Metallic flow

A different kind of waterfall for waterfall Wednesday – this trickle follows the curve of the rock face all the way down until the bottom few inches. But it was the sunset colours reflecting on the damp rock that stopped me in my tracks as I walked back to the car – I love the metallic look it gives.

I’ve tried capturing this little waterfall a few times in the past, but its long thin appearance makes it hard to turn into an effective shot. I took a face-on photo as I walked past the first time on Tuesday afternoon, and I’m actually quite happy with that one – so much so that I was going to make it my waterfall-Wednesday shot for this week. But on my way back west around the seawall, the curve of the rock and the reflection of the sunset colours really stood out and I knew I had to find a way to capture that scene.

The sun had set, and the rock faces north, so light was at a premium. I shrugged and let the camera do its auto-ISO thing – as expected, it chose 800 which is where photos start to get a bit hit-and-miss in terms of noise. But in this case, it worked out just fine thanks to the bumpy texture of the rock – smooth areas do very badly when it comes to noise at the higher ISO settings.

This might be my favourite photo of 2016 so far – it reminds me of the colour of some pottery glazes, as well as the black surface of fresh lava with its iridescent sheen. Of course, I prefer the full-size photo rather than the cropped Instagram version, but I’m still very happy with it. And it even garnered a like from a professional photographer whose work I admire greatly, so yeah, I’m happy with it 🙂

Feeding your algorithm

The other day I included the phrase “stupid Instagram” in the caption for a photo on Instagram. I was quite proud of the photo, and figured it was a decent contribution to Mountain Monday. I was expecting a steady stream of likes, probably topping out around 30-40 or so (which is typical for me). So imagine my surprise when nothing happened. I got a couple of likes early on, then one or two more and finally another couple from followers whom I suspect have relatively short follower lists.

And that was it. A grand total of 9 likes in nearly 48 hours, none of which were from what I would describe as my “mutual admiration circle”; people with whom I tend to exchange likes. I was baffled, but then I began thinking about the fact that Instagram’s feed is now driven algorithmically and is not just a timestream (which I would prefer), and I wondered if the fact that I’d written “stupid Instagram” meant that Instagram’s algorithm significantly down-weighted my post to the point where almost none of my followers saw it? Could Instagram really be that sensitive to even the slightest perceived criticism?

Now, of course I realize that many of the people I follow have really long lists of others they follow, so it could simply be a numbers game. And I have seen that happen in the past, but I still usually rack up 20-30 likes. (By comparison, my latest photo is up to 35 likes in less than three hours.)

So I will try another experiment in the near future. I might even post the same photo, at the same time of day with all the same tags and caption, only with the perceived slight on Instagram’s part removed. And I’ll see what happens.