Friday, 11 May 2012

Week 19–An Obsession

This week, amazingly, I have become even more addicted to photography as a hobby.  I have discovered that Flickr (and the View 52 Group) are just gateway drugs to the addictive-as-crack-but-amazing-nonetheless Flickr Awards! I have spent almost every non-day-job-waking-minute playing Flickr Awards for the last week but I did manage to get out and take some photos this evening.  So this blog post won’t just be about a geeky website.

“So what exactly is Flickr Awards?” I can hear some of you saying.  Well, it is a deceptively simple premise – it is a website where you can enter your flickr hosted photos into small competitions against other photographers.  The beauty of the site is that each competition is limited to 6 photos, each from a different photographer, and once 6 photos have been entered the other users of the site who didn’t enter that competition vote for the best 2 photos.  Once the minimum number of votes have been received – which usually takes a few hours – a winner is announced and the winner (plus the photo in 2nd place) are awarded points.

The competitions are split into 60 different themes of common photographic topics such as “portrait”, “sunrise / sunset”, “children”, “reflections”, “macro” etc.  So you have plenty of choice of competitions to enter.  Once a theme has been filled with 6 competing photos a new competition in that theme is automatically started.  So it is possible, if like me, you have lots of photos of a particular theme to enter more than one competition at once.  At one stage on Saturday I had over 60 photos running in various competitions on the site,

As well as entering competitions on the site you also have to vote.  You vote for four reasons – firstly, people need to vote otherwise no competitions would end.  Secondly,you are initially only allowed to enter 10 competitions. To enter more you have to vote and for each competition you vote for you can then enter a photo in one competition.  As there are usually at least 30 competitions running at any one point it is pretty simple to build up enough credits to enter as many comps as you want.

The third reason for voting is that if you vote for the winning photos you get bonus points.  And the fourth and final reason is that voting is almost as addictive as entering comps as you get to see loads of fantastic photos and pick out your favourites.

All the points that you rack up go towards a monthly League Table.  Not that I am competitive or anything, but I am proud to say that at the time of writing I am in 8th place out of 226 competitors with 48 victories and 39 2nd places so I’ve done pretty well (especially as the table reflects points gained in the whole of May and I missed the first 5 days of May). 

However, earlier on this week I was as high as 5th, but I seem to have started a slow, but steady climb down the table.  The reason for this is simple.  When I first started I entered 6 years worth of my “greatest hits” from flickr – the best photos I have taken in the past 6 years – into all of the competitions.  These photos did pretty well and they won a fair share of competitions.  Problem is, you are only only allowed to enter a photo into one competition and now I have used up most of my best photos.

So now I win about 1 in 15 or 20 of the competitions I enter rather than the 1 in 4 I was winning at the start.  And there are a few people on the site who have an annoyingly large number of top-drawer photos on their flickr and seem to not run out of them, so they can keep winning more comps than me.

One thing I have learnt though is that I need to go out and take some more top-drawer photos that will give me the ammunition I need to keep my place in the top 10 for the rest of May.

To this end, I nipped outside into my garden this evening after work armed with my camera and extension tubes to try to find some bugs (and take some photos that could be entered in the macro section!).  And I found some suitable bugs in my compost bin.  The best was this blighter!

19-52 - A Bug's Life-2.jpg

In the photo he looks really mean and almost like he is saying “Grrrrr!!!” to me.  In reality he was less than the width of my little finger nail in size and wasn’t really that mean.  It was a real challenge to photograph him as well as he kept running away. And as I was using live view and manual focus this made the job even more difficult.  But I managed it in the end.  Hopefully this will be good enough to enter, and hopefully win, a macro contest on Flickr Awards!

But in the meantime, he becomes the week 19 photo of my 52 challenge and my entry into the View 52 Group this week.

Hopefully next week I will spend less time on my computer and more time out taking photos….After all it is the photo taking that I usually prefer doing!

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