A pledge to the world: I will get a photo on Flickr’s Explore by the end of the year

Mount Rainier

As some of you ¬†know, I’ve recently started taking photos more enthusiastically. I’ve always been half-heartedly interested in this stuff, but eventually I bit the bullet and bought a Nikon D40 for $260 and a couple of lenses for another $400. Those of you who have already looked at my photos will be aware that they’re not, by and large, very good. Hey. I’d probably have spent the money on beer otherwise.

Honda S2000 at Pacific Raceways

One of the more fun things about getting involved in photos has been getting involved in Flickr. Whenever I look at my photos on Flickr I can see how many views they have had, who added them as favourites, et cetera. As always with new hobbies (or dental mouth guards), I discovered that everyone I knew was already doing this Flickr thing.

Moorgate tube station

And what was the great achievement that a Flickr photographer should aspire to? Ahah! That will be getting on “Explore“. Explore is a collection of the most interesting photos on Flickr – they take a thousand per day, I believe. The picking algorithm is kept a closely-guarded secret by Flickr staff. Of all my photography-enthusiast chums, I believe only two of them (Dougerino and AlexBrn) have gotten a photo onto Explore. There’s no way, therefore, that I am going to get into Explore by using my raw photography talent.

I decided, instead, to work out what the algorithm was. That seems like something I’d be better at. Well, after nothing more scientific than a couple of hours of buggering about refreshing the Explore page, I can officially announce here that I’ve got it sorted out. I am going to go out and deliberately take a picture that will get on Explore. I even have a pencil drawing of a couple of possible variants, and a prop set aside.

Why haven’t I done it yet? Well, obviously I wanted to make the prediction first, dimmy, as it otherwise wouldn’t make any sense.

Also I am not going to take it until the end of October, when I will have two more required props at hand. I will post this photo on Flickr sometime around the 5th of November, after which it will get into Explore. If it’s not in by the end of the year, I will be willing to call this prediction a failure.

More to come, of course, but the gauntlet is laid down. It’s on, Flickr. It’s on.

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7 Responses to A pledge to the world: I will get a photo on Flickr’s Explore by the end of the year

  1. Ant says:

    Good idea, but do remember not to return to it after it’s lit :)

  2. Alex Brown says:

    Chris hi

    You should definitely check out Scout (and its FAQ) at bighugelabs.com

    I believe in the old days somebody gamed the interestingness algorithm to get a blank image into Explor, but Flickr have been tweaking the algorithm over time to prevent such japes, so I’ll be impressed if you manage.

    The chief factor seems to me to be rate of favoriting from strangers (i.e. not contacts). A string of these (5+ say) in quick succession will get you into Explore IME; staying in Explore is then a matter of having an image striking enough in thumbnail size to attract more views/comments/faves. If an image doesn’t get into it’s Explore for that day within the first 48 hours, I think it probably never will.

    Good luck!

    – Alex.

  3. Doug Mahugh says:

    That’s a good point about the thumbnail appeal. It has to be a shot that invites clicks when viewed at that size.

    Appropos of nothing, but slightly related, here’s a Scotland photo currently on Explore that I really like: http://www.flickr.com/photos/billycurrie/5017526755/

  4. Flavia Martins says:

    Must be fun sorting out algorithms like that 9if only I knew how to do it…).

    Anyway… Your blog posts rock. I have a real laugh with the newsletters from your slang dictionary, so I decided to check your blog out. It was worth it :)

  5. Check out my photostream if you like. I have several in EXPLORE.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/rosyrosie2009/

  6. Char1ieJ says:

    Explore on Flickr is pure nonsense. I recently saw a photo that had SIX views, ZERO faves and ZERO comments make it into Explore. OTOH, I have an image with 15000+ views and it never made Explore. The algorithm is sheer fiction. Explore is prolly no more than a flunky intern sitting at a desk picking out random photos every few minutes and adding them to the list. I mean, have you ever looked at some of the junk that makes Explore?
    Don’t get me wrong, I love Flickr. I visit every day, upload photos, fave photos, participate in groups and other activities. Flickr is GREAT! However, I put ZERO belief or reliance on Explore.

    BTW, feel free to drop by my Flickr page and drop me a comment when your purposed inclusion in Explore is successful.

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