Wednesday, April 6, 2011

2,000,000 Hits - My Latest Flickr Milestone

Almost two months ago, in this post with some photos I took of Venice, I mentioned my anticipation that I was approaching 2 million hits for my Flickr account. Well, as I write this I actually only have 1,995,114, but that's close enough that one big day, or two just above average days, will push it over, and as I have very busy days both today and tomorrow, I thought I should go ahead and write this post (but I will have 2 million before I actually hit the post button - in fact, I have 2,000,036 - it took two additional days from when I first wrote this...).

This is my third milestone post. The first two were at 500,000 hits, on May 4th, 2009, and 1 million hits, on January 3rd, 2010. It's been a long time! I took me from May, 2007 - when I started my account - until May, 2009 to get my first half million hits (2 years); then it took only another 8 months to get my second half-million, and now it's taken 15 months to get my second million - so things haven't actually sped up much since the first million, though I've noticed that the last couple months I've been getting more hits per day. I took a hit in the fall, when I switched the entire collection from a Creative Commons license to an All Rights Reserved license.

So! Ultimately, these dedication posts are about how much I like statistics and how numbers make me feel good, and this one will be no different. It's numbers time!! Note that all comparisons are to the January, 2010 benchmarks unless otherwise specified. :)

I've currently got 43,393 photographs up on Flickr (up from 34,386). Of these, 10,990 are unlabeled (25.3%). While that's way more unlabeled that I'd like to see, it's actually not bad as a trend over time - when I last updated, 30.8% were unlabeled - and I've been really trying to get stuff labeled over the past few months, by not uploading anything without labeling it almost immediately (though I've slipped the last couple weeks - I'll be "caught up" again soon.) That means that, strangely, most of the photos that are unlabeled are actually the same photos that were unlabeled in Jan, 2010 - shots from the trips I took in 2009, especially, when I was down and unmotivated and just didn't keep on top of the labeling well. A further perk of eventually getting this done is that many of the unlabeled photographs are shots of the labels of other unlabeled photographs, and the labels I'll get to delete; I'd estimate I actually have somewhere between 6,000 and 7,000 photos to label (still a daunting load!)

In terms of what I photograph, I'd say there hasn't been any significant shift. The only real addition to my repertoire has been a growing tendency to take long walks during interesting weather conditions for the express purpose of taking photos. This has resulted in some of my best work (in my opinion), such as shots I took of the blizzard we had on 12/26/2010, and my attempt to capture fall colors at the New York Botanical Gardens on 10/23/2010. However, other than that it's still a random mix of things I've done (like the Macy's parade or baseball games), places I've gone (Italy and Paris since the last update), and lots and lots of museums and cultural institutions. The Metropolitan Museum of Art remains the solid leader in terms of "most photographs I've taken at one place." The Metropolitan Museum of Art tag is one of my single most used, and 3,671 of my shots have it (which is less than the actual number of pics from there, as some old sets still don't have the tag.) This is 700 pics more taken there than at the last update! It's bizarre that I still find things there to take pictures of. (though they do rotate what's on display, and I have re-taken some shots...)

My three largest sets are all unlabeled museum sets - which means they're probably not actually my largest sets, because once I've finished putting the labels in and deleted the photos of the museum labels, the sets will be smaller. All three are sets from Paris, two from the same trip! Indeed, it was entirely an arbitrary decision to make this set and this set, both taken at the Louvre only four days apart, in to separate sets. If they were combined, they'd be not only my largest set unlabeled, but my largest set even when they were labeled! Combined, they have 1942 pictures. The third set was at least from a different trip, 801 shots at the Musee de l'Armee. My largest labeled set, on the other hand, is one that I touted as my largest unlabeled set when I last wrote - the Art Institute of Chicago, with 762 pictures. I'd been to the Institute twice before, but both times events had conspired to result in my not having any photographs of the trip (for example, the second time was part of a larger trip that lasted about two weeks, on the last day of which my camera was stolen without my having downloaded a single shot from the whole two weeks - I was more disappointed to lose my pics of my mother's birthday than those from the museum, though). Second biggest labeled set is from the Met, and the third is from my first visit to the National Museum of Natural History (the trip before I squee-ed and acted like a moron upon the discovery that there were fossils from the Burgess Shale there). Yeah, I'm a huge geek. :)

So...what photos do people actually look at? Well, probably unsurprisingly, virtually all of my most viewed images are actually scans/photos of items in my anime and manga collection, especially the doujinshi (short fan-drawn fan fic manga that I collect). For example, this cute shot from a Card Captor Sakura doujin called "Febrilement" has the most hits in my entire collection. The runner up shows Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy kissing. :) However, ignoring the scans/photo hits, here are my shots with the most hits! The below also gives their "actual rank" (what place their in if I didn't omit the manga/anime) and the rank they had last time (most of these shots were in the old top ten, too).

1. Cosplayers doing Nami and Sanji from "One Piece"

I guess it makes sense that my number one images after the manga stuff is...basically also manga stuff. :) I saw these two cosplayers in Japan outside of Senso-ji. They really look just like the characters. Actual rank: 4; Old Top Ten Rank: 1

2. Ms. Marvel, Daredevil and Spiderman

And also unsurprising that my second is three of the best American cosplayers I've ever seen, at Gencon a few years ago (they were actually on Marvel's payroll). Actual rank: 5; Old Top Ten Rank: 2

3. Bed Bug Bites

That's my arm. So, when I got these bites, I tried to find good pictures of bed bug bites on the web, but I couldn't - every shot I found was of an extreme case, not a regular case, which made self-diagnosis impossible. I ended up dropping $300 at a crappy neighborhood clinic. Boo. So I took this shot, and since then lots of sites about bed bugs have linked to it. Go fig! Actual rank: 6; Old Top Ten Rank: n/a

4. Reticulated Python

One of the largest python skeletons ever preserved, I gather. Actual rank: 20; Old Top Ten Rank: 3

5. House of Mirrors

Actual Rank: 24; Old Top Ten Rank: 5

6. Armor of Henry II of France

This shot got linked to from some Japanese blog, and has gotten lots of hits ever since.
Actual Rank: 40; Old Top Ten Rank: 9

7. Mystique Costume. Only my contacts can see this shot of the original costume Mystique wore in the X-Men movies. I took it at an exhibit where photography wasn't permitted, and about two years ago I developed some morals and decided to no longer publicly share shots I took under such conditions. However, before I locked it off, it got a lot of hits, and those hits have kept it in the top 10 of all three of my posts! But it's slowly slipping in rank. Actual Rank: 45; Old Top Ten Rank: 4

8. Armor or a Man and a Horse

No idea why this shot is getting so many hits. Probably that Japanese blog post I mentioned links to it. Actual Rank: 54; Old Top Ten Rank: n/a

9. Native American Tools

Actual Rank: 61; Old Top Ten Rank: 7

10. An Old Bachelor (Singing Lesson)

Actual Rank: 62; Old Top Ten Rank: n/a

So there are a few new pics in there, but mostly it's the same old. For reference, the Nami and Sanji pic has 5,073 hits; the Old Bachelor has 1,251, and my actual number 1 has 8,786 hits, so that gives you the range. It's not that my shots that are the best get the most hits. Instead, it's mostly getting discovered that does it. For example, someone popular who I've never heard of wrote a blog post that linked to the Old Bachelor, and it got like 600 hits in two days. That kind of event is what pulls up photos, not their quality. Overall, 1,731,153 of my views have been to individual photos (as opposed to sets, which have gotten 101,526 views; collections, which have gotten 5,681 views, and my "home page," which has gotten 161,676 views), an average of 40 views per shot, but 6,538 of my shots have NEVER been viewed. On the other hand, 104 of my shots have more than 1000 views. The whole collection usually gets between 2000 and 2500 hits a day, though some days get as low as about a thousand, and other days I break 4,000 (though not that often).

What comes next? Well, when I wrote the 1 million hit post, I really wanted to start selling cards on Etsy, and I had the idea that if I could sell 300 cards, I could buy a new camera. I started selling cards later that same month, and I still haven't sold 300, but I've made a (very) modest profit. I ended up having to buy the new camera anyway, when the lens on my old camera jammed on opening day last year - I paid for the new one by trading in all the change I had saved for the previous two years, which ended up covering half the purchase price. I love my current camera, though it took some getting used to. Re-organizing my Flickr account is something I've really wanted to do, and just haven't found the time. It'll be a huge job, and it's hard to motivate for it before everything is labeled. I'd love to get it organized thematically instead of (or perhaps as well as) chronologically, so that someone who wanted to see all of the 17th century Dutch art I've photographed wouldn't have to navigate my tag system to do it. But I haven't quite figured out how to organize this yet, so it continues to linger as a side project I'd like to complete. But for now, I'd be happy just to catch up on the labeling. :)

As for what I'll photograph next, there are three particular photography opportunities I'm looking forward to in my future.
1. Baseball season! We have really good seats this year (and paid a bunch for them!) and we've got tickets to 18 games (though I already can't go to one or two) so there will be lots of baseball photographs this year! Home opener is on Friday, I can't wait!
2. Bali! A friend is getting married in Bali in mid-May, and I'll be there from May 12th - May 19th or so. Oh, there will be so many pictures of this trip. :)
3. Bull Run Sesquicentennial! July 21st is the 150th anniversary of the battle of Bull Run, the first large battle of the American Civil War. I'm a huge Civil War buff, and over that weekend (July 23rd - 24th) there will be a re-enactment of the battle featuring about 15,000 men. I think that's super awesome, and I'm definitely going, and looking forward to pics.
But in the end, it's the trips I don't expect that often produce my best shots. There's the NYBG Orchid Show to visit, and Maryland Sheep and Wool, and there's always the Metropolitan Museum of Art.... :)

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