If you post rugby photographs on the internet and if they're good enough to get any attention at all, it's going to be from two groups of people: those keen on photography and those who like rugby. Yes, there are some who might fall into both camps (I'm one of them actually) but generally speaking they are two distinct sections, each looking for different aspects. Now the photographing advice community will always say, 'Only show your very best photographs. Don't compromise. If you return home with only one good image out of 600, then only show one. If none of them pass the test, don't post any. Your rugby fans however, are interested in the game. They're more forgiving from a photographic point of view. As long as you've got the action in frame and it's reasonably in focus, they're happy. Of course, they'll recognise that some are better than others but they still want to see the rest.
ickledot's got into the habit of adopting a policy that should keep everyone happy. It doesn't mean abandoning editing altogether of course. Still only the best get through. But usually it's the best 30 or 40 rather than the best 1 to 6. The wider best - the long list - are posted to Flickr, in a set or album, with a brief description of the match. If there happens to be a good one among them - a real favourite - this is uploaded to 500px.
And so it was with the picture above. As the title, 'Going Down The Outside', suggests, it's a Harrogate attack close to the touchline, with outside flanker and coach, Kerry Wood, in possession. Facing him is Huddersfield scrum half, Dan Jeffrey. Not too long into the second half, a period when ickledot had moved away from a first half position at one end of the field to the sidelines. As it happened, for this shot the position was perfect. Because it was so close to the meat of considerable action, it had to be favourite for the week. There was another, a split second later - the tackle - but not quite in focus.
So 'Going Down The Outside' was uploaded to 500px. Believe me, there are some fantastic photos on this site. Some really accomplished people posting there. While ickledot's had a certain level of appreciation, there's never been a dramatic reaction to one of his images. Until last night. As with most social media, 500px allows one to control notifications - one can have an email sent if a person reacts to an image. Yesterday evening the desktop email suddenly began to ping with regularity. Once a TV programme had finished, emails were checked and there were ten or fifteen, all from 500px (and so they continued, through the night, all day). On looking at comments beneath the picture on the site, I read the message: "very dynamic shot where you can really feel the sheer force of this sport. Congrats for the Editor's Choice."
Now, this was very pleasing but I'd no idea at all how many people take notice of such things. The most dramatic element to all this was ickledot's follower figure on 500px going from around 45 to over 500 (and still coming) in just 24 hours. There was also a host of postings on Twitter from all around the world, and retweets …
Interestingly, although over 2500 people have viewed the picture, a relatively small proportion have actually liked or favourited it, so its 500px 'pulse' has remained around 85 while many others on view are nearer to the ultimate 99.9 (nothing ever reaches the perfect 100). To be honest, ickledot really doesn't mind. To have someone with responsibility for the site (and also a great photographer) select one's image for special recognition is very, very pleasing.
So it just goes to show. On 500px at least, there are real people in charge, watching out for images they like. And the ones they choose don't always have the highest score. Next, it could be one of yours!
Maybe be the last posting before Christmas. You and yours - have a good one!