Father and son in the square

A father and his offspring walk about after the parade on St. Patrick’s Day in Cork this year. Normally this is a busy junction but it was closed off for a few hours to make way for the festivities.

Patrick’s Street can be seen in the background with the statue of Fr. Mathew rising into the air.

Feline eyes stare at me

I love cats. There’s nothing quite as relaxing as rubbing a cat’s soft fur while he basks in the heat of the sun. Some people hate cats however and I’m non-plussed. Perhaps it’s a primal instinct in them?

This is a friend’s cat as he was eating from a bowl. It’s my desktop picture!

Easy self portraits with the Quik Pod

This is interesting. One of the benefits of a really wide angle lens is that taking self portraits with my wife Jacinta is rather easy. One of the down sides of having the camera at arm’s length is the distortion of the lens isn’t the most flattering thing in the world.

Into the fray comes the Quik Pod. It’s an extendable pole you can put your camera on! I don’t imagine I could put my Canon 20D, Sigma 10-20 lens and perhaps the Canon 580EX on the end and lift the weight of it without capturing a cringing and straining face in any resulting image but if someone wants to send me one to try out I’d be more than happy to do a full review of it for you! (via Exposure)

Girls on the street

St. Patrick’s Day brought out a huge crowd onto the streets and here’s a group of girls we bumped into on Patrick’s Street.

We were on our way to a cafe for refreshment when I spotted a bicycle chained to a pole, but it had fallen down. As is my way I crouched down to get a shot of the wheel and the pole receding into the sky and when I got up this group of girls were looking at me. One asked what I was doing and of course I had to take their photo since they were enjoying themselves so much!

PS. Thank you Meg for linking to my blog at Cute Overload. Your blog must do some savage amount of traffic if referrers from your site are anything to go by. I did as much traffic here yesterday as I’d normally do on ocaoimh.ie!
PPS. Greetings to Zefrank too. I agree, check out the show, although can there be anyone left who hasn’t seen Ze Frank at least once?

I like these. Claire went exploring an old house: part 1, part 2.

I like these too – Donal’s Stomp photos are particularly good especially as they were taken at a live performance and in a darkened theatre! Very good!

11 SEO tips for your photoblog

Richard Hearne offered some great tips for making Irish photoblog mcawilliams.com more visible on the search engines and they’re very good general search engine optimization tips that can be applied to any website.

He has grouped his tips into the following categories:

  1. Site Architecture
  2. On-Page Optimisation
  3. Off-site Optimisation

Richard’s post is well worth reading, even if you don’t have a photoblog. I know I learned a thing or two that are already paying off!

I have a few more tips to add to those above. Most of them are geared towards the photo blog community rather than general blogging sites, but read on even if you’re not running a photoblog!

  1. Join Photoblogs.org before you do anything else. It’s the center of the photoblog universe and it’s worth participating in the community there.
  2. Join VFXY and Cool photoblogs. VFXY displays thumbnails of their member’s blogs which is great for driving traffic. Coolphotoblogs is a photoblog directory. I’m a member of the former, but something went wrong with my application to the latter and I haven’t bothered figuring it out yet.
  3. Join Flickr, Zooomr, 23HQ and any other social photo sharing site you care to mention. Zooomr are offering premium accounts to bloggers still I think. You can host your photo there, saving your bandwidth costs. It’s also a very good way of exposing your photography to a wider audience. Thanks to Flickr I’ve almost made back the cost of hosting this website through sales of my photos.
  4. Taking a leaf from Richard above, if you host your images on Flickr, they require a link back to that picture’s page on flickr.com. Make sure you don’t leak page rank by adding rel=’external nofollow’ to that link. The same applies to Zooomr and 23HQ of course.
  5. Visit the Photoblogs.org wiki, especially the tips and tricks page and how to get traffic to your photoblog.
  6. Write. Search engines can’t do much with an image, but if you describe the image in a small paragraph of text that will help. In a similar vein, every photo should have a title. It might be tempting to number the image, or call them “Untitled #98″, “Untitled #99″, “Untitled #100″ and so on, but that won’t help people find your website.
  7. As you’re now writing, link. Link to other sites and blogs and do it often. Photoblogs don’t link enough. Where’s the conversation? Everybody has their heads stuck in the sand doing their own thing, afraid that they’ll lose visitors for good if they leave their site. Link to specific blog posts and those posts will be sent a “ping” or a “trackback”. That tells that blog’s owner you’ve been talking about his work. It also plants a link to your blog right in his comments section where his visitors can find it and follow what you said about his work. Here’s a ping my blog sent to an older post on my site. My feed reader post has lots of external links. Oh look, there’ll be a ping from that link too! Links really are the lifeblood of your blog.
  8. I may be biased, but I recommend you use WordPress to host your photoblog. It has support for pinging and trackbacks out of the box, a facility some other photoblog software don’t have. If you don’t want to host a WordPress blog yourself, open a blog on WordPress.com and check out what people are posting about photography, photos and even flickr. It’s a bit more limited than a regular WordPress blog but you’ll get a good feel for it. Best of all, you can export your blog and host it yourself when you feel up to it!
  9. If you do use WordPress, install Ultimate Tag Warrior so your posts are categorised in a fine grained manner. Tags do wonderful things for search engines, and this is a must have for any WordPress blog. Note that tagging support is going into WordPress right now, but it’s still being developed. I think a small script to convert UTW tags to WordPress tags is called for. Hopefully I’ll have it running here within the next few days.
  10. Join Google webmaster tools and enable “Enhanced Image Search”. Read more about it here but I’ve noticed an increase in hits from Google Image Search since I opted in to it.
  11. Claim your blog on Technorati. Here’s the Technorati page for this blog. Add an icon to your user account to encourage clicks on your stories there.

With a few changes to your photoblog you can drastically increase the traffic to your site and share your work with a wider audience. You never know, one of your photos could become a viral email attachment sent around to thousands of people in offices and homes.

Animal Care Society Collection

Volunteers from the Animal Care Society were out in force on Saturday collecting to raise funds.
We bumped into Beamish and his owner and I forgot to ask her name, but hopefully she’ll see this picture as I gave her one of my cards. Beamish was lovely and very placid, perfect tempermant for dealing with the crowds on a busy Saturday in town.

The most sent around duck photo

I would love to know who made an email attachment of my thieving duck and thank them. The Aflac Duck seems to be a well known part of American insurance marketing and people got a kick out of these ducks stealing money from a lady on the street!

Apparently my thieving duck has become “the most sent-around-ha-ha-look-at-the-duck photo evar” but I wish I had watermarked the image with my blog url. It has appeared on:

To those that linked back here, thank you. To the rest, shame on you, why didn’t you use Google and find my blog?

I’m still chuffed that an image of mine is now an “urban legand” of sorts. Not many can say that! More comments on flickr but please link here if you’re going to link anywhere!

Update – welcome visitors from the Zefrank forum!

Update on June 14th. It appears the News of the World newspaper used the Thieving Duck last Sunday. I sent them off an email this afternoon so hopefully I will hear from them within a day or two.