Since the car accident, I haven’t been able to do very much photography, so I haven’t been paying attention to how popular my photos are on Flickr for over six months now. I had a quick look tonight, and I was certainly surprised by the current top 20.
First: some numbers. At the time of writing, my photos on Flickr have been viewed a total of 228,025 times. I have 1,308 photos up right now; that’s an average of 174 views per photo. Sadly very few of my photos are that popular, but still … who are all these people looking at my photos? And why do they never leave any comments to say what they do or don’t like?
The Runaway Leader
With over 11,000 views, this photo of some graffiti outside the ruins of the Treforest Tin Works is by far and away the single most popular photo I’ve posted to Flickr. I know that this photo has been mentioned in at least one ’50 photos of …’ type post, which is probably the only reason that it is so popular.
Also in the top 20, at #6 with over 1,500 views, was another shot from the same shoot, of some graffiti from inside the ruins of the old Tin Works.
It wasn’t the best of conditions the day I explored the old Tin Works; I really need to return one day soon when the sun is out and the sky is blue. And clearly I don’t know anything at all about graffiti, because I would have picked this eye-catching piece as the pick of the bunch from that day. It currently has 492 views.
Having just crept over the line with 3,002 views, this photo of a Scottish wall in the Western Isles makes #2 on the list.
Not far behind, with 1,357 views, is one of the silliest photos I’ve ever posted. (There is an even sillier one to come in this top 20!) Taken with my now-retired Canon IXUS 400, and saturated to the max, it surely is proof that plenty of people are looking for greener grass.
I’ve been struggling to think of any texture shots that might be better than these. Perhaps there is a case for this wonderful (well, I think so anyway) shot of the roof of the Dan-yr-Ogof show caves, taken during our honeymoon stay at the place.
I think there’s also an argument to be made about this shot, taken at the 2007 Beyond The Borders storytelling festival. After a long hiatus, the festival is back this year. Mrs H and I can hardly wait!
Although I like to think of myself as a cross between a landscape photographer and a photo journalist, buildings fair far better than landscapes in this top 20. At #3, with 2,455 views, is the very first photo I took once I was inside the Eden Project in Cornwall. It’s a shot that would feature in my own list of favourites, and it was used as the front cover for the Eden Project’s official guidebook.
That wasn’t a surprise (the only surprise for me is that it hasn’t done even better), but the following one is. It’s an abandoned house on the western coast of the Isle of Lewis. You’ll find it very near one of the stone circles at Calanais, but only if you go off the beaten track a little. To this day I don’t know why I snapped it at all, but with 1,465 views, it has proved to be far more popular than my photos of the stone circles themselves, and came in at #7 overall.
And here is another surprise. I took this shot of the Millennium Stadium from miles away, using the long end of my Sigma 80-400mm lens, a tripod, and a bit of guesswork. (I was so far away, technically I was in a different county!) I suppose that it is an unusual view of the stadium, but with the low contrast and lack of sharpness, it isn’t a photo I would have expected to be all that popular. This photo had a total 1,245 views, and came in at exactly the halfway mark at #10.
In that photo, the Coal Scuttle (as we locals like to call it) aka the Millennium Centre can also be seen. I was able to use the winter sun and the excellent sensor of the Panasonic LX3 to snag this (arguably much better) photo of the place. It currently is nowhere near the top 20.
Here’s another shot taken with the Sigma 80-400mm lens. (Hrm, and here’s me thinking of putting it up for sale on Ebay. Perhaps I should be hanging onto it after all). This is a shot of the General Electric plant in Nantgarw, Rhondda Cynon Taff. My cat Spike came from this plant; he was a ferile kitten found in a litter by one of the staff who work there. This one had 935 views, coming in at #15.
I didn’t just snag one photo in my top 20 from my hilltop shoot of Cardiff … I snagged a second one too. 862 people have viewed this photo of the steel works on the East Moors, placing it at #19 overall in the list.
I’ve taken a lot of architecture photos over the years that I’m really pleased with, but for me, one of the best is the very very first photo I published in the Merthyr Road photography project. This shot of the Cefn Coed Viaduct, taken on a wet and miserable January day with my Canon IXUS 400, does an excellent job of placing the viaduct in context. It currently has only 349 views.
Or perhaps this shot of the ruined West Pier of Brighton would also be a contender for the future? It is more popular, with 749 views to date.
I’ve made several trips to the Portsmouth Historical Dockyard and surrounding area over the years, and for a while I even ran the Flickr group before the Dockyard’s staff got involved and took it over. At #4 on the list, with 2,228 views, this exposure of the lower deck of HMS Victory was one of the very best shots I’ve ever taken there.
Also popular, with 1,005 views (placing it #14 overall) is this second shot from below decks on HMS Victory, taken during the same shoot.
Now we’re getting onto the territory that I most enjoy trying to photograph. I’m pleased that so many of my landscape shots feature in the top 20, but I’m equally surprised at how much better other subjects I’ve photographed have done!
At #5, with 2,102 views, this sunset over the amazing Borth Beach was another surprise for me.
The trip to Borth Beach was an amazing experience, getting to park on the sand and walk amongst the uncovered remains of the old forest that used to be there, and taking the now long-serving Nikon D200 out for its very first trip. But if there was one photo that I would have chosen from that set, it would have been this one – which was the very first shot that convinced me that the D200 was a huge improvement in picture quality (not just in viewfinder!) over the D100 that it had replaced.
I can’t argue at all about the next shot. With 1,425 views, this beautiful HDR shot of the Mumbles Lighthouse is at #8 on the top 20 list. Despite many visits to Swansea over the last 18 years now, this trip was the first one where I learned that Mumbles had both a pier and a lighthouse. Like many of my better HDR photos, this was a speculative shot towards the end of a tiring day. I don’t think it could have turned out much better.
Yet another surprise laid in wait for me at #11. My HDR series of shots of the River Taff has been one of the more popular photo sets I’ve done, but although it has 1,207 views, it isn’t the shot I would have picked from that photo set.
Instead, I would have gone for this one. Sure, it looks very surreal because of the way I was shooting into the sun, but it’s a shot I could stare at for hours.
Getting back to the top 20 list … and at #12, with 1,187 views is this HDR shot of the deserted beaches of Harris. If you’ve never been to the Isle of Harris, then be assured that this photo completely fails to do justice to the gorgeous white sandy beaches on the western coast. We’re already looking forward to the day we can go back.
How does this photo only have 1,127 views?!? I know I should have used a tripod instead of taking it handheld, but come on – this shot of Mrs H atop Caerphilly Mountain one wonderful misty morning deserves to be much higher up the list than merely #13.
From the same misty morning shoot, this shot of Craig Yr Allt and The Garth (the hill where I took the shots of the Millennium Stadium and the steel works) has 930 views, and is #16 on the list.
And so we come to perhaps the single best photo I’ve ever taken … and it’s back to Scotland and the Isle of Lewis for this HDR shot of Calanais at dusk. This shot was taken right at the end of an amazing 40 minutes where we’d had the whole place to ourselves as the sun went down. It was five frames shot blind into the sun with no idea what I’d get. Help me get this photo up from #18 with only 886 views!
To finish the popular landscape shots, at #20 on the list with 822 views is this fun photo I took at Three Cliffs on the Gower many years ago now. The dolphin sand sculpture in the foreground is courtesy of Mrs H.
One thing I’m disappointed about is that the single best photo I ever took with my long-gone Nikon D100 has never made it into the top 20. Recently featured on a local calendar, this photo of Machrie Moor on the enchanting island of Arran in Scotland is one of the photos I’m most pleased with, both from a composition and colour point of view.
A close second, and incidentally also a shot taken with my Nikon D100, is this shot of some trees caught in the silvery winter sun in early February. It isn’t a shot I originally thought anything of until Mrs H chose it for an art project she was working on. I’m really glad she did.
Saving The Silliest Til Last
Why on earth have 890 people looked at this photo? Could it, by any chance, have to do with the fact that I gave it the title of ‘Bollards’? You decide. It came in at #17 overall, ahead of both my Calanais stone circle photo and the shot of Kristi’s dolphin structure on the beach at Three Cliffs. Go figure, because I can’t!
If you liked any of these photos, please show your appreciation by clicking through to view them on Flickr. That helps me see which photos are proving popular – and you could always leave a comment on the photo’s Flickr page, or maybe even mark it as a favourite of yours.