No photos

“Why?” the call went up.
“Why are there no photos from your Sun City trip?”

Well, to put it bluntly, because the vast majority of them were really rather rubbish.

I’ve had a long look through the shots I took, and I’m of the mind that the blame for their disappointing standard can be laid fairly equally between the camera, the photographer and the lack of any decent, meaningful relationship between the camera and the photographer.

Simplifying for x, it’s basically down to me and the camera.

I’m not motivating for new bit of kit here, because I’ve looked at the potential options for new bits of kit and they’re just foolishly expensive.

Would I have got better photos if I had a better camera?
Almost certainly.
Would the camera have got better photos if it had a better photographer?
Yes. Yes, it would.

I did get a nice wildebees though.

Although, looking again now, did I?

[/self doubt]

It does look better on black here. And yes, the idea was to get it to hide away in the bush, because even though it was right there, just 15 metres from us, the camouflage was impressive.

I’m going to have another look through the photos from that weekend, not because I think they’re going to magically get any better, but more to try to work out what went wrong, and how I can prevent the same thing happening again.

One lives, one learns.
Onward, upward.
Citius, Altius, Fortius and all that jazz.

Flickr agrees to be acquired by SmugMug

Indeed. And they’re ever so anxious for everyone to hear about it.

They emailed eight times to tell me:

Don’t worry, they say:

SmugMug has a long history of empowering people who love photography and who want to improve their craft, making them a perfect fit for Flickr and our creative community. With SmugMug, we’ll continue to focus on you, the Flickr members who inspire us all with your work.

I like being focussed on.

Nothing will change immediately with regard to your Flickr account. You will still access Flickr with your current login credentials and you will have the same Flickr experience as you do now. We will continue to work to make your Flickr experience even better.

It all sounds great, but there is one fly in the metaphorical ointment – it’s this line:

We think you are going to love Flickr under SmugMug ownership, but you can choose to not have your Flickr account and data transferred to SmugMug until May 25, 2018. If you want to keep your Flickr account and data from being transferred, you must go to your Flickr account to download the photos and videos you want to keep, then delete your account from your Account Settings by May 25, 2018.

So it’s your prerogative, as it should be. But there’s no mention of what happens if you have just paid $50 for a year’s worth of Flickr Pro before this unsolicited change was made. And good luck with being able to download up to one terabyte of photos and videos in 1 month if you live (or happen to be visiting) somewhere with expensive internet (like South Africa) or slow internet (like… er… South Africa) or dodgy internet (like… well, look, you get the picture).

If you do not delete your account by May 25, 2018, your Flickr account and data will transfer to SmugMug and will be governed by SmugMug’s Terms and Privacy Policy.

I haven’t read SmugMug’s Terms and Privacy Policy, but then I’ve been a Flickr user for over 10 years and I don’t think I’ve ever read theirs either. I make the assumption that someone in the know out there is also a member and would have alerted me if I was about to sign over my first born.

No-one likes change, but the internet dislikes it more than most: remember how poor the response was to the big Flickr update back in 2013? I haven’t seen any feedback on this announcement yet, but I’ll be watching with interest.

Flickr has never been the most revolutionary of of websites, but what it does (sharing photos), it’s been doing just fine. From that point of view, I really hope that SmugMug don’t change it too much.

Expedition with Experimentation

Some time ago, I said that I would get around to doing some steel wool (wire wool) shots.

Ja. It was 2012. So what? I still did some.

Eventually.

8:30pm on a quiet April night in Suiderstrand. Not much wind, low tide, warm. Time for an expedition with the kids. A quick glance at a couple of posts on the internet to decide on the best settings for this experiment, and off we trot.

An hour later, tired, a bit chilly (one of us fell in the sea) (it was me), we returned. With these.

You need to see it on black though. The reflections made these shots a whole lot more dramatic than they would have been, but I was surprised at just how easy it was to shoot them.

The kids had a great time, helping out with focussing and lighting, looking after the equipment while dad waded out into the shallows and whirled his thingy around. (Careful now.)

I would highly recommend wire wool ‘togging for keeping the kids interested and engaged, and for pretty easy, but effective shots. We might try some more advanced stuff like silhouettes and the like next time.
But for now, I’m pretty happy that just 5½ years after I said I’d do this, I did it.

On stats

I reinstated Google Analytics on the blog this week. More out of interest than for any other reason, although it does open the door to potential future advertising and collaboration opportunities at absolutely no cost and very little effort. But it’s mainly just to look at some numbers.

And I do like numbers.

The rudimentary wordpress stats package thing that was automatically active on the blog is ok, but GA does give you so much more information.

And I do like information.

Of course, the numbers and the information mean so much more when you have lots of them to compare with each other. It’s (very) early days and most things that I’ve seen on there have left me completely unsurprised.

Except for one stat, which I had never really considered.

It appears that over the past three days, over 60% of people reading 6000 miles… are doing so on mobile devices. Woah! That’s a lot more than I had thought. I mean, I hadn’t really thought about it a lot, but if I had (and obviously, I have now, retrospectively), I would have thought (and now, as mentioned above, I have thought) it would have been a much smaller percentage than that. Like 10. Or 20.

Fortunately, thanks the genius that is The Guru, this blog is optimised for viewing on whatever size or type of device you choose. Thus, it should be a seamless, fluid, intelligent experience.

It’s just the content that lets it down.

And look, the site looks good to me when I occasionally log in on my mobile device, but if you’re on your phone right now, how is it looking? Please let me know if things aren’t working ok for you (I mean on the blog, not in life generally) (there are professionals who can help you with that kind of thing) (I’m far from professional).

I’m going to review my stats once I’ve got enough data to review, and I might post about it on here if there’s anything worth posting about. In the meantime, in the same sort of vein, I apparently had quite a good day (by my standards) on Flickr yesterday (mainly thanks to this post referencing this post referencing this album, I’d imagine) with almost 7,000 views.

If I could get those sort of numbers on the blog, I could almost retire.

Almost.

Still smiling

This won’t be the best photo you’ll ever see.

Far from it.

Many (if not all) of the photos that I post on here won’t be the best photo you’ll ever see, but that doesn’t really matter to me. I’ve been trying to take a shot of some lightning for ages. Yesterday evening, it finally happened and I’m still smiling.

Look, this isn’t my life’s mission; it’s not like I go around hunting storms in order to take photos, and I’m not going to immediately retire from my non-existent photography career just because I took it [audience groans].
But after 236 attempts last night alone, I finally got lucky and got this:

Treat yourself to it bigger on black for the full effect.

Having given up round the back of the house (because this), I was actually just about ready to give up around the front as well as the storm moved off to the south. But I persisted, lying under a convenient shrub to avoid the worst of the rain. And when I realised that one of the closer bolts of lightning had (for once) coincided with one of my exposures and actually in the right direction, I was over the moon.

There are better photos of lightning. Maybe even better photos of lightning taken last night. But I didn’t take them.

I took this one though, and I’m still smiling.