Category Archives: Daily posts to Flickr

Flickr

Is Flickr past its best before date? I think so. And this makes me sad. Flickr is where I learned and where my love for photography grew. I first opened an account on Flickr ten years ago. This was the very first photograph I posted.

First photograph posted to Flickr

In those early days I would spend hours trawling through the images on the platform and questioning how did people build followings. How did you get people to come to look at your images? How did you get people to comment? It appeared a mystery at first. Then, with time, I realised it was a reciprocal thing. Go comment on the photos of others and they in turn will come and comment on yours. With this I began to become part of a community. And it was a vibrant one. Looking back at images I posted around 2009/2010, I see that comments on images usually outnumbered the faves. This has now changed, meaning there is less engagement. Then it was great. Conversations evolved and built relationships. Friendships formed and I even met some of the people I had as contacts in real life. Some good people.

Flickr’s big thing was its Explore page. Each day 500 photographs were chosen according to their interestingness. If you hit Explore, your views rocketted. Back in the day your image could also hit Flickr Front Page . Your image, along with about 10 others, would be showcased on the main page of Flickr and also on Yahoo pages. This was the jackpot. I remember actually jumping with joy when one of my photos hit the Front Page. This was Flickr box office. Over a period of about 15 months my images would with regularity hit Explore and every few weeks or so one of them would be picked up for Front Page. I was addicted. I was posting every day. This meant I was shooting every day. Shooting with my first DSLR – a Nikon D40 – a great little camera. I was also consuming large volumes of photography and learning at an accelerated pace in a great community atmosphere.

Flickr Front Page

Flickr Front Page

Then an Explore ban came in. I was blacklisted and no matter what I did or how good my images were I could not make Explore. This was tough. I loved Explore. It also made me laugh when others would say they didn’t care about Explore – bit like those who say they don’t care about Instagram numbers – we all do! But this ban resulted in me becoming more serious about photography. I stopped trying to get images that might be to the style of Explore and began to shoot the things that interested me. I had been shooting a lot of blur – but very little of it hit Explore. Appears the interestingness algorithm did not dig the blur. But I did and with the freedom of not trying to chase Explore hits I began to throw myself fully in that direction. Had I continued to make Explore maybe I would not have made shots like this.

Blur

Or this:

Tokyo 2012

Or this:

Drudgery (Tokyo, 2012)

You might think that my interest in Flickr would have waned with an Explore ban but the opposite happened. I created Flickr groups: Superosity, The Superness of Superosity and my favourite Blur Will Save the World (BWSTW). To this day I keep them active. BWSTW is my favourite. There are some really quality images on there. Go check it out.

In 2011 I set up my first Instagram account and with it started another Flickr account. I did things a little differently. For me, Instagram was a camera app, a way to post images shot with my iPhone onto Flickr. I loved it. In 2012, we went on a family trip to Asia. We had this planned for a long time, but the thing with plans is that life gets in the way. My brother fell ill and had to have surgery while we were away. I felt terrible. So far away when he was in hospital. The way I kept in touch was by shooting images on the phone and sending them back home to him. It allowed us to stay in contact. Not knowing it I was on the start of an amazing, life-changing journey with the iPhone.

Vietnam: 2012

When I got home to Ireland I had hundreds of images shot on the iPhone. I was hooked. I had loved how I could capture moments on the street with the iPhone that would have been hard with the bulky DSLR.

Tokyo, 2012

I began to post iPhone shots on a daily basis. I began to shoot much much more with the iPhone. All this practice meant one thing – improvement. I was actively looking for photographs. I was thinking and seeing photographically and I was pushing the limits of the iPhone and creating imagery similar to what I was doing on the DSLR and all the while it was on Flickr where I was sharing them.

The last note heard

With the DSLR I was on a path with my bokeh heads series. Again sharing it on Flickr was so important. The reaction from friends was very inspiring to continue with this project; a project yet unfinished.

The Weight of Other People

Then in 2014 a Flickr post changed everything. I posted this image used a hashtag – iPhone 6 – and to my complete amazement it ended up on billboards all around the world as part of Apple’s Shot on iPhone 6 campaign. Again, all from Flickr.

God will send a sign. When he does, be prepared.

In reality, while this was my true Flickr moment, it probably caused me to stop posting so much on there. Gradually, my daily posts lost their regularity. Following the herd, I began to post more on Instagram. When I did return and post to Flickr I noticed a drop off in engagement. There was a period when they kept trying to redesign the platform. At one point I was thrown onto a beta test version and it was hell.

So, back to my lead in question: Has Flickr passed its best before date? Definitely for me. Over the past two years I have gone from a situation where I would regularly post daily to my two accounts to now probably posting a handful of shots in the year. Why? Because the interaction stopped when it copied Instagram and allowed people to view a thumbnail of an image and click fave on it. This had the immediate impact that people stopped opening up images and engaging with them. I still try to get on to see the shots of friends and if I post I will spend time reviewing, faving and commenting on their photos. But it has lost its charm. Instagram was a mammoth it was not prepared for. Flickr was slow to react and reacted poorly. It has been left behind.

Can it return to its glory days? Not a hope. The world has moved on. But what it can return to is its community environment. I feel people are disenchanted with the format of Instagram. There is not a community aspect. It is solely about the numbers. It is a commercial platform all about viewing; sharing. Flickr can be about sharing. can be about the love of photography. It just needs someone with vision and passion to reinvent it, not try to copy Instagram.

With that, I am going to stay loyal and head over now and post a couple of shots. See you on Flickr!

Hong Kong (Fuji x100T)

Bali

 

 

 

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Delhi

Objective for January is to create a gallery of photographs on my website for India. I have been so lazy in getting this done (apologies to those who have been asking me to put one up).

It seems so long ago that we were in India. When I see the photographs and see the light and sunshine in so many images, it looks so distant to me, viewing them now in winter.

These two photographs were both shot in Delhi within the first hour of being there. I don’t think I had ever travelled somewhere with so many imagined images of what I might see. But as soon as we stepped out of the air-conditioned airport into the heat of the Delhi night, I knew one thing was not exaggerated: How hot India is. I felt the legs of my trousers cling to me as I began to sweat. Pulling my suitcase along we crossed this little road. I stopped in the centre and with one hand on my suitcase and the other on the iPhone; I snapped.

Delhi Airport (iPhone 6s)

Into the Delhi night in our air-conditioned car we went with our driver Manpreet. I sat in the back of the car. My friend sat in the front. This was to become the norm as the trip went on. About twenty minutes on we were stopped in traffic and this rickshaw pulled up behind us.

Delhi, June, 2016 (Nikon D7000)

Also posted in Brendan Ó Sé. Brendan Ó Sé photography, iPhone, iPhone 6s, iPhone photography, Street Photography Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Workflow

How to work out a workflow for thousands images?

Yes, that is right, I have thousands and thousands of images all shot over the past 5 months in Singapore, Bangkok, Jakarta, Toyko, Cork, Dublin, Vienna, Bratislava, Hong Kong, Delhi, Leh, Varanasi, Mumbai, Seoul, Daegu, Geochang, Shanghai and Jeju island.

Thousands of images shot on four different cameras: mainly iPhone, then Fuji X100t, Nikon D7000, and then some on a Sony Xperia Z5.

Where to begin?

Tokyo

I have series in mind, sure. Have begun on some of them already. But the main problem I have is storage. I back everything up numerous times: Google Photos, Flickr, MacBook, external harddrives. But the main devices I use are my iMac and iPhone for storage and, more importantly, editing. And I am constantly getting notifications of Storage Almost Full.

What to do? It took the best part of three days to get all the images (and videos) off the devices and on to the iMac. Before doing this, I had to delete over 100 gigs of photos just to free up space. And I am still nearing capacity on a 1.2tb on the iMac.

The way I like to organise things is like this: I import all photos onto iPhoto. I like the way it creates events and I can give them titles. It is easy to find images from certain locations then.

Then I go through the selection process of choosing (non iPhone – all of those are done on the iPhone) images to edit. The ones I like, I drag over to Lightroom and do the editing there. From that there is another selection process for images to post to my various social media platforms.

This is the way I have worked for years, and there probably are better ways to organise it all, but people do what they are used to doing.

One of my favourite quotes is this:

“Reduce Everything You Want to Do to an Action You Can Do Right Now.” Jason Randal

And for me it is this blog post. This articulation of what I am feeling. It clears a little space – just like deleting gigs on the computer – and allows me to take the next little step.

My father gave me the best advice in life: Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Very often I feel I should have the answers myself; that I should be able to cope, and that perhaps asking for help or advice is an admission of failing. It is not.

My wife gives me the good advice.

I asked her. I said: I do not know where to start. I have too many images.

She said: What is your favourite place that you have been in the past five moths?

I said: Tokyo.

She said: Start there.

I am starting.

Imitation

Imitation

 

Also posted in Brendan Ó Sé. Brendan Ó Sé photography, iPhone 6s, iPhone photography, My own favourite photographs, Street Photography Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Two photographs

Getting to that time of year when I look back and choose my favourite photographs posted to Flickr over the past year. I began to do this last night and the thing I noticed was this year I posted far fewer images to my two Flickr accounts than 2015. Last year, between the two accounts I posted close on 700 photographs. This year between the two it will just be over 200. Over the next few weeks, I will be choosing an iPhone photograph and a non-iPhone photograph from each month of the year and writing a little background as to why I have chosen those images.

For today, I am posting two shots. One DSLR, taken in Vilnius – part of a little series of images. The curious thing about this is that I had not a title ready for it, but when I uploaded to Flickr, from some reason the title I gave it was the same as the Apple shot. No reason why and not even sure why. But you have to go with these things at times.

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God will send a sign. When he does, be prepared.

 

The iPhone image is from my trip to Porto back in June. I shot a lot from this scene. I like this particular one because of the bird in the scene. Hope you like it too.

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Porto

 

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Photographs

Spent three days up in Dublin last week shooting the Web Summit for Irish Tech News. You can check some of my shots from there – here, here and here. What a great event this was.  Such a pity that after 4 years that saw attendance grow from 400 people in 2011 to 42,000 in 2015 that it is now leaving Dublin. From next year and for three years it will be in Lisbon. Do hope it returns to these shores.

In a bit of a rush today, so here is a quick post. The first is a DSLR shot. I will let you imagine what is going on here for yourselves.

Web Summit 2015

Web Summit 2015

And this #shotoniPhone6 image is from Vilnius.

Vilnius

Vilnius

 

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Shooting with Fuji X100T

I’ve had the Fuji X100t for a number of months now and have shot several hundred images with the camera. The reasons I bought the camera were because I wanted to work with a fixed focal length and I wanted to have a light and compact camera. I know I could have put a prime lens on the Nikon D7000, but I really wanted to get something more street friendly.

Cork: February, 2015

Cork: February, 2015

Back in February, I wrote a blog post about my initial reaction to using the X100T and it received a lot of attention, much to my surprise. I even got abuse from some people for finding fault with the camera and writing about it. (Another person objected to my use of the word fuck, and accused me of trying to be cool by using it.) In writing this follow up piece, I read back over that review to see if my first reaction to this camera had changed over time.

Here is what I wrote about what I liked about the camera in February:

It is light! It looks cool. It fits in my pocket, a little uncomfortably, but it fits. I like that I can use the LCD screen to view an image as I am taking it (but that eats up the battery). If you want you can switch between the OVF and EVF, and there is even this little box that can appear on the bottom right hand corner which allows you see a zoomed-in-close detail of the image. The customisable function buttons are cool. You can operate the camera on silent mode which allows for better candid shots. The image quality straight out of the camera is impressive. Images are crisp and sharp. I like the fact it has a fixed lens and that there is no zoom. This forces me to compose with greater care and to zoom with my feet. This will make me a better photographer. The WiFi allows for remote control access, but I cannot, as yet, imagine a scenario to use that. Apparently, it is great in low light, but I have only been out twice with the camera, both in daylight, and I haven’t had the chance to check it out at night yet.

So, of the above what has changed?

Well, the camera has not gained weight. It is still light and does not attract much attention on the street in comparison to the bulky D7000. I no longer use the LCD to compose and shoot. The customisable function buttons are good, but nothing special, to be honest. Operating on silent mode is a nice feature and does lend itself to getting discreet candid moments on the street. The image quality is top class – no doubt about that. The fact it has no zoom is probably the thing I like most about it. It results me being much more deliberate about composition and framing. Has it made me a better photographer? Not for me to answer. The Wifi? Have never used it either to transfer images or for remote control access. Night shooting – ya, I did manage to get some good shots at night in places like Tokyo, but have not done much shooting in low light conditions as of yet.

Tokyo: April, 2015

Tokyo: April, 2015

Six months down the line and what would I add to the list of things I like about the Fuji X100T? You know nothing new immediately comes to mind: no unique or previously-unknown feature of the camera have I discovered. I still love the camera’s size and weight and that it can be used on silent, but the thing I have grown to love more than anything about the camera is that it has changed how I approach street photography. With the Nikon, I compensated a lot. Too far away, zoom in. The Fuji is like a little child whose hand you have to hold to ensure it moves with you. I would like to think I am composing with more care now; seeing the scene with a more sensitive eye. The funny thing is that from a shoot I seem to be achieving fewer keepers from the photos shot, but the ones I do keep I am happier with. Maybe, I am just becoming more selective.

The other thing which has changed in my shooting is my preference now to go fully manual. With the Nikon, I was aperture priority most of the time. A little lazy, I know, but the Nikon was good at making those pesky calculations that I avoided. Now, I am more considered and leave neither shutter or aperture to the camera. Shooting like this does make me think why I ever bothered to shoot any other way.

Another thing I have come to notice is that I am making fewer and fewer blur images. For some reason with the Fuji, I find it hard to defocus to any degree of pleasing aesthetics. The Nikon is still the camera for that. I just do not enjoy out of focus photography on the X100T. I love it on the Nikon and some of my ongoing projects can only be done on this camera.

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Porto: June, 2015

Looking back at the article, I see the things I initially did not like: battery life, the wifi, purple haze when shooting into direct sunlight, image review and the focus being slow. Well, the battery life is still awful. I got around this by buying three extra batteries, which allows me not to worry about the camera dying while out on the street. The only thing is that to charge the battery takes a few hours. Surely, the battery life and the time needed to charge it can be improved. I don’t use the Wifi and feel this is a gimmick I can do without possibly because I shoot much more with my iPhone than any other camera and I like keeping all my work separate. The purple haze have not noticed that so much. Not so pressed about instant image review. But the thing that still gets me about this camera more than anything else is that it is too slow. I have missed shots because of it. I don’t power the camera off between shots. I want it to be ready to respond quickly, but there have been so many times that I see something I want to shoot and the time taken to frame, focus and shoot means the moment is lost. The camera is too slow. Talking to one or two otherX100T users, I am glad to learn I am not the only one experiencing this. The Nikon is much faster and coming from that, from a situation where I would not miss shots to this is frustrating.

 

The reason I came to write this post this morning is that I was looking at a series of images I shot last week in Dublin and realised that these were shots I would probably not have gotten before when I was using the Nikon D7000. The reason probably being the ability to zoom. I was walking along a busy Dublin street with the sun to my back, meaning the light was on the people in front of me. Just how I like it. I was attracted to this gentleman standing on the steps of a bank waiting for his bus to come. His beard, clothes and stance all caught my eye. I pulled up as close as I could get and began to frame. Before I would have been distracted by those passing in front of me and probably would have waited to get a clean shot of him. Not now. Now I want that activity in my photos and not having a zoom meant that I could not avoid it either.

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Dublin: August, 2015

I got a few frames and then braved it out and got in front of the character and shot two more shots. One with eye contact and another, a split second later, without.

Dublin: August, 2015

Dublin: August, 2015

Dublin: August, 2015

Dublin: August, 2015

So, six months in with a new camera where do I stand on it now? I like what I wrote back in February:

Overall, I do not like the camera. It is very different to the Nikon and I am a creature of habit. I want my old camera back! But, and this is the thing, all of this is good, it will make me learn. It will make me see the world in a different way when I am out shooting. It will push me along in my evolution as a photographer and that is why I wanted it. Comfort zones are all fine and dandy, but I need to be challenged. I want to experience the frustration of not getting the camera to do what I want; it will make it all the sweeter when I get it right. This camera will drive me crazy, I know that. But I also know I will grow to love it and that it will be with me on many great adventures to come.

It is true. I bought the Fuji to learn and to improve as a photographer and I believe I am on the way and you know what – I am enjoying it. It is challenging and frustrating – just like I wanted it to be. When I am heading off for a few days somewhere or out on a photo walk the camera I leave at home is the Nikon. The Fuji X100T comes with me. It can, and does, drive me crazy, but slowly but surely I am growing to love it.

Kiss the (Fuji) future!

Tokyo: April, 2015

Tokyo: April, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

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Rehearsing for a date

Giving photographs titles is a bit like what Bob Dylan said about songwriting: If it rhymes, it rhymes, if it don’t, it don’t. If it comes, it comes, if it won’t, it won’t. Sometimes, I just look at the image and the title comes so easily; other times I just have to title the shot with the location it was taken in because no title comes and it is better to have none than a title that will make me cringe later on.

Today, I posted a pair of images to Flickr with the title ‘rehearsing for a date’. I have many little photographic projects on the go and this is one of them. These images show people on their own in places commonly popular for dating couples. Sometimes, titles can add to images, but very often the old adage addition is dilution is true. Hope it is not the case here.

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Rehearsing for a date (Porto)

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Rehearsing for a date (Tokyo)

 

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April 17 2015

A quick post today. Need to find time to document all that has happened in the past week. Am truly honoured to have won the Mira Mobile Photography prize. Click through to see details.

Posting two shots today from Tokyo. One taken in Shibuya and one in Akihabara. This one taken in Shibuya was shot through a transparent 500 yen umbrella. The four days I was in Tokyo I constant rain for three of them. It does allow for beautiful colour reflections.

Shibuya, Tokyo

Shibuya, Tokyo

The iPhone shot comes from Akihabara – also known as Electric town as it is full of electronic shops which attract huge numbers of tourists. I saw this bus approach with a wonderful, circular window at the rear of the bus which framed this elegant lady reading a newspaper. I had to get a shot of it. I took my life into my own hands and hopped over the barrier and into the traffic. I had to get as close as possible to get a good shot. I think the poor woman was shocked to see this crazy foreigner approaching her. I got a few shots. In the end we shared a smile and a bow. The bus went on and I was stuck in between two lanes of traffic. All just to get that shot.

Tokyo

Tokyo

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April 15 2015

Things on my mind today:

1. Fuzziness – after a marathon journey  26-hour home from Tokyo, I am super jet-lagged.

2. I am behind in the work I need to do.

3. I have so many images to work through and so far it looks like I will be doing a lot of deleting.

4. That is normal.

5. First impressions in photography, should not be taken too seriously .

6. To be confirmed….

Here is an iPhone photograph of my photo on a billboard in Harajuku, Tokyo. It was a beautiful experience to see my image in different locations around Tokyo. Unbelievable to actually believe I have a photograph on display in Tokyo.

Harajuku, Japan

Harajuku, Japan

I got my Fuji X100t back from the repair shop. Well, actually a new one to replace the old one. I used it a lot in Tokyo and had fun. I should update my review some time soon. This one had me in a dilemma – black and white or colour. My jet-lagged head says colour. Might change to black and white upon readjustment.

Shibuya, Tokyo

Shibuya, Tokyo

News: I won the Mira Mobile Photography Prize. Super happy, as you can imagine. Thanks to all for the kind words and congratulations!

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April 6 2015

Today a dash of Ireland. The first image is from Ladies’ View in Killarney. A view made famous by Queen Victoria, and her ladies-in-waiting, who, by all accounts, loved the view. She was a regular visitor to Ireland during her reign. I was lucky while there that a foxy-headed, young lad was bobbing around while I was there and added to create an even more Irish scene.

A boy at ladies' view

A boy at ladies’ view

The wonderful thing about Irish villages is the colour and pride people take in their houses. Passing through Irish villages on a sunny day, you get to see beautifully painted houses with lovely flowers in all the windows. We love the sun in Ireland, but the sun….

Keep Walking, Sunshine!

Keep Walking, Sunshine!

 

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