Flickr and me!

by Harold Davis

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My new digital photography site is up and running! Check it out: Digital Photography: Digital Field Guide. Also, a companion blog, Photoblog 2.0.

Officially, Digital Photography: Digital Field Guide is the companion Website for a book soon to be published (with the eponymous title). However, the site has taken on a life of its own.

It's great to have an attractive venue to display my digital photographs. I've also enjoyed the technical aspects of putting together the site. I decided to use a Flickr account to manage my photographs. Flickr does a great job of organizing the photos, tagging them, and creating a digital photo community. (You do need to purchase a Flickr Pro account for about $25 a year to get the most out of it.)

The privacy settings make it easy for me to have public pictures, which appear on Digital Photography: Digital Field Guide, and also to maintain private photo galleries for friends and family.

The Flickr site is built around syndication, and every set of photographs you can imagine can be syndicated. Flickr does a less good job of archival management for me: the format is limited to JPEG so I can't store the original RAW format "negatives" using Flickr.

A really cool Flickr feature: you can blog a photo right from Flickr! This makes it easy for me to upload new pictures straight from my camera and blog them with one pass.

Flickr supplies "badges" either in HTML or Flash that one can post on one's own site (either of one's one pictures, or of public Flickr photos generally). These badges are cool, but a little limited from a formatting perspective (and likely you'll want to fool with the code a little to match your site graphics). I used these to some degree on my site, but where I really had fun was with the Flickr API, which expose a great deal of flickr's functionality.

Since my site is written in PHP, I used (and modified) OberKampf, a PHP wrapper library for the API written in PHP. A great deal of fun, shows my photographs off to great advantage, and makes many photo management chores very easy for me.

Flickr is the cat's pajamas, but I do have a wishlist: ability to archive RAW formats, "primitive" functions that allow image effects such as rollovers, fades, dissolves -- both as part of "badges" and in the Flickr API.