Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Brooklyn Bridge Traffic

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

Brooklyn Bridge traffic

Brooklyn Bridge Traffic

Back in July, I paid a visit to the USA, starting here in New York. This is one of many photos I took on this trip, whilst walking from Brooklyn back to Manhattan over the Brooklyn Bridge. It was an extremely hot day, but I was able to focus long enough to get this shot.

Zooomr Mark III – a photo sharing community at its finest?

Monday, June 4th, 2007

Yesterday it finally arrived, and if you just want to skip to the chase, and find out whether Zooomr really is a photo sharing community at its finest, if this new version lives up to the hype, that’s fine – the answer is yes. Here’s why.

Firstly, if you’re not aware, Zooomr now offers unlimited storage of your photos without any size restrictions for every single user, regardless of whether you’re signed up as a pro user or not (which makes flickr’s free offering look a little feeble by comparison). This was actually introduced back in March to make up for the delay in introducing Mark III, but it’s worth repeating. There really isn’t a catch.

Zooomr already had a great community, but with Zooomr Mark III they’ve taken that a giant step further by really making you feel like you’re a big part of Zooomr. Every time you login to Zooomr you’re presented with a page called ‘Zipline’. If you’re familiar with Twitter then you’ll understand this, it’s basically a timeline of posts, starting with the most recent, of photos people have uploaded (with thumbnails of them), comments they’ve left on their own Zipline (maybe about their photos or asking questions or answering one of their friends), and other things too in the future. It sounds simple, but it works so effectively in getting you hooked in on looking at friend’s photos and seeing if they’ve discovered anything new by someone else. I would expect more and more getting added to this side of the site, it’s a killer social feature, that (against the odds I might add) seems to work very well on a photo site. Unlike Twitter, I can actually see myself using this, you can’t help but get involved, it’s such a fantastic way to keep up with your Zooomr friends, and it’s pretty addictive.

Zooomr: Zipline (screenshot)

Groups have also been added, something that flickr has had for a long time, and although this side of the site is really only getting started and is still quite difficult to navigate, it shows a lot of promise for getting users involved further in discussing their photography, and sharing photos.

Another thing they’ve done is improve the adding of contacts, friends and family. When you add someone now, that person gets a notice (via Zooomr’s ‘Fanmail’ private messaging) telling them you’ve added them, and asking if they want to add you as a contact too. Previously you only knew if someone had added you as a contact or friend if you happened to spot it on their Profile page. When you add someone you come across, you can decide if you want to hear all about what they’re up to on your Zipline. Things can get pretty busy on there at times, and you might not be interested in everything someone has to say, so this is very handy. You can decide if you want to just keep an eye out for their new photos, if you’re interested in messages they post on their Zipline, any events they might post (a Groups feature that isn’t setup yet), or if you want to keep an eye on their social activity. That last option is still not clear, but I would guess you’d be able to see on your Zipline when a contact has added a favourite or commented on someone’s photo. You can always go back and change these settings later through your profile page, if you change your mind.

Zooomr: Contact relationships

You can also quickly see one hundred photos from either everyone on Zooomr, your friends, your contacts, or just you, on the new ‘Discover’ page which gives you 20 photos each of those added in the last hour, last day, last week, last month, and the last year. This is quite a nice tool to see at a glance what’s happening, and one that will hopefully have more options and variations soon (I’d quite like to be able to filter photos to BOTH my friends and contacts for example). As its possible for you to miss some new photos by your contacts as they’ve gone out of the time range that Zipline is covering, there’s still a need for some of the old views in the previous version of Zooomr, so you don’t miss anything.

Zooomr: Discover 100

What else? Searching when geotagging is now much improved (it actually finds locations accurately without much bother, and it will make use of tags to help find landmarks if it can), camera information can be searched against (so you can for example find all photos taken with say, a Canon 5D), smartsets are now even smarter so you can now create automatically updated sets of your photos by camera information too (like this set I created of Canon 5D photos taken by my contacts and I), and lots of other little things that I’ve forgotten.

There’s still a lot coming back online though, some of the features of the old Zooomr haven’t returned just yet (viewing favourites, trackbacks, and photo exif information from pre-Mark II photos, being the most notable), but there’s a lot to really like already about this new version of Zooomr, and a good future ahead too. Kristopher is at the moment still bringing new servers online, but the speed of the site is getting better all the time (the first day or two had been rather slow but today its been mostly great), and I’m looking forward to seeing everything being finished.

The launch of an open API for Zooomr soon should hopefully blow the site wide open for some great applications much as the API for flickr has done. It should also allow for an easy upgrade path if you should choose to move from flickr to Zooomr (hopefully moving your photos and tags for you), but that really depends on flickr providing Zooomr with a commercial api key to do so. Fingers crossed.

During one of the many times during the ustreamed launch of Zooomr Mark III that Thomas was taking questions, I asked him if with this release we’d be seeing the end of these Mark releases full of tons of features, in favour of regular new additions. With it being nine months since the last change to Zooomr (other than the unlimited storage of course in March), and a fair bit of downtime involved in these upgrades, I hoped to hear Zooomr would be swinging the way of regular smaller updates. Lucky for all Zooomr users then that the new architecture of Zooomr should leave things good to go for just that very thing, in fact Thomas hopes that every couple of weeks or so we could be seeing new features or tweaks appearing based on feedback from users and planned additions.

Later in the year one of those features will be the new Marketplace when you’ll be finally able to start selling your photos through Zooomr (and keep 90% of what you charge), so there’s plenty still in store.

Go Zooomr.

Zooomr starts to come back

Friday, June 1st, 2007

As mentioned the other day, Zooomr hit some hard times when their database server crashed. Well, now thanks to the combined help and generosity of Zoho (providing space in their data centre instead of the old, and other help), Sun Microsystems (loaning some high powered, high capacity servers), and Dell (who I take it fixed the controller problem on the database server), all the photos on the Zooomr Static server are now back up.

That means all the photos I’ve blogged here from Zooomr are now showing again, and also they now appear very quickly! The new data centre they’re using puts them on a much better fibre link, and that coupled with the Sun hardware hosting these photos seems to have had a dramatic affect.

The Zooomr site itself is still not back up, but that’s expected later today, and judging by things so far it’s going to be much quicker than it otherwise would have been. Very cloud has a silver lining, and it looks as though Zooomr has come out very well from this one.

Zooomr Mark III – the longest, friendliest, yet brief launch

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

Zooomr.com

I first wrote about Zooomr back in October, having just discovered it as the photo sharing site of choice for my photos. Since then I’ve uploaded a lot of my own photos, as well as favourited and commented on a ton of great photos I’ve come across whilst browsing Zooomr. It’s a site that suits me down to the ground already, the way it has trackback information on visits to my photos, the recent activity bar, the smartsets, and just the general good community there, all added up to a great site.

For the last week and a bit though, Zooomr has been offline whilst migration took place to the brand new version, dubbed Zooomr Mark III. Development on this version has been going on for the last nine months, and Kristopher Tate (Zooomr’s sole developer) has been hyping this release up for some time now. It’s been a rocky path, with the initial launch in March abandoned due to technical difficulties with their storage provider, forcing a rethink and rewrite of certain elements of the new Zooomr. This last week hasn’t been plain sailing either, with the relaunch originally expected to take 12-24 hours, but to say these guys have been honest and transparent about this new release and the problems encountered would be an understatement.

If you doubt how dedicated the people behind Zooomr are to what they’ve created, here’s a quick aside. During most of the downtime whilst Mark III was put in place, Kristopher Tate and Thomas Hawk were live on ustream.tv, so you could watch the upgrade such as it is, as it happened. They could’ve just left it at that as a bit of a novelty, but in the IRC chatroom created on ustream to go with this broadcast, both Kris and Thomas were taking questions on the new release and what’s planned for the future. Whilst Kris was working away, Thomas would be answering question after question, and it really was an ingenius way to launch a new release. The people I’ve encountered there from the Zooomr community have been on the whole a great bunch, and it’s been a good opportunity to ‘talk photography’.

This morning, around the time I should have been ready to head out the door for work, the new Zooomr finally launched. Putting aside the need to be ready to catch a bus, I quickly set about discovering what was new. As it turned out though, I should have been quicker. Although there was a lot of new things there to play with, ten minutes into a new era in Zooomr, the database server died. Of all the rotten luck, the guys behind Zooomr really needed this to go well, and they were dealt another blow.

The upshot of all this is that the new Zooomr is ready, but Thomas Hawk and Kristopher Tate are currently having to work on repairing or replacing one of their servers before anybody can get at it. That also means the photos I’ve blogged here from Zooomr won’t show up for the timebeing. But with Robert Scoble putting a call out that so far seems to have shown interest from Sun and Zoho, things should with a little bit of luck be not far off Zooomr Mark III, Launch 2.

Canon finally notices Vista has come out

Monday, April 2nd, 2007

Burn O'Vat, DinnetBurn O’Vat, Dinnet Hosted on Zooomr

Since getting my Canon 5D, one thing that’s been really bugging me is the lack of Windows Vista support by Canon. Unlike everyone else that makes cameras, Canon don’t support the ability to just attach your camera and have it appear as a drive for transferring photos. No, they have their own WIA driver which apparently works okay in XP, but there had been no Vista release until now.

I wasn’t really bothered about the photo transferring aspect of things because I was just plugging my CF card into a USB card reader which is faster anyway, but I did want to have a play with Canon’s software that allows you to control the camera from the PC.

So, I was pleased to see today via the MSDN blog that a Canon RAW codec has been released for Vista (which allows the CR2 format to appear thumbnailed in a normal explorer window and be viewable in Windows Photo Gallery), and with it updates for all the various pieces of Canon software that previously only worked under XP, including a new WIA driver.

The Microsoft Photography Blog has a rundown of how to find the RAW codec, but you’ll also find the WIA driver for Vista by going to the same bit at Canon, along with other bits and bobs like the EOS Utility, which works a charm, controlling my camera from my PC was a novelty that took at least five minutes to wear off.

It shouldn’t really have taken Canon so long to get Vista support out, but at least when they did they covered everything, and it works. The photo above if you’re wondering is just a recent photo I took with my 5D, it’s an HDR shot made up of three exposures taken of the Burn O’Vat, Dinnet in the highlands of Scotland. It has very little to do with this post.

My first digital SLR

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

So back when I first posted about my photography in late October I was just starting out, seeing if it was something that really caught my interest. It didn’t take long for me to discover that I really enjoyed the experience, and as I got to know my camera (the Panasonic Lumix FZ-50) some of my shots started coming out closer to how I actually wanted them to look. The main thing (other than just getting out there and taking photos) that I can attribute to this becoming a passion of mine is actually Zooomr. The positive comments, and favouriting of my photos by many members of Zooomr over the last few months has given me that encouragement to keep at it. It’s a funny thing uploading photos to a site like that, you never know what photos are going to attract the most interest, and more often than not it’s the photos you almost didn’t put up at all that turn out to be the most popular. It’s also very inspiring seeing the diverse range of photos taken by Zooomr’s users around the world, I’ve built up a great set of favourites over the last few months.

But this post isn’t really about Zooomr, there will be plenty more of that very soon when Mark III comes out no doubt (although if you haven’t visited there recently, you might be interested to know that Zooomr now allows everyone unlimited uploads of their photos without any restrictions on resolution of photos). No, this post is more about the big step I’ve taken – to put aside my trusty FZ-50 and buy my first digital SLR.

Don’t get me wrong, the FZ-50 is a lovely camera, and I’ve been very pleased with the quality of the photos taken with it, but in situations where the light is low, moving up from ISO 100 gives some pretty noisy images. No, I wanted to go the SLR route, and give myself a far greater freedom and quality in my photos. I didn’t expect that the decision on what SLR to go for would be so difficult, but it was. At an early stage I decided I’d go for either Nikon or Canon, they’re the top two choices in the camera world. Fine, but which of their cameras should I look at, and how much did I really want to spend? Initially I looked at the Nikon D80, and the Canon EOS 400D, they seemed to be around my price range, and are both very popular cameras from reading reviews and making use of flickr’s camera finder tools (Zooomr NEEDS this feature). They both seemed great, but I wanted something a bit more robust with a little more size and weight behind it. Which is the point at which my decisions became even harder.

Nikon have the D200 which by all accounts is a fantastic camera, and Canon has the EOS 30D. By the time I got to this stage though, I was erring towards Canon as my preferred option. They just felt like the sort of camera that made the most sense to me, and although I shouldn’t fall for it, Canon market their cameras in an attractive way that’s hard to resist. I handled both models in the local Jessops camera shop, and the 30D seemed like the gal for me. But it’s not as simple as that, because all the way through this search for my first SLR, I’ve been aware of the best option of all, the Canon EOS 5D. Handling wise, this camera’s pretty much identical to the 30D, there’s not much of a weight difference, and the body itself is essentially the same (although there are some different functions obviously). But where it really shines is in the full frame sensor, and large view finder. Almost all other SLRs use a cropped sensor which keeps the costs down but means that if you buy, say a 50mm lens you’re actually getting something more in the 80mm range because the image is cropped. I’m not very good at explaining this, so Google’s your friend if you don’t understand what I’m going on about, but essentially the 5D seemed capable of some truly high quality photos provided the photographer behind it can do his/her stuff obviously.

It’s not a cheap camera by any means, and going into this I didn’t intend to spend anything like that, but although people say you should buy a cheap camera body, and invest more of your money in the lenses, there was also a part of me that figured that down the line if ever I moved up to the full frame sensor, not all the lenses I’d bought would still be of as much use. I’ll go into my lens decision shortly, but basically if I’d gone for the 30D, I’d have probably bought the 10-22mm EF-S lens to get my wide angle shots when outside, and maybe a 35mm or 50mm prime lens for general shots, particularly of people. The 35mm or 50mm would have been to get the equivalent of a 50mm or 85mm lens, and although I could use them on a 5D or equivalent down the line, their purpose would have changed as a result. The 10-22mm would have been unusable later on, as Canon’s EF-S lenses are designed specifically for cropped sensor cameras, and will actually physically damage your camera if you were to try and push one on to a full frame.

No, in many ways the 5D seemed like the camera for me, and although I would still be spending a lot on lenses too, they’d be more likely to be with me for a long time to come (provided I don’t damage them). So, after a fortnight of deliberation and studying, I had decided on the actual camera. Good.

But what about the lens? Well, I’ve kind of touched on it a bit above, but this was also really difficult. Going into this, I needed to do quite a bit of research on the many varieties out there, just making sure I had a sound idea of what Canon’s huge number of lenses are capable of. To begin with I really wanted a wide angle lens (the wider the better) to get some cool perspective shots when roaming the countryside, and really anywhere outside. For that, the two choices were really the EF 16-35mm F/2.8L  and the EF 17-40mm F/4.0L, as I wanted something really wide, but that had a bit of flexibility. There’s not a huge difference in the actual range of these cameras, but the 16-35 is a faster lens. It’s also significantly more expensive than the 17-40 though, and there’s a new version of the 16-35 about to come out replacing it. I didn’t want to buy the 16-35 only to discover it had gone down significantly in price. The 17-40mm seemed like the perfect lense then, the F/4 wouldn’t be great for fast low light shots, but most of the shots I would take with it would be outside either in daylight, or on a tripod, so this wasn’t much of a factor.

I also wanted a lens for general photography, but which was good for portrait shots of people. I wanted a prime lens for that to get the highest quality, and fastest speed, and really I was deciding between the EF 50mm F/1.4 and the EF 85mm F/1.8. The 85mm is probably more suited to portrait shots, but the 50mm seemed like a nice fast lens to really cut my teeth on with my new camera, and down the line I may be tempted to buy the EF 135mm f/2L which Thomas Hawk (CEO of Zooomr) swears by.

As well as the 135mm, I also have my eye on eventually getting a Macro lens for some nice close up shots, but for now I had to stop somewhere, and the 5D with two lenses was burning a big enough potential hole in my pocket as it stood.

So, if you’re still reading, that’s exactly what I’ve bought. After some initial problems getting an untouched brand new 5D from Jessops (they only had one left and it had been on display, no thanks), one was sourced from the Inverness branch up north and sent down to Aberdeen for me to collect the very next day. So I bought both the 5D, 17-40 lens and a couple of UV filters from them last Friday. I bought the 50mm 1.4 online from cameras2u which is actually also a Jessops company but their price on that site is far cheaper than buying instore or from the Jessops website. I know not why.

Happy days. I had a great weekend getting to know my new toys, and although I don’t have any photos to show just yet, I think I’m getting the hang of it, and the various properties of the lenses I’ve bought. It’s a bit of tight squeeze getting the large 5D into the camera bag I’d bought previously for the FZ-50 (a Lowepro Slingshot 100AV, great bag but I think I need the 200AV to get more space), but other than that it’s been a fantastic camera to get to know. I think it’s going to be awhile yet before I’m as familiar with it as I’d become with the FZ-50, and certainly when I go and pick up my Panasonic it feels very light and tiny now, but the Canon controls seem really logical and easy to understand once you’ve had a quick squint at the manual. I think it’s going to be well used for many years (I can’t afford for it not to be!).

I thought it might be useful to list some of the sites that proved useful when trying to make all these decisions in case anyone happens upon this blog and is trying to research a digital SLR purchase. I should also say that really any of the cameras I mentioned are excellent, I just became really picky the more I looked into things, and ultimately the 5D was the right camera for me. Nothing beats going and actually just trying these cameras for yourself if you can, don’t blindly buy these things online!

Camera Decisions

thomashawk.com - Thomas Hawk’s the CEO of Zooomr, so obviously I’m interested in what he has to recommend. This is a link to his post back in November about what Digital SLR to buy. Great post, and some good follow on advice in the comments.

dpreview.com – There’s a ton of reviews and news on cameras here (not just SLRs either), and they’re very in-depth.

completedigitalphotography.com – Some of the reviews here comparing the Canon models with each other as well as a couple of the Nikon models were very good for helping me make my decision.

Photography BLOG - Lots more reviews (you can never have enough opinions) although they don’t go as deep as dpreview do (no bad thing necessarily).

cameralabs.com – A few good reviews of some of the cameras I was considering, and some lenses too. They also do some video reviews which nobody else seems to do for this kind of thing.

imaging-resource.com - And finally, yes – more reviews, but this lot let you compare cameras easily and offer some good advice depending on what you want from your camera.

flickr Camera Finder – If you want to know what the most popular cameras out there are, and see shots taken with them, this is a great place to look. I said it earlier, but Zooomr could really do with this feature too.

Lens Decisions

thomashawk.com – Again, Thomas Hawk has a great post about what lenses are in his bag which I found useful when deciding on what Canon lenses to go for (I couldn’t afford to exactly follow his advice, but it was useful nonetheless).

FM Reviews - Thousands of user reviews for each and every lens out there (whatever the manufacturer). There’s camera user reviews too, but I really just used this site to try and get an overall idea for what each lens was capable of.

Flickr Canon DSLR User Group – This one is Canon-specific so really belongs below, but once I had decided on Canon as my camera, it really helped seeing what others had done with a given lens.

the-digital-picture.com - And another Canon-specific link, but this site has reviews of all the various Canon lenses as well as an overview of the Canon Lens series.

Canon Specific

Canon Digital Learning Centre - Run by Canon, but there’s a lot of good information and tutorials on the EOS series of cameras here.

Canon EF Lens Work III Book - This is a great find, there’s links to all the PDFs that make up the Canon EF Lens Work III book which covers all the Canon lenses and provides advice on how to make the most of them. Can’t remember how I discovered this, but it took me a bit to find the link again just now having saved out the pdfs a couple of weeks back!

 

And finally, if you’re based in the UK, the best site for finding a good deal on cameras, lenses, memory cards, bags etc is camerapricebuster.com which pointed me in the right direction without me having to do all the hard work – it’s basically a price comparison site specific to cameras. I’ll leave you with the final photo I took with my Panasonic Lumix FZ-50, and probably the last from that camera that will appear on Zooomr. Lovely :)

Ben Mark IIBen Mark II Hosted on Zooomr

Glasgow’s miles better

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006
BBC Scotland's new HQBBC Scotland’s new HQ Hosted on Zooomr

I spent the last weekend in Glasgow catching up with friends (I did my Computing Science BSc at Glasgow University) and relatives. During the day on Saturday though, I decided to hit the town, and not long later got pretty fed up of pushing through the many Christmas shoppers. As I had my camera with me, I decided to head over to the banks of the River Clyde via Exhibition Centre train station. I was hoping to try and get some photos of the river and the various new buildings and bridges that the area now offers. Things have changed quite dramatically round there in a relatively short timeframe, it’s no longer the wasteland it once was, despite what Google Maps would maybe have you believe.

A couple of hours later, I came away cold but with a full 2Gb SD card of RAW images. I’d ended up being joined by about four other photographers as we all tried to get the best shots from both sides of the river, and on all three of the closest bridges, as the sun went down.

If you’re interested, I’ve put ten of these shots (I’m not going to bore you with all the photos I took) up on Zooomr. I’ve made use of Zooomr’s Portals to link the photos to each other (try clicking through to Zooomr on the above image and hovering your cursor over the photo when its finished loading), but as well as that, the collection is bundled up in a Zooomr set of Glasgow.

The above shot is of the new BBC Scotland building, which they’ll be moving into early next year. There were engineers up on the roof fiddling with the satellites when I was there, but much of the building still looks to be pretty empty. What it does offer for now though is some really nice reflections of the surrounding area, hence the photo.

Microsoft’s Photosynth

Thursday, November 9th, 2006

Some months ago, Microsoft’s Live Labs showed off a rather cool application they’re working on, called Photosynth.

Photosynth is basically a new way to view your photos – you give it lots of photos you’ve taken of a given area, it creates a 3D area within which you can then view your photos (after much processing, trying to find landmarks), and then you’re able to kind of look around and see the photos you took in a given direction. It’s difficult to describe (so take a look at the videos on the Photosynth site), but if they pull it off – it will be truly fantastic.

The reason I’m posting about it now though (other than I didn’t have a blog back then), is that Microsoft just released a Technical Preview of Photosynth, which if you have Internet Explorer 6 or 7 handy you can give a try. The team introduce it on their blog.

Microsoft Photosynth - Screenshot 1Microsoft Photosynth - Screenshot 2Microsoft Photosynth - Screenshot 2

The Technical Preview doesn’t let you add your own photos, but instead lets you navigate through some of their’s to see what it’s like – they’ve provided four different collections of photos in different places, to play with. I have to say, it’s really quite a nifty system, takes a bit to get your barings with regards to looking around, but as soon as you do – it’s quite an intuitive way to look at photos. For an early preview, and for something that’s currently browser-based, it’s all very smooth to move around and view these photos. You can also jump between a 3D view, and what’s called the ‘Similarity View’, the later of which is worth playing with if only to see the way all the photos jump up in the air when you click on them, hours of fun!
The possibilities into the future to look at other people’s photos too in the same place you’ve taken some, particularly if you’re trying to work out where a photo you’ve taken was, and even to eventually have a world of photos knitted together, is I have to say, quite exciting. If Microsoft continue to fund this project, the end result could well be worth all the effort.

To flickr or to zooomr

Sunday, October 29th, 2006

A few weeks back I decided to upgrade my digital camera from my trusty Sony DSC-P52 (simple, small, and served me well for a few years) to a Panasonic Lumix FZ50 (not quite a digital SLR, but it’s a lot closer to a ‘proper’ camera).

I’ve been wanting to try my hand at having more control over the photos I take, and this camera appealed to me – it’s a couple of versions newer than the FZ20 my brother owns which seemed a pretty nice camera. Anyway, I won’t bore you too much more on this, suffice to say – I’ve been taking a lot of photos and trying to read up on what all the controls I now find myself with, actually do. Oh, and I’ve been taking my photos in RAW and fiddling with them mainly in the beta of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (pretty nifty).

Why I’m writing this post though is more about where I put the photos I take, once I’m ‘happy’ with them. Obviously, flickr’s the first port of call for most photographers, and as I’ve had an account there for over a year, I put up some of my initials shots from when I was in London last month. Everybody uses flickr right, so why use anything else?

Well, flickr to me seems a little clunky in places – I think as it’s spawned new features it’s maybe become a lot less usable. A case in point, I knew that flickr did Geotagging (marking on a map where you took the photo), but it took me far too long to figure out where I could actually do this. Even once I did, the unfortunate side effect of flickr being owned by Yahoo is that the maps they use are Yahoo’s – the detail in the UK is pathetic at best.

Enter zooomr. I’ve been aware of them for a fair bit of time. Being a regular reader of Scobleizer, and as a result now a keen watcher of some of the ScobleShow, or more specifically the fantastic Photowalking series, I’ve heard quite a lot about it. Anytime I’ve seen links of people’s photos leading back to zooomr, I’ve been taken with how nicely laid out and feature-filled it all looked.

So I signed up the other day, and then the whole site died. This hasn’t softened my enthusiasm for the site though, in fact reading the blog over the last three days as the site came back up, only proved to me that zooomr has been put together with some real dedication by the folks in charge, who seem very passionate about what they’re doing. Besides, this thing is still in beta (along with a heck of a lot of the rest of the Web 2.0 world). So, today when the site was fully available again, I uploaded my first photo – one I took at Edinburgh Zoo last week during some downtime whilst in Edinburgh on business. And what a nice experience it was too. Uploading was simple, geotagging was easy and used Google Maps (I could find the zoo!), and everything just clicked together in a clean, efficient way.

Sea Lion at Edinburgh ZooSea Lion at Edinburgh Zoo Hosted on Zooomr

I have to say, this first experience certainly doesn’t make me want to go running back to flickr – I can see zooomr becoming my main (possibly only) place to upload my photos. Sure my photos won’t look that great, but at least the site they’re on is kind of cool :) . Go read their description of the site’s features and their FAQ, and get started.

A quick disclaimer if I might: I did spend some time this afternoon trying to work out how to sign up to an unrestricted upload Pro account (much like flickr has if you can find it). There’s a link in the My Account section of zooomr that goes nowhere, but a quick Google search eventually showed me that these guys are (at least for now) giving Pro accounts away for free if you blog about them. Was I going to blog about this site anyway? Yes. Did the thought of a free Pro account make me be even nicer about them than I would otherwise have done? No, but it helped. Would I have paid money for a Pro account? Yes, and I will when that day comes (I presume it will eventually). Is this a cunningly excellent move on their part? Absolutely.