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My Finest Facebook Moment

Posted on 20th December 2012 - 5 Comments

Very popular image on David Clapp's Facebook business page

2496 shares and 1791 likes as of 72 hours later.... astounding result that doubled the 'Likes' of my page in 48hours....

Unfathomable Facebook I have two Facebook pages, a personal page and a business page. In order to become part of my personal page I have to have met you face-to-face, that's my criteria, it's nothing personal. The great thing about a business page is that no one from your own personal Facebook page can interact unless they join it separately, by liking the page. Past attempts at Facebook jumbled my personal life and my business world together, so with two separate logins I can now keep both entities very much apart. All I have to do is share the content I produce on my business page to my personal page and all my friends can keep up-to-date with my adventures abroad. Far better than 'that's a shit picture, you twat raspberry' and other landmark comments of literary ninjutsu.

Popular My ArseI have never been particularly popular, I was never that popular in school. I fixed my bike, I kept my head down. I don't think I've ever had that magnetism that other people or artists seem to obtain. For me it's always been about bloody-minded will and a major effort than anything else, and sadly it remains the same. This is certainly the reason why I never get too entangled in the arts as I dont understand  it, preferring to spend my time expending my energy within the world of photographic business. It's always so bloody unfathomable. For many, social networking becomes a popularity barometer, as much as it is communication tool, and for the first time this week, I felt what its like to be popular, in a huge way.

The image above, from Kirkjufoss in Iceland, has reached over 119,000 people within the space of three days. It's has had over 2500 shares, nearly 2000 likes, thats more than 100 times anything I have ever achieved. The Likes to my business page have doubled in less than 48 hours. I don't doubt that this is my finest social networking hour, my '15 minutes' of social networking fame, destined to sent back into obscurity. For some inexplicable reason, this image has identified with everybody in a way that I cannot perceive. Do I like it? Of course I do, its killer, but I still think I have produced far better aurora images over the last three years.


Very popular image on David Clapp's Facebook business page

A 'meagre' 300 shares, 510 likes - 10 times what I normally get, and 10 times less than the image above...

This second image was an absolute stroke of luck, a focus stack of five images. Knowing my past track record, I would have shot the meteor when focused on the ice, but him upstairs cut me some slack for once. It represents compicated technique, timing camera technology I coundnt have dreamed possible five years ago. Photographing the meteor in exactly the right place, especially whilst constructing a creative image, represents a far greater achievement. Greater appeal? Obviously not. 


More Perfect Timing? Perhaps it was the timing... the posting time. When did I post this picture? On Sunday night, at 8 PM, on a wet and windy evening. Everybody was glancing at the telly, laptop on knees, phone fiddling, iPads, and flipping the lists inside social networking apps, to reduce the winter boredom. I posted a few more images that I believe are equally strong this week, but the enthusiasm seems to be waning, especially on Thursday. Christmas do's? Early nights? Perhaps... That's the strange world of 'going 82% viral' and statistical accolade Facebook has annointed me with. You're on the inside looking out whereas others are on the outside looking in - two very different concepts. I don't think I will ever have another image that is this popular again on the Internet.

So, back to earth, the processing, keywording, adding captions, sending work out to clients, and generally keeping the business flowing. Facebook is a buzz alright, but that's about it, or is it? Who knows, just one of those 1400 likes could come on a workshop in the future, could be a future business contact, could even buy a print (shock horror), that's why we do it, that and sharing the photo-love and making the world go round. I don't ever think there is a way to quantify the intentions of an online populace. For now, I will stay happy in the giddy confusion of my finest Facebook moment.

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  • I think its easy to see why it was such a hit on FB its an insanely good shot. It makes the eye go around and around the shot several times finding new features in the landscape that the second shot does not. My only question is, has reaching over 100,000 people on FB actually resulted in any business leads or sales? So often people poor a lot of time into social media but see no return other than a lot of distraction…

    Keep the Iceland shots coming, they are really making my feet itch…

    / By Ian Woolcock on 21st December 2012

  • I guess you are correct, but I have had other friends and photographers claiming the second shot is even stronger. Again each to their own I guess, but this is the problem with being on the inside looking out. I have never been able to quantify why certain images are a great success, and others seem to do less favourably. What I am going to do, is try entering these images into competitions next year and see how they are received.

    No, it hasn’t resulted in anything other than three print sales, (which is completely amazing as I haven’t sold a single print in over a year and a half!) but who knows, there could be somebody of great business potential now watching my achievements. I think it is this feeling of anticipation and possibility that keeps professional photographers locked into using social networks. On the flip side, I feel it creates an often misguided and over elevated sense of self importance, that fills a void with back slaps and gushy comments, a void that I personally fill in pursuit of achievements. Am I right? Probably not; there are so many sites that it’s almost not worth discussing.

    I have to say, that I use it more as a barometer: than something I take very seriously. Perhaps Sunday, 8 PM, on a wet and windy evening, is social networking prime time!

    / By David Clapp on 21st December 2012

  • Three print sales just to put a photo up on FB sounds like a good return to me mate smile I must say I kinda gave up on FB and sites such as 500px / ephotozine and the like after seeing the number of strange gang like structures with people rating up every photo there friends in the group posted. Though getting a photo featured in ePhotoZine got me some magazine work which resulted in calendar commissions for about 4 years. So maybe its time I swallowed my pride and join in….

    Having always wanted to see the Aurora to the point of planning a complete trip to Norway to try and see it only for a friend to pull out at the last moment, just how bright is it when your stood there?

    Mind you I did see some magical lights in the sky in Cornwall once, unfortunately it turn out to be an illegal rave in a farmers field near Redruth….. hardly the same.

    / By Ian Woolcock on 21st December 2012

  • Hi David

    I first noticed this image on my Facebook stream and because firstly, it’s a cracking shot and secondly, because I’ve visited this location several times, I followed its ‘journey’. The net result is that I (somewhat spookily) looked at more of your work and found your web site. I knew your name and I’d seen some of your work but I’m now much more ‘tuned in’ to David Clapp.

    So what does all that mean? I’m not sure to be honest and ponder the same conundrums as you. It’s nice to be ‘liked’ of course but does it actually make a difference? Does the effort justify the reward? I’m not sure.

    A few years ago I thought I’d ‘discovered’ Iceland and started running tours there. Clearly I was mistaken and images like this fuel people’s desire to go there themselves. I only hope that you can capitalise on that as let’s face it, there’s no money in selling images thesedays!!


    / By Peter Cairns on 23rd December 2012

  • Hi David,

    I didn’t see this on FB but on 500px, and I’ve got to say both shots are great. To me the first edges it though. The 2nd one may be technically more difficult and photographers will appreciate that, but technical quality does not always make it a better photo. The first shot is near on perfect, just the shape of the aurora around the iconic mountain is a special thing to see. To be there and get a shot of it even better.

    It also flows better than the second image, with the sweep of the waterfall and stream matching the curves in the aurora and mountain. The 2nd shot is almost made up of 3 individual components that to me don’t link as well. There is a bit of disconnect between the bright blue foreground, darkness of the water and aurora glow.

    As I said, both are great but the first one is stupid good.

    To be honest these are the first photos I’ve ever really picked apart. Normally I like something or don’t like it, and can’t explain why. With these images it seems easier. I’ve just been on a light and land tour too so maybe I’m just repeating what I heard Charlie saying!

    As for competitions if I were you the first shot would be going into the veolia WPOTY next year. It’s a shoe in and I’m sure that would generate 3 print sales or so!


    / By Simon Byrne on 26th December 2012