Trying to Make Sense of Flickr

imageRecently, my daughter and I started a photo-of-the-day project to mark her 30th and my 60th year on the planet. We’ve been through this before; we did a photo360 project several years ago. Part of the goal this time was to reduce the stress level of the project. Faith is a photographer, and she tends to want pictures that are closer to perfect than I do. I sometimes plan a “creative” shot, but I’m perfectly willing to take a shot of the garage door after it closes when I realize that I forgot to get a picture that day. The weird thing is how the photos are received by the world (as indicated by Flickr).

Take the two pictures at the right. The top one was taken in Boston. I had seen these imageguys working the previous night, so I planned to take this shot as my PoD on Wednesday. I had a business dinner to go to, so I left early enough to get the picture. I waited for 15 minutes in the 27° night while they moved some equipment around and I took about 6 different shots before I got one I liked. I talked to the workers so I could even include a little bit of a story for the photo. The next morning, I realized that I was heading home and that I would be finishing the day working at home so it was unlikely that I was going to get a “photo opportunity.” I noticed the reflection of the Mini Moos in the hotel coffee cup and ‘snap’ I was done. At the time of my writing this, the Mini Moos are out-scoring the hole 3:1, despite having been uploaded over 30 hours later – 128 people have viewed the Mini Moos!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy whenever anybody looks at anything I upload to Flickr, but I have never been able to figure out what makes certain pictures more popular than others.

image

The most popular picture in my Flickr photostream is a somewhat random picture I took of a cable car while in San Francisco a few years ago. OK, I can understand that…sort of. Sort of because ‘Cable Car’ is probably a popular search term, but Flickr has so many pictures of cable cars that I can’t get the new version of the website to stop “fetching more photos” and most of those photos are better than mine.

The second most popular picture in my photostream is a picture I snapped (with my iPhone) of a construction site where a guy was welding. I took the picture because I like welding and I really like cranes. I did make the comment that “good welding sounds like bacon frying” so maybe that explains the high rate of views. Bacon always increases activity.

I’m not going to do a top-20 countdown here, but I was hoping to have five pictures in a row, so indulge me as I explain the next three. The third one shown is actually the 11th most popular photo in my photostream and it’s the one I worked at the hardest. It’s actually quite a bit darker on Flickr than it is here, but it’s also larger so I lightened it up a bit for viewing here. I stopped near Great River Park (as I often do) and I walked out onto the Bulkeley Bridge to get a picture of Hartford reflected in the Connecticut River. I have many of these pictures, including several that are lighter and, in my opinion better photos, but this is the one that is popular. The next picture is the one I understand the least – it’s my brother’s trash can. It’s pink, it’s a way of raising money for breast cancer research, but it’s a trash can none the less and the “set-up” involved me saying:

ooh, hang on a second, I need to get something for my photo-of-the-day

to my brother as we were pulling out of his driveway..

The final picture in the row is my favorite picture in my top-20. That’s our imagedaughter Faith. We were attending an airshow at a local Air National Guard base and as you can tell, it was raining. I really do like that picture but view it in contrast to the one at the right, which Faith took a few minutes later. To get her shot, she knelt down on the wet and somewhat oily tarmac and waited until her view was clear and everything was in order. I have a print of her picture hanging in my office directly across from my desk and I marvel at it every single day. It seems odd to me that more people have viewed my picture of her eating ice cream than her picture, but as I said, I really don’t understand Flickr.

In case you’re interested, here are the links to my photo-of-the-day and Faith’s photo-of-the-day project. She’s a little bit behind in posting, but remember, it’s a low-stress deal so that’s ok.

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