Andrew Marston's TOP Google+ Photos for Feb 3 - Feb 17

published February 19 by  
This PERSONAL TOP contains ten of the most popular photos published publicly
by Andrew Marston on Google+ between February 3 and February 17, 2012.

The Sorting Room
With the lighting right I snapped this just before the subject looked up in bewilderment. Taken in a Panama hat production factory in the Andes Mtns near Cuenca, Ecuador.

#travelthursday curated by +Laura Mitchum
#POTD #plusphotoextract curated by +Jarek Klimek of +PhotoExtract Photography Magazine
  • Photographer Andrew Marston
  • Published February 16
  • Copyright © All rights reserved

View More Photos
Has anyone else noticed that when you view and analyze a lot of photos, your own photos start to improve? It makes sense, and it's also a really easy way to improve your photographic eye. G+ FTW.

About this Shot: Bug Light in South Portland, Maine, USA*
I brought my tripod and waited for the dramatic lighting of sunset before shooting. With a high f-stop (25) and low ISO (100) set, I snapped a few long exposures (0.3 sec) to soak up the large dynamic range provided by the late lighting. In post production, I decided to go monochrome to emphasize and capitalize on the dramatic dynamic range of the shots. Although I could've (should've?), I didn't use any tone mapping or HDR techniques. To achieve the pseudo-IR (Infrared) effect, I used a channel mixer adjustment layer in Photoshop. Usually I would employ a Black and White adjustment layer, but I just felt like trying out another method this time.

For those interested, I've posted a bit more on my photo blog:

#ThirstyThursdayPics curated by +Giuseppe Basile & +Mark Esguerra
#LongExposureThursday curated by +Le Quoc and +Francesco Gola

#TravelThursday curated by +Laura Mitchum

+LighthouseThursday #LighthouseThursday curated by +Heiko Köster
#POTD #plusphotoextract curated by +Jarek Klimek of +PhotoExtract Photography Magazine
#Maine #lighthouse #blackandwhite
  • Photographer Andrew Marston
  • Published February 9
  • Copyright © All rights reserved

30 Shot HDR Pano of Quincey Market Christmas Tree
(Making-of this 30 shot HDR pano: )

This is 6 HDR photos each comprised of 5 bracketed photos. Rather than use Photoshop’s Photomerge plug-in, I prefer to employ only the Edit > Auto Align. Then I blend the aligned layers by hand to make sure no pesky ninjas got in and misaligned the source frames during processing.

Recently +Charles Lupica recommended PTGui for panorama creation. Anyone have any feedback or input on that software?

#POTD #plusphotoextract curated by +Jarek Klimek of +PhotoExtract Photography Magazine
#mytowntuesday +My Town Tuesday curated by +Melanie Kintz and +Eric Leslie
+Tree Tuesday #TreeTuesday curated by +Christina Lawrie & +Shannon S. Myers
#TonemapHDRTuesday curated by +Drew Pion and +Stephanie Suratos
#PhotoMatix curated by +Klaus Herrmann
#widewednesdaypanorama #widewednesdaypano curated by +Ken McMahon, +Lucille Galleli, and myself :-]
  • Photographer Andrew Marston
  • Published February 14
  • Copyright © All rights reserved

Setting up a portfolio boosting shoot for free

I outline how I arranged this shoot in detail along with copies of my e-mails here: but these are the main points:

Don't be afraid to try to set up photo shoots of your dream locations even if you're not a professional photographer. If you have a decent portfolio, people will take you seriously. In your initial contact remember to:

1) I established credibility as a photographer by making my portfolio readily available.
2) I was clear about what I wanted (time to shoot). Back-and-forths were spear-headed by relaying my schedule in this initial communication also. Note that I didn’t ask for permission directly, “Would it be possible to arrange a time when I would be allowed to photograph the gorgeous architecture and decoration of the interior of the auditorium?” If the manager was ok with me coming, he would give me a time, if not, he would say no. It wasn’t necessary to ask for both permission and time.
3) I didn’t ask for any compensation! I wasn’t being hired, I just wanted to take pretty pictures. In fact, most likely I would’ve paid them to let me in. People can tell greed from sincerity a mile away. If anything, I offered them a trade in their favor. A copy of my images in exchange for time to shoot. I didn’t have to give away the exclusive rights to your images, but made sure to emphasize what they would be receiving out of the deal. (Here’s a great site to learn ALL about image licensing for pros in the photography business)
4) Finally, I was professional, polite, and flexible. It’s sort of a no-brainer, but it is important to remember that you’re the one asking for a favor.

Hope it helps! Happy shooting!--------------------------------------------------------
#POTD #photoplusextract by +Jarek Klimek of +PhotoExtract Photography Magazine
#widewednesdaypanorama +WideWednesdayPanorama curated by +Ken McMahon, +Lucille Galleli (and me ^_^).
#travelpanowednesday curated by +Rolf Hicker.
#VibrantWednesday #VividWednesday curated by +Ajay Hatti

#WideAngleWednesday +Wide Angle Wednesday curated by +asif patel
  • Photographer Andrew Marston
  • Published February 8
  • Copyright © All rights reserved

Winning in 10sec
Expand post for details about the photo. More from this shoot:

We don't procrastinate by the hour but by blocks of 10sec - 5min strung together (like the chairs in the photo). This is because our real duties will take hours, so committing 10sec to check e-mail seems like a small concession. If you break down the "real" tasks from hour blocks into 10sec - 5min chunks (called timeboxing) then it's an easy decision (even fun) to do work and stuff gets done. This way, you're actually procrastinating procrastinating. (Judo chop to the brain!)

About the shot

Location: Merrill Auditorium
Camera/Lens: Nikon D200 / 18-200mm VR
Processing: 5 frames tone mapped in #Photomatix then merged, blended, and edited in Photoshop

I've posted more insight about how I gained access, photos, and a video from this shoot on my blog for those interested ^_^ (
+Repetitive Tuesday #repetitivetuesday curated by b/w +Frank Schillinger
+My Town Tuesday #mytowntuesday curated by +Melanie Kintz and +Eric Leslie.
#tonemaphdrtuesday #tonemaptuesday curated by +Drew Pion and +Stephanie Suratos
#PlusPhotoExtract curated by +Jarek Klimek of +PhotoExtract Photography Magazine
#PhotoMatix curated by +Klaus Herrmann
#architecture #architexturetuesday #hdr #photomatixpro4 #POTD
  • Photographer Andrew Marston
  • Published February 7
  • Copyright © All rights reserved

Connecting G+, $$, and Photography
(FYI: I make some $$ with photography, but my full time income is a combination of graphic design, web dev, and photography. Some insightful comments from +Colby Brown and +Ken Kaminesky, I've revised the post to be more clear the G+ can open doors)

G+ is not the best place to make $$ with photography. However...

It is great for networking, building a following, and also playing +Triple Town till 2am (maybe that's why I'm so tired o.o ... but I dare you to beat my high score!!! heh heh heh...) and two of those three things can lead to money eventually. At the same time when it comes to securing $$ with your photos, I've found there's no substitute for face to face connection. When you meet someone in person and assure them that you can meet their photography needs (be it product, location, event or whatever) there is a candid connection of security that you can't make on the Internet.

Don't get me wrong. It's possible for people to make it big with G+ (look at +Colby Brown), but this is because they are connecting with other professionals, people in the industry, and have a following and part of their target clientele is their followers interested in workshops (BTW, I'm not saying that Colby is using anybody here. From the interactions I've had with him he's been a really genuine guy, eager to share and contribute. I'd love to attend, assist, or be involved in one of his workshops or his non-profit work someday.)

If you're hoping to move into photography as a form of side income or even full time, use G+ as a tool to grow as a photographer by connecting and sharing with others. If an opportunity comes up, awesome. If not, at least that wasn't your drive from the beginning and G+ is still a great photo playground for you to develop in. Focus efforts on connecting with real business people in the real world because that's where you'll form a stronger connection quickly.

Case Study
I was fortunate enough to be hired by Panador Panama Hat company a few years ago to fly to Cuenca and photograph the hat weaver in the surrounding Andes mountains as well as the city itself. (They were generous enough to let me share the photos I took on my blog here if you're interested: The flower shot below is from the Cuenca Flower market) How did they find me? Not on the Internet. A friend of mine did an internship with the company awhile back and dropped my name at the right time. Panador could've easily found hundreds of other qualified photographers with a quick Google search, but they trusted personal connections more and offered me the job.

Summary: If connecting with sources of income (clients, sponsors, etc...) is the goal, G+ can help, however face to face interaction makes a stronger connection.

+Ken Kaminesky has a great article series about his adventures with a marketing agency called Agency Access which is quite revealing and helpful. Link-link:

If you make $$ with photography, I would be interested to hear your take on this topic.
#floralfriday curated by +Tamara Pruessner
#plusphotoextract curated by +Jarek Klimek of +Daily Photography Themes
#POTD #flower #ecuador
  • Photographer Andrew Marston
  • Published February 10
  • Copyright © All rights reserved

Barns are Hottt
(For you Photoshop fans, here's a step-by-step making-of this HDR pano: )
Notice anything different about these photos? Yep, you got it, I shot these bad boys in the dead of Vermont winter without my coat on! Few, mystery solved. :-)

Why that’s significant is because the temperature was around 24°F. After a weekend in -25°F weather (no joke! even now I shiver at the memories) photographing Montreal and also dining with HDR guru +Ken Kaminesky (brief interview with transcript here: it was pure bliss to romp around in the balmy barely-sub-freezing paradise of Vermont to bracket the shots for these photographs.

This was a good example of my wife and driving by a photo op, then me waiting 5 minutes before asking if she minded if we turned around. We’ve all been there, was that a good shot?! maybe… but we’re already so far past it… I know but what if that shot is what finally gets +Trey Ratcliff or +RC Concepcion to notice me!!?? … Ack! There’s just too much at stake… “Honey, do you mind if we take 5 (or 20) minutes and head to that barn way back there?”
#POTD #btlcritique
#widewednesdaypanorama curated by +Ken McMahon, +Lucille Galleli, and myself
#VibrantWednesday #VividWednesday curated by +Ajay Hatti
#WideAngleWednesday +Wide Angle Wednesday curated by +asif patel
#TravelPanoWednesday curated by +Rolf Hicker
#winterwednesday curated by +Antoine Berger and +Logan Miller
#photomatix curated by +Klaus Herrmann
#mytowntuesday +My Town Tuesday curated by +Eric Leslie and +Melanie Kintz
#tonemaptuesday #hdr #barns #winter #snow #hdrpanorama
  • Photographer Andrew Marston
  • Published February 15
  • Copyright © All rights reserved

Making-of this HDR pano:
  • Photographer Andrew Marston
  • Published February 15
  • Copyright © All rights reserved

Focus on the Journey
Like many of you Type A people, I strive hard to accomplish goals. So hard that I often end up hating the activity no matter how fun it was in the beginning. When living in Japan, a good reminder that life is about more than accomplishments were the autumn leaf viewings at local gardens (pictured in this post) where people would simply sit quietly and enjoy the experience of watching nature's beauty. (...except for the sound of that annoying foreigner's camera in the background of course ^_^)

Don't forget to enjoy what you're doing.

For those interested I've posted more photos and commentary from this zen garden on my blog:
#POTD #plusphotoextract curated by +Jarek Klimek of +PhotoExtract Photography Magazine
#FallFriday curated by +Stephonie Ogden & the amazing +Karin Nelson
#FeelingsFriday curated by +LeLinda Bourgeois
#SepiaSaturday curated by +Renee Stewart Jackson
#zensunday +Zen Sunday curated by +Charlotte Therese Björnström and +Simon Kitcher and +Nathan Wirth.
#Japan #Autumn #Fall #Sepia
  • Photographer Andrew Marston
  • Published February 3
  • Copyright © All rights reserved

HDR Photo pano of barn inside and making-of:
  • Photographer Andrew Marston
  • Published February 15
  • Copyright © All rights reserved

How do the PERSONAL TOPs of G+ Photos Work?

1) Any photography enthusiast can create a PERSONAL TOP consisting of his/her own Google Plus photographs. This means any existing PERSONAL top has been created by the author of the photographs that are in the TOP; there are no PERSONAL TOPs that were created automatically.

2) Only G+ photographs published by you in one of your Google+ posts should appear in your PERSONAL TOP. This means any posts you have reshared or your own posts without a G+ photo should not appear. No GIFs should be in the TOPs.

3) Contrary to the DAILY TOPs are the PERSONAL TOPs sorted solely on popularity - we use Plus PopRank to sort these. The Plus PopRank formula is: Plus PopRank(of a post) = +1s + (2 x comments) + (4 x reshares)

Example: Let's say that a particular post has 25 +1s, 10 comments and 3 reshares. This means its Plus PopRank is 57 (= 25 + 2x10 + 4*3).

4) 50 Latest PERSONAL TOPs of Google+ Photos »


It's easy.

Start here »

The Google+ TOPs on PhotoExtract

You can find two kinds of Google Plus TOPs on

1) Plus Extract TOPs - DAILY sets of TOP G+ photographs, which were chosen by an algorithm that combines automatic steps and manual curation. These DAILY TOPs are NOT based solely on popularity, and users with a small number of followers have a chance to be featured in the TOP.
Learn more about Plus Extract DAILY Google+ TOPs »

2) PERSONAL TOPs, which contain Google+ photos published by photographer who created a TOP. These photographs are sorted solely by their G+ popularity measured by our Plus PopRank.