Archive for April 2007

Exploring Lake Merritt in Oakland

Grand Lake Theater of DreamsGrand Lake Theater of Dreams Hosted on Zooomr

My latest published photo shoot for San Francisco Magazine (in the current issue on newstands now) was Lake Merritt. Lake Merritt is truly one of the highlights of Oakland. Beautiful water, natural water fowl, and wonderful restaurants nearby. My favorite photographic gem of all though in this part of Oakland is the Grand Lake Theater. I sold a photo of the Grand Lake Theater once that they used in a Choice Hotels commercial. But I like the one above a lot more.

To check out all of my shots from this Lake Merritt shoot you can visit my Lake Merritt set on Zooomr.

The Future of Image Search Belongs to Social Search

MaryFone GirlDonna

[I’m CEO of Zooomr, we are building both a social based image search system as well as a stock photography platform]

Live Image Search advances | Larry Larsen | Channel 10 Larry Larsen over at Channel 10 blogs today about some recent enhancements that Microsoft has made to their image search technology and suggests that they have “greatly enhanced relevance,” and as such deserve a “day off.”

Unfortunately, I’m going to have to disagree. While I like the fact that Microsoft claims an increase in speed on how fast their images load, the relevancy of their results still pale significantly in comparison to what can be done with social search. This is not the first time that I’ve blogged about this and it won’t be the last. The future of image search very much belongs to social search.

What do I mean by this? Well, image search is one of the hardest types of search (audio and video aren’t so easy either). With text search, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft all have their proprietary algorithms where they look for text on a page, see who links to a page, etc. etc. words are in contrast to images much easier to figure out. If Mike Arrington is mentioned 40 times in a post by a highly ranked internet site, then the article probably has some authority to be placed in the results for an article about Mike Arrington.

But photos of Mike Arrington are a different matter. It is very difficult for image search engines to get at what’s inside a photo and how good a quality photo it is.

Accordingly, image search engines that rely solely on algorithms without any human filtering fall flat compared to results that are filtered through social networks.

To see what I mean lets look at some examples:

Mike Arrington, Flickr
Mike Arrington, “new and improved”
Mike Arrington, Yahoo Image Search
Mike Arrington, Google Image Search
Mike Arrington,

Summer, Flickr
Summer, “new and improved”
Summer, Yahoo Image Search
Summer, Google Image Search

(I particularly appreciated the relevance of that third row result on Flickr).

Brunette, Flickr
Brunette, “new and improved”
Brunette, Yahoo Image Search
Brunette, Google Image Search

(ok, so which would you like to date the most, isn’t the difference between Ask and Yahoo dramatic?)

Africa, Flickr
Africa, “new and improved”
Africa, Yahoo Image Search
Africa, Google Image Search

As you can see from the examples above, the higher quality, better caliber images generally come from Flickr. Flickr’s results are screened through their social network. The users validate which photos are best by their social activity around the photographs. Users also tag photos to better identify what’s inside the photo. Yahoo’s image search is largely the worst.

This is the future of image search. It is also, by the way, the future of the $2.5 billion stock photography market. Comparable searches between Getty Images, Corbis and Flickr would produce comparable results. This is why we are working on building the best stock photography search engine in the world on Zooomr right now. It will certainly have application for broader more generic public image search, but it most certainly will be the future of the stock photography business as well.


ReachReach Hosted on Zooomr

PictureSync for the Mac Rocks!

[I am CEO of Zooomr]

We are pleased to note that PictureSync, has become the second bulk uploader to support Zooomr after jUploadr’s original support. There are still some bugs with the service (it displays that your photos failed to upload even when they are in fact uploaded) but we are working with these bugs and hope to have the experience smoothed out shortly. At present they only have a version for the Mac, but are working on a version for Windows and hope to have one out soon.

I’ve been using PictureSync for about a week now with Zooomr and love it. The resizing of images particularly works really well. In addition to Zooomr PictureSync supports about 18 other photosharing sites as well. The software is shareware and is free to try and use, but I quickly paid the $15 to support their work as it’s one of the best uploaders that I’ve ever used. You can download their bulk uploader here.

MacBook Pro Battery Update

Apple is releasing a software update designed to improve the performance of your MacBook Pro. Personally the poor battery life is the only thing that I don’t like about my MacBook Pro. Sometimes with heavy use, EVDO, card reading, max screen brightness, etc., I’ll get less than an hour of battery time. I’m hoping that this fix makes my machine last a little longer.

You can get the software update here.

Photowalking 9, The 17th Annual Pacific Coast Dream Machines Show

The Luckiest GuyThe Luckiest Guy Hosted on Zooomr

Well I had a fantastic time hanging out with Robert Scoble and the gang filming Photowalking 9 down at the Half Moon Bay Airport. We were there to shoot the 17th Annual Pacific Coast Dream Machines Show, and what a show it was.

There’s something about a car show. I’m not sure what it is, but for me cars become amazing pieces of art. And I love photographing art. Particularly when they are loved and cared for cherished and collected the way they are at car shows. I especially love shooting my 100mm macro lens and my 135 f/2. I love the way that the shine of the freshly polished car can turn into all kind of abstract presentations.

This car show wasn’t just a car show, it was a Dream Machines show and they had motorcycles, airplanes, monster trucks, all kinds of engines and even a steamroller. It really was a visual delight and my favorite photowalking to shoot yet, yes even better than the Sacramento train museum.

One things for sure, I’ll definitely be back next year for the 18th Annual Pacific Coast Dream Machines Show.

I especially love taking these photowalks with my friend Robert Scoble. I think it’s great that we can all photogeek out and talk about lenses. I hope you enjoy the episodes as well and whenever we have them anyone is welcome to come on out and join us. To catch past episodes of photowalking you can click through here.

And to see my set of images from yesterday’s shoot you can click through to my set on Zooomr here.

Freeway Collapse, Highway 580 East

Freeway Collapse on Highway 580 Eastbound

COLLAPSE OF HIGHWAY 580 OVERPASS IN THE MACARTHUR MAZE, Oakland, CA — Early this morning a massive chunk of a 580 Eastbound overpass collapsed. The collapse was caused by an oil tanker truck that exploded underneath the 580 overpass. The heat from the truck weakened the 580 Overpass causing the overpass to collapse down crushing the truck.

The driver of the truck reportedly was not killed but was taken to the hospital. It is estimated that this disaster will affect East Bay and Bay Bridge traffic, an already extremely congested area, for months.

Photowalking at the Pacific Coast Dream Machines Show Today in Half Moon Bay, Come Join Us

Robert Scoble and I are going to shoot Photowalking Episode 10 down at the Half Moon Bay Airport today for anybody that wants to come out and do a little photowalking. At the airport there will be a massive machine show today, the 17th Annual Pacific Coast Dream Machines Show.

I love shooting old cars, trucks, motorcycles, and machines of any type really. And with 2,000 of them there to photograph, this outing promises to be a visual delight. I’ve shot two car shows before, the Hillsborough Concourse and one that was going on up in South Lake Tahoe last September and am definitely looking foward to shooting these ones here today.

If you can make it come on out. The show starts at 10am and tickets are $20 (for charity). I’ll be down there all day. I’m going to try and get down there at 9am early to beat the crowd. Robert says that Jim Louderback, Editor-in-Chief of PC Magazine’s coming out to join us.

Sun Beats Down

Sun Beat DownSun Beat Down Hosted on Zooomr

Listen to the Rhythm of the Falling Rain

Listen to the Rhythm of the Falling RainListen to the Rhythm of the Falling Rain Hosted on Zooomr