Flickr's implemented its new photo page

In October last year, Flickr implemented a beta version of a new photo page. It was only a beta version, users could opt out, and they were invited to provide feedback on the new-look page, but inevitably there was considerable discontent with the proposed changes. I saw lots of frothing and foaming at the mouth in the feedback forum, some of it sadly lacking in articulated, constructive criticism. And in truth, the beta version did have plenty of bugs, omissions, and oversights that desperately needed rectifying. Flickr's venture into the realms of the new was along a rather rocky path and needed quite a bit of work. A little under six months after implenting the beta, and it seems that Flickr has rolled-out the new-look photo page for everyone. Or at least, I was using the old-style page, and now I'm suddenly not, and my 'Return to the old-style page' button has disappeared. The toddler-type tantrums of 'I don't like it' on the feedback page don't seem to have made much of an impact. And to be fair, neither have the calmer, cooler, and more considered objections to the new layout. The new-look page is here, whether users like it or not. Now it's time to see how many of the niggles have been addressed and kinks ironed out.

I was using the old-style photo page. Now I'm not.

I'm pleased to say that the Flickr team has listened to quite a few of the gripes. For example: you can now see who 'favorited' your photos, rather than there being just a number of 'favorites'. Rich EXIF data are available. Tags have returned to being unhastagged. You can add a photo to a set from the photo page. Lots of the functionality that Flickr users knew and used didn't make it over in the initial beta release. That's been steadily remedied and things are looking more familiar, if different.

Tags are un-hastagged and most of the functionality has returned

But not everything is yet hunky-dory. A particularly significant bug from my perspective involves sharing preferences. Mine are turned off in my settings. No one looking at my photos should be able to share them via social media or embed them into their blogs. Except that when I look at Flickr logged out of my account, my photos can still be shared and embedded. I'd like to see that fixed sharpish. And it would seem that Flickr's usual location services are still in the process of being ported properly. My map has disappeared and I'd like it back. That's irritating as opposed to concerning.

That shouldn't be happening. At least, not according to my preferences

While I'm not especially concerned by being able to accompany my images with significant pieces of text, I favour short explanations, I know some people who feel aggrieved that the text box is so squashed and insignificant now. For them, being able to use words and pictures in tandem was a favourite feature of Flickr that has been marginalised.

Thankfully, there's a feedback button on every photo page. I shall be making use of it.

As for the new photo page itself, I'm not too bothered by it. My persistence in using the old page was primarily a result of the lack of functionality in the beta version and most, although not all, of those concerns have been addressed. What remains to be seen is how those who initially reacted so negatively to the redesign respond to the changes. Have they grown accustomed to it or have their complaints been addressed? Are the changes unpleasant enough or sufficiently significant in their eyes to see them walk away from one terabyte of free storage together with the network that they've built there? And if there is mass dissent amongst users, what will the impact be on Flickr? Even if, at worst, I'm ambivalent towards the new look Flickr page, what sort of effect will it have on my use of the site if people whom I follow and with whom I interact begin to desert it? I know of some users who feel the changes keenly, and if they choose to quit, my Flickr experience will be the poorer for it. A social network that steadily loses its sociability doesn't have a great deal of value.

Has Flickr really been made awesome again?

PhotoEngine: edit in real-time


If you’ve ever wanted to turn off or dim a light in a photograph after you’ve taken it, or if you’d like to be able to adjust exposure as if you were still behind the lens but aren’t, then the people over at Oloneo might have just the piece of HDR software for you. What’s more, it makes the adjustments in real-time.

PhotoEngine allows you to alter the lighting in your pictures, for example to switch on or off light sources or adjust their white balance. It also gives you the capacity to recover details lost to over-exposure, or to restore areas that have been under-exposed. And there’s a noise reduction tool, too.

PhotoEngine is still in Beta and is only available for Windows, but you can learn more about it and download it for free from Oloneo. sharing photography resources

There’s probably photographic equipment worth a small fortune sitting unused, but still very much loved, all over the world; lenses in boxes on top of wardrobes and lighting umbrellas stashed beneath beds. Wouldn’t it be good if this equipment were actually in use, being hired out to people for a few hours here or a day there? Similarly, there are doubtless acres of studio space which are empty when they could be used for shooting beautiful pictures, along with people who need to use a studio. How useful would it be to bring together equipment and studio space available for hire, along with the people who want to hire it, in one place? does just that: it facilitates the loan and hire of photographic equipment and studio space between photographers and studio owners. It was dreamed up by Andreas Randow, a photographer who realised how often his studio was sitting empty and thought others might be able to make use of it when he wasn’t. That was in 2008. Over the course of a year he and few other like-minded people developed the concept, wrote the code, and tested the beta on other photographers. opened to the public in autumn 2009.

What does it do?

Whilst the underlying concept is simple, does much more than bring together those hiring out studio space or equipment — from macro lenses in Massachusetts to camera bodies in California — with those wanting to hire it. You can even search for people hiring out their services, such as hair and makeup artists, prop and set builders, and post-production specialists.

Finding what you want is simple using drop-down menus

It handles everything associated with a booking, from processing the payment, adding the rental to your calendar, emailing you a reminder, to preparing a statement for book-keeping purposes. That is probably one of’s most widely praised features according to Marin Orlosky,’s Marketing Manager: it takes the headache out of book-keeping and frees up creative people to be creative.

And how does it work?

Everyone wanting to use pays an annual subscription fee: US$49 for members — those wishing to hire out or hire equipment or services — or US$79 for studio owners, who also enjoy the same benefits as members. Right now, has around 1,600 members. Once registered, you can search for what you want, place a request, and expect a response within 24 hours. Then you pay for it, the booking is confirmed, and added to your calendar. You’ll even receive a reminder email.

So what is like to use?

When you log in you have access to a dashboard, which shows you your messages, your agenda, the projects you currently have organised, information from, and your own account details.

The search interface is simple to use. You select what you need and where you need it (you can set a radius around your location of up to 100 miles) using drop-down boxes and can set a price range using a sliding scale. Then you are presented with a range of options from which to make your selection.

As the system relies on people loaning out their equipment, services, or space, availability can be a bit hit-and-miss. Studio space is pretty wide-spread, but equipment less so, and services are even more sparse. And of course, at the moment it only operates in the United States.

Lots of services are available, but can be a bit hit-and-miss depending on your location

If you are hiring a studio every possible piece of information, from access to post-processing facilities and wall colour to availability of parking and tea and coffee making, is set out for you. Once you have made your request, it will be accepted or declined within 24 hours, so there isn’t too much hanging around and uncertainty.

Keeping track of what you are loaning out or hiring is easy. In particular I liked that you could assign each booking to a given project, so if you needed to hire a studio as well as rent some lighting equipment and maybe an additional lens for the same shoot, they could all be placed in the same project. Not only could you be sure that you had organised all that you need, but everything would show up on the same statement.

Keeping track of what you have hired is clearly set out

What next?

With 1,600 members and growing all the time, is aiming to become the primary resource for sharing photographic equipment and services. It’s looking at international expansion, especially in Canada, Australia, the UK, and Germany, so that not only can people there share their resources, but if you travel, you can find what you need, too.

The verdict?

Using is easy, there’s plenty of support in case you need it, and the idea behind it is terrific. Now, it just needs even more people to join and start sharing their equipment and facilities.

Time-lapse photography


There’s a lot to be said for the persistency of time-lapse photography – it makes life rather interesting. Reducing a period of a few hours (like a flower opening to the sun), a few months (like a flower growing or a baby growing inside a mother’s belly) or a year (seasonal timelapses, construction work) is amazing stuff.

Have you ever tried time-lapse photography?

  • Yes, I do it all the time
  • Yes, a few times
  • Yes, once
  • No, but I'll give it a shot
  • No, and I don't want to

View Results

To learn more about time-lapse photography, why not try the Wikipedia article. For tutorials, check out the Haworth Village tutorial – it serves as a good introduction as well as a tutorial.

Time-lapse software

Taking the photos is all good and well, but you’ve got two hurdles: Taking a sequence of photographs, and going from photos to stop-animation. Some cameras actually have timelapse photography built in (although I can’t remember seeing it in any cameras since the Casio QV-8000 in the late 1990s – why? It’s easy to implement, and all digital cameras have built-in clocks! Come on, manufacturers, you can do better!), but if you aren’t that lucky, you have to either take the pictures manually, connect a time-lapse device to your camera (Such as the TC80N3), or use your computer to control the camera. The software that came with your camera often has a ‘control your camera from your computer’ type piece of software, which normally has a time-lapse function built in.

On the software side, there are loads of good programmes out there. For the Mac, the old classic is iStopMotion, which I’ve used briefly when it was in Beta, and I found it to be very interesting. It has since ‘grown up’ into a fully-fledged high-quality piece of software which is easy to use.

Granite Bay software make an application especially for Canon cameras, designed to take and merge the photos into videos.

Of course, you don’t have to take the video approach – you can also take very powerful still frame time lapse photos… Like the photo used at the top of this article!

Some inspiration

Check out time lapse photography on YouTube, Google Video.

Highlights: Rebuilding Ground Zero in NYC, Picasso painting, Walking around the Giza Pyramids, Repainting the ice on a hockey rink, a year of seasonal change in Norway, and finally, a time-lapse of a cross-country drive from LA to New York in 5 days.