Photobucket is Crap

I have been asked quite a lot recently about hosting photos on the web. My typical response is that I am happy with my Flickr hosting and the other sites that I have looked at don’t seem to do any better that Flickr. Photobucket seems to come up frequently and I have to admit that until about half and hour ago I hadn’t tried it out.

So there were a couple of warning signs right out of the gate: They require a lot of personal information up front (with no privacy notice in sight), but the real warning flag was when they try to sell you something or generously offer to provide you personal information to some third party that you aren’t interested in in the least. Thankfully, I am well aware of flea-bag practices like this and never sign up with actual personal information when trying out new sites (I do provide proper information if the site pans out).

The interface to the is the site is fairly juvenile and not very well thought out. My first attempt at uploading a photo was rewarded with the following error:

Fatal error: Call to a member function on a non-object in /apache/htdocs/main/uploadPanel.php on line 592

Impressive. The photo in question seemed to have been uploaded anyway. I tried two more photos and they uploaded without further issue. The facilities for tagging and otherwise organizing uploaded photos were either absent or well hidden.

It wasn’t until I popped over to the ‘recent image’ page that the light bulb went on: most if not all of the ‘recent uploads’ where of women either in: tight t-shirts, in various states of inebriation, displaying multiple piercings and/or goth-ed up. The others were of male idiots sporting the Ferris-Bueler-shower-scene-soap-mohawk with a few tattoos, trying their adolescent best to look hard. A few searches quickly confirmed my suspicion that this was somehow related to the whole myspace swamp hole. The whole point of photobucket is not about showing your photos on the web, but fueling the idiocy that is myspace. And apparently photobucket is desperate enough to foster things like this.

So in summary, by experience with photobucket is avoid it at all cost.

The bad:

  • obnoxious banner ads
  • no tools to assist uploading (unless running Windows XP)
  • poor or absent organization tools
  • poor overall site design
  • questionable privacy and information sharing
  • association with myspace slime pit

The good:

  • Nothing really, except for the fact they have a ‘delete my entire account button’, which actually doesn’t delete your account, but marks it to be deleted (presumably so someone can go archive for their own private use any salacious photos, etc that you might be wanted to dispose of).

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A new version of FlickrExport, a superb plugin for iPhoto that makes it incredibly easy to upload and tag photos on Flickr. Of all the Flickr upload tools out there, this is absolutely my favorite.

Oddly enough, this version was released as beta yesterday, but it’s good to go today.

I did find one significant bug — if you don’t have any photos selected and you click on File->Export, iPhoto will hang (apparently due to flickrExport hanging). If you let it sit for a minute or two it will select your entire photo library to export — probably not what you intended. I am confident that this will be quickly and proficiently fixed.  I stand corrected — this is a ‘feature‘ of iPhoto: if you have no photos selected when you Export, it assumes that you want all of them exported.

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Video Killed The Photojournalist ?

A very insightful post from David Leeson on how the emergence of High Definition Video (HDV)cameras may become a ‘threat’ to some photojournalist. David’s stance is that frame grabs from HDV are of a quality that is perfectly acceptable for print use. An obvious advantage that video has is that you have a frame rate approaching 30 frames per minute, so if you are shooting action you stand a better chance of getting just the right moment.

He also delves into the attitude of some fellow photojournalists, that using frame grabs is ‘cheating’. These sorts of comments can be traced back to any sea change in photography and concludes that HDV frame grabs are probably just the next step in the evolution of how images are captured and communicated.

Hat tip to Doug Alcorn for the link.

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The Art Of Camera Tossing

Join in the fun: Take your (somewhat expendable) digital camera, turn off the flash, lock the shutter open, take it out at night near some light sources and toss it up in the air, hopefully catch it and marvel at the results.

Some results can be seen in the camera toss Flickr group and in other Flickr photosets here, here, and here.

About Camera Toss
This is a “technique” group, and the technique here is regarded by some as insanity. For we are the reckless folks on flickr that enjoy the abstract, chance, generative, physical photography that results from throwing our cameras into the air (most often at night in front of varied light sources).

It is about trading risk for reward in the pursuit of art. It is not about being a photographer, it is about enabling the photography that happens naturally when you let go of the process, give up control, and add a hell of alot more variables. It is about physics, gravity, angular momentum, acceleration, direction, chaos, and timing… most of which you have tenuous control of at best!

via HipTop Nation

Professional Photographer Uses ‘Point and Shoot’ Camera

It’s always been my contention that the gear you have doesn’t matter, its what you can do with it that does. This article about an award winning professional photographer who uses so called point and shoot cameras for his pictures rather than a ‘big, fast, bulletproof pro SLR’ really makes the point.

I get a certain satisfaction out of his current choice of camera, the Olympus c-8080, the same camera that I have (though the results I get are not in the same league as this guy).