Learning about photography for #3SkillsYEG

I’ve had a digital camera (many, actually) for as long as I can remember. You know those really old Casio digital cameras that produced super grainy, low resolution photos? Yep, had one. Today my primary camera is a Canon 6D, which is a full-frame DSLR. It produces incredible photos, technically speaking. But as any “intro to photography” book or course will tell you, it’s not the gear that produces great photos, it’s the photographer. The hardware has changed an incredible amount since the advent of digital photography, but the principles of taking better photos have changed much less. Like most people, I never really learned those principles. I picked some stuff up by watching other photographers of course, like my Dad whose work I really admire. But mostly my strategy has been “spray and pray”. Take lots of photos and hope for the best. I decided to change that for the “Creativity & Expression” theme during #3SkillsYEG.

Cloverdale Footbridge
Me taking a photo on the Cloverdale Bridge last summer

Obviously there are dozens and dozens of resources for learning more about photography through EPL. I decided to narrow it down to digital resources, and it wasn’t long before I stumbled across the amazing content available through Lynda.com. It’s truly amazing that Edmontonians have free access to this incredible resource with a free library card. I still can’t get over it, to be honest!

Photography is one of the top-level categories at Lynda.com so there’s definitely a lot of content to choose from. There are 643 courses and 28,488 video tutorials related to photography, to be exact.

“Whether you want to be a photographer or just love taking pictures, learn what you need with our in-depth courses in photography: how to shoot photos that tell a story, choose the right gear, create a photo book, and more. Get tips on photo editing, studio photography, and lighting, too.”

Here are the courses I completed:

I also skimmed through parts of a course on Lightroom, which I am using to edit and organize photos. Even with just those five courses, I learned a ton. I now have a good idea of how much I don’t know! I especially enjoyed the videos with Ben Long and was very happy to see that he has a weekly show on Lynda.com called The Practicing Photographer. I found his style very approachable and well-paced. At one point he shares that he used to get asked a lot what type of photos he likes to take – landscape, portraits, etc. He reflected on it and decided that he likes to photograph light. That really stuck with me.

Here are some of my favorite photos that I took while working through the videos:

Spring Snow
One of the first photos I took with my new 50mm prime lense

Peace Bridge
Always love the Peace Bridge in Calgary

Sunset Reflected Downtown
Experimented with stitching photos together here, using ICE

Morning Sunlight
I had Ben Long’s comment about shooting light in my head for this one

Victoria Promenade
An example of crouching down to get a better shot

Flying over the old Molson Brewery
Good timing, but also I like the color contrast

High Level Bridge
Another example of changing my perspective to get a different shot

I have started on my next course already, Foundations of Photograpy: Composition. After that, I’ll move on to the other videos in the Foundations of Photography series, including Black and White, Night and Low Light, and Flash.

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time you’ll know that I am a sucker for gadgets. So it was a little dangerous to dive further into a topic like photography where you can spend thousands of dollars on gear! I did pretty well though, and ended up only making a few purchases. The biggest was the Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM, my first prime lens and a great deal at just $170 or so. I also picked up a lens cleaning kit, and a few accessories from Peak Design to go with my messenger bag.

I have really enjoyed learning more about photography and working to improve my skills and I look forward to continuing it with the resources available through EPL! The #3SkillsYEG campaign is over for 2016 (I’m way behind on posting this) but that shouldn’t stop you from learning about something that interests you! If you need an excuse, remember that we’re a City of Learners!

A look at Instagram usage in Edmonton

In this post I’m going to share some data on how Edmontonians are using Instagram1. This data was collected using the Instagram API over the 30 days between June 9 and July 8. My aim in this post is not to try to quantify every Instagram photo posted in Edmonton, but rather to give you a flavor of what Instagram usage looks like in our city.

instagram photos by day

During the month in question, I tracked 90,679 total photos posted by 15,395 different users. The average number of photos posted per user was 6, while the median number was 3. Just 4 users posted more than 200 photos over the month, while 25 users posted 100 photos or more.


One of the things I was most interested in was filter usage. Which filters are the most popular? It turns out that 59% of all photos posted did not use a filter at all! Here’s the breakdown:

instagram photos by filter

The top five filters were: Amaro, Valencia, Mayfair, X-Pro II, and Lo-Fi.

Likes & Comments

I tracked the number of likes & comments posted on each photo for a short period of time only, so some may have accumulated more over the course of the month than I captured. A total of 15,825 photos or 17.5% received no likes, while just over 64,000 or 70.7% received no comments.

instagram photos by likes

The average number of likes a photo received was 13, and the average number of comments received was less than 1. One photo received more than 4,000 likes and one received more than 260 comments.


Here’s a tag cloud of all the tags used on the photos posted during the month:

instagram photo tags

Here are the top 25 tags used:

  1. yeg
  2. love
  3. edmonton
  4. summer
  5. cute
  6. instagood
  7. follow
  8. photooftheday
  9. followme
  10. beautiful
  11. selfie
  12. tagsforlikes
  13. tbt
  14. like4like
  15. girl
  16. happy
  17. smile
  18. picoftheday
  19. canada
  20. instadaily
  21. tflers
  22. food
  23. likeforlike
  24. amazing
  25. bestoftheday

Roughly 40,252 or 44% of the photos posted did not have any tags.


One of the interesting things about Instagram photos is that they are geotagged. That means I was able to see where in the city they were posted. A total of 349 neighbourhoods had at least one photo posted. Here are the top 25 neighbourhoods by number of photos posted:

  1. Downtown
  2. Oliver
  3. Strathcona
  4. University of Alberta
  5. Garneau
  6. Queen Alexandra
  7. Summerside
  8. Westmount
  9. Cumberland
  10. Queen Mary Park
  11. Boyle Street
  12. Ritchie
  13. Summerlea
  14. McCauley
  15. Central McDougall
  16. Edmonton Northlands
  17. Brintnell
  18. Rutherford
  19. River Valley Victoria
  20. Inglewood
  21. Alberta Avenue
  22. South Edmonton Common
  23. Silver Berry
  24. MacEwan
  25. Ormsby Place

Here’s a rough look at some of the data on a map:


The top 5 neighbourhoods accounted for 19.1% of all the photos posted.

Final Thoughts

I hope you found this look at Instagram usage in Edmonton useful! Remember, this is not meant to quantify usage, but rather is intended to give you a sense of the way Instagram is used throughout our city. Obviously it would be interesting to analyze what exactly is being posted on Instagram, but that kind of analysis is much more complicated.

Happy Instagramming!

  1. It would be more accurate to say this is a look at photos posted in Edmonton. To gather the data, I asked the Instagram API for photos posted within the limits of the City of Edmonton. While most of those were likely posted by residents, some would have been from tourists or other visitors. 

Some awesome recent photos of Edmonton

I love sharing photos of Edmonton on Edmonton Etcetera. There are so many great photographers in our city who regularly share their work online – check out their pages, you won’t be disappointed. Here are some of my favorites (including a few of my own) from the last few weeks!

228/365 by Ian McKenzie

Pyramids in the City
Pyramids in the City by RandallTT

July 18 - Sunrise
July 18 – Sunrise by Nelson Webb

Cariwest Parade 2011
Cariwest Parade 2011 at 4th St Promenade by mastermaq

Folk Fest Evening
Folk Fest Evening by Sean Gordon

After the Rain
After the Rain by RandallTT

MacEwan Planet
MacEwan Planet by KBauschardt

Everything but the Kitchen Sink...
Everything but the Kitchen Sink… by EdRoland

Old & New
Old & New by mastermaq

I can’t embed this one, but it is pretty awesome too.

Check out the Edmonton group on Flickr for more great photos!

Edmonton’s Blue Hour Man: Darren Kirby

Edmonton’s Flickr community isn’t as large or active as other online communities in the city, but with over 1000 members and 40,000 photos in the Edmonton group alone, it’s certainly nothing to sneeze at. I have been trying to highlight some of the most interesting photos at Edmonton Etcetera, and after a while I realized that there are a few photographers I consistently enjoy. The one that stood out most to me was Darren Kirby – he’s definitely got an eye for the shot, as they say! I am consistently drawn to his style, his subject matter (mostly buildings and infrastructure around the city), and the fact that he licenses his photos under Creative Commons. I had to meet him!

Thankfully, he agreed to meet me for coffee recently. To start, I had to ask Darren about his extremely popular AGA-Cattle photo. If you have spent any amount of time online in the last six months, chances are you have seen it:

Cattle and AGA

Darren told me that he had reviewed the route in advance, but didn’t exactly plan for the shot. “It just sort of worked out,” he told me. That photo was one of his most popular ones, and I think it’s easy to see why. It currently has nearly 800 views, 22 comments, and 11 favorites on Flickr.

Born in BC, Darren moved to Edmonton when he was quite young, and he’s gone back and forth ever since. “I love the outdoor ruggedness in BC,” he said, though he mostly grew up in Edmonton. At an early age Darren was interested in construction, in skyscrapers and other buildings, and it’s that interest that got him into photography. Darren was an active member of SkyscraperPage, a website that proclaims itself “the world’s finest resource for skyscraper and urbanism enthusiasts.” Indeed there’s a fairly active Edmonton community on the site. A couple of years ago someone posted an old construction photo of a building downtown, and it caught Darren’s eye. “I started thinking how neat it would be thirty years down the road to whip out some photos of the construction that is happening now.” That was the catalyst he needed to start taking photos around the city.


I was amazed to learn that Darren has only been wearing the photographer hat for a couple of years. “I jumped in head first, and found a passion.” His first proper camera was a Nikon D40, and today he mainly uses a Nikon D90. “I had always had a point-and-shoot but SkyscraperPage was the catalyst for me to purchase a DSLR and to start learning how to use it.” There were three main ways he learned: trial and error, self-learning using books and online resources, and shooting with other photographers. Darren told me he tries to get out for a good five hour walk at least once a week, and is a regular participant in local FlickrMeets (meetups for local photographers). He estimates he spends 10-20 hours a week at least, shooting and editing. “People probably think I do more processing than I actually do,” he told me. He adjusts levels and increases the contrast, but that’s it for most photos. As a fan of open source and an avid Linux user, Darren uses digiKam, Raw Therapee, and occasionally GIMP.

90² - Happy New Year

Though he has posted just over 4000 photos on Flickr (on his main account) Darren estimates he has close to 50,000 photos stored at home. “I only delete the really blurry ones,” he said. I mentioned my “shotgun” approach and Darren said he was like that too, but now is “a better judge of my own work.” His approach today is twofold: artistic and documentarian. Darren created the bulliver too account for constructions photos, and is the main way he documents the many construction projects happening around Edmonton.

Epcor 2010-11-03

One of the most interesting construction projects Darren has been photographing recently is the EPCOR Tower. Thanks to SkyscraperPage, Darren got connected with Qualico’s Ken Cantor, who invited him and few other photographers on a tour back in January. I asked Ken why he reached out to Darren. “Taking a Saturday morning to do the tour was a small investment that I was happy to make,” he told me, “besides, it gave me an opportunity to show off something I’ve been working on for a long time to someone who showed an interest in it.” Darren had already been photographing the building of course, just without the same level of access that the tour provided him. “Darren chose to share his work with others asking nothing back and I offered the tour on the same basis,” Ken told me. Darren was worried the tour was going to be cancelled because it was the same weekend as our record snowfall, but they went ahead anyway, and spent more than three hours taking photos. The only condition imposed on the photographers was that Qualico be allowed to use their photos internally as appropriate and externally with credit to the photographer. “At the end of the day, it is simply part of wanting to leave a city that has treated me well in a better condition than when I arrived here and it’s the personal, small things that are as important as the concrete big ones in making that happen,” Ken said.

Epcor Tour 2011-01-08

Some of Darren’s favorite local projects include the Edmonton Clinic, the Alberta Hotel, and the Walterdale Bridge. As for photographers, Darren is a fan of many, including Hugh, Chris, and Nelson. He credits learning from other photographers as one of the most important ways he has tried to become a better photographer, though he admitted it hasn’t always been easy. Darren is naturally somewhat shy. “Join a community, whether it is Flickr online or something else, to learn from likeminded individuals.”

Edmonton Clinic North 2011-03-06

Though Darren enjoys shooting buildings and urban settings, he has started dabbling in model shots as well. “It’s a whole other world, tough but very rewarding.” Without a doubt however, his favorite kind of shot is the blue hour. “A nice looking building, well lit, during blue hour – there’s nothing better than that,” he told me. I think his love for the shot shows:


365::288 - New Grub Street

Gibson Mural

365::338 - I Never Promised You a Rose Garden

The blue hour is of course that wonderful time after the sun has gone down but before the sky has turned black.

It struck me that Darren is doing Edmonton a huge service through his photography, capturing the way the city is transforming physically. “I think it’ll be a very useful, important thing down the road,” he agreed. I think it’s especially important that Darren licenses his photos using Creative Commons, something that was a very conscious decision. “I didn’t even think twice,” he said of his choice to use Creative Commons. I mentioned perhaps connecting with the City of Edmonton Archives to store the photos, and noting that it might be too soon, Darren said “my photos are there for the taking!” I think it’s great.

For Darren, photography is a hobby but “a very enjoyable one that has been really rewarding.” He counts himself lucky to be a photographer in the digital age. “It’s great to get instant feedback from so many sources.” I asked Darren to offer some advice to other up-and-coming photographers, and he said “just shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot!” Practice really does make perfect. He also said that it takes time, so don’t expect brilliant results right away.

Tops in Edmonton
Photo by Hugh Lee

I’m in awe of Darren’s work, and I’m so thankful that he is making it available for free online. Darren is certainly humble about it though. “I’m just a meat and potatoes kind of guy who loves taking pictures.”

You can check out Darren’s photos here and here, and you can follow him on Twitter.

An impressive collection of local stories: 30 Days of Edmonton

For the last month, I’ve been following along as Amanda Dunlop has profiled one local business each day on her blog. She called it 30 Days of Edmonton, and it is an impressive collection of local stories. Each entry contains a brief interview with the business owner and some wonderful photos, which is no surprise given that Amanda is the primary photographer behind Lightside Photography. I liked the series so much that I asked Amanda for an interview (over coffee at Credo, which she profiled on day 15).

Amanda Dunlop

Born and raised in Edmonton, Amanda’s story is similar to many others – it took leaving to see other parts of the world to truly appreciate what we have here in Edmonton. And as she learned more about the city, her appreciation grew. Amanda worked in the Edmonton Journal’s ad department for a time, but it wasn’t her passion. She has been a photographer for more than five years, and just last fall took the plunge and made it her full-time gig.

I asked Amanda where the idea for the blog series came from, and she said it all started with a conversation. Her friend and fellow photographer Matt Ramage was setting up his business in Saskatoon, and the two discussed ways for a new business to get noticed. The idea of photographing local businesses grew from there, and Amanda ran with it (Matt may do a Saskatoon version still). She realized that the series could be a “fun and casual” way to spread the word about local establishments, and to share why she chooses to shop local.

Though she started with a “cheat sheet” of canned questions, Amanda told me they quickly evolved as she realized that some worked and some didn’t, depending on the business. She had been to most of the places she profiled at least once before, but there were some new ones, and she always made a point of asking the business owners she talked to for their favorite places. Good thing too – Amanda started with just three businesses lined up!

Amanda had three questions that I was always eager to see the responses to. Here are a few examples.

Did you grow up in Edmonton, or are you a transplant? If so, what brought you here? What keeps you here?

I never had any intentions of staying…I don’t think most people who grow up here do. I was thinking of moving to Toronto and then this opportunity came up where I was working here and was able to purchase the business from the current owner. So I went for it and I’ve really grown to appreciate Edmonton a lot more. Traveling to other cities has also made me appreciate what Edmonton has.
– Jessica, Nokomis Clothing, Day 2

I consider Edmonton my home and we just wanted to come home. It’s got some pros and cons. It’s quiet and less pretentious than a lot of cities, yet the people are good and they tend to be a little more adventuresome and quite trendy. On the other hand it’s a little hard to get some nicer things here like fresh seafood and fresh produce, etc.
– Dennis, Chocolate Exquisite, Day 11

This street is Edmonton’s idea of what downtown revitalization should look like. The people are just so supportive as well and when people start talking you really see it in the amount of business that comes in.

– Geoff, Credo Coffee, Day 15

Why is it that people are so hesitant about shopping local? Why do you think Edmonton is so “Big Box” in general?

I think Canadians are sometimes unsure of who they are and they’re not as proud of local product as much as say someone from Italy. A lot of people just don’t know what amazing quality we have right here.
– Karen, C’est Sera, Day 12

I think it’s harder and it’s an unknown. When you walk into a mall all of the stores look pretty much the same. When you walk into a local independent you never know what it’s going to be like. I think it can be a little scary. So that can be a negative thing if you want the same thing all the time, but if you want variety small independents are what you want.
– Jessie, The Blue Pear, Day 14

The city has become a mall and big box dependent culture, partly due to the near collapse of downtown. It seems that once you’ve lost your downtown, you may have lost your city. Edmonton is also a car oriented city. Because of this people tend to not shop in their local communities. Independent shops are often an overlooked part of what makes a unique community.
– James, Stylus, Day 24

If you could see one thing change here what would it be?

What my husband and I have been trying to do is to go to a butcher and get our meat, and then go to a baker and get our bread, and so on. I’d just like to see a section of the city created where you can do that with a little more ease. I guess I would like to see it become a little more European and walkable.
– Rychelle, Red Ribbon, Day 9

I guess I am seeing the change with what has been happening downtown. We’re becoming more community oriented and less big box and you don’t have to drive as much. I guess I’d just like to see us move a little further towards what we see in Europe. I think people want to feel involved in their community and that’s what we need.
– Chad, deVine Wine and Spirits, Day 13

I’d like to see people complain less…it’s one thing that drives me crazy here. I would consider Edmonton in general to have one of the best standards of living in the country. It’s just unfortunate that many of the people who live here seem to be so unhappy with it. There’s just a disproportionate amount of people that just seem to be looking for something to complain about even when this is a really great city.
– Jay, Happy Harbor Comics, Day 20

Not every business answered every question, but I still think it’s fascinating that so many different small business owners in Edmonton had such similar answers to those three important questions. Most felt that Edmonton doesn’t get the credit it deserves, that shopping local is often overlooked even though it really makes communities unique, and quite a few cited transportation and becoming “more European” as key things they’d like to see change. I also really loved Jake’s answer on Day 6 about what he’d like to see change:

The drab colours…imagine if no one here was allowed to paint their house white or brown. Things would be so much more colourful here in the winter.

That’s an idea I could get behind! The “smartie pack” houses (as we called them) in Inuvik were unique and anything but boring.

I asked Amanda if there were any businesses she would have liked to have profiled but didn’t, and she said “definitely”. She quickly realized there were far more businesses than one could cover in just 30 days! Amanda said she wished she had been able to do a few more “boy stores” like pubs or a maybe even a paintball place.

Amanda Dunlop

Amanda told me she has “a newfound respect for reporters and writers” – she discovered the series was much more time consuming to produce than she had originally anticipated! She estimates she spent two to three hours on every post, and that was on top of her regular obligations, of course. It was rewarding however, and she’d like to continue it – but less intensively, perhaps one or two profiles per month.

I had a great conversation with Amanda, and was happy that the passion for local she shared on the blog came through in person too. She was wearing a top designed by Edmonton’s own Fridget Apparel, and admitted she was “devastated” by the news that Nokomis was closing. “If I was having a bad week I’d go to Nokomis and buy a dress,” she told me. Amanda’s other local favorites include Blue Plate Diner (which she profiled on day 27), and Red Ribbon (which she profiled on day 9). “We need the dynamic that local business brings to the community.”

The final entry in the series will be posted tomorrow. I encourage you to read through all of the profiles.

Well done Amanda, and thanks for the chat!

Recap: Edmonton Photography Tweetup 1

The first Photography Tweetup here in Edmonton was held tonight at Red Robin downtown, organized by @TonyRatcliffe and @bruceclarke – thanks guys! The idea was simple – an opportunity for any local Twitter users interested in photography to get together to meet one another, share tips and resources, etc. About 20 people showed up, a really great turnout!

Edmonton Photography Tweetup

We went around the table and did introductions, and then enjoyed lots of chatter over food and drinks. Near the end of the tweetup, @TonyRatcliffe led a discussion about what the group hoped to achieve and what future events should look like. Everyone was there to learn, basically!

The next Photography Tweetup will be on May 12th, at 6:30pm at Ezio Farone Park (roughly 109th Street and 97th Avenue, just before you head south over the High Level Bridge). Keep an eye on the wiki and the #yegphoto hashtag for more information.

I love events like this. There were people who came out tonight who haven’t been to any of the other tweetups, or to any of the other tech events for that matter (DemoCamp, Social Web Meetup, etc). It’s a great opportunity for them to get introduced to everything that is going on Edmonton, in tech and beyond.

With that in mind, check out Edmonton FlickrMeets, a group of local Flickr users. They too have regularly scheduled photography meetups for anyone interested!

I posted a few more photos and short video here.

Northern Voice 2009: Stewart Butterfield Keynote

The first keynote of the conference was from Stewart Butterfield, one of the co-founders of Flickr. I really liked his session, mostly because as he said “I don’t need to have a point right?” He started out by sharing his history on the Internet – starting with his schooling at UVic, usenet groups, etc. His first three handles were “ui503”, “sbutterf”, and “dsb26”. Stewart is only ten years older than I am, but that’s enough for many of his first experiences on the net to be unknown to me. Very interesting stuff.

Stewart Butterfield Keynote

Stewart repeated this phrase throughout his presentation: “This is who I am.” He said he didn’t want to talk about identity too much, but he started with that and made his way toward talking about community. Stewart says that community changes the phrase to: “This is who we are.”

Next, he moved on to Flickr and photography. Stewart identified three trends:

  1. Ubiquity of capture devices
  2. Spread of the network
  3. Change in perceptions and attitudes – participation is no longer weird

He said that the desire to participate is becoming widespread. I think I agree with him that one of the most interesting aspects of “Web 2.0” is the drive toward participation.

Stewart’s last point was that we’re in an era of “relationship-based computing”. I think that’s a good way to describe it.

He finished by saying he loves the Internet. Me too!

I think this was a great way to start the conference – entertaining, and not too much thinking required.


moosecamp2008 I’m not sure why, but I didn’t really get into the swing of things until this afternoon. Just wasn’t as enthused for MooseCamp as I have been in previous years. Maybe that’s because so much of it is repetitious. I mean, Kris Krug’s PhotoCamp sessions are always excellent, but they’re also always very similar. I’ve spent most of the afternoon in the Internet BootCamp. Despite being aimed at beginners, I don’t think the content has been all that introductory. It’s been interesting, for sure.

In the last session on liveblogging, someone mentioned that they found it odd that so many people are just snapping photos and uploading them without asking permission. Megan sympathizes, because she doesn’t like her photo being taken. I think that if you’re attending Northern Voice or any other tech conference, there’s an expectation that you’re going to get blogged, photographed, videotaped, streamed, Twittered, etc. If you are really uncomfortable with having your photo taken, you shouldn’t be here.

That might sound harsh, but that’s how I feel. I fully appreciate privacy and asking permission, but I think you implicitly give permission by attending. That expectation has been set.

Only a couple hours of MooseCamp left! The session we’re in now is called Traffic, Stats, SEO 101. Definitely one of my least favorite topics, but I didn’t want to give up the power outlet 😉

Is Facebook the king of photo sites?

Post ImageI use Flickr to host my photos and I love it. I haven’t had any problems with the site, and I’ve been a happily paying customer for a couple years now. There are tons of photo sharing sites available though, and it seems Flickr is far from being the clear winner, despite having lots of positive brand recognition.

In fact, I think Facebook is probably the largest photo sharing site on the web.

Here’s what I have been able to find:

Notice how for Photobucket I said “images” – that’s because they host a lot of icons, graphics, and other kinds of items that aren’t really photos. There are a bunch of other sites that fall into that category as well. Another site that probably should be on the list is Zooomr, but I couldn’t find any stats for them. I suspect they are somewhere between SmugMug and Flickr.

Clearly, based on the number of photos stored, Facebook is the winner. They have incredible growth too (over 60 million photos added per week) as outlined in yesterday’s post. Certainly just hosting the most photos doesn’t make one site better than another, but it is still pretty interesting to compare. SmugMug’s Don MacAskill is always talking about speed and performance, and for good reason – SmugMug is the clear winner in terms of load times. There are a lot of other metrics that could be used to compare sites.

The one disadvantage Facebook has (depending on how you look at it) is that all the photos are behind their walled garden. Otherwise, you could almost consider them a photo sharing site instead of a social networking site!

For me, the most interesting thing is the total number of photos across all these sites – over three billion ignoring Photobucket, just from the sites I listed. I find it unlikely that there are many duplicates (ie, most users don’t post photos to multiple sites), so the number is particularly astounding.

Just imagine what the first photographers back in the 1800s would think of this photo sharing craziness!

UPDATE: Turns out my estimate for Zooomr was horribly off the mark. Don points out in the comments that they have 1 million photos – and that getting to the million mark is a big deal (Thanks Don for the info). I think I guessed so high because of the many TechCrunch posts covering Zooomr! Oh well.

First attempts at HDR

Post ImageI think I have the HDR bug, if there is such a thing. Since discovering HDR photos on Flickr, I have been wanting to try my hand at the effect, as I think it looks really neat! If you don’t know, HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. Here’s an explanation from Wikipedia:

HDRI provides the opportunity to shoot a scene and have total control of the final imaging from the beginning to the end of the photography project. An example of this control is that it provides the possibility to re-expose. One can capture as wide a range of information as possible on-location and choose what is wanted later.

What I did was use the auto-bracketing feature on my Canon Digital Rebel to produce three shots – one over exposed, one normal, and one under exposed. I then followed a couple of the tutorials I found on Flickr and used Photomatix and Photoshop CS2 to produce the final images.

I am not entirely satisfied with the results, but I figure the two HDR photos I made (which you can see here) are a good first attempt. I found that images with the sun directly in them (you know where you get that glare?) do not work well. Also, you really should use a tripod or at least have the camera on something solid so it doesn’t move.

I’m determined to get good at this (as I just love the final result of some of the photos out there) so I’ll follow that common refrain – practice makes perfect! Practice and experimentation. If you have any tips, I’d love to hear them.

UPDATE: What I am striving for, is a photo as good as this one.

Read: HDR First Attempts