Thursday, 27 October 2011

Getting to grips with Tumblr

My first photo hosting account was Flickr, to which this blog serves as a complement. I added a second, DeviantArt, in 2009 at the request of a model with whom I'd worked (my debut subject, Sazza). And now I have a third: Tumblr. I've heard of it, and seen a couple of FB contacts using it, so I thought I'd try it out for myself. Seems to just be a sort of combination photohost and blog, but it's early days yet.

Flickr and DeviantArt both generate similar amounts of traffic, although in different ways. Initially, dA's genre-grouping system will give me the most eyeballs, but it dies down quickly; there seems to be more of a "here and now" vibe about the place. By contrast, Flickr's tagging system and greater visibility to search engines means that traffic keeps on trickling in, and over time I ultimately tend to get more views there.

They do have one thing in common though, which they don't seem to share with Tumblr. Boobies for traffic. Images of nude women, which I've been taking for a couple of years now, almost always get hundreds or even thousands of views without a great deal of effort. It doesn't bother me at all, nor is it surprising; on the contrary, it's exactly what I'd expect. But so far Tumblr seems to operate differently. It's certainly possible that I'm just misreading the data, but despite posting several shots of naked women, my most successful Tumblr posts so far have been on the subject of salmon leaping (38 "notes") and a close-up of a rope and chain (37 "notes"). Most peculiar...

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Glen Etive

I had two shoots at the Loup o' Fintry last summer with Karen, and a third, home-based shoot at her flat this past January. Since then we've become close friends, but oddly, aside from a lovely day out on Cumbrae at Easter, I've never pointed the camera at her since.

Circumstances threw us together again though. It had been three months since I'd done a decent waterscape and I was getting antsy to try another before the good weather disappeared. Karen, meanwhile, had missed a shoot in Newcastle and desperately needed to fill her diary. I said "how about we travel to Glencoe for the day?" And that was it.

She's been hinting about being my muse for a month or two. Maybe this'll be the start of that? Fingers crossed.

Friday, 3 June 2011


A London-based model, Tansy Blue, was taking a trip to Scotland last week, and she had one free afternoon remaining before her coach trip back down south. So she posted a casting call on Purestorm asking for a shoot, and I volunteered. There was a long pause ~ about 36 hours, during which time I began to feel the first pangs of rejection and inadequacy ~ before she finally approved me.

Had a miserable false start where I inexplicably thought we were meeting on Thursday instead of Friday (my fault entirely, no clue how it happened), but once we met up things were fine. I explained my plans at the outset: a combination of my usual artsy slow shutter speed stuff, plus something new inspired by a lovely black & white shot on DeviantArt I'd come across, using a very fast shutter speed to capture the turbulent water.

Tansy proved to be exactly the kind of model I love working with. Unselfconscious, body-confident, and as interested in the art as her hourly rate. She was also brave... maybe too brave. In all our pictures she's either serene and graceful, or larking about with a carefree smile as in the out-take shots. But she slipped and fell twice early on, coming perilously close to plummeting over the edge and into the churning waters. And then at the death, with only one more set left in the cooling evening, she did take a tumble. A really horrific one where she flipped upside down and bounced off the rocks, before splashing into the freezing water below. She emerged shivering but unscathed (and somehow, with her specs still on), but that was the end of our shoot right there.