As mentioned in previous years, Flickr uses a mysterious algorithm to determine what constitute an “interesting” photo. No one seems to know what makes a photo interesting in the eyes of Flickr. My assumption is that it’s some combination of view count relative to a user’s normalized view count, some comment metrics, a dash of machine learning and magic dust.
At any rate, as we’ve done before, here are the 10 Most-Interesting photos taken this year by us as determined by Flickr.
When I was a little kid, my parents made sure that we went on adventures to see the world, or at least the world that they had the time and means to expose us to, which usually meant our home state of Texas. From our home in East Texas, we went to easy-to-reach places such as Dallas and Fort Worth, and more-distant locales, such as Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Big Bend and the Rio Grande Valley. One of the common denominators of these trips was my late father carrying around his Minolta SRT-101 SLR with the “kit” 50mm lens permanently attached.
I was always fascinated by this mechanical wonder…if you took off the lens and clicked the shutter button, you could see the shutter curtain pop open for a split second. Pushing the lever over to advance the film would reset the curtain for the next shot. Ingenious and incredibly interesting for a little nerdy kid who harbored fantasies of building robots and walking on the Moon.
(Side note: I’ve still never built a robot and my chances of ever visiting the Moon are zero)
The fact that this little metal box with a tube of glass on the front could capture memories was—and still is—amazing to me. I still have thousands of my father’s negatives, awaiting for a time when I can get around to digitizing them before they fade away. I relished every chance he’d allow me to click the shutter button and make another celluloid memory.
By the time high school rolled around, I decided to join the yearbook. The staff was shorthanded and I ended up as a photographer. Or, more-often-than-not, the photographer. I loved spending time in the darkroom, processing film and printing it in the dim glow of the red safelight.
I’d hoped to continue doing photography as a hobby after high school, into college, but the reality of the cost of film, let alone maintaining and stocking a darkroom, precluded that. I took a couple of photojournalism classes just to have some access to a darkroom, but outside of that, I rarely took photos.
Graduation came and went and I started my career as a software developer, always thinking that one day I’d get back into photography. But the cost was always a blocker. Then digital cameras came onto the scene. Pricey at first, with not-so-great quality, I kept waiting for them to get better, knowing that memory cards and hard drive storage would be a lot cheaper than film.
Finally, a bit over twelve years ago, the Canon 400D came out and was in my price range. I dove right in. And I loved it.
Going on adventures to take photos was almost eclipsed by the relaxation and zen brought on by editing the photos on my PC. I quickly maxed out my PC’s hard drive with RAW files…I’d go out on a Saturday morning and not return until late in the evening, my CF cards full and my batteries dead.
I loved taking photos, but what good is capturing images if no one gets to see them?
Since there were few avenues for sharing photos—Instagram wasn’t around yet and Flickr was just getting rolling—I decided to create a photoblog. Photoblogs were big at the time, precisely because a lot of people found themselves in the same situation as myself—lots of photos, no where to display to the world.
My goal at the time was to post a photo every day for as long as I could keep it up. Now, twelve years later, I’m still posting a new photo every day.
A lot has happened in that twelve years. I got married. Changed jobs a few times. Moved around the DFW area. Switched from Canon to Panasonic to Sony. But one thing has been consistent and has kept me sane—posting a new photo every single day for over 4300 days straight.
This year, to celebrate the twelfth year of 75CentralPhotography, I put together a barcode representation of every photo posted from August 12, 2007 until today.
Each vertical line on this image is a representation of each photo posted to the site, compressed to 1 pixel wide and stitched together via a .NET app I threw together.
I think it’s an interesting artwork on it’s own, but as a visual representation of what twelve years of daily photos looks like, it’s a great visualization of the effort and passion that I’ve put into photography for over a decade.
As for 75CentralPhotography, I don’t have plans to stop posting photos daily, so fingers-crossed that I’ll be able to continue for years-to-come.
Thank you for your support for the last twelve years…I appreciate every one of my followers, fans and visitors.
(If you’re interested, you can read more about my personal photographic history at a post I did several years ago. It’s somewhat out-of-date, as it doesn’t cover the years I spent in the Micro Four-Thirds ecosystem and my subsequent transition (still-ongoing) to Sony, but it’s still informative. Or at least I think it is).
*Once again, according to Flickr’s dubious and mysterious “Interestingness” algorithm.
As I’ve done in past years, I thought I’d share the 10 most-interesting photos from 2018 that I published on 75CentralPhotography.Com. To figure out what are the 10 candidates, we rely on Flickr’s “Interestingness” algorithm, which doesn’t actually seem to work very well, as I feel like I’ve published a lot of other photos that are more interesting than those chosen by Flickr. Oh well…here you go:
If you’re like me and share your photos online in any capacity, you’ve probably had at least a few stolen by unscrupulous people for use on their websites or for other promotional reasons. Usually, you’d deal with this by finding the violator and either sending an invoice or filing a DMCA takedown. Unfortunately, in my experience, invoices sent generally mean invoices ignored. Of course, you could always hire a lawyer to go after copyright thieves, but that usually takes upfront capital, which can mean a fair amount of money out-of-pocket with no guarantee of a reward. And running down copyright violators on your own can take a lot of energy and time.
Time and energy that I don’t have. Nor do a lot of people.
So, what do I do about copyright thieves?
I recently discovered Pixsy.Com, a service that searches the web for violations, lets you choose the ones worth pursuing via their service, and goes after these for resolution.
It’s pretty easy to use and doesn’t take a lot of time or effort. Once you’ve signed up, you can sync your Flickr, SmugMug, Instagram or other social accounts or upload a batch of photos.
They then periodically scan the web for uses of these photos and present potential matches in an easy-to-use interface for you to browse.
From here, you can reject false-positives, confirm if the use of a photo is okay or submit a case.
When you submit a case, you provide some background information on the image, such as when and where it was taken as well as when you first published it on the web, and Pixsy goes to work. They evaluate your submission for feasibility of pursuing based on whether or not they feel it will result in payment as well as if the amount of payment is worth the effort.
If the image is accepted into the resolution program, they contact the violator via email, presenting them with documentation of the violation as well as an invoice. If this is ignored, they eventually start calling the violator until they get resolution. If they don’t get a response from a thief, they will consult with their associated legal firms as to whether or not it’s worth filing suit.
If they get resolution, they keep 50% as their fee, which might seem high, but I think it worth it for me not to have to mess with.
And it’s been pretty worth it for me. In the few months I’ve been using their service, I’ve netted of $4000 in fees for only a few hours of my time. And while direct licensing of there photos would’ve made me more if the violators had actually bothered securing a license instead of offering their usual excuses (“my web guy did it” or “I found it on Google Image Search, so I thought it was free”), it’s more than I would’ve made had I tried to do this on my own (which would be $0 because I’m a) busy, b) lazy and c) don’t have a law firm with which to send scary letters on my behalf).
The one caveat I have, however, is that Pixsy only operates in certain countries. So they’ve been unable to hunt down Metallica’s thievery of one of my photos because the record label that actually published the CD with the violation is based in Greece, outside of their operating area. To resolve this, I am looking at other legal options.
So, if you’re a photographer who doesn’t have time or energy or money to pursue pirates on your own, I highly-recommend giving Pixsy a try.
Exciting news! We are participating in this year’s East Main Arts Festival in Arlington, Texas. We’ll be selling prints, magnets and photocards. Here’s a taste of what we’ll have available for purchase:
If you’re in the DFW area and are looking for something to do this Saturday, come by and see us!
It’s that time of year again where I take a look at how Flickr has ranked the photos I took this year and share the ten most-interesting according to their mysterious “Interestingness” algorithm.dds
Solitary at Sea
In the Ship’s Atrium
The Ghost Ship
Reflecting on the Skyscraper
The Barren Trees of Winter
Sailing Near the Rocky Shore
Evening at the Boardwalk
Boats on the Beach
As always, the misfortunate side-effect of ranking a year’s photos this way is that it’s entirely possible that I shot some photos this year that are better than these but have not yet posted them. I post a new photo every day on my photoblog at 75CentralPhotography.Com and invite and encourage you to check in periodically to see even more great photos. You can also view a Flickr album of my 250 Most-Interesting Photos of all time here. Stay tuned for an exciting 2018! And, of course, all of my photos are available to purchase on their respective photo pages at 75CentralPhotography.Com.
After an arduous 2016, full of misfortune both societal and personal, I’m gladly welcoming 2017. Over the weekend, I started thinking about how I can “up my photography game” during the coming 12 months. Here’s a short list I came up with.</p><p><strong>Shoot more</strong><br />This one seems obvious, but, at least in my case, it’s applicable. During 2016, I didn’t get out and take photos as often as I had in the past. Whereas in the past, I’d get up early on a weekend morning and head out on “photo drives” that would take me all over my part of the state, in 2016 I didn’t do this nearly enough. I’d make excuses like “it’s too cold” or “it’s too hot” or “it’s raining”, even though these things don’t matter as much as I’d make them out to matter. So, I’m promising myself that in 2017, I’ll get out and shoot more often, even if it is just throwing my trusty Lumix GM1 in my pocket with a 20mm prime and taking my dog, Winston, on a long walk around the neighborhood.</p><p><strong>Make Some Photography Friends</strong><br />I tend to be a “lone gunman” when shooting, as I imagine most photographers are. We don’t like other people slowing us down or getting in our way while we’re working. But sometimes, it’s good to be around like-minded people that are “into” photography. Professionally, networking is one of the best ways to find new business and learn new techniques or skills. Personally, it’s good to meet new people that you can “talk shop” with, especially if you’re constantly boring your significant other with photographic minutiae that they clearly aren’t that interested in. To remedy this, I’ve joined several active MeetUp.Com groups as well as local Facebook groups that regularly meet for photowalks and discussions. </p><p><strong>Hone My Post-Processing Technique</strong><br />I’m a die-hard Lightroom user. I’ve been using it since version one dropped and everything I shoot goes through it. That said, I know there’s still a lot of processing knowledge that I need to learn, both inside and outside of Lightroom. I’m working my way through online tutorials in Lightroom, Photoshop and, now, On1 Raw, the excellent new Raw processing application from On1.</p><p><strong>Expand My Business</strong><br />Like a lot of photographers, I live in the limbo called “semi-pro”. Photography isn’t my main source of income in that I do have a day job as a software architect. And while I love my software work, my passion is photography…it’s what makes me truly happy. So, in 2017, I’m going to make a concerted effort to expand the business side of my photography, focusing on licensing and fine-art prints.</p><p><strong>Have Fun</strong><br />This is a follow-on to the last resolution. While I have the luxury(?) of not relying on my photography as my main source of income, I do want to expand it as a source of income. But I need to make sure that as I do this, I’m not working so hard at it that it ceases to be fun to me and becomes the drudge of a second job.
As I’ve done at the end of the year in the past, here are the Top 10 “Most Interesting” Photos that I took (and posted) in 2016.
The Silos Under the Dark Sky
Blue, It Seems
Under the Yellow Sentinel
Under the Tall Pines
Into the Dark Sky
The misfortunate side-effect of ranking a year’s photos this way is that it’s entirely possible that I shot some photos this year that are better than these but have not yet posted them. I post a new photo every day on my photoblog at 75Central.Com and invite and encourage you to check in periodically to see even more great photos. You can also view a Flickr album of my 250 Most-Interesting Photos of all time here. Stay tuned for an exciting 2017!