September 4, 2020No Comments

Portfolio update: Rachael Smith Photography

Just added to my portfolio: Rachael Smith Photography.

I have plenty more more work to add both recent and from my archive. You can find all projects on the Work page.

August 25, 2020No Comments

Anyone still using Flickr?

Are you still using Flickr? I’m interested to hear from anyone still using it, and why. Or what you’re using instead, other than Instagram.

I have had a Flickr Pro account since 2005, then it went free for many years under Yahoo! And then now it’s owned by SmugMug it’s back like it used to be, with a limited free account and Pro option where you can keep more or less unlimited photos.

When that kicked in I decided to pay to keep my full account because I have photos on Flickr going back to 2005. But I was in two minds about it because at the time I hadn’t posted anything since 2016. Paying for Pro again kind of felt like a waste of money, but on the other hand I wasn’t ready to have that whole archive wiped from the web. For one thing this blog goes back to 2008 and many of the posts have photos embedded from Flickr.

Flickr used to be so great! It was my favourite thing on the web. I would spend hours on there, browsing and running groups and chatting about photography on the group chats etc. I have some shots with hundreds of faves, and discussions in the comments.

What’s kind of a shame is that now it’s technically as good as ever, I would say (yes, there are arguments for the previous UX but that’s not the point here), the mobile app is decent and everything is working well, yet it feels a bit dead in there.

I much prefer Flickr to Instagram because I like to look at BIG, high-res meticulously-processed professional-grade photos on a big display. Instagram would diminish an Andreas Gursky or Gregory Crewdesn shot, but my 27" iMac would do it justice. But of course everything is about mobile now, Flickr were years too late with a decent mobile app and Instagram became the photos place.

Instagram is cool but so much seems to have become about the process of infinite scrolling and liking, it’s kind of strange. Algo-hypnosis.

A year or so ago Rachael was told on several occasions by publishers that she needed more Instagram followers before they’d consider going ahead with a book. She now has lots more Instagram followers and some books are going ahead – not because of Instagram, but a decent presence there is apparently a prerequisite.

I stopped using an SLR camera when phone cameras got good, because the phone is much more convenient. But on my phone I shoot countless shots that just collect on there, until every two years or so it gets full and I back it up into a folder called something like "2019-08 iPhone photos" and never look at those shots again. Occasionally I post one to Instagram but mostly I’ve become bored with photography I think largely as a byproduct of the cameraphone revolution.

Anyway I’m not plugging anything in this post but I’ve started occasionally using the Canon 5D Mark II again. And it’s so much better. I am starting to enjoy it again. And I’ve posted a few recent holiday shots to Flickr – three weeks after they were taken, because I had to select and process the RAW files. But maybe that’s better.

Will I renew my Flickr account again when it’s due? Not sure. Is there an alternative place for photos in set and gallery format that’s still thriving? Will Flickr itself even survive?

I am, for now, on Flickr at flickr.com/photos/aderowbotham.

Cover photo: Matchstick Skiers, 2006

August 22, 2020No Comments

Minutes – 2020-08-20 13:58:16 / 730 seconds

12 minutes 10 seconds. Headphones recommended.

August 22, 2020No Comments

Photo: Foss Wood

Location: 54.418177, -0.631351

August 22, 2020No Comments

Sunlight through trees

New video. 33 minutes. Headphones recommended.

August 16, 2020No Comments

Minutes (Hours)

Back in 2007 I made a series of 60 second ‘still photos’ that I called Minutes. I recorded them on a little Canon Ixus so on today’s high-res displays they look terrible. YouTube existed in 2007 but I didn’t upload them there, partly because I wanted them presented more like photographs. Instead I put them on a dedicated website as Flash video (FLV) clips, but the site disappeared when I changed servers at some point. And Flash is dead of course. So they’ve gone*.

A number of people said they appreciated them at the time but I was arguably ahead of the curve: today YouTube has countless hours of ambience, ASMR or generally atmospheric videos many of which are just audio. I love all of the above. I often listen to light rain or similar, combined with some drone / ambient music while I’m working.

Also a big fan of Starship Engine Rumble, incidentally.

Anyway, preamble over. I have lots of audio gear and a camera, and I felt like making some similar stuff again. These are more about the sound than the video so one minute is not long enough. I’ve done a couple of tests (12 and 9 minutes respectively). An hour each would be a nice round number, so aiming for that eventually.

(* They’re in a backup zip file somewhere, I never delete anything)

April 28, 20201 Comment

Running a marathon (well, sort of)

Donate to Ade’s 2.6 (x10) Challenge

I’m not a long distance runner, but for the last 18 months or so I have been getting into doing a few short runs a week - usually about 5km and more recently sometimes up to about 9km.

Basically I’m pretty happy running for up to about an hour, but I’ve not tried slowing it down and going much further.

Two Point Six Challenge

Last Sunday would have been the day of the London Marathon had it not been cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The Marathon usually raises a lot of money for charities through sponsorship so in light of it being cancelled they came up with #TwoPointSixChallenge the idea being for people to raise some money doing their own challenges based around the number 26.

Pre run selfie

Some people are running 2.6 miles, some are cycling or doing other sports or activities. Everyone's level of ability is different and difficulty is relative. Certainly I could not have run 2.6 miles 18 months ago, but given that I run often it would not have been difficult enough now. So I decided to run all 26 miles this week.

I’m doing it to raise some money for Cancer Research UK. If you would like contribute to you can donate on my JustGiving page.

We have already raised £336 £566 £722 (including Facebook donations) which is amazing, so thank you to everyone who has donated.

The main reason for this blog post is because I think giving it one last push could help it reach a few more people who might want to donate to Cancer Research.

Social Media

Social media is proving to be a difficult way of reaching everyone. A friend I chatted to today said they weren’t aware I am doing it, despite me going on about it constantly online for the past two days! I am battling against the algorithms.

So if you would like to donate then that would be amazing. But even if you don’t (which really is fine) then it could help loads if you could like, share or reply to or otherwise react to my social media posts about it – as that will help to convince the algorithms that it’s interesting.

Please see: this tweet or this Facebook post.

Progress

I went a bit overboard and ran 9 miles on Monday and 10 miles today so I have about 7 miles left to do. So I’m doing a marathon in three days.

Monday was all things idyllic and sunny but today was pretty hard going and in relentless driving rain. Also I foolishly took a right turn up the steepest hill in the area which goes on LITERALLY FOREVER. So now I’m feeling a bit broken. You can see my routes here and here on Strava.

I cannot fathom how people run a whole marathon in one session at any sort of speed!

Progress update 2 (29/03)

I completed it this morning. Day 3 was not too bad! What have I learned? I could probably manage a half marathon.

Please help share this!

Any shares likes, retweets and comments et cetera help more than you might realise. It would be great to get to £400. Donations are now at £722. I will top it up by an extra £100 as well. The current (and of course very serious) virus problems aside cancer remains one of the highest causes of suffering and death, and science and research are how we will eventually solve it.

And if you do want to donate please click the big banner at the top or below. And if not please do consider sharing.

Thank you!

Donate to Ade’s 2.6 (x10) Challenge

January 27, 2020No Comments

Spouting music into The Void

This tweet by Ron S. of Anode Records encapsulates well how it often feels to share your music online. For me it’s borderline embarrassing to announce to the world your own creative work. And the way it goes is that you build it up… and spend days (sometimes weeks) fussing over details and over-listening until you have pretty much no idea if it’s any good or not any more.

So after all that, and even though you primarily make music for your own enjoyment, it would seem a shame to just leave it on your own hard drive forever, never to be heard by anyone else. And if you’re me (which I am) then you know full well that it’s amateur dad-techno which probably has niche appeal to a handful of your also-40+ cohorts. But… well maybe those people would like to hear it. It would be great to get a bit of feedback too. Is it any good? Do you like some bits? Does this have any merit at all? So you send it privately to ten or so friends and family. Be honest, tell me if it sucks. Anything!

But you don’t hear back for a few days so whatever... out goes the Tweet and a Facebook post. May as well throw it out there.

But then still nothing. No interactions or responses. Awkward.

So you then worry that everyone thinks it’s so terrible that they don’t know what to say. So you look at the stats and, no, that seems not to be the case because because, well, twitter gives you tweet analytics:

  • Impressions: 179
  • Likes: 1 (thanks bro)
  • Retweets: 1 (my other account)
  • Link clicks: 1

And Facebook:

  • 3 people reached
  • 0 engagements

So one person clicked through and listened to the track on SoundCloud. In 36 hours. The tweet is now well buried.

The reality seems to be that it’s pretty difficult to get people to hear what you’ve recorded. Is nobody interested in this sort of music any more? Or are they just busy? (probably this) Is it because there’s a zillion hours of free music uploaded every minute? Or is it the algorithm making it essentially hidden? (could be) Is social media just a bad way of sharing music unless you’re Calvin Harris with 12.6M followers?

If the problem was just that the music is crap I would expect a lot of clicks but no likes. But there are near zero clicks. Nobody is hearing it to begin with.

This, in part, led me to giving up for 18 months. What’s the point? But then I missed doing it and got quite low because I wasn’t doing anything creative in my life (work is mostly technical these days).

So it’s 2020 and I’m starting up again. And it’s not at the standard I would like yet. So the answer is to make more and more stuff. But then to be more selective. Fail lots and get better. I’ll continue to share it because why not. But like Ron, above, I won’t expect any of these tweets to blow up anytime soon.

p.s. Ron S’s Planet Z tracks are pretty great. And thanks to anyone who did spare a few minutes to listen to my new tracks (thanks Tom, Ben + Daniel!) And thanks Dad for buying a copy on Bandcamp 🙂

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