Gigha photos

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Douglas Wilcox
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Gigha photos

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Mon Jun 16, 2003 5:09 pm

Gigha photo gallery, including these examples, now posted.

www.gla.ac.uk/medicalgene...a_jura.jpg

www.gla.ac.uk/medicalgene...sunset.jpg

Full Gigha photo gallery at:

www.gla.ac.uk/seakayaking_gigha.htm

Since I started posting on this discussion board, the traffic on my site has increased. Google has picked this up:

www.google.com/search?sou...king+photo

Many thanks everyone.
Douglas

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MikeB
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Gigha

Post by MikeB » Mon Jun 16, 2003 5:25 pm

Stunning Douglas! Very jealous - the beach/fire/mountains just about captures the essence of what its all about!

mIKE.

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Douglas Wilcox
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essence of sea kayaking

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Mon Jun 16, 2003 5:38 pm

Thanks Mike,
Alick, my brother, who last kayaked 30 years ago borrowed my pal Mike's boat "Valda". He was so impressed that he is going to get one, he has even considered selling his 2002 Honda Fireblade, or his 13 year old spaniel who is worth a lot of money considering the vet's fees.

My pal Mike better be having a good time WW in the French Alps or he will be sick as a fulmar at having missed the trip!

Douglas

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Mark R
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Re: Gigha photos

Post by Mark R » Mon Jun 16, 2003 6:14 pm

Fantastic.

The campfire photo is interesting....I was reading a beginner's guide to composition yesterday, and there was a section on symmetry which you also seem to have read!

Inspiring shots - still waiting to hear how you take photos on the water and what gear you use.


-----------Mark Rainsley

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Jim
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Re: Gigha photos

Post by Jim » Mon Jun 16, 2003 7:06 pm

" The campfire photo is interesting....I was reading a beginner's guide to composition yesterday, and there was a section on symmetry which you also seem to have read!"

Yup, Douglas is a fantastic photographer! I better not let my pals find his site because they still think the photos I take are amazing :-)

As for the composition it works in so many ways. Mark has noted the symmetry about the campfire and the Paps of Jura, but you'll notice that the photo isn't split in two by it's own symmetry. It still has key features positioned roughly at the thirds - the beach and Jura vertically, and the 2 paddlers horizontally. Throw in a diagonal line to the beach to add interest and lead the eye, and the log on the left for the same effect and all it needs is the right lighting - which was just a case of being ready early and waiting for that fantastic result (actually luck applies to the lighting to an extent but even so - wow!).

All I need to do is consider all those sorts of elements when I'm out "in the field" - I can usually get a few at the same time :-)

JIM

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Douglas Wilcox
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composition

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Mon Jun 16, 2003 10:55 pm

As far as composition is concerned the rule of thirds is a great place to start but I prefer the golden section which is just a little more subtle

www.mcs.surrey.ac.uk/Pers...t.html#art

If I do not get it quite right in the camera I will quite happily crop the picture to get the proportions right. This is an advantage of breaking the rule about filling the frame with the subject. Despite the mathematical origins of the golden section, I just do it by eye.

Once you have got that sorted then you can be creative and break the formula as long as it produces a pleasing result.

www.gla.ac.uk/medicalgene...sunset.jpg

Although this uses elements of the golden section the focal point is not the rather weak sunset but the fire. This is almost but not quite in the middle of the horizontal plane of the pic. You sit round a fire, the fire is in the centre. Architecture is a branch of art that features symmetry. I suppose the symmetry of the two figures might represent the fact that they had made themselves at home in this environment, albeit only temporarily given the dying fire paralleling the setting sun. But at this moment they feel able to turn away from the fire representing their civilised day to day lives to face the raw natural environment. The viewer recognises the transient nature of the scene, the embers turning to ashes, they will be back at work on Monday.....


Did I think any of this when I took the snap? Of course not, I was there and snap!

Having got that off my chest, you do need to plan your shots, just a little.

www.gla.ac.uk/medicalgene...20329a.jpg

To get the conditions right for this shot you need the spring equinox to get the sun set in the gap in the hills, you need a high pressure system to build up the haze for about a week before hand and you need no wind. The geese winter on Loch Dee some years but not all and leave for Spitzbergen at the Spring equinox. Lastly the geese need to feel like doing a dusk patrolling of their territory.

Quite a tall order! I took this shot on 29/3/02. Prior to that the previous occasion everything was right was on 30/3/74. I had one transparency left and I missed the geese. Sometimes you need to be a little patient to get the shot.

"As sunset approached, the flight songs of skylarks and meadow pipits, which had accompanied our approach, faded and the only sound was the occasional honking of a solitary pair of greylag geese."

Thought for the day, when the grim reaper tolls, do you think you are going to remember what a great time you had at work......?

Douglas


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Douglas Wilcox
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dud link

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Mon Jun 16, 2003 11:09 pm

Sorry about dud link above,
Gigha Gallery is at

www.gla.ac.uk/medicalgene..._gigha.htm

Douglas

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Jim
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Re: composition

Post by Jim » Mon Jun 16, 2003 11:46 pm

"Did I think any of this when I took the snap? Of course not, I was there and snap!"

Of course, but as I suspected you have many years of taking photographs and knowing what works consigned to your subconscious to help you get it pretty well right when you press the button.

"Prior to that the previous occasion everything was right was on 30/3/74."

You clearly have the advantage of experience over me, I wasn't even born then!

I have seen some wonderful shots, and watched them disappear before I could set my camera up. An example would have been a dusky shot near Kernville last year - the sky was a deepening purple but would probably have exposed OK, I had mountains and right in the dip between them was the cresent moon. By the time I had the camera and tripod out of the car the moon was off centre, by the time I found a location where I could avoid foreground clutter it was gone. I hadn't even started to consider how to expose it!

Then there was my set up shot of the setting sun between the crossed paddles at Easter - I completely missed it, and the shots I did get of the sunset were nowhere near as good as Nigel's :-(

It's been said before but it's always worth saying again - sometimes the best composition is one that doesn't follow the rules. Often with paddling composition has to suffer in place of documentation - you just can't get the time or position to get the shot you would like (which is where cropping after the event can be useful).

Anyway, I like these discussions, makes me think of other things I could try - and sometimes I might just remember, or get the conditions to try them!

When I finally get my holiday 'snaps' together I'm making no apologies for the full frame near symmetrical shots of 3 different volcanoes. Unfortunately I couldn't get close enough to the 4th, if it's visible at all in the hazy shot I tried there will also be planes, tarmac and whatever was on the departure lounge window trying to steal it's thunder :-)

JIM

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Douglas Wilcox
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fleeting moments

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Tue Jun 17, 2003 10:28 am

Jim> "I have seen some wonderful shots, and watched them disappear before I could set my camera up."

I know exactly what you mean, I nearly missed this shot.

www.gla.ac.uk/medicalgene...unset2.jpg

The sun had long since gone down after a very dissapointing sunset behind Jura which is why I went for the campfire shot. All of a sudden a dying glow appeared high in the sky, it only lasted 45 seconds and my camera was way up the beach in the tent. I raced up, turned round and snapped this just before it died. I took it hand held, elbows braced against my chest.

I do not think a film camera would have been sensitive enough to capture the shot.


Here is another example up at Skye. We went into the pub in Sligachan on a grey, misty, low cloud evening. When we came out the cloud had rolled away leaving mist and moonlight over Marsco. I grabbed the camera and took a panorama hand held with my elbows on the car roof. Two minutes later and the mist rolled back and it was gone.


www.gla.ac.uk/medicalgene...nlight.jpg


Basically I just use point and shoot camera these days, I do not even know if my SLR batteries are OK! The results are goood enoughh to sell, my shots have been in TV adverts, poster campaign in record shops, CD cover,

images-eu.amazon.com/imag...ZZZZZZ.jpg

whisky labels and poster advertising, one due soon is for Taxicabs covered in 15 of my shots advertising Tiso outdoor shops in Dundee and Edinburgh, a "Scottish" credit card for MBNA in the states etc etc.

I have a suspicion that SLRs are a bit like male jewellery as far as landscape photography is concerned!

Thought for the day:

"Or like the snowfall in the river, a moment white then melts for ever." R. Burns


Douglas

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Re: Gigha photos

Post by Steve B » Tue Jun 17, 2003 11:56 am

Douglas> "Since I started posting on this discussion board, the traffic on my site has increased. Google has picked this up..."

I think it's the links in your posts which Google has picked up, not the traffic generated. This is a very popular site which gets high Google ranking because it's linked to from so many places and has loads of good content. By placing a link to your site in your own posts, Google interprets that as a high ranking site (this one) endorsing yours so you get a higher ranking too.

I don't know how much difference a few links from a single site can make, but it's likely to be of some benefit at least.

Steve B.

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MikeB
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Pics

Post by MikeB » Tue Jun 17, 2003 3:23 pm

" mist and moonlight over Marsco" - WOW!!! I have seen SO many shots from that position, but never one that captures the mood like that one!

At the risk of being cheeky, how would I go about getting a decent phot-quality print of that?

Mike.

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Getting your web site(s) to #1 in Google!

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Tue Jun 17, 2003 4:06 pm

Steve> I think it's the links in your posts which Google has picked up, not the traffic generated.

Hi Steve,

You are absolutely right about links making the internet work but Google has not yet indexed the pages on the eazyboard server that contain the links. There is also a new link on the main guidebook/trips/scotland page on the guidebook server but that has not been indexed yet either.

In fact no other web sites have linked to the "Scottish Sea Kayaking Photo Gallery" page since it or they were last indexed by google.(I was last indexed on 14/6/03, the "sea and surf" pages here were last indexed on 13/5/03, there is a knack in getting your pages more regularly indexed by Google, but I am not giving everything away just yet!)

www.google.com/search?sou...king%2Ehtm


So the high ranking must be generated in another way.

The internet works in a very funny set of ways. My main interest in Google rankings is to sell an MSc in Medical Genetics to students round the world. Try this:

www.google.com/search?sou...l+genetics

This brings £500,000 of business to the West of Scotland each year so websites are important!

My hobby is mountain photos:

www.google.com/search?sou...tain+photo

My work also involves creating a professional network of doctors interested in muscle, try this:

www.google.com/search?sou...le+network

These are all very general searches in other words I would expect a "Scottish Muscle Network Wilcox" string to come out near the top. "muscle network" or "sea kayaking photo" are very general searches and it is harder to come high with non specific key words.

The above sites are all highly ranked by Google. Coincidence, luck, accident or design?


So we need to understand how google works. I remember being surprised, when I updated my site on the Glasgow University server, that I could access the new page on my GU dialup connection but I might not see it for some days or even weeks if trying to access it from other ISPs eg Freeserve or BT Internet. The reason is that if a site is being accessed by a lot of an ISPs members it will save a copy of that site on its own server. The more popular a site is makes it more difficult to access the recent updates than on a rarely visited site.(Discussion boards tend not to be cached by ISPsfor obvious reasons, but are cached by Google.)

Google has the biggest WWW cache in the world with several copies of just about every www page stored on servers round the world.

My site takes 20,000 daily unique visits per month but only 1/10 of these reach the GU web server, the other 9/10 are accessed from caches. Google monitors these accesses and if visitors go in deeper than the home page this ups the Google ranking.

I only started the the sea kayaking page a few months ago and until now it only appeared in searches that were specific like "scottish sea kayaking "heads of Ayr" photo"

The reason it is moving up are many but, as mentioned above, not yet because of links. The main reason is because people have been going in to several layers of the site on pages that are cached and monitored by Google. A photo Gallery lends itself to that sort of exploration of its pages

Hope that has given anyone with a website some useful starters to become #1 with a GENERAL search in Google!

Douglas

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Douglas Wilcox
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Mist and moonlight over Marsco

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Tue Jun 17, 2003 4:22 pm

Mike, thanks for the comments, email me at the address on the website. I am a bit busy with exam marking just now but I will get you one when things eaze off.
Douglas

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Mark R
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Re: Mist and moonlight over Marsco

Post by Mark R » Tue Jun 17, 2003 4:40 pm

One thing I don't follow - given that your photo site has a distinct identity and large audience...

...why not have a distinct URL for it? The 'medical genetics' address is a bit offputting. My latest URL only cost £10 from http://www.freeparking.co.uk


-----------Mark Rainsley

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Re: Mist and moonlight over Marsco

Post by conoroneill » Tue Jun 17, 2003 5:18 pm

And domains are only £1.99 per year from: www.oneandone.co.uk

www.bristolcanoeclub.org.uk

Edited by: conoroneill at: 6/17/03 5:22 pm

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Re: Getting your web site(s) to #1 in Google!

Post by Steve B » Tue Jun 17, 2003 5:33 pm

Thanks for the insight Douglas. My work involves a fair bit of web site design, but not much on the search engine side other than the usual 'search engine friendly' features such as avoiding anything which relies on javascript for links to work. The unfortunate fact is that most of my customers will happily pay for conventional design work because they get something tangible at the end of it. They won't pay for me to spend time on faffing around with search engines. Yes, I know...

Steve B.

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Gigha a long way, but now on the to do list!

Post by andy » Tue Jun 17, 2003 7:23 pm

I must say I had not thought of paddling Gigha before but the bonfire shot, the camp site bay and the other photos truly look stunning. I note Douglas calls the camp site bay something that is not on the map, I've looked! This is probably just as well, I am definitly going despite the distance from up here in the North East, just hope a whole crowd of us do not decend at once! I have been a bit disappointed recently on the more popular kayak camp site locations further north. Either there is a big guided party on the site already or they have just been and burned all the driftwood. Even worse are sites with rubbish hidden under stones and smelly brown piles topped with pink tissue. I hope the latter groups were not guided parties. We all have a responsibility to leve the place pristine.
Andy

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Douglas Wilcox
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url

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Tue Jun 17, 2003 7:59 pm

Mark> ...why not have a distinct URL for it?

Excellent question Mark, again related to Google rankings. I am using the traffic generated in the medicalgenetics folder by the mountain photo gallery to up the rankings of my more serious pages. Google does not like aliases and searching deep within folders on web servers. I am lucky to have my files sitting in a folder only 1 down from the root directory of the web server. This is one of the reasons the Google bot indexes it so regularly.

Lastly having a distinct url is not going to make it any easier to find. Most people find a site using a search engine then bookmark it for return visits.

Douglas

Douglas

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Douglas Wilcox
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Gigha a long way, but now on the to do list!

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Tue Jun 17, 2003 8:05 pm

Andy> despite the distance from up here in the North East,

Excuse not good enough Andy! My brother Alick left Elgin at 8pm on Friday night. We left Glasgow for Gigha about 1130 on Saturday. Got back in Glasgow about 5 on Sunday and he was back in Elgin by 11 on Sunday.

Thanks for the comments.

Douglas

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Gigha photos

Post by Alec » Tue Jun 17, 2003 11:01 pm

Wow, more inspiration!! I have Douglas's campfire shot as my descktop on my PC. Clearly our next step is to go camping to really get the island atmosphere which I felt in that picture, I wish I could take pictures NONE of mine were any good, lots of grey with the occasional distant dot.
Alec

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