on being a year post-flickr

I last posted anything to Flickr over a year ago, and deleted my account this spring. I’d been a pretty heavy Flickr junkie for 7 years prior to that, so was expecting to go into withdrawal and come crawling back after a brief hiatus.

Over a year later, and I haven’t missed it. Haven’t even considered having or wanting to post anything there. If I post photos, I typically do it through the ephemera section of this here blog, or if it’s a bunch of photos, I’ll create a gallery and post that.

The one thing I’ve missed, and the thing that caused me to recreate my Flickr account, is the “My Friends” page on Flickr. I’d debated just subscribing to the RSS feeds for each of the people I want to follow, but the single page for seeing all recent photos is just too simple and compelling. For now…

So. Anyway. Over a year since I’ve posted anything to Flickr. Almost 6 months since I deleted my account. No regrets. It’s totally possible to host your own photos, easily. But the social glue side of things is harder to directly replace.

One thing I’ve noticed is that I don’t get the constant ego-buzz of people using my photos. It used to be, I’d get a few emails each week, saying my stuff was in books/videos/websites/magazines/etc… It’s happened post-Flickr as well, but much less often. And that’s OK with me. I’ll just have to artificially prop up my sense of self worth some other way…

update: I wondered what the self-hosting thing looks like from a files-uploaded-to-server perspective.


The /gallery photo sets are separate, but only add up to 677MB total, for sets going back to 2003. Not a big deal…

reclaimed photo galleries

When I nuked my Flickr account, I had planned on migrating some of the sets onto my own website somehow, but wasn’t sure how, and wasn’t sure it was important to hurry along. Then Jen mentioned something about missing being able to look through a couple of the old sets. Dang. OK. That was the nudge I needed.

One of the things I missed from my now-nonexistent Flickr account was the “Sets” page, with links to historical photo sets. Easy to rectify. I just exported a bunch of the more relevant/interesting/fun sets from Aperture, as static “web page” exports. I created a “gallery” folder on the server, and dumped them all in there. I could have just let directory indexing provide an ugly automatic menu of photo sets available, but that’s not good enough. So I googled together some simple PHP code that builds a visual gallery page, with links to each photo set.

The thumbnails are pulled by randomly picking an image in the “thumbnails” folder in each set. They’re different each time the gallery page loads. I also added in a link to my “ephemera” photostream. There’s no RSS, no comments, no animated-GIF-unicorn-awards. Just the photos.

I picked a photo size of 840px because it’s big enough, and is coincidentally the same as the width of my blog posts so if I want to use any of the photos, I can just use them directly without any futzing.

flickring out

My Flickr Pro account expires tomorrow. I will not be renewing it. I now host all of my photos (and other stuff) here on my blog. It’s not the cost of Flickr Pro, but rather the principle. It doesn’t make sense to me, to pay a third party to host photos that I can host myself. I’ve been a Flickr user since August 2004, but it’s time to let it go.

Once the Pro account is deactivated, Flickr only makes the last 200 photos in my photostream available. The other 8,796 items will be taken offline unless I pay to keep my Pro account active. Which I won’t be doing. I’d be more than happy to leave the photos there so people could use them, but since they’re going to be taken offline by Flickr anyway, I’ll be deleting them from the service. I’m not sure why Flickr doesn’t just leave them available, since they make money by placing ads on the pages (for non-Pro members, anyway). Whatever. I could continue to pay the $25/year to keep my photos available for use under Creative Commons, but that seems rather silly.

Thanks for the (almost) 8 years and nearly 2 million views, Flickr. It’s been fun, but it’s time for me to move on.

meanwhile, back at the ranch…

Turns out, it’s not possible to just delete nearly 9,000 photos. Looks like the account has to be deleted to do it properly. So be it…

even more consolidation

I’ve been reducing the number of places I post stuff online, trying shift my blog into the main focus. I’ve been posting photos here, and videos. And consolidating my photoblog and ephemeral media stuff. And I realized that I still have a whole bunch of photos hosted on Flickr and embedded here. If my Flickr account disappears – say, if I decide to not renew my Pro account – then these photos will disappear from my blog posts. That’s not cool.

So I tried out [a plugin that sniffs the images embedded in posts](http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/add-linked-images-to-gallery-v01/), and automatically downloads a copy of the image to your own server, then modifies the html to point to the copy of the image stored in the blog rather than the one out in the ether. It can be set to only grab photos posted to Flickr, or all images not hosted on your own domain.

I just ran the batch process on my own blog. It grabbed 307 images from my Flickr account, copied them to my server, and updated the HTML on the posts. Automatically. Perfect. Now, if my Flickr account disappears for any reason, the images stay.

Screen Shot 2011 09 04 at 11 02 21 PM

5 Card Photo Stories

Alan’s working up a 5 Card Flickr Story project to show at Northern Voice, and it’s a really fun little application to explore simple visual storytelling. Any photo on Flickr tagged with 5cardnv is sucked into a pool, where 5 photos are chosen at random and presented as a mini story. You can “keep” any of them, or roll the dice for a fresh batch, until you’re happy with the frames of the story.

Nancy White’s been playing, and saved a screenshot of the output of her mini story. Which she then uploaded to Flickr, and tagged as “5cardnv”. Where it is then placed into the pool of photos for random selection for new stories. Recursion in visual storytelling. Gotta love it.


I’d upload my 5-card-story containing the recursion to Flickr and tag it as 5cardnv, but I’m afraid something would implode due to excessive recursion.

Photography Rule #38


Of course, you have to be familiar with the rules because they exist for a reason. But you also need to know when to just ignore them, or flat out contradict them.

This shot breaks almost every rule in the book. Composition. Lighting. Exposure. Focus. White balance. But, the emotion and life that pour out of it make it worth laughing at the rules. It’s one of my favorite photos of all time.

For a really good and fun overview of some decent photography rules, be sure to check out the Photography Rules group on Flickr – started by a fellow Calgarian.

5,000 photos on Flickr

I’m definitely not the most prolific photographer, but it only took me 4 years to publish 5,000 photos to Flickr. Not all are publicly viewable, but they are all available under a simple Creative Commons Attribution license.

Here’s #5,000 – my 2008/366photos from today, of my son Evan being a typical pyromaniac kid at the campground this morning 🙂

pyromania - evan doing what boys do: find out what burns and what doesn't.