Gary finds his parents

A wonderful thing happened the other day. Gary Byron, a Corkonian like myself, was browsing the net and looking about for things to do when he comes home for Christmas. He stumbled upon this blog and by some one-in-a-million chance found my photo, Wet Day Shopping. He recognised the couple in the photo as his parents and he left a comment on the post.

… what were the chances of me finding this photo, anyway its a great photo, I will get it developed and give to them as a surprise.

I got in touch with Gary shortly afterwards and sent him on a larger image which will print out to a nice 8×10 so I hope he managed to find a camera shop on the Friday before Christmas Day that wasn’t swamped with customers!

I was amazed that someone recognised people in a photo I took. It happened once before. Corksurf recognised the woman in this shot and left a comment on the flickr page of the image. I’m sure it’ll happen again. Hopefully with results as positive!

The best photos of 2006

Reuters have their best photos of the year, as do many other publications so I looked through my archives tonight to pick out some of my favourite photos of 2006; and found it was much harder than I thought. What follows are a selection of my best and favourite photos. Some for technical reasons while others are here for sentimental reasons. I know for sure that I’ve missed out some great shots!

January – Road Narrows
In January, I posted a photo taken in Monkstown, Co. Cork. It was later used by Hugging the Shoulder, a theatre company performing at the New York International Fringe Festival.

February – What a big smile!
Taken in Chicago, isn’t his smile great? The photo may be blurred and noisy but the smile grabs me every time!

March – Joe, the Devil and an Angel
Joe, the Devil and an Angel all performing on the street.

April – Dancing in the Street
He looks very happy with life!

May – Spring Blooms
I was married on May 8th so this image is very special for me!

June – Brendan O’Carroll
I was lucky to catch Brendan O’Carroll while he was having a break outside the Opera House in Cork.

July – Child Asleep
I loved the way the light caught the child asleep while all around life continues.

August – This city’s a drag
A child drags two adults through town.

September – Looking out for the kids
During the Ceili Mor a man and his child watched the dancing from the side of the street. He happened to glance over just as I pressed the shutter.

October – The lone daisy
Pictured in Fountainstown, Co. Cork. I spotted this daisy while out walking and simply had to shoot it.

November – Little Communion Girl
I really like this and I’m very happy with how this shot turned out.

December – An Fear Marbh
This is an island off the coast of Kerry, near Dingle. The area is beautiful, and offers some stunning views. Definitely want to get back there soon.

There you have it. Have you picked out your favourite photos yet?

Happy Holiday Photography Reading

Hopefully you’ll have a few days off over the next 2 weeks but you’ll still need your fix of photography news and articles. Your feed aggregator might be a little quiet but here’s a selection of reading material to keep you amused.

Artistic Nude or Pornography?

Is this photo (Edit: link is gone, domain expired!) pornography or an artistic nude? I think it’s an artistic photo of a nude but some people scream and shout whenever even a bit of leg or shoulder is shown.

Thankfully 400 people emailed him and agreed that it was not pornography. Check out the description of the second photo linked above. Jessyel definitely is crazy, but also a great photographer! The nude bookmark on has more photoblogs on the same subject.

It goes without saying, that the photos above may not be suitable for a work environment. You have been warned. Artistic endevour has very little place in a litigious environment.

Will photoblog images ban me from Adsense?

It’s long been known that placing images next to Adsense adverts can have your blog banned, but that raises a question about the use of Adsense advertising on photoblogs. Will my blog be banned?

Worry no more, the Adsense blog clarifies their policy with some examples of what does break their policy. Looks like I’m ok, and your blog probably is too, although be wary if you use thumbnails next to an advert. Put a break of some sort between the two!

Does this mean I can’t place ads on pages with images?

You can definitely place Google ads on pages containing images — just make sure that the ads and images are not arranged in a way that could easily mislead or confuse your visitors. For example, if you run a stock photography site with a catalog of thumbnail images, don’t line the ads up with the thumbnails in a way that could be misleading. Consider using a full border around your ads or changing your ad colors, for example.

Here’s an example of badly positioned images. The images next to the advert could confuse a visitor.


Is Zooomr slow for you too?

One of the things stopping me hugging and embracing Zooomr is how slow it is for me to view images off their servers. Take for example the image on this post on Thomas Hawk’s blog. There are two things wrong with it:

  1. It’s 241k, but it downloads on my fast shiny broadband connection like it’s ten times bigger. Brings me back to the good old days of dialup and a modem connection. Remember how that was? Oh, there’s the connection made, first bit of the image, oh oh, a small bit more, half way there, yawn, zzzzzz. I’ve fallen asleep.
  2. It’s not cachable. Every time you reload that page the whole image has to download again. Go check out what the cacheability engine thinks.

    Date Thu, 14 Dec 2006 09:22:30 GMT
    Expires –
    Cache-Control –
    Last-Modified –
    ETag –
    Content-Length 241.9K (247754)
    Server lighttpd/1.4.13

    This object will be considered stale, because it doesn’t have any freshness information assigned. It doesn’t have a validator present.

    Compare that with the image from my previous post:

    Date Thu, 14 Dec 2006 09:24:50 GMT
    Expires –
    Cache-Control –
    Last-Modified 2 min 28 sec ago (Thu, 14 Dec 2006 09:22:22 GMT) validated
    ETag –
    Content-Length 127.2K (130220)
    Server Apache/2.0.52 (Red Hat)

    This object doesn’t have any explicit freshness information set, so a cache may use Last-Modified to determine how fresh it is with an adaptive TTL (at this time, it could be, depending on the adaptive percent used, considered fresh for: 29 sec (20%), 1 min 14 sec (50%), 2 min 28 sec (100%)). It can be validated with Last-Modified. The clock on this Web server appears to be set incorrectly; this can cause problems when calculating freshness.

    Despite the problems reported above the image is cached by my browser and even with a force reload, it loads quicky.

I’m not sure how to fix the first problem except by adding a faster pipe to the servers hosting the data or upgrading the hosting hardware, but the second problem is very easy to fix using eTags and better headers. There are numerous tutorials and even code examples out there. Please, please, please look into it and make your images more cacheable! Your European neighbours will really appreciate it!

My dream photoblog theme

  • The blog will have two displays: compact and full.
  • Compact format: on the front page of the blog it shall display one primary photo on the left hand side of the browser with description, permalink and a comments link. On the right shall be a dozen thumbnails from previous posts. Above and below the image will be “Next” and “Previous” links to newer and older posts. These links must point at permalinks, not /page/X/ urls.
  • Clicking on a thumbnail will refresh the left hand side of the browser, displaying the new image, description, permalink and comments.
  • As I like to write about photography I want to display the last post from my Words category under the main image of the front page of the site.
  • Articles in the Words category will be displayed one by one like the default “compact” format of the blog.
  • When a user clicks on the permalink of a photo the display will look the same as the front page but it will not have the newest post from the Words category.
  • Full format: Clicking on a “Show all” button above the thumbnails will load a new stylesheet that will make the page appear in a more traditional blog format with multiple posts per page and the newest at the top. Much like this page. Next and Prev links have to morph to /page/X/ links.
  • Search engines and non-css aware clients will see a “normal” blog with multiple posts per page.
  • Browsing a tag or category archive will follow the same compact/full format as above.
  • Need space for advertising as well. Top and sidebar.

Colin Finch is working on a photoblog theme with thumbnails in the sidebar. He’s using the “optional excerpt” feature of WordPress to handle the thumbnails. Unfortunately he’s battling with Internet Explorer because it’s not behaving. Can someone lend him a hand?

Yes I want a photoblog, and a regular blog, with a cherry on top please.