Category is: Photography

Going Lo-fi


While I’ve been stressing over the details of going contractor my photography’s been quietly ticking over; I’ve done a couple of nights at Club Debbie and some crowds-eye shots at a couple of drag shows and conferences. I’ve found even half-assed conference shots have legs, probably down to the kind of people on Flickr.

I’d seen Dan Rubin give a great talk at MK GeekNight so I jumped at the chance to attend his workshop in cameraphone photography organised by Zoe Timmers, I even joined Instagram to better take advantage of it. I was pleased / surprised / intimidated how much good stuff is on there, showcasing the kind of eye I admire and aspire to.

Though I think I’ve gotten better at club shots I still suck at composition and portraits, and while I’m comfortable editing on the computer it’d be great to be better at setting up the shot: there were some nice photos of Italy but finding them in the 1000+ I’d taken was laborious.

The workshop was a really lovely day out; Dan and Zoe giving great tips on seeing the shot, looking for details in the everyday, what kind of editing is possible, which apps to use, and insights on the workings of Instagram, its community and hashtags. It was funny being the only non-iphone user in the group – slumming it with my humble Moto G – Dan giving periodic Android-specific asides just for my benefit.

It was great meeting everyone chatting over lunch and editing pics in VSCOcam, wandering around the beautiful Town Hall Hotel who kindly served as hosts and venue, and along the canal to Broadway Market in the sun. I’m so glad I went and I’ll be keeping an eye out it for future photowalks and such.

Follow me on Instagram, I might get the hang of it eventually!

Yahoo suck at UX.


I’ve been on Flickr since January 2005, way pre-Yahoo. Never been a power user, but I’ve been a paying member for most of that, after all even when the site was languishing without new features for years it still worked better than its contemporaries. The most awkward thing about it for much of that time was simply logging in; it was a fairly regular occurrence that I’d forget my UN/PW and just give up because getting a reminder/reset through was such a palaver, so it was a happy relief when they added one-click sign in a few years ago. I even made another account to celebrate!

So I’m pretty gutted when I check my Flickr today and find this:

Sure enough, my first (forced!) encounter with Yahoo UX is a sign-up form with a submit button that moves from under your mouse when you click it. It’s beyond ridiculous. Did nobody try this?


I’m so angry right now. Can someone just do a photo site well please? I’ve actually just joined Instagram to work on my sucky pre-camera composition, and twitter are upping the anti with multi-picture posts, but after all these years there’s still nowhere that does it right.

Social photo metrics


I’m totally sold on new Flickr but the still-old “stats” functionality is super weak. I assume they’re phasing it out as it’s only available if you have the discontinued “Pro” membership, which is sad as it’s rewarding to see the background noise of hits, especially when people stumble across the account and spend a while clicking through dozens of photos. Still, the fact that it effectively splits referrers into “Flickr” and “Dunno” is laughable. I’d love to know where else my pics are linked from!


That said, although Facebook’s “Insights” system looks far more sophisticated (and heavily monetised) there’s no data about where hits come from either, because everything comes from Facebook. I’ve checked out 500px but it seems to be built around a meritocracy algorithm that while great on paper ends up being gamed. As a USP it’s flawed.

For now I guess I’ll stick with Flickr, build my portfolio there, maybe put some pics in a few groups and see what happens. I just wish they did some fun stuff with data, they’ve got enough of it!

Parsing for fun


Creatively I’m an editor, a curator. I take things, move them around, tweak, reorder, refine, tell a story. In terms of photography I mostly document what’s there. I think I’m getting better at setting up the shot and playing with light, but as for telling people how to arrange themselves, forget it. Clueless! The real work begins once I get the pics back to my computer, but I’m starting to think I’m overdoing it slightly.

For every photo I have to work out if it’s any good:

  • Is the focus sharp?
  • Is there a clear object?
  • Could it be improved with a better crop, light balance or levels?
  • Is it shiny?

Then there’s the part it plays in the narrative:

  • Does it look busy?
  • Does it tell the story of the night?
  • Are there more smiling faces than glum faces?
  • Is there too much derpface?
  • Will it show a good mix of people?
  • Would it make a decent GIF?

Given I have four to seven hundred photos in a set, it’s a lot of questions, and it takes hours to whittle that down to the few dozen that I put up on Facebook and the handful of favourites I put on my Flickr.

Click to see GIFs and read the rest of the post

Normal service resumed

Bloggery Photography Recaps

As I’m all done with this site (i.e. everything remaining has been pushed to the nebulous land of “phase 2″) I should probably start blogging again. Not done it in months! So what’s new. Apart from this site, obviously. Isn’t it nice? Though I still think the pages need work…

I also got a shiny new Canon 700D with assorted peripherals which is kicking my photography learning curve back to “steep” and is slightly too heavy to dance with. The snaps are coming along nicely though! I even randomly teamed up with Andrej at work to take professional profile pics of the entire staff which was interesting on several levels.

In the world of web I attended a day-long workshop with Brad Frost on RWD which was almost too much awesome to handle, and then I went and bought tickets for dConstruct and Full Frontal in Brighton later this year, complete with a workshop on Javascript debugging because I’m some sort of crazy addict. I was supposed to be saving money this year. It’s not working out so well. That’s said I’ve not actually been away anywhere holiday-like as I’ve been so busy, but it’s been the hottest summer in years so I guess that’s ok.

Next up, giving talks at work on how to practically execute responsive sites, and getting creatives to make production-ready comps. Agency life, don’t you love it?

Coco the Cat


I’m dubious about posts where the pic has nothing to do with the prose, but I also have a lot of nice photos about which I have very little to say. I’m not sure how to resolve this. Does it even matter?

In the meantime here’s a cat called Coco.

This week I’ve been working in Grunt, Git and Less, on a mobile-first redesign of this blog based on the beeb’s approach. I’ve also edited a couple of night’s worth of photos and finished Bioshock Infinite (which barring one clanger is awesome). Today’s been learning about writing contextual JIT modular plugins at an Advanced jQuery workshop in Oxford, and tomorrow is the rest of the conference.

Exhausting stuff, it’s amazing how much you can get done when you’re not wasting all your time at work!

Fun nights, crap gifs


On Good Friday I was doing pictures for Push the Button at their Spice-Girl-themed Easter Special. I’d not papped anything since New Year’s and was so excited I overdid it a bit, taking almost a thousand pics. Downside = lot of work for myself, upside = some dubious gifs of Harry Clayton-Wright and Cola Phalquero on the RVT stage!

Click to see GIFs and read the rest of the post

Camera fail


Apart from half of these pics at Shake Yer Dix I’ve not done any club photography this year, so I was hoping to catch up with a bit of Songs of Praise tomorrow. Hopes dashed today when the on/off lever on my Panasonic G3 came on/off in my hand! Given I spent a hundred quid getting the assembly replaced less than a year ago I’m pretty unimpressed.

No pics for a week or two. I’ll get it repaired this time, but I’m not sure my next camera will be a Panasonic. Hard-wearing cameras do exist right?? TWITTERLINK KLAXON.

Shake yer Dix


Way back in September 2011 I took my new camera to the electro night Shake Yer Dix @ The Star and mucked around with rear curtain sync. Looking back the album seems pretty messy and basic, but the red-splashed snaps got an unexpectedly good reception with randoms across Facebook and it got me thinking. Along with Rob and Dom it’s basically the reason I started the danpaps thing in the first place.

Due to Facebook shenanigans the page gets one tenth the traffic it did back then, but still. I’m dusting off the camera and heading to Shake Yer Dix on Saturday to throw some shapes and some light. You should, like, totally come!