I was looking forward to getting lost on Flickr, a site that I have never used before. I am horribly out of touch with photographs--I don't even have a digital camera. Most of the pictures that I find online are from Webshots, where my sister posts every picture she ever takes. I do, however, like using these kinds of image services to get photos to use for my desktop, and I am always drawn to images of nature, particularly close-ups of flowers. Fortunately, I was able to find some great images--of flowers and of other things--on Flickr.
One of the first things I searched for was "fields of flowers." I love these pictures; they make me feel like I'm running around in a vast open space on a beautiful day. They make me happy. I found an image of a dahlia with a raindrop on one of its petals that I thought was really pretty.
I noticed in this image that the raindrop had a little box around it where someone had commented on that particular feature of the image. This is a feature that I've never seen on any other imaging service and I thought it was interesting and fun for people to be able to not only post a comment in the traditional sense, but also to be able to post a comment directly on the photo using Flickr's notes feature (see the photo here).
I also searched for "stained glass," which I think is really beautiful, but sometimes the religious overtones make me wish for some kind of stained glass that is abstract-looking. Luckily, I was able to find some Tiffany stained glass that was really gorgeous. I used this image to create a Trading Card, which is an awesome feature. I wish that there had been a little more flexibility with this feature, though. I had hoped to be able to change the font or use other backgrounds, but all in all this was a really unique option.
I was also really intrigued and excited with the Flickr Commons. I once worked for a book publisher that put out children's nonfiction titles, and one of my jobs was to locate images for the books online, mostly from the Library of Congress. Looking at historical images is something that intrigues me; I love thinking about the history behind the photos. This image is from the Powerhouse Museum collection, which is a collection of glass plate negative images.
One of the other cool things that I discovered on Flickr was one of the mashups called Flickr Color Pickr. It was a color wheel that allowed you to select a color and instantly, all around the color wheel, Flickr images matching that color would appear. I found this blue image, which is of the water in the polar bear tank at the Philadelphia Zoo.
Some of the mashups that were available on Flickr were really ingenious. I thought the Flickr Color Pickr was a great way for people to be able to search for images based on a particular color, and the accuracy of the images located based on the color selected from the color wheel was astonishing. Granted, the number of photos returned were no doubt a miniscule sampling compared the number of photos on Flickr, but it was an easy one-stop shopping kind of thing that I thought was convenient and clever.
Finally, one of the last features that I investigated on Flickr was the World Map. I thought of looking at images from around here, and even though I did search for my town on the World Map (I found some images that were sort of around my town, but not necessarily very close), I also wanted to see some of the images that were from Iceland. I don't really have a particular desire to visit Iceland, but I'm envious of the people who live there and who get to see things like Northern Lights on some kind of regular basis (there was one time probably about 5 years ago that the Northern Lights were, through some kind of meteorological anomaly, vaguely visible from my house, so I have seen them and they were stunning, however pale they might have been). I certainly don't envy the winters in Iceland; I've been complaining enough about winter here! But I thought that this picture looked really peaceful and quiet.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed exploring Flickr. I'm sure that there are tons of options and extras that I didn't get a chance to look at, but the images I found were beautiful and the features that I noticed made my first Flickr experience enjoyable, and it made me look forward to exploring some more.