August 2012 - The Grid
Where did August go? I seemed to skip a whole month of the year. Weddings, a major birthday event and a month of getting put through the proverbial grinder at work. All work and no play do not result in interesting web blogs.
However, a couple of major things happened this month; one the desired result and the other a spin-off benefit of the previous action.
Scott Kelby is one of photo idols and the person I would credit with influencing my photography journey and giving me the required skills, technique and enthusiasm to take my photography to the level it is today.
He is natural teacher and this along with his infectious personality translates effortlessly into his photography books. This also comes across on his online training classes at Kelby Training and his free web tv photo talkshow The Grid.
The Grid is a photo talk show which discusses a number of photography topics but once a month also have a blind critique show where viewers can submit images for critique by Scott and his co-host Matt Kloskowski. The blind part is that Scott and Matt do not know whom the images belong too and the names are not broadcast on the show.
Scott and Matt used to host another web tv show called D-Town TV. I watched this show in the early days of my photography journey and ended up watching so many hours of back-to-back episodes that my wife commented that "she felt she was getting married to those two guys rather than me"!
Back in July, I saw Scott posting on Google+ that they were looking for submissions for a landscape and travel blind critique episode of the Grid. I was a bit late in seeing the announcement for submissions and quite frankly, was a bit nervous that they would not be well received. I am a member of a photo club so I am used to critiques on my images and having watched previous shows of The Grid, know that the guys are hard but very fair in the feedback they give. Still, this would be a whole different ballpark been critiqued by two guys who I have a huge amount of respect for and strongly value their opinions. In the end, after a good talking to myself and with some encouragement from my wife, I thought nothing ventured nothing gained and submitted 5 images (see feature image gallery at the top of the page).
The majority of the 5 images were all ready on Google+ so I thought I would jump into Picassa, which is intrinsically linked to G+, and just copy them into a new album from the 'from posts' album. Not as easy as I first thought, so I ended up just uploading them into a new album, made it available to the public and submitted the link to the album to The Grid. What I didn't realise and didn't really want, was that G+ automatically posted this new album into the Google+ stream.
I tuned into The Grid later that night to watch the show. I was not surprised that I didn't make it on giving the number of photographers who submit images but was great to see another photographer, who I'm assuming also lives in Ireland, have several Irish landscape photos included in the blind critique. Loved the show and so I went off to bed and thought nothing more of it.
The next day I started getting +1's and comments on the album in Google+ which I discovered had been included in my stream. As I said, it was not my intention to post these photos again in the stream as they already had been posted individually, but I appreciated the attention it was getting. Since then, it continued to grow and grow at such a level I was getting suspicious. It was only a few days later when I got a email notification about a picassa web album favourite, I realised that in addition to Google+ their must also be a separate Picassa community. Having never really used Picassa, apart from sorting my Google+ photos, I didn't know where to start so just clicked on the first link I saw on the homepage. I couldn't believe that my long exposure of the church made it onto the front page of the featured images on Picassa! I clicked on my image to be astounded again that the photo had 4.3 million views which has grown to nearly 16 million since then! To put it in perspective, my other photos were lucky to get a thousand if I was lucky!
I am not normally one for keeping an eye on stats of followers, views etc as it is not my principal reason for posting to the my site and the other social media sites. In the end the number of views doesn't really mean anything but sometimes it is nice to be noticed and certainly great to receive positive feedback.
Fast forward a month and I missed the August blind episode critique episode due to work but knew I would eventually catch-up with in on iTunes when I eventually got some spare time.
I never thought about it anymore about it until somebody commented on the photo of Ballynafagh Church on Google+ that the photo was amazing and he had seen it on The Grid! My heart skipped about 10 beats. My photos were on the Grid? It was late at night, I had work the next day but I set about downloading the episode (Episode 65 also on iTunes Store under podcasts). It seemed to take forever to download.
I quickly scanned through the episode until I saw one of my photos - it was being edited which I took as not a good sign. With my heart in my mouth I started watching. First photo good comments, second photo good comments, the third photo was the one they edited. This was the photo of the Malaysian gentleman against the wall. They liked the photo, but cropped out some of the wall and did some dodging and burning to darken the walls to bring out the gentleman some more. The forth photo they liked and the fifth broke the rules (Dalit Bay beach - horizon near the middle of the frame) but worked! All-in-all some real positive feedback on the images and my work as a whole. I was bouncing of the walls - I can't believe I managed to sleep that night!
One action two results. One desired and one unexpected. Two great experiences.