Under the microscope – blipping on a theme
If ten blippers were asked to describe blip, there would probably be ten different answers. We all start off by saying it's a photography website… but then it gets a little complicated. There are those who blip almost entirely for the photographic element, taking the time and effort to get their images perfect before uploading. For others, it's a quick 'blip and run' to ensure that they haven't missed a day. This time, we thought we'd take a look around the blip world at some of the journals that record very specific things, and how their blips are made.
Blips on the wing – patience pays off
While some blippers choose to concentrate on birds, few journals are as focused as that of Terry Taylor, aka Terry115. Terry has been blipping his daily antics with the robins in a park in Essex, England since 2015. For the first four years, he blipped a wide variety of wildlife, including insects and butterflies, but his extraordinary empathy with robins has earned him the name 'The Robin Whisperer'. He and the robins have featured in a national newspaper, as well as on the BBC's Springwatch TV programme, and the redbreasts are now almost the sole subjects of his blips.
His current robins, whom he has named Monty and Ruby, take food directly from Terry's fingers, and even from between his lips, something that took him weeks of patience to achieve. Photographing this presents a challenge, but the self-taught photographer says he's got it down to a fine art.
"I use a Nikon Coolpix and all of my photos are taken by myself, holding the camera in one hand and food in the other. I don't use a tripod - I haven't got one - and don't use a remote," he says.
Have your cake – and blip it, too!
On the subject of of food, there are always mouthwatering morsels to be found on DailyCakeophilia's journal. (If you're trying to stick to a diet, don't say you weren't warned!) Melbourne-based 'Lawyer Cakeophile', Kadri Elcoat, says she started the blip journal in 2014 to record her culinary creations. For bakers and cake-lovers, this journal is a definite must-follow.
"I'm practising law as a contractor these days, but even when I worked full time, I used to bake as "therapy" - cake makes everyone happy and the creation process I find good for the soul," Kadri explains. "I sell cakes for special occasions, and one day, I hope to do cake more than I do law."
Whilst most of the delicacies featured in her journal are her own, she does also blip confections that catch her eye when she's out and about, the odd recipe from her blog, Cakeophilia.com, and even humorous moments involving cake.
She doesn't go in for a lot of fuss when taking her images, but tends to use her iPhone much of the time. "Lighting is key - a strong but diffuse warm light is best for food. With my Canon 6D, I use as much zoom as I can in the space available, to create good depth of field. I like shots that are 30-45 degrees, looking down on the subject."
From birth to seven – every single day saved!
And who particularly loves cake? Children! The mother of one very special little girl, the star of MyGirl, journal, listed 'CAKE!' as one of her daughter's likes on her first birthday. Karen's aptly-named journal has managed to save every single day of her daughter Katie's seven years.
"I started blipping in 2010 when Katie turned six months old, and back-blipped my pregnancy, the day she was born and her first six months using my diary and daily photos that I'd been sending to friends. I joined specifically to keep a record of her life.
"What keeps me here is the people"
"I have a journal of Katie including moments that have seemed almost inconsequential, and moments that have been huge. I can look back over those whenever I want, and nearly always use the 'On this day' feature, to reminisce.
"When I started blipping, I had no idea of the community aspect, but what keeps me here is the people. Some of our greatest friends started out as blip friends. I'm godmother to blip babies and have been at the birth of a blipbaby.
"We go on holidays, to the theatre, ballet workshops and music days with blip friends. Blippers have been there in the middle of the night, to support me as a single mama, as a photographer and more. I honestly can't explain how big an impact blip has had on both our lives."
Share kids' harder moments, too
Karen's main tip for photographing children (and she is a professional children's photographer) is to have patience, expect the unexpected and be willing to get down on their level.
"In the recent photo of Katie leaping in a pasture of buttercups. I was on my tummy, and only narrowly missed a large cowpat! Don't be afraid to photograph all aspects of your child's life, as they are important, too - we have quite precious photographs of some rather hard moments, including saying goodbye to Katie's beloved rabbit."
Mountain photography kit: Keep it light, and keep it handy!
Photography as part of one's work has to be good for blippers. intothehills is a good example; Kelvyn James is a freelance mountain leader and climbing instructor, and mountain treks undertaken in the course of his work feature regularly in his journal.
Kelvyn joined blip as a way of staying in touch when he was away mountaineering. He was initially surprised by, and then impressed and supported by what he says 'must be the best little oasis of positivity on the internet'.
He makes the very valid point that if you're lugging heavy photography kit into the mountains, or worrying that you're going to damage it, then it's the wrong gear for the expedition.
"I'm on my third Panasonic Lumix (currently TZ65, LZ in the USA). It's a fabulous little compact. Frankly I've found little else to compare, except my Samsung phone!
"The Lumix has a 30x optical zoom - so the wildlife I'm able to get close to in the Alps can really be impressive. Equally, it seems to excel at Macro work - so I can often be found delving into the micro world, too. Probably half of my landscapes are taken on my phone, which is light, good and always to hand.
"I've said it in my bio and I stand by it - I'm not a particularly good photographist - but I'm in the right place at the right time a lot. After just about every trek, I end up giving people with far better cameras than me a copy of my photos - because I had my camera to hand. Or, more importantly, I had a hand free to use it!
"Step off the path & kneel down," he advises. "I've yet to see a mountain shot that wasn't improved by either. Snow will sparkle far more if you can get level to it - and a slightly different perspective will make a shot stand out. Even the best vista is usually improved by a little foreground interest or a focal point - and these two simple measures will help you find both."
Remarks collected by Tanya (aka TMLHereAndThere)
Cover photo: Terry115