Digital Journal, Essay, Photography

Inspiration: ViewBug’s Award System

I’m often conflicted when it comes to putting my best images online because it is so easy for people to copy them, breaching my copyright.  This is an issue in reverse when I like a photograph and would like to bookmark it in some way without breaching other people’s copyright – and without having a million links.

ViewBug has neatly solved this issue for me in the way it operates an Award system.  In addition to having a ‘Like’ button, ViewBug offers members the opportunity to award the photographs of other ViewBug members by giving them a Peer Award for excellence in composition, subject matter, skill, etc.   Each time a Peer Award is given, ViewBug adds the photograph to an Inspiration page  on the awarder’s page.  When a photograph is awarded, the awardee gains points which can be can be used toward various benefits on the site.

This process adds two pages to my ViewBug profile.  A page showing all of the photographs I have awarded, called “Inspiration” and a page of my photographs which have been awarded by other members of ViewBug.

Scrolling down my Inspiration page, which is really just a series of links back to the original works, therefore not breaching copyright, I see an array of wonderful and varied work by photographers from all around the world.  Many of the works I have awarded are nature photographs, but I also see a range of portraits and architecture photographs.  Strong colour and lines seem to attract my attention, although I do have black and white photography among them.

The page showing my own images awarded by others gives me inspiration in a different way.  I can see which photographs resonate with other people, and due to the award system, why each photograph appealed to the awarder.  Often the results are surprising.  Photographs I hesitate in uploading may gain awards, while others don’t get so much attention.

One of my most often awarded photographs is a macro photograph of a daisy in my back yard. It is a simple photograph, and I have used Lightroom to slightly darken the background (which was already dark).  It isn’t cropped.  I almost didn’t load it because it felt more like a snapshot. Yet for some reason, others respond to it.

This simple photograph of a white daisy is one of my most awarded photographs on ViewBug.

At the moment I am selecting a range of images to print and frame for sale at local markets. My ViewBug Peer Awards page gives me a good idea of which of my images to print.



Coffee, Digital Journal, Photography

Ten themed images: Choosing an Audience

Having experimented with fallen bark and leaves, interior shots of products and exterior shots of products, I have finally settled on a process of coffee roasting for my ten themed images.  This is for a course in Photography and Social Media I am completing.

One reason for a coffee roasting theme is my partner is a specialty coffee roaster. When I meet new people, the subject turns to what he does for a living at some point. It never ceases to amaze me that many people don’t realise coffee is an agricultural crop, nor that it comes from a berry and must be processed and roasted before it can be ground and extracted.

While I don’t profess to be an expert, I am around specialty grade coffee a lot by association. Simply by being present, the basic process of coffee roasting is familiar to me.  In answering the curious questions from new friends and colleagues, I often find myself explaining in some detail how coffee is roasted.  Usually the explanations are met with fascination. So it seems to have potential as a theme which can sustain ten images.

Also, I find it irritating to see magazine photographs of roasted coffee beans in hessian sacks because exposure to oxygen can make coffee beans stale in as little as ten minutes. Freshly roasted coffee must be kept in airtight containers to keep it fresh. Hessian sacks contain green coffee beans ready to roast, and that is how they arrive in Australia from various destinations around the world.

Potentially, the theme has appeal to both coffee coffee connoisseurs and the general public alike… and next time I find myself explaining how coffee is roasted, I will have some photographs to show as well.

Here are a few of my test shots.  I will post the final ten photographs tomorrow.

Green coffee beans in a hessian sack, awaiting roasting.
coffee-roaster-with bean-probe
Checking the colour of the beans during a roast using the bean probe.
Roasted coffee beans in the cooling tray of the coffee roaster.
Digital Journal

Experimenting with Product Photographs: Outside

After my first attempt to photograph a product featuring one of my photographs in an interior setting, I thought I might have more of a narrative in an exterior setting.   This is an assessed series of photographs for a course in Photography and Social Media which I am completing.

To achieve ten interesting photographs which are themed and together create a narrative, I thought  ‘taking my products for a walk’ might be a good theme.  This meant I could use a few different items and place them in a range of settings to represent a day meandering around in the bushland.  As most of my photographs were originally taken in this same bushland, it would represent both the origin and the culmination of each product.

Conceptually, I liked the idea a great deal. However, to submit photographs taken while I am completing the course, means photographing the items in dry, Summer bushland, rather than lush Spring bushland when the original photographs were taken. Even submitting a collage or mood board with the original Spring photography is not permitted in the assessment criteria.

In Spring a variety of flowers are in bloom, the mosses and lichens are a rich green, wet bark can range from a pale grey, through yellow, pink, salmon, ochre, rust and into deep burgundy and browns.  Often colourful fungi and bright new growth on bracken, heath and trees adds bright green to the mix.  Dotted among this are white, pink, yellow, mauve, purple and blue wild flowers.  So, not being able to include the original photographs means the palette of background colours for a Summer shoot is limited to the yellow of dried native grass, brown and grey bracken, as it dies off, and dry, brown, bark.

Given this limitation, I felt the background was too uniformly drab to create an interesting narrative over ten photographs.  I think I will come back to this idea in Spring 2016 and try it again.  For now, here are some of the photographs with a Summer bushland background.