I’ve been an enthusiastic amateur photographer since the late 1970s. You’ll find info below on my Flickr history, social media, collections, licensing, contributions, gear, blogging, content management, workflow, website, and favorite themes. I’ve woven some personal narrative throughout. It’s a long read.
I joined Flickr in 2009. Like others, over time I ended up using Flickr primarily to back up my photos online.
In 2019, I decided to reboot my Flickr account and rebuild my collections of photos. I’m still rebuilding. Less than 10% of my walks photos are currently on Flickr. There are many more photos on my website, but I haven’t optimized the site for SEO.
My collections are split roughly 50/50 between my walks photos and family photos. I have ~35K photos in each collection.
I limit the number of Flickr groups I post a photo to and I don’t use many tags.
I don’t geotag my photos and I’m very careful to not capture personally identifiable information.
I don’t tolerate spam, bots, or follow/unfollow behavior. I grew weary of this on Instagram.
I don’t automatically follow folks back if I think they’re just trying to bump their stats. I do appreciate sincere engagement, however, and will follow folks of like mind.
For many years, I posted photos on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I primarily posted as @WalksInPortland and @PNWPhotoWalks. Now, I’m only posting photos on Flickr and on my website.
Watch ‘The Social Dilemma’ on Netflix to know why I’m no longer active on most social media platforms (excluding Flickr). My decision was also informed by my educational background and professional experience.
I worked in data/information management for most of my career in IT. I had responsibilities and accountabilities in database administration, data modeling, data architecture, data warehousing, data analytics, and metadata management.
Information design and information architecture were also core focus areas in my M.S. grad program.
In short, nothing in Netflix’s documentary-drama film about tech folks “connecting the dots” to exploit users (customers, consumers, citizens) was surprising to me. I’m hopeful the film will help raise awareness. I’m also hopeful that the US will eventually adopt legislation similar to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Okay, I’ll get off of my soapbox.
Photo Licensing & Contributions
I protect all of my photos using a Creative Commons license. I use Pixsy to monitor inappropriate copyright usage.
I don't sell my photos but I’ve contributed some to organizations and causes that I think are worthwhile. Please let me know if you see a photo that you would like to use.
In the following historical narrative, I describe my experience with photography since the late 1970s.
1955-1980 (Alaska, USA Road Trip)
I was born in the Territory of Alaska in 1955. I spent my youth and years as a young adult in Alaska. I still return to visit family and friends.
I was fortunate to be able to explore Alaska on foot: wearing cross-country running shoes, cross-country skis, hiking boots, snowshoes, and crampons.
In 1978, when I graduated from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, my mom (RIP, 2020) gifted me a 35mm Konica Autoreflex TC camera. I bought a Vivitar 70-210mm telephoto lens shortly after.
I used my Konica and telephoto to capture what I saw on a solo six-month 50K mile road trip around the USA and Canada that same year. During my trip, I camped in the back of my little pickup.
After I digitize my 35mm trip slides, I plan to post some publicly on Flickr. I'm looking forward to seeing the USA again through my 23-year-old eyes.
My mom was also an amateur photographer. I inherited a few of the cameras she used in the 1950s-1960s. They include a Bosley B2, a Polaroid 900 Land Camera, and a Kodak Brownie 8mm movie camera.
This winter, I plan to digitize her photos and post them on Flickr for my family.
1980-1985 (Alaska to Oregon to Alaska)
In 1980, I moved from Anchorage, AK to Portland, OR. In 1983, after I graduated from the University of Oregon, I returned to Anchorage and began my career in IT (then, MIS).
Shortly after I started my new job, a good friend and I enrolled in the Alaska Wilderness Studies (AWS) program at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. My Konica and telephoto were heavy and not well suited for our backcountry AWS trips, so I purchased a compact Olympus XA 35mm Rangefinder.
I have many nice memories associated with the Rangefinder: my spouse, our friends, our backcountry trips and climbs, and our bring-your-own-slides shows. It was a different era of social media. Insta and selfie weren’t words then.
After I digitize my AWS 35mm slides, I plan to post some on Flickr. I’m eager to see my trips again through my 30-year-old eyes, especially my treks in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge and the Gates of the Arctic.
1985-2000 (Family Photos, Analog Age)
I got married in 1985. Shortly after, my wife and I relocated to Portland. We moved into our current house in NE Portland in 1986 and then started our family.
As our three children grew up, we took many family photos and videos. Over 5K were on film. This winter, I plan to digitize many of the photos and some of the videos for my immediate and extended family.
2000-2010 (Bicycling, Digital Age)
When I lived in Oregon in the early 80s, I explored Portland, Corvallis, and Eugene by bicycle. The Peugeot I rode was the same one I used on a trip in 1972 from Calgary to Seattle with my good friend from Alaska. In 1983, the bicycle was stolen. I was heartsick.
When we moved from Alaska to Oregon in the mid-80s, I got back in the saddle. I did many extended rides with friends and trips with my children.
From 2000-2010, I commuted year-round by bicycle to my workplace in downtown Portland. My round-trip ride was 10 miles.
In 2001, we purchased our first digital camera, a Canon PowerShot S100. I used this camera to take photos of some of my commutes and extended rides and trips.
In 2008, my wife purchased our next digital camera, a Panasonic DMC-TZS.
2010-2020 (Photo-Blogging Walks)
In 2010, when I switched to a job at a workplace closer to my house, I decided to commute year-round on foot. I did so for three years. My round-trip walk was five miles.
During this period, I decided to start photo-blogging my work walks. I found this prompted me to be more attentive to the neighborhoods I walked through and it enabled me practice my photography skills.
When my weekday work walks led to longer weekend walks, I started photo-blogging those walks as well.
In addition to Portland proper, I also explored Gresham, Sellwood, Milwaukie, Tigard, Beaverton, St Johns, Hillsboro, and Vancouver. I’ve walked 1000s of miles over the last decade. I like to wander without purpose.
My walking over the years prompted me to become an active volunteer with the Lloyd TMA (Go Lloyd), the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition (Oregon Walks), and the City of Portland (Ten-Toe Express, Sunday Parkways). Last year, I helped AARP Oregon with their Community Neighbor Walks program.
Since I started walking and hiking long distances in varied weather conditions, I’ve carried minimal photo gear.
In 2017, I purchased a Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II to use on a family trip to Sicily. It’s now the camera I use on my walks. It's lightweight, has a small form factor, performs well in low-light conditions, and I can shoot quickly and discretely. I love it!
It’s challenging to keep it dry in hard rains though, so I still take photos and videos with my iPhone SE occasionally.
Content Management, Current Workflow
I manage my photo collections using Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC. Prior to Lightroom, I used Apple’s Aperture.
After each walk, I cull and edit my photos using Lightroom. Then I upload selected shots to Flickr. I use Jeffrey Friedl's Lightroom plugin for my exports. I trickle the photos out over a week, adding them to an album as I go.
Each 2020 and 2019 walk on Flickr is in a separate album. On my site, the albums go back further in time. The albums are in reverse-chronological order. The photos in each album are in chronological order.
The albums enable you to take virtual walks. Years ago, I took virtual walks with my mom. I fondly remember our long-distance phone conversations as we “walked” together.
Since I don’t geotag my photos, you have to look for signposts along the way on each walk.
I have a ‘2020 Portland Metro Region Walks (Ongoing)’ album if you want to just browse from January to the present.
I have similar ‘20XX Walks & Hikes in...’ albums for earlier years. I’m updating these albums as I move some content off of my website.
Since COVID-19, I’ve been taking more “loop” walks (from my house back to my house). I always maintain my social distance and mask up when needed. In September 2020, I got back on the bus. See Public Transit below for more.
I add reference links to many of my photo descriptions. I enjoy learning about what I captured and sharing for context. Right-click to open the link in a new web page.
Occasionally I’ll reference a business, organization, or person. These references don’t necessarily imply endorsements.
In 2018, I built my current website using Adobe Portfolio (Behance). I reviewed other website builders such as Squarespace, Wix, and WordPress. In the end, I liked the tight two-step integration with Lightroom CC, so I went with Portfolio.
Unfortunately, I’ve found Portfolio’s SEO capabilities lacking. I recognize Portfolio isn’t meant for very large asset collections, however, so I eventually plan to just leave some selected photos on my site.
In 2018, I moved from my WalksInPortland domain to PNWPhotoWalks. I did so concurrent with my name switch on Twitter when I decided to acknowledge the communities other than Portland proper where I was walking.
Photography Genres & Themes
I haven’t specialized in a particular photography genre but I’d like to learn about a few in-depth. Fortunately, Flickr is a great place to find folks who specialize in genres!
Meanwhile, over the years I’ve found the following themes appealing.
Since most of my walks are in the Portland metro region, I like to capture sights that are unique to my hometown of 35 years. These include scenes that show us having fun, being creative, being quirky, being mindful of our natural environment, and demonstrating kindness and compassion.
Lately, I hope my images can help dispel the myth that Portland is “on fire” as some believe.
Active & Public Transportation Themes
My wife and I are thinking about joining some of the other seniors in the slow lane (on eBikes). So in addition to my walks photos, I might post photos of bicycle rides later.
Public transit is another theme I like. In the early 80s, 90s, and later from 2015 to 2020, I commuted by bus to my workplaces. I enjoyed getting to know some of the other regular riders on my bus lines. My wife and I rode one line together for the past few years.
When needed, I’ve been able to take public transit to and/or from all but two of my walks in the Portland metro region over the past decade. Sometimes I take a TriMet bus or a MAX to the end of the line and walk home.
I've always liked fine architecture and design patterns. When I was a teenager in Anchorage in the early 70s, I used to walk to our local library branch to read the latest issues of Architectural Record and Architectural Digest.
I sometimes regret not following my dream to become an architect. The closest I came in my career in IT was working as an Enterprise Technology Architect and a Data Architect ;-)
I generally like upbeat images and favor progressive causes. I no longer wear my politics on my sleeve.
In my urban ramblings, I often see flyers, signs, and murals that have direct or indirect political messages. When I think these represent current views, I sometimes capture them.
Occasionally, I also snap yard signs of political candidates. These photos aren’t necessarily endorsements.
Since I cast my first vote in 1974, I’ve never missed an election. Be sure to vote as early as you can in 2020!!
As an introvert, I like to stay behind the lens and generally prefer walking to talking.
I have a LinkedIn page if you’re interested in my professional background. I retired on 9/2/2020. I *might* hang a new shingle at a later date.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading and I hope our paths will cross in the future!
Photos of Mark McClure
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