This is a successful image. It has been explored on Flickr. Basically that means it was favored (like a “Like” on Facebook) by a certain big enough number of people in a short enough time span, that some algorithm at Flickr was triggered, and that promoted the image to a list of “trending” images. Then things get interesting.
It does not take all that much to get over the “Explore” threshold, but for some reason it has never happened to my images. Basically I am a loner. I don’t use Flickr as a social network for the same reasons that I’ve stopped using Facebook. For me Flickr is just a fine place to store my images at full size and a place to communicate with a small number of people whom I know from elsewhere and who also happen to be on Flickr. I don’t actively “network”.
Experience with this photo blog, with the Fine Art Photoblog and with my programming blog has shown me, that it is possible to promote such channels and to considerably increase their reach, but it takes a lot of work and ceaseless effort to do so. Well, I have a job and a hobby and my music and my literature and a precious few hours a day. Some of them I have to sleep. Promoting my online resources for the sake of my vanity is probably not the best use of my time.
On normal days I get between 50 and a few hundred views on Flickr a day, with one or two spikes up to maybe 700-800 per month. Normally, successful images get 40 to 50 views on the day they are posted, ending up with a lower single-digit number of “Favorites”. That’s it.
This image has been posted Saturday night shortly before midnight. In the morning it had 440 views. Oops, I thought, I’ve got explored
At the time that I write this, Monday early in the evening, we are at around 8,568 views and 110 “Favorites”, and the view count is still slightly increasing.
Is this my best image? Hardly, I’d think. It is an image that I could have seen a thousand times before and that I happened to see on Saturday evening while dining. The tablecloth, a hand-made heirloom of dubious aesthetic value, got reflected in the Cola can, and suddenly I recognized a strange similarity.
I did not invest much effort. Lighting was dim, and although I went down to 1/10s, I had to use f8.0 to get enough depth of field. Therefore ISO went up to 800. I could have used a tripod, I could have used additional light, I could have experimented with different positions of the can on the cloth in order to maximize the effect, but instead I just wanted to take a quick image and then carry on eating, talking and later playing a game of Scrabble. It was not important enough to me.
In post-processing I could fix noise and the uneven color temperature, I’ve added some punch, and finally I found the image good enough to post on Flickr. Average, I’d have said. Some image with clear potential and shabby execution, masked by experience with image processing. It’s certainly not an image that I’m particularly proud of or something that I’d add to a portfolio. It’s just a rush job that happened to be surprisingly successful in spite of all its shortcomings.
And it is my most successful image on Flickr. Funny, huh?