Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Just a blip

100 days ago my dad introduced me to a website called "blipfoto".

Actually that's not true, 100 days ago I decided to follow my dad and sign up to blip, after he kept sending me links to it with either his photos on it or other people's.

The premise is this;
  • You take a photo and you post it on the site under your name/pseudonym/whatever.
  • The photo has to have been taken on that day, you can't store up loads of good ones to post at your whim, that's cheating.
  • You can "backblip", if you're away on holiday (or just too idle to post) but have photos from those days you can input them. Cameras are dead clever these days, the images all have times and dates attached (even if you don't think they do) so you can't cheat the system*.
  • People subscribe to your "photo journal" if they like what they see and read (some blippers write lots, treating the blip site like a journal cum blog, some write nothing).
  • Some blippers are seriously talented artists and photographers, others just enjoy it, most blips are accompanied by a description of what equipment was used (another technical tag) sometimes it's some fancy, schmancy SLR, often it's just an iphone.

So, over 100 days ago I started looking at this website and decided that I wanted to play along. For as long as I've known him, my dad has been an amateur photographer, our holiday photos were usually slides, the downstairs loo could also function as a darkroom and Monday evenings were always spent at the Redditch Camera Club.

I was reasonably artistic at school and enjoyed taking photographs first with an old camera and then with the Pentax I had for my 21st birthday. At work people used to complain that my holiday photos were of landscapes or chateaux, rarely of people, until we had children that is. And gradually my photographic urge was subsumed by the need to document our children's lives.

Thanks to blip I have "permission" to be artistic again (well, to try anyway) and cameras have moved on a lot in the years I've been away, no longer do I have to worry about shutter speed and focal lengths, or buying film and processing it, and there are lots of cool apps to tweak photos with, and by this I don't mean that I subscribe to the desire to photoshop everything into perfection, but rather that there are ways of fiddling with photos so that the colours are changed or the clarity is altered, it's great fun.

I started out taking my blips with either my iphone or my ipad, often when I'm out and about with the dog my phone is all I'll have with me but this became more and more restrictive.  Then on holiday I admired a friend's rather smart SLR and Simon clearly saw me turn a rather unattractive shade of green and decided that his problem of what to get me for an anniversary present had been solved.

Ironically today's "blipday"** photo was taken with my ipad and then tweaked with an app called "snapseed" (just a bit of cropping and fuzzying of the edges), I like it.

One of the other great things about blipping is that you "meet"*** people from all around the world and get to experience their world, it's amazing seeing pictures of beaches in New Zealand's winter whilst sitting in our European summer, for some reason I seem to stumble over people from the UK, Norway and New Zealand, not found many Americans yet, I've even found another British expat living in Germany, bizarre huh?

When I first started I did wonder if I could keep it up, a photo a day, it takes thought and effort.  I did miss most of the time I was in Spain, mainly because the internet connection was so rubbish and I couldn't be bothered to backblip (lazy, I know) but I've done 100 blips now and am looking forward to the next 100, so I guess it's not just a blip!

* well, you probably can, but I'm so technologically stunted I'd have to ask my teenage son for help on that.
** blippers celebrate all the 100's as far as I can see and the years too.
*** virtually that is, although some blippers do organise get togethers...

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