Picture Perfect

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I haven’t had much to say this week. but perhaps that’s because things are clicking along smoothly. My father-in-law has managed to stay out of the hospital for almost two months now, which is great, and work is humming along without much trouble also. I need to do exercises for my knee, but it appears there’s no serious injury there, which is good (and of course I’ve yet to start the exercises; I have read the instructions though, so that’s a start). I don’t have much to say here but I do want to share some photos I’ve worked on this week, so let’s get started and I’ll try to say a few things that are interesting.

First of all, the photo up top comes courtesy of Pixlr; they sent out a new batch of overlays to members with a lot of geometric/graphic things going on, so I took one of my makeup test shots from my last shoot and worked it over using their program. Not my usual style, but I do like the results, and I am continuing to get a feel for their layer masking so I can utilize it better.

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I’ve been quite pleased with how many good shots I got during last weekend’s shoot; I’m not sure what I did that generated so many interesting images, but there are a lot I’d like to edit eventually. Perhaps it’s just that I hadn’t done a full shoot in quite a while so it didn’t feel too repetitive, or something with the makeup or lighting that made things work.Whatever it was, I’m loving the results so far, and rather than allow myself to get bored after processing three or four I really want to commit to creating a full set of photos from this shoot. I always feel people will get bored after seeing two or three shots from the same set, but when I think about it, I know loads of people on Flickr who work on photos with the same theme for weeks at a time, and I never get bored of looking at them. In fact, I like the unity it creates, so I want to try that out for myself instead of moving on too quickly. We’ll see if I actually accomplish this or abandon it as soon as something new comes along. I still don’t have a ton of time for shoots right now, so something new might not come along in time to throw me off anyway. Moving on.

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This is one of my many “happy accident” shots. Something you may not know about me is that I am completely challenged kinesthetically; an instruction as simple as “raise your right hand” actually takes me several seconds to process (you should have seen me getting my knee x-rayed earlier this week, the poor lab tech finally just started grabbing me and placing every body part exactly where she wanted it to go, as if I were a mannequin). This is why you almost never see me in self-portraits where the camera is in any position other than dead-on; even turning the camera into vertical mode screws me up and half my shots end up cut off somehow. Well, in this shot, I’d actually raised the camera up higher than right at face-level, then aimed it down a little, just for something slightly different. And as usual when I try something like this, well, I could not get myself placed properly into the shot. It’s actually a little frustrating how difficult it is for me to figure out where to place myself (hard enough for me to do when the camera is in the usual position, believe it or not) but at this point I am used to my complete inability to navigate my body through space effectively, so I just settle for a lot of off-centered pictures and make the most of it. Even though the intention here was to get my entire face in the shot, I actually like how this turned out, so we’ll all just pretend like I intended it to be framed this way and move on.

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This was another makeup test shot; I always find a few I like to process, and I thought I looked very unlike myself in this one, which is why I decided to work with it. It was kinda boring though, so I added a wet plate filter using my Nik software and lots of light and texture to give it some interest. Looking at these shots reinforces for me, once again, how transformative false eyelashes are to a person’s face; I wish like hell they didn’t make me insane and I could wear them every day. But every time I decide to use them in photos, it’s a major ordeal. I decide to use them, open up a pair, steel myself for the application process, attempt to put one side on, screw it up, get the lashes stuck to my fingers, peel them off, re-apply glue, screw up the application again, then yank them off and throw them back into the box and stomp off angrily, refusing to ever even attempt false eyelashes again. Then 30 seconds later, come back and try the other eye, barely get it applied, spend a good minute mashing it into place and settling for however weird it looks and/or feels as long as it actually doesn’t fall off. Then do the same with the other eye. Then, realize how awesome they look and feel sad that there’s no way i could go through this hell on a daily basis (I’m lucky to make it in to work with my foundation and lipstick on; I apply a quick coat or two of mascara and some eyeliner once I get there). I do not know HOW Carol Brady wore these things every day while dealing with six kids. And I sure don’t have Alice around to help me.

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While we’re talking about the prep process for my shoots, I’ll share this part as well: without fail, every time I finally finishing applying all my makeup (false lashes or not), two things will happen almost immediately and simultaneously: my dogs will need to go outside to pee, and I will realize I am hungry. Eating is not something you want to do right after spending an hour putting on stage makeup, so I usually end up ignoring it (I don’t even like to drink anything while shooting no matter how thirsty I get, because lipstick). The dogs I can take care of, but depending on the weather standing outside in my newly-painted face isn’t all that great either. And last time, right after applying all this makeup, I took the dogs out as I always have to do and immediately stepped in a pile of Penny’s poop (she is weird, and sometimes chooses to poop in odd places we don’t expect, like the deck). So there I was all gussied up washing poo off of a shoe in the backyard…good times.

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Another thing that always, always seems to happen is whatever wig I’ve decided to wear for the shoot cannot be found, and I have to literally dump out every bucket full o’wigs I have in the house to find it – where it will always be at the very bottom of the last bin I dump on the floor. Every time this happens, I kick myself for not planning ahead and finding the wig sooner, when I am not already face-prepped for shooting, but every time I forget. It can actually turn into quite a crisis if I really start to feel like I won’t be able to find the wig and have already planned an entire shoot around it (this does happen; so many costume wigs come through my door that I often think I have wigs which I long ago sold or gave away). Bottom line is, after all my prep work and the stress that comes with it just by nature of me being, well, me, by the time I am actually fully costumed and ready to go I’ve already decided at least twice to blow the whole thing off because it’s too much trouble, and am almost ready to do so again. Plus, I’m hungry and can’t eat. In fact, I start almost every shoot from a place of frustration for all the things that have already gone wrong, and trepidation that I won’t actually get anything decent out of the set, in part because of all the things that have gone wrong. So, every shoot begins with a bad attitude and a general sense of being pissed off at the world. See, doesn’t it all sound like fun? This is why I choose to work alone.

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This picture was taken in November, but the sky is from January. There were no clouds on Airshow day, which is death to a plane photo, so I stole the sky from one of my IAH plane shots and Photoshopped it into this one. Voila! 

One other thing I’d like to mention regarding photography is this: I’ve definitely noticed a difference in how certain photos are received on different social media platforms. For example, on Flickr it’s my self portraits that get the biggest response, but when I upload that stuff to Twitter, no one much cares. However, if I post a plane photo I get a ton of love. I’ve gotten more re-tweets and new followers off one plane photo than I’ve ever gotten off any selfie over there; it does seem that loads of aviation geeks are hanging out on Twitter so perhaps it’s just a larger pool of people to access there than on Flickr. For whatever reason, it’s clear the Twitterverse prefers me to share plane photos, so I’ve been doing that and getting connected with a whole new group of people, and that’s kinda cool. I’m hoping maybe some of them can eventually give me tips on how to get shots from places other than the observation areas – something I’m not brave enough to try yet but will have to do soon; the  few observation areas I go to always create the same shots since I’m always standing in the same place (albeit with different planes). Anyway, it’s nice to know that all of my shots can get love from somewhere, even if it’s not always at the same place.

Loose Change

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I’m posting this photo again because, of all the plane shots I’ve processed and shared so far from my shoot last month, this one has gotten the most positive response anywhere I’ve shared it – Twitter mostly, where a simple hashtag (#unitedairlines, #airbusintheUS) can connect a photo to the proper audience almost immediately. United Airlines, IAH, Hobby Airport, Airbus, and Airbus US have all re-tweeted it and sent me compliments, as well as several aviation and photography lovers who have since become followers. I find that interesting because I really felt I’d over-processed this one; most of the planespotters I follow stick to accurate representations of the planes and don’t appear interested in adding effects or filters. But I really haven’t done much more than skim the surface of the entire culture, so perhaps I’m wrong about that. At any rate, I’ve been pleased with the response to this one and it encourages me to experiment more, especially since it’s the part of the photography process I enjoy most.

Most of the new experimentation comes courtesy of the Topaz photo processing software I purchased over Christmas break thanks to a review by my blogger friend Beth Byrnes; as I get to know the software better I branch out more and try new things, and it’s amazing how a simple purchase of the right product can so enhance and even alter a creative process. It’s true that even without cool tools one can create art, be it painting or photography or poetry, but man are all the cool tools helpful.

And so, as I edit the 300 or so costume portraits I took Saturday, I’ve begun to experiment with them as well. I have a pretty set style at this point when it comes to portraiture – I like clarity and realism but I also want to look as good as possible, and there are lots of tricks I’ve learned to make that happen. Controversial or no, I do use Photoshop to edit out my under-eye wrinkles and even up/smooth my skin tone; I’ve learned to use stage makeup to great effect and eliminate the need for some of that sort of processing, but at 45 years of age it’s still necessary for me to get the effect I want – I’m not pretending that this is how I really look anyway since I’m always in costume, so whatever. Moving on.

After wrinkle removing and skin smoothing, I pull up RadLab to brighten, add contrast, pop color, and add light to the subject, as well as occasionally mess with filters to change tone. I don’t like too much contrast in a portrait, but I do like clarity, and I always, always put as much light on the face as possible without blasting out the skin and losing color or facial features. All that light is great to conceal any makeup errors I might make; even though it doesn’t show in the final shots, my makeup skills are still mediocre. I can follow a YouTube tutorial and put all the colors in the right space, but my blending skills are sub-par, especially when it comes to contouring the nose and adding lip liner. I am also a disaster at applying false lashes, so whenever I do apply them they are usually done poorly and practically falling off the entire shoot. All of these things can be concealed with enough light on the face; I already aim a lot at me during the shoot because I’ve learned it’s best to get as much right in the original shot as possible, but I always end up adding more, more, more.

Some examples from my latest shoot:

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Brightening the whites of the eyes is always helpful, as well, and can be done using the dodge tool set to about 15% midtones. Really makes the eyes pop, or, if you’re into that sort of thing, it can make you look completely insane by making them too bright. Your call. My point in all of this (and I do have one) is that after processing these first two shots, I started playing around with the Topaz software more and experimenting with different approaches to editing them. This was not done intentionally, but came about as I clicked around in different filter programs just to see how each one changed the look of the photos. The first one to get a slightly different approach was this one:

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First of all, that fabric is a vintage dress I was wearing; I got the idea to yank the skirt up over my head and use it as a prop (it’s ideas like this that confirm my need to shoot only indoors and alone). And I was only using the Speedlite on my camera and no extra lighting for these shots; I’ve gotten to the point where I know how to manipulate that flash effectively enough so that the umbrella lights I used to always use are not needed as often. But, in some shots I got a bit too close to the flash and had just a bit too much light on my face; this photo was one of those. So, as I was processing I came across a filter that actually darkened my skin quite a bit and decided to go with it. I still think I came out a little orange, but it looks much better than it did when there was this bright white face staring out amidst all that vibrant fabric. It may not seem like such a big deal to anyone else, but believe me I agonized over that darkened skin tone; I knew it was the better choice but MAN it bugged the hell outta me. Moving on.

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I think the experiment here is obvious: to someone who is obsessive about clarity, working with an unfocused shot is a nightmare. But I loved the movement of the sleeves and the composition was pretty great with my face dead-on into the camera, so I decided to make a go of it and see what I could do. There are some fantastic Flickr photographers who work beautifully with blur (kokorage, who I learned of from the Pixlr blog, is probably one of the best) so I knew it could be done; I just wasn’t sure I could do it. With no real roadmap to follow, this literally took over four hours, and more filters and overlays than you could possibly imagine (I ended up using Pixlr for a lot of it, a program that hasn’t gotten a lot of love from me lately; mostly because of my fascination with Topaz, but also because my desktop  version crashes on occasion AND I still find the masking feature awkward to use). In the end I do like the result, but it was so hard to know when this one was finished, as opposed to my usual portraits where the stopping point is clear.

Now for this one, I really went to town:

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I went for something highly stylized, much like my plane photo at the top of this post. I envisioned a low-key look although I didn’t actually use any low-key filters to get that effect; I just wanted something cartoon-like to match the silliness of the expression. As I worked with it I kept thinking of print ads from the 1950’s – that overly-painted/colorized/watercolor effect they seemed to have. But it was HARD, y’all. First of all, none of my little tricks were available to me to help conceal my makeup flaws, so I had to use Photoshop to correct blending errors, something I’ve never had to do before and hope not to have to do again because it took forever. The blush on my left cheek? Totally edited; that side of my face showed very little color in comparison to the ride side which was nice and rosy, so I used a brush to add it – something that is much harder to do effectively than it sounds! And the wig had random flyaway hairs everywhere that I had to edit out; doing that was not too hard, but it left discolorations all over my skin that were enhanced once I began to add color rather than lightening it like I normally do – that took me ages to figure out how to do properly too. And then there was my nose. Remember how I said I am not the best at contouring noses? Well my contouring for this shoot was particularly bad; I had to lighten it in all my shots but it wasn’t a big deal; when making my skin darker and more colorful for this one, oh man was it hard to correct. But I eventually figured it all out, and I am pleased with the result, even though once again it was hard to know when it was finished and all the editing was done.

Since I love those comparison shots, let me show you the before of this one, so you can see how much work I had to do to get rid of all that wig hair and fix that terrible nose job (click to see it larger):

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I think you can tell in the before shot how much more blush was showing up on the right side than on the left, and in case I haven’t made the point clear enough let me repeat that getting rid of all that stray wig hair was really tricky. The editing left dark smudges on my forehead and neck, and it took some time to get the skin tone even as a result. And getting the shot to those exact colors took so many different filters I couldn’t recall them all if I tried, but I am obsessive about such details and will spend 20 minutes to choose an effect I end up reducing to 5% opacity, so that didn’t help. This is another one I spent about 4 hours getting right, so needless to say I only edited two that day.

I’ll close with the last one I’ve edited so far. I threw on a short wig and took some quick shots against a different backdrop towards the end of the shoot. I’ve taken to using up two walls in my office for backdrops instead of just one – the big blank wall holds a large, full-body backdrop, while against an adjacent wall I’ve stuck a shower curtain I bought years ago for just this purpose but that can only be used for portraits as it’s not very big. So for variety I wanted some shots against the other backdrop, but as often happens towards the end of a shoot my energy and creativity were low and I was anxious to upload the photos to my computer and start editing, so these shots weren’t all that thrilling. Still, there’s a few from this bit that I like, and this was one of them – nice close-up of the makeup I worked so hard on if nothing else (and yes, I did go through the torture of applying false lashes this time, even though they almost always make me cry and I end up with my real lashes all glued together):

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Continuing with the theme of editing photos differently, I obviously used a much softer effect here than I would normally do. The photo on its own and straight-up edited just wasn’t very interesting to me, so I played around with light leaks to give it some added appeal, even though it washed out the previously vibrant color quite a bit and the haze reduced the clarity. I still think it’s a decent shot, and the softness seemed to work OK, so I left it alone after adding the light leaks and called it a day (and in looking at this shot in particular, holy cow can I see the weight loss in my face. Losing ten pounds is no joke; even my head looks different and of course I’ve had to buy a bunch of new clothes. But I digress). Oh, and I love that wig – I believe it cost me a whopping $20 and it is awesome. Short wigs really are a great way to get short hair for a day, and overall they are much easier to deal with than long ones. But I digress again.

I’m finishing up Day 3 of my 5-day minibreak, with absolutely nothing to do on Monday, so I may take some Stitch Fix pics for my blog and some purse pics to share with friends on the Purse Forum where I am now a member (there’s no interest or hobby in which I indulge that I cannot find a message board somewhere to join. Trust me on this one). So who knows, a shopping post might be to follow, as well as loads more airplanes I have yet to edit! Suddenly I’ve gone from no photos to way too many.

Speaking of which, one of the things I’ve realized during this little break is that it’s not so much that I’ve grown tired of my portraits as it is that I’ve just not had time to do them properly. Every time I’ve had more than one day free on weekends since the start of the school year, though, I’ve gotten right back into the swing of things, so I think it’s mostly a time issue, and we can all rest easy that the selfies aren’t going anywhere anytime soon – they just get put on hold until I have some breathing room. One of the nice perks about being a teacher though (especially at a private school) is that time off is always worked into the schedule somewhere (except for the start of the school year, where there’s a pretty long stretch from August to November without any decent break). When I only get one day off on a regular weekend though (if I even get that), I don’t feel free enough to do a full shoot it seems. So this may be the last one I do until Spring Break next month, but with over 300 shots in the can that shouldn’t translate into a lack of portraits.

Enjoy your President’s Day!

Mmmmmmm

I’ve noticed an uptick recently in the number of new followers on Flickr I have to immediately block, and I’m wondering what’s up with it. In the past week or so it seems I’ve had to block at least one new follower a day; while blocking people is a fairly regular occurrence for me it certainly isn’t a daily thing, so I’m wondering what photo it is that’s drawing all the attention, and why. I rarely ever look at my Flickr stats and am too lazy to slog through all of that info to try and draw any real conclusion, so I’ll just offer my thoughts on the subject here without any hard data to back myself up. Feel free to come along as I do so.

In case you’re wondering, I block people from having access to my photos for a few different reasons. The first reason would be that the follower has no photostream. Sorry folks, but in my world you’ve got to pay to play – if you ain’t sharing anything, I ain’t letting you follow me. Look at it this way: I’m putting myself out there on the internet to be judged  by the world at large, and I want to interact with people who are doing the same. Otherwise, you’re getting all the benefit of my hard work without putting any work out yourself, which doesn’t work for me. Moving on. Another reason I will block a follower is if the photos on their photostream are non-artistic nudes or overly sexual pictures with no artistic value (we all know the difference). Reason #3 is if their favorites are chock full of non-artistic nudity and sexuality. I have no desire for a portrait of me taken to show off my 2.5 hours of meticulous makeup application and set construction to be sandwiched between cheap cell phone camera shots of naked chicks squatting in dirty bathtubs simply because I’m female and so are they – I know, call me crazy.

So the recent spate of followers I’ve had to block have fallen into at least one of the above three categories, with some being in more than one. But today’s block was rather interesting in that he took it a step further (all of the people I’ve had to block, by the way, have been male) and sent me an email. And oh, what an email it was:

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Thanks for all the effort you put into that title. And kudos for spelling “you’re” properly.

Now, because I am a nice person, I cropped the guy’s Flickr name out of that screenshot. I’ve already blocked him, so the comments he went around randomly posting on several of my photos have disappeared, unfortunately, or I would have screencapped them as well. Most of them went something like this:

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That was, in fact, one of the actual comments; I think you can imagine what the others were like based on this information. As you can also imagine, I have some thoughts about online behavior like this. Thought #1 is that it’s offensive, and a complete misinterpretation of my photographs to react this way. But hey – I do get it. I know what a lot of men get up to online, and I know that somehow they manage to find women (or men pretending to be women) to accommodate and even encourage this behavior. What I don’t get is why anyone would look at MY photos in particular and think I would be enthusiastic about receiving such attention. There is a total lack of ducklipped selfies on my stream, as well as cleavage shots or other genitalia, and  in general, my poses are not suggestive. I get that the mere fact I am female and online means, to some men, that I’m being suggestive, but the truth is I am not open to sexual banter simply by nature of my existence. And it seems to me there are plenty of women on Flickr (as it is a completely self-regulated site, which I like) willing to get so upclose and personal with their cell phone cameras I want to ask them Do you intend to talk into that phone later?, so you would think men wouldn’t have to go trolling for naughty talk with a middle-aged chick who wears wigs and jumps up and down. Perhaps this is further evidence of our society’s lack of critical thinking skills – it would seem any man should be able to skim my stream and draw a few logical conclusions about why I am on Flickr without me having to spell it out for them, but apparently not.

In fact, I do have it spelled out for them, on my profile page, where I state the three reasons people will automatically get blocked, but they don’t bother to read that information at all. So, totally willing to hit the ‘follow’ button and type up a few suggestive comments, yes, but willing to click the profile button and actually read a few sentences’ worth of information about the sexual object in question? NNNNNOPE.

Now, before I get inundated with emails from my male Flickr friends who comment, and compliment, on my photos, please don’t think I am talking to you. I am not talking about clever things men say that might make note of the fact that I am attractive, or even sexy; if I am wearing a purple wig, for example, and a man says something like “Purple Passion!” in response, that is perfectly fine (but, it helps if I already know you). Now, if a man said “Purple Penis-Eater,” instead, well then, we’d have a problem. Cute alliteration and a song reference to do not make up for a dick comment, sorry. So – if you have been commenting on my photos for some time and I’ve not blocked you or told you to knock it off, then trust me, you are fine.

But as far as these sexual attempts at commenting go, I just have to say, really – COME ON. I can’t help but laugh at how terrible most of it is. Are there actually women out there who are turned on by the fact that a man hit the M key seventeen times? Dudes, that’s not a compliment, it’s a consonant, and it just isn’t titillating. Although I guess I see the appeal of not being required to put out any greater level of effort to respond – I could have just said “rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr you’re a tiger,” hit send, and then…I don’t know really. Written a blog post about my awesome online sexual Flickr experience, I guess? It just doesn’t get me hot and bothered, in spite of the follower calling me “hot.” Although I was, in fact, bothered, so he accomplished part of his goal at least.

Go exploring!

The whole subject of the Explore feature on Flickr is a bit of a loaded one. Ask a question about how to get on the Explore page in the Discussion area and you’re likely to get a thousand of those “why do you care about getting on Explore you should just love taking photos” responses. Not to mention the fact that there is no set criteria for hitting Flickr’s Explore page and the whole process is supposedly a well-kept secret. Except that it isn’t, kind of.

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A link to the photos I’ve had on Explore since 2011. Some of them really suck, by the way – but I’ll explain that later.

I read up on Explore after being on Flickr for awhile and having one of my photos suddenly get a lot of comments from people who were not followers of mine. I found it odd that so many strangers were suddenly showing up, and then someone left a comment that said “Congrats on Explore!” and I had to go look the whole thing up on Google.

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My first Explored photo – this one landed at #39 out of 500, so not too shabby.

So what is Explore, first of all? To my very basic understanding of it, Explore is Flickr’s determination of the ‘most interesting’ photos uploaded each day – I believe the number of photos that hit Explore each day is 500, but don’t quote me on that. What determines a photo as ‘interesting’ is not some group of people checking out what’s being uploaded; it’s a constantly changing computer algorithm that assesses a photos’ activity – basically, if an uploaded photo gets a lot of chatter in the form of favorites and comments in a certain period of time, it’s chances of being considered ‘interesting’ by Flickr are upped. Once a photo hits Explore, it moves up in rank as it collects more views, likes, and comments. A photo can hit Explore and then drop off quickly if it doesn’t continue to get any love – I’ve had this happen a lot, too. 

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I guess you could call this my ‘most Explored’ shot – it reached #6.

There are some other standard bits of advice I’ve seen about getting photos on Explore: tag your photos well so they will be found by lots of people (I used to be good with this but have gotten progressively more lazy as time goes by), do NOT put your photo into too many groups (no more than 5 is the general rule, but honestly I can’t remember the last time I put a photo in any group; again, I’ve been lazy lately), avoid the groups that have rules about commenting on other people’s photos (I hate those groups anyway), and be an active Flickr member who comments and favorites other people’s photos regularly so they return the favor (got this one down).

Now, with random rules like this, and remember, with no actual PEOPLE checking out your photos, it’s inevitable that some of your crap photos are going to hit Explore also, and I have been no exception to this:

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There’s no way this should be called “interesting” – I was literally just showing off a new wig to friends here.

Here are a few more observations I’ve found about hitting Explore, that may or may not be truthful, accurate, and/or useful. For some reason, most of my photos that have made it to Explore have been ones I’ve uploaded right after midnight, Central Standard time.Even though I haven’t read anything else out there that states this is a factor, if I have a photo I’d like to see on Explore then I am sure to upload around then. For this one, which is one of my favorite photos, uploading at 12:01 AM Central time worked:

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Really wanted this one to get higher than #179, but again, out of 500 that isn’t bad.

Also, after the Explore bots find you once, they’ll hit you two or three more times in close succession. This has always been the case for me, and it’s another way I managed to get the above photo on the page – Explore had hit me twice recently so I knew the chances were good I could get that one to hit too.

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Another fairly uninteresting photo Explore deemed ‘interesting’ – it made the page a few days before I managed to get the previous shot to hit.

You also need your photos to be visible to everyone, and they need to have a ‘safe’ rating. Anything marked ‘restricted’ will not hit Explore, and I’m not sure about the ‘moderate’ setting. All my photos are very safe so I’ve never had to worry about this one.

After Explore has had its way with you a few times and you’re starting to feel like the two of you have a good thing going, it will abandon you without so much as a phone call. It sucks but it always happens. Explore is a fickle little bitch, and apparently the algorithm is always changing slightly to keep things, well, interesting. I might have 4 or 5 photos go Exploring in one month, then not have another one make the page for 6 months or more. And as I already mentioned, it’s not like it’s always my best shot, or even a good one, that makes the bot-cut. It’s pretty random stuff.

So essentially, there’s very little rhyme or reason to the whole thing. Follow some basic rules and eventually you will get lucky though. And by the way, if you want to know which of your photos have hit Explore, you can go here, type in your Flickr username, and the Scout will pull them all up, along with their current numeric status. Photos that hit Explore but fall off the top 500 at some point, however, will not show up. Give it a whirl – you never know, you might have already been featured on Explore and not even known about it. The first time I put my name in there, I was surprised at how many I found. But then I went back to the pics and looked at how many views they had and it made sense – they had loads more views than my average photos. 

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All of my photos that made it to Explore since I came online in 2011. Kinda fun. To check out yours, go here.

So there you go, my tips for hitting the Explore page on Flickr. Not that it really matters whether you hit Explore or not, because all you should be caring about anyway is taking good photos. Or something like that.