myself. This was a sign we saw at the pub in Kaikoura.

sign