Alex Barnett blog


Why I love Flickr even more

<Forward: Some of you will need to forgive me, as I realize that if you enjoy photography and you already use Flickr, then this poast is very much a 'duh!' for you (there's a typo I've left in the last sentence, I think its cute, especially since the 'o' and the 'a' are on opposite sides of the keyboard...)..>

I recently bought a second-hand Nikon D70 and am having some great fun with it. It's the first 'proper' camera I've owned, and although I've always enjoyed taking pics, I've never been bothered to study the mechanics of photography, let alone had a camera that allows me to tinker around with the configurations so I can completely ruin a perfectly decent shot. The more I'm playing with it, the more I realize how much there is to learn.

One thing I've realized on this little journey so far, is how seriously cool Flickr is. I've used the service since 2004 and I've enjoyed the sharing of photos with friends, the ability to subscribe to friends' and contacts' pics and its utility as a photo storage service for my blogging. I've written and talked about how Flickr's 'openess' through its APIs use of RSS and tagging is a great example of Web 2.0nessness and all that, but I've just come to realized that I've missed more than half the point behind the success of Flickr.

I never really got the 'Groups' thing until this week. Sad, but true. And I'm loving it. There is a new depth to Flickr I'm discovering that seems simply amazing to me.

Here I am, now 'getting into' photography, trying to learn and experiment with the medium, and so I turn to the web. But the web seems like an awfully big place to try and find likeminded people - likeminded as in: I like photography and / or am getting into it and want to revel in it. I want to see lots of pics and lots of 'good' ones. And right under my nose is Flickr, where there are thousands - no, hundreds of thousands of people all playing around with their cameras, converging in clusters of passionate photographers arounds themes, things and topics of interest (including, of course, photography).

I'd like to be 'good' at photography. By that I mean I want to be able to create and develop images that are interesting for me and others to looks at, both from an informational perspective but also an aesthetic one too. I want to learn about how to get the best of out my camera. And how do you get 'good' at anything? To practice. But my problem has been what to practice? There are an infinite number of things I could practice, to the point of not knowing where to start. You know, meandering. And how can I practice with people and not feel I'm on this learning journey alone?

This is where the Flick groups come in. There are these groups, thousands of them (some of them are silly) but most that have 'themes'. Some of these theme groups do nothing but the same theme, always. Example is the 'split screen' group. You can only submit photos that contains a split screen - and horizontally only, preferably 50/50 split if you please (thanks to Tommy for finding this one for me). Other groups change their theme weekly or monthly. The theme for this week for the 'Weekly Theme' group is 'numbers' (it has over 2,000 members and some 11,000 pics). I love this idea, it gives me something to focus on, to experiment and hone in but with some purpose - a virtual photopgraphy assignment. Perfect.

Is there a point to this post? Maybe this: that sometimes the coolest stuff is right under your nose, you just need to see it.


John Piercy said:

Hey alex ... Im a flickr lover too and have been for a few years , I started off several yrs ago with a Point and Shoot and now own a DSLR .

I find Photography is a great way to relax and appreciate the world around us

Ive come to meet some people in my own home town

through organizing Flickr Meetups

Meetups are a greatway to share some tips and ideas on Photography with others

The Flickr Blog

Lets you know where meetups are happening in your area

Lots of great Flickr tools out there as well

this one is my Favourite

Looks like you picked one of the more popular cameras on Flickr

Anyways ,, have a great holiday season


# December 14, 2006 8:08 PM

alexbarnett said:

thanks John, cool checking them out now.

# December 14, 2006 8:34 PM

jspad said:

I know what you mean, I didn't really understand the power of social on flickr until I connected with a group, and that group  -- -- changed how I use flickr.

(I'm glad you kept poast. It's amusing to think of blog bits as warm, tasty little pieces of toast.)

# December 16, 2006 5:38 PM

Elizabeth Thomsen said:

I love Flickr groups, too.  Anyone can start one for any reason, and see if they can attract others.  Some focus on a particular subject matter or place, while others are organized around a more general theme or technique.  Some are really discussion or ratings oriented, while others serve mostly just to collect a pool of photographs with something in common.  Some tend to develop a real sense of community, while others tend to be more "hit and run" -- people join mainly to add a particular photograph, and don't visit again until they have another photograph that fits the group.

A year ago, I noticed that there were a lot of photographs of a sculpture in Reykjavik called Sólfar, so I started a group and posted a few comments on other people's photos asking them to join and add their pictures.  It's now a really interesting collection of over 100 photographs by over 60 photographers...I love seeing so many different angles and approaches to photographing the same object!  I see so many different photographic possibilities there that I never would have seen otherwise!

I have also started groups for particular places: the town and region where I live, and for Route 1, the old Maine-to-Florida highway with its disappearing roadside attractions.  And some others-- I have eight in all, and they took me about two minutes each to launch and minimal effort to maintain.

My favorite group, though, isn't one I started but one I just sort of stumbled into: Tenuous Links.  It's a sort of free association group...each picture must connect in some way with the previous one.  The connections can be visual or verbal puns, opposites or pretty much anything.  I can't explain why I enjoy this group so much, but I check it several times a day and feel like I know all the most active players just through looking at such a random assortment of their photographs!

Solfar: The Sun Voyager

US Highway 1: Maine to Florida

Tenuous Links

# December 31, 2006 4:13 PM

alexbarnett said:

Thanks jspad and Elizabeth - will check these out too.

# January 1, 2007 3:07 PM

Trika said:

I enjoy poast, too. It IS cute. One of the moast cute things I've seen.

# January 2, 2007 6:21 PM

"So, a booth babe and a geek walk in to a bar..." said:

I need some help to fancy up my blog, like from a blogging specialist technical consultant or a blog

# January 3, 2007 10:38 AM