Sunday, January 31, 2010

East Stairs



McCormick Mansion
Cantigny Park, Wheaton, Illinois
January 2010

COPYRIGHT 2010 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See JimFrazier.com for more information.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snowy Pine

Snowy Pine

Cantigny Park, Wheaton, Illinois
January 2010

COPYRIGHT 2010 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See JimFrazier.com for more information.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Flickr Tags (Keywords)

As promised yesterday, here is a list of the tag categories I use. Within each, I'll give you a sample of the tags that would fit into that category. As you can see, there are a lot. But the list is also comprehensive and it gives me a nice checklist to make sure I cover everything.

The entire list of all the tags, sorted by category is in a LONG Excel spreadsheet. If anyone has a burning desire to have it, I'd be happy to share. Just send an email to the address a the bottom of my personal page.



date (year and month)
equipment (brand and model)
events (meetings, photowalks, parades, festivals)
holidays (Christmas, St. Patrick's Day)
parties (celebration, marriage)
reenactment (civil war, renaissance fairs)
travel (road trips, vacations)
habitat - business (store, restaurant, office)
habitat - cities and towns (city, urban, suburban, street scene)
habitat - gardens (gardens, gardening, planters)
habitat - interior (rooms, offices, museums)
habitat - outdoors (beach, desert)
habitat - parks (park, preserve, national park)
habitat - roads (road, path, trail, right of way)
habitat - rural (farms, agriculture, country)
habitat - water (lake, harbor, ocean)
specific locations (cantigny, fermilab)
specific organizations (US Army, Starbucks)
political location (country, state, city, maybe county)
season (fall, winter)
post process software used (capture nx, paintshop pro)
action (talking, singing)
action - hobby (photography, birding, fishing)
action - performing (acting, singing, juggling)
action - sports (golf, football)
action - standing still (waiting, watching, thinking)
action - work (driver, guarding, soldier)
art - (architecture, scultures)
clothing (hat, tilley)
food and drink (food, drink)
bridges (footbridge, suspension)
buildings (church, stadium)
residential buildings (house, apartments)
buildings detail (windows, bricks)
stuff (furniture, toys)
equipment (computers, weapons, apparatus)
transportation (cars, boats, planes)
railroads (locomotive, freight, diesel)
components (steel, metal, wood)
concept (music, symmetry)
concept - age (old, young, historic)
concept - bad (dangerous, evil)
concept - beauty and health (beautiful, vigorous)
concept - business (commercial, corporate, retail)
concept - emotions (happy, sad, joy)
concept - environmental conditions (cold, peaceful)
concept - medical (healthcare, dental)
concept - mood (mysterious, creepy)
concept - politics, government and military (hero, patriotism)
concept - science, technology and education (software, colleges)
concept - size and power (big, small, powerful)
concept - success of failure (anticipation, challenge)
concept - work and workmanship (workmanship, craft)
light (stormlight, flash, backlight)
my actions (birding, road trip, railfan)
animals (dogs, cats, horses)
earth (mountains, canyons, waterfalls)
flora (mushrooms, flowers, plants)
people - age (adults, teens, seniors)
people - genders (woman, man)
people - relationships (wife, husband, son)
people - roles (flickrer, photographer, traveler)
perspective (vanishing point, rear view)
picture format (square, panorama, video)
shapes (horizontal lines, circles)
surface (texture, shiny, peeling paint)
color (red, green, rust)
technique (time exposure, macro, telephoto)
manipulation (desaturated, composite)
time (sunset, magic hour)
type (portrait, abstract, landscape)
weather (cloudy, sunny, rain)

Well, THAT was exhausting. Here are a couple of links to some other sources of inspiration for tags and keywords.

http://www.istockphoto.com/popular.php

flickr's tags
http://us.fotolia.com/Categories/Representative
http://www.shutterstock.com/




Jim Frazier

COPYRIGHT 2010 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Getting More Views on Flickr Using Tags, Links, Titles and Descriptions

As of today, my photos and videos on Flickr have been viewed 2,005, 531 times. And the total views including photostream, sets and collections is sitting at 2, 470, 048. That's based on 5, 992 pictures (and a couple of videos) that have been posted.

Now that's gratifying number, but in the Flickrverse, it's not that big of a deal. Many folks on Flickr can claim much higher view counts than that, and there are probably more than a few individual pictures that have hit 2,000,000 views.

To what do I attribute this? Not any photographic talent that I have. My most viewed picture (70,000) is this one of a statue of Robert Wadlow, who has the sad distinction of being the tallest man who has ever lived. The only thing this picture has going for it is that it doesn't suck.

Robert Wadlow

Why does this one get so many views. Simple. Go out to Google and type in Robert Wadlow in the image search box. Here, I'll do it for you. Note that the picture comes up in the front page of the results. And it's the first one in color. I get anywhere from 100 to 300 hits a day, just on that picture.

Why does Google like this one?

1. I use the subject name in the title
2. I use Robert Wadlow a couple of times in the description, and I link to the Wikipedia article
3. And there are even mentions of Robert Wadlow in the tags.

So, if someone is searching for "Robert Wadlow," well, you get the drift.

If you want your pictures to get more views, long after they've past into the archives of your photostream, then using good titles, descriptions and tags is really important.

I've talked about groups before and I probably will again. Depending on the group, you may get a burst of views if it's a good picture. But once your picture slides off of the first page or two of the pool, you're unlikely to see much more activity.

But tags, titles and descriptions are forever. The search engines (including Flickr) don't really care when a picture was posted. The usual criteria is relevance. And all of the things I've done with the Robert Wadlow picture increase its relevance. This is search engine marketing 101 (which I've taught many years ago).

In this picture

Hearst Castle Swimming Pool

I used "Hearst Castle" in the title, description and tags. There's a link in the description. A fair chunk of the 10,000 views I've had on this picture come from people looking for pictures of, you guessed it, Hearst Castle.

There are also a fair amount of views for "nice house in California" and you'll notice there are a couple of tags for houses and California. I can just see the realtor putting their head in their hands when the prospective buyer shows them a picture of the pool and says, "I want something like that."

For this picture

The World's Best Chocolate Cake

I have gotten a lot of views (9,000) for "best chocolate cake" or some variation. And the title of the picture is...."The World's Best Chocolate Cake." And those words pop up in the description and the tags as well.

Are you noticing a pattern?

1. Proper names: If the subject has a proper name, then use it in the title, subject and tags. Ditto for locations like "Hearst Castle."

2. Use generic words like "cake" in the same places: title, description and tags.

3. Put links in the descriptions whenever appropriate. That raises your relevance with the search engines too.

4. Put in the political locations. Every one of my pictures has the city and state in the description and the tags. Whenever I get an inquiry to purchase one of my pictures, it's clear that they used the city as one of the search keywords.

Folks, you need to start writing. If you want people to see your pictures weeks after you've posted them, then you have to make your picture attractive to search engines. That means putting words in the title, description and tags. If it conflicts with your artistic vision, don't do it. But whenever you can, write stuff!

Personally, I write because most of my pictures are more documentary in nature, and therefore I try to provide additional material through the titles, descriptions and links. And I use tags not only because of search engines, but also because I use Flickr as my personal index of my pictures. If I need a image of a piece of chocolate cake, Flickr will help me find one instantly.

So all that has worked out for me. I enjoy providing information and that dovetails nicely with the needs of the search engines. If writing more isn't going to work for you, then don't worry about it.

See tomorrow's post for an article specifically about the types of tags I use.



Jim Frazier

COPYRIGHT 2010 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Winter Cattails

Winter Cattails

Winter Cattails

Pratt's Wayne Woods Forest Preserve
www.dupageforest.com/Conservation/ForestPreserves/Pratt__...

Wayne, Illinois
December 2009

COPYRIGHT 2010 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Yeah, it's a squirrel. You got a problem with dat?



Everybody's posting a picture of one of these lawn rats so I figured I would too.
Cantigny Park, Wheaton, Illinois
January 2010

COPYRIGHT 2010 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Five Tips for Shooting Sports

From this video on Kelbytv.com

These came near the end, and I thought they were worthy tips to pass on to you:

1. Shoot at least at 1/1000th of a second in order to stop the action.

2. Turn off any vibration reduction system because these do introduce vibrations (intended to counteract the normal vibrations). But the system is unnecessary when you're shooting at 1000th of a second.

3. Shoot JPG so that you can take faster sequences of shots. RAW is going to not going to be so fast. You want fast.

4. Shoot in aperture priority mode so that you can keep the f/stop wide open. This will keep your subject sharp and isolated by throwing the background out of focus.

5. Shoot from a low perspective. It's an unusual point of view and the players will look bigger.

Frankly, these aren't just tips for shooting sports. They all apply to other types of photography at various times.

Jim Frazier

COPYRIGHT 2010 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

It's Bubble Wrap's 50th Anniversary!!

Bubblewrap

I took this picture a while back for a presentation on packaging materials. But when I heard that this was the 50th anniversary, I had to do something to commemorate it. Here's the article from nj.com.

Jim Frazier

COPYRIGHT 2010 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

The Norway, Illinois Crash

The Norway Crash

Kate and I took a little road trip towards Starved Rock this afternoon
January 23, 2010

Here's another picture and more information
www.flickr.com/photos/jimfrazier/51955531/
There's even a group!
www.flickr.com/groups/1235239@N24/

Norway, Illinois along Route 71

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COPYRIGHT 2010 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Bremerton Ferry

The Bremerton Ferry

Kate and I spent a few days in Oregon and Washington in November-December 2009. See all of the pictures from this trip.

www.wsdot.wa.gov/

COPYRIGHT 2010 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Bright Objects in the Picture

Makin' some cocoa...

I was taking pictures at church the other day for an illustrated kitchen procedure manual. The camera, as usual, set the exposure automatically. And every one of the images was too dark.

Remember that your camera, when on automatic, will want to make the brightness of the entire photo end up at a nice average gray. So if there's a big white object in the frame, the camera will want to make the picture darker. If there's a big black object, it will want to make the picture lighter. Until everything comes out "average." Which is normally OK.

But if the brightness comes from something other than your subject, like white snow or bright sand, then the camera is being fooled into lowering the exposure, and therefore making your REAL subject too dark.

The general rule is to overexpose images of sand and snow by about a stop. But it's not just white granular stuff. This rule applies to any bright scene such as a kitchen with white walls, floors, shiny steel appliances, etc. Shiny appliances too? Yep, particularly when you're using a flash which just treats these objects as reflectors.

Even the shot above was a problem - white cup, light hands, white walls, etc. The big piece of black did help, but I still had to brighten this a little.

The common mistake, and mine as well, was the failure to remember that when you're using automatic exposure with bright objects in the frame, the system will misread that brightness and make the image darker in order to compensate - to that average gray.

In order to "uncompensate" I had to lighten each picture I took using software when I discovered my mistake later. Avoid having to do this in post-process.

Tip: look at your backgrounds - are they light? Are they dark? Are there any other items in the frame that are much different, in terms of lightness than your subject. If so, it's time to compensate and watch your histograms.


COPYRIGHT 2010 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Milkweed

Milkweed
Cantigny Park, Wheaton, Illinois
November 2009

Milkweed
Lake Ellyn
www.gepark.org/par_Lake_Ellyn.htm
Glen Ellyn, Illinois
October 2009

COPYRIGHT 2010 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information. You also can find Jim Frazier at his photoblog.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Galleries

I discovered a cool new thing on Flickr: galleries!

I know they've been around for a few months but I haven't figured out a need for them yet. Yesterday I did.

I'm about to do some portraits for the pianist at church - both for the church and for him as well. He apparently doesn't have any PR shots, so I offered to turn a quick head-and-shoulders shot for the church into a little more.

I also started to wonder about ideas. I turned to my favorite collection of photos - Flickr. First I searched on "piano" and "portrait" and found some interesting shots. Then I visited a couple of groups that focused on pianos or portraits.

As I was going through the pictures, I started bookmarking them. But then I realized that I wanted my subject to see them as well. That way he could have some input into the photographs, and it would get him more interested in the project. So I just started adding my favorite photos, as I saw them, to galleries. It's just a button at the top of the picture.

I created two galleries - Piano Portraits 1 and Piano Portraits 2 and sent him the links. I had to make two galleries since you're limited to 18 in each and I found twice that number before I got bored.

Now he has something to look at in anticipation of the session. I have have 36 different pictures that I can use to get ideas about posing and lighting. So if you're putting together pictures of others for any reason, the galleries can work for you.

Jim

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Some Links

A really nice blog from Joe McNally
http://www.joemcnally.com/blog/2010/01/07/long-and-winding-road-2/

Protect your gear by flying with a gun
Scary, but it just might work. Let me know if you try it.
http://www.petapixel.com/2010/01/15/protect-your-gear-by-flying-with-a-gun/

Types of Photography
If you've ever wanted to know the various types of photography, this list might be a start.
http://www.mediacollege.com/photography/types/

westfordcomp.com
This photographer buys old cameras with film still inside, processes the pictures and posts them. Very voyeuristic, but very cool.
http://www.westfordcomp.com/holga/index.html

Monday, January 18, 2010

Framing

I took these pictures from my hotel room in Pittsburgh last week, and they may provide a good example of "framing."

I composed this picture reasonably carefully, given that it was night, I was precariously perched on a hassock with three legs, and I was trying not to let my camera fall out of the open window. While the dome is not in a "rule of thirds" spot, the roads around the dome make a really nice frame.
The View from Room 1815 at the Pittsburgh Doubletree - Night

Also, note how the roads coming in from below add to the framing by drawing the eye into the picture.

Compare a similarly composed shot in the daytime where the roads still frame the subject, but there isn't the contrast that would make the "frame" show up.
The View from Room 1815 at the Pittsburgh Doubletree - Day

When you're composing your shot, look for framing devices that you can use.

Jim Frazier

Sunday, January 17, 2010

McDonald's


McDonald's, originally uploaded by Jim Frazier.

Lafayette, Indiana
For my www.jimfrazier.com/bigcities.htm project.

But I also have a story about this store.

Years ago, I was a rep for a software company and was driving back from an event in Indianapolis with my systems engineer (we'll call Rich) and a woman from the office, who we'll call Donna. It was getting to be time to eat and we pulled off of I65 at Lafayette. Both Rich and I made this trip weekly, and we both liked to stop at the various McDonald's along the way. We were connoisseurs.

Donna had no objection so we parked at this particular store.

As we were walking across the parking lot, Donna said, "You know, I've never been in a McDonald's before."

Rich and I stopped in our tracks. "What? You've raised two kids, and you're about to be a grandmother, and you've never set foot in one of these?"

"No, I've never taken them to McDonald's."

Donna was wealthy. She lived in Lake Forest (a very rich suburb in the northern suburbs of Chicago). She worked at our office mostly for something interesting to do. And we all loved her. She was classy, but she was one of the nicest and most caring people I know. So I can see how someone like her might not have had the need (or desire) to set foot in something as common as a McDonald's.

As we got to the counter, she had to actually INSPECT AND READ THE MENU! Who does that? The only reason I check is to see if the McRib is back. Then she said, "What's a Big Mac?"

Rich and I looked at each other and said, "Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onion on a sesame seed bun."

She bought a Big Mac. And she loved it.

True story.

---
Some pictures from my seminar swing last week from Indianapolis to Pittsburgh
January 2010

COPYRIGHT 2010 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Photos from the largest metro areas in the US

I wanted to say hello to W, but this guy said he was busy with the Chinese President or something.

Very much a work in progress, with some recent updating. I've been trying to fill in the blanks since I started the project a couple of years ago. I still have a bit of traveling to do.

The "tip" is the develop photographic projects - sort of "sub-hobbies." You can see some of mine in the left column.

Jim

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Doors, Stairs and Shadows


Doors, Stairs and Shadows, originally uploaded by Jim Frazier.

1890farmer invited WSCF to Kline Creek Farm on October 3, 2009.

West Chicago, Illinois

Here are all of my pictures from this meetup.

COPYRIGHT 2010 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

frazier-jim-091003c-nef90-025a-wb

Friday, January 8, 2010

Keeping an eye on suspicious characters

This watch-cat was making sure we weren't causing any trouble while we were looking for a vagrant Redwing in an alley in Olympia, Washington. We found it.
February 2005
---
From the archives to fill in spaces on my Pictures from the Largest Cities Project.

COPYRIGHT 2010 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Buying Guides

I just finished a brief search for some camera buying guides and came up with a couple of useful links for you.

CNET Digital Camera Buying Guide
There are quite a few that turn up in search results, but this one is current. And it's very comprehensive.

Digital Camera Shopping
from About.com. It's current and they also have a a second article on buying a camera plus a handy glossary.
DPReview Features Search
Once you've read the other buying guides, this one will help you find the camera that meets your needs. I've used it for real a couple of times now and it works.

Jim Frazier

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Peas of Ass


Peas of Ass, originally uploaded by Jim Frazier.

The Frazier Studio
Batavia, Illinois
December 30, 2009

Part of The Peas Project

COPYRIGHT 2009 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Sledding on Rotary Hill in Naperville, Illinois

Sledding on Rotary Hill

Seems Unfair (on Rotary Hill)

Sledding on Rotary Hill

Sledding on Rotary Hill

Sledding on Rotary Hill

Sledding on Rotary Hill

WSCF had a meetup along the Riverwalk on January 2, 2010.

Naperville, Illinois

Here are all of my pictures from this meetup.

COPYRIGHT 2010 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.