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Wednesday, 16 November 2011


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I've been compiling a list of my photos to consider for this, I guess it's decision time then! Hmm, tricky!

It's one of the interesting things about submitting your work for something, isn't it? Makes you look at it in a whole new light. It's a learning experience even if it doesn't go any further than that.

I learned that when I first took a portfolio around to galleries. Looking at my work through their eyes (so to speak) really made me see it in a different light.


I can't wait to see which shots make the poll. This is a really neat idea and I hope it goes well for everyone involved. Good luck choosing the shots Mike!

A couple of points/questions -

In order to embed the file into the email like you're asking (and not as an attachment), user's would need to code the email as HTML to include the image in the body - not something everyone knows how to do. Also since the file must be in the body (not attached) the image file needs to be hosted, yet to meet your naming requirements we can't use standard free photo hosting services like tiny-pic which rename the files. Any chance of relaxing your requirements?

Finally, any rules about how you want the subject line structured?

I'm afraid I don't know what you mean--all I do is drag an image into the email and it's open there.

I suppose everybody's system is different. So yes, I'll relax that requirement....


What Mike does is a so-called "inline attachment" in the body of an HTML email.

His email client takes care of it, but most clients don't. I managed to drag my picture in the body of my gmail email in the browser, and seems to work as I checked the actual code in the body of the email, so Gmail should work.

About the "only one picture" rule. Does this mean only one for the whole offer, or one for this submission day?

One for today. Partly it's meant to be a fun thing, so I don't see any reason to exclude people from taking part on the other days.


Mike thanks for doing this and yes I too did some head scratching. In the end I decided to take a risk and go with something more off beat and not so pretty. Looking forward to viewing the selected shots.

Mike, one longer-term thing you haven't (at least that I understood) specified yet -- can I submit a picture to each round of submissions, or only once? This doesn't really make a difference to my choice of picture today, but since we're on the subject and you've started the process I thought it was time to ask.

(And what if my picture progresses to the point of being a finalist in this round; does that change my ability to submit to future rounds?)

You're very clear about submitting only one picture in this round. Very clear is good in general, and especially in something like this that's high-stakes in some of our heads I suspect.

This has come slightly sooner than I expected, but I have it down to two choices for this first round, I should be able to settle that in my head by the end of the day.

Yeah Mike this makes it so you can only send this email through a program like outlook...which many people don't use. Can you give us an email address and the subject line you want us to use so that we can mail from a web based email server like GMAIL?

A suggestion: you could open a gmail account just for this purpose so as not to clog your regular email.

(this would be my submission, if I could get it to you:

@attachments: in some (online-)email-clients you can't decide wheter an image is embedded or attached. Some do it both ways, no matter what you do and so on.

But I have still a question: is it possible to submit at all opportunities, or just one. So if I submit today, can or can't I submit at the next slot?

Do you want the by line embedded in the image as a watermark? If so... oops I just wrote in the email by My Name.

One photo per round or one photo in all the rounds?

John, Mike,

With Windows and Microsoft outlook, use Insert..Picture then the picture will be embedded and the "file name" will be an embedded property. The default for Windows drag and drop is to attach the picture as a file. Perhaps, Mike that is what you want. I submitted one earlier - see if it is what you want - if not then your instructions do not apply to Windows users.


I copied and pasted the image into my email (GMail) and it looked fine. When I checked the sent message I saw 2.5 MB worth of gobbledygook text. It that is what you get at your end then I guess I will wait for the next round.

I can feel the competitive juices flowing yet again. I swear I planned to stand by this one time, but I can't help it.

Mine just submitted, Mike, have you got it yet? what do you think? how much do you think we'll make!!!
Really should've heard back by now
I knew it.

After much agonizing I finally settled on which photo to submit, made a few minor tweaks to the file several times. Then prepared the email. Checked it over more than once. Hovered over the send button for a couple of minutes before eventually pressing it.

It was at this point I discovered that gmail changed my carefully formatted file name to the rather more generic "image.jpeg"

Hopefully that won't count against me...


Re "Please do consider the effects on you of opening your work to criticism in this way; it's not always the easiest thing in the world to endure.", you might consider directing people to Alain Briot's three-part essay "Understanding Criticism", published recently on Luminous Landscape. It counsels equanimity in receiving critiques :-)

Mike, I don't think I'm alone in using Gmail as my primary email app, and, at least on my computer/browser/whatever combo, "mailto:" links don't go anywhere useful. I think, from your source code, that you want the message to go to your normal email address with the subject line: 649fhXo71. So, that's how I sent it. I hope I did it correctly...

Anyone want to guess an over/under on how many photos will get submitted? I'll be surprised if it's less than a thousand.

Mike, can you reply to the email submissions with "received" ?

Mike, most mail clients (if they permit insertion of image into body) will reformat the picture or we will need to code message body manually. Please let us send an attachment, it will give us the same chance to delive file that we prepared, not what mail program rendered.


Mike, Could you reply to the email submissions with "received" ?

using Outlook, Windows system I placed the jpeg in a blank Word document then copied and pasted into the body of the e-mail.

The submit link didn't work on my computer maybe my antivirus software?

Hi, Mike,
thanks for giving me the opportunity to take part in your contest.
I'm glad you relaxed the requirement with the attachment... The problem is that some email programs change the name of a file that's embedded in the html-email.
I did my very best by trying to embed the picture AND putting it as an attachment to the email.
Thanks again for your work, I'm looking forward to seeing your choices.

"Mike, Could you reply to the email submissions with 'received' ?"

No, sorry, I won't be doing that. If I had a better assistant.... (As I sometimes joke, I have a lazy assistant, but at least he has a lenient boss...both me, of course.)



I submitted an image as an embedded image in the email, but please note that the image loses its file name, just becomes image.jpg even though I named it according to you file naming requirements.



I assume you can submit black and whites, in which case the color space should be grayscale - correct?

Your email link is not clickable for me -- that is, it does not open my gmail account and create a new email with the proper subject line.

Any chance you can add that information to this post somewhere so I can do it manually?


You said that you want the files to be at most, 800 Pixels wide. What about photos taken in portrait orientation? Should they be limited to 800 pixels in height or can that exceed that measurement as long as their width is within 800 pixels?


Hopefully you recieved mine. I usually use gmail. I seem to have no end of trouble using mail on my iMac, but I think I figured it out. I second the request to just give us the email address and subject, rather than the linked Mail to.

Thanks for doing this Mike


If this turns out to be as popular as I think it will be you may wish you had asked people to add _theirname (that's underscore....) to the picture title. That way you don't have to keep the email with the image when you starting sorting out the lead runners.

Mike, I'm interested in the Thomas Jefferson quote which you paraphrased. Can you quote the original? Phil

Will you let us know how many submissions you received? Enquiring Minds!

Hi Mike,

I sent you the same image twice only because there is one aspect I don't know what would be best for you. That is the DPI of the file. I sent the same image 800 pixels wide but in one email at 300DPI and in the other as 150DPI. Therefore when you open the mail the embedded image will be larger on the 150DPI, maybe too large. Can you clarify what would be best in the future? Than you for this wonderful opportunity!

I managed to include mine as an inline attachment... but forgot to rename the file, before sending the e-mail! (The embedded name on my submission should have been "TPS-Blake-MarigoldNebula.jpg," but the image was sent as "_DSC5887_sRGB.jpg," instead.)

Mea culpa for not double-checking everything before clicking the button... and if this disqualifies my entry from consideration, I understand. All the best to everyone who enters, and if my error manages to remind anyone else before they commit the same blunder, it will have served a worthwhile purpose.

Alea Iacta Est - we'll see what transpires.

I made my choice in about 2 minutes by gut feeling only - I felt like any attempt at rationalization would have only complicated matters :-D

Anyway, I very much like the idea of learning where my personal taste stands in the big bad world. Interesting experiment by any count.


Looking forward to see the short list of submissions!

I'm also interested in hearing how many submissions you get.

I resized and embedded my file into the body of the email with Gmail, no problem, but when I looked at my sent email, the file name of the picture appears as image.jpg, even though I renamed it on my computer appropriately. Anyone know how to make sure my file was sent with an appropriate name?

Well.... I had one ready but when I click on the link and Outlook comes up I just know I'm already beaten. I've never used Outlook and it's not configured on any computer I have contact with.
If you ever decide to simply publish an e-mail address and allow attachments I'll be in like Flynn.
Regards from a computer ignoramus in Australia.

"I'm interested in the Thomas Jefferson quote which you paraphrased. Can you quote the original?"

"My repugnance to the writing table becomes daily and hourly more deadly and insurmountable. In place of this has come on a canine appetite for reading. And I indulge it, because I see in it a relief against the taedium senectutis; a lamp to lighten my path through the dreary wilderness of time before me, whose bourne I see not. Losing daily all interest in the things around us, something else is necessary to fill the void. With me it is reading, which occupies the mind without the labor of producing ideas from my own stock."

--Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams, May 17th, 1818. From Cappon, Lester J., Ed., The Adams-Jefferson Letters. Chapel Hill N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 1959. Reprint 1988. Vol. 2, p. 524.

Source: Monticello.org.

Perhaps this tip will help: You can gain some degree of confidence in the email submission process by sending a copy to yourself.

Suggestion in regards to foreigners (you know, like, um, me), or for the printing-challenged: Could Ctein, or yourself, do a pair of prints off each photo file, one to be bought by the photographer, the other to be sent to you? Then, for the sale, an income-splitting deal?

Wow, no comments approved since 1:18pm (it's 10:37pm Eastern now)? Mike must be busy or something!

*holds breath*

*clicks send*

Well, it's in the hands of Mike and (potentially) the lap of the TOP readership now. Godspeed, little photograph!

Incidentally for fellow GMail users, though probably a wee bit late for this time around, I'm using the "Inserting Images" Lab feature and it seems to work painlessly. Or as painlessly as attachments in emails ever do.

I do not use Outlook, so attempted to send via Gmail, as have also apparently some others. I used the "subject" code that was provided, but the message was rejected (three times). It seems this shouldn't be complicated...I send photos via email almost daily with no difficulty!

Why do I feel an instant inferiority complex coming on?

Also, being a wedding photographer kind of limits the saleability of most of my better stuff..... *sigh*

shucks! i'm currently working away from my home base and have my non-photo travel computer. next time!

I look forward to seeing the first cut!

FWIW, I though Mike's instructions were very clear and easy to follow.

Further to my previous comment, I tried to e-mail you directly and there is no way of finding your e-mail address off your website, even your e-mail me link sends me off to Outlook which simply does not work on any of seven computers at my work. I send photos around the world every day of the year and cannot believe you made it so difficult, it feels more like a computer test than a photo competition!
I would really like to try to contribute next time, so how about just publishing your e-mail address and allowing attachments, it's how the rest of the world does it. Also why include a byline, which I also don't even understand, why not ask us to include our name in the title of the image file? It feels like you deliberately made this as awkward as possible, surely not only geeks need apply?
all the best, a slightly peeved Mark

I had to look at the source of this web page to figure out how to send that email.

I think the subject line was escaped , but maybe not.

Mailto tags make my computer try to install an email program (click here if you want to install seamonkey !) or open a code management system and generally freak out depending on what operating system I'm using.

Ugh! Like every other photo contest or anything like it, I've been burned by being on the West Coast. Didn't get a chance to submit my photo before midnight Central time.

Perhaps in the next round.

Mike, this sounds like a madhouse. Better you than me, mate.

—Mitch/Chiang Mai

Um, people, this is a straightforward mailto link which has been used for almost as long as there has been a web, if I remember correctly. It even went out of style but all the browsers are still equipped to handle it. Unless...

That program installation thingy - or invoking Outlook which you don't use - happens because your browser is not properly configured to handle mailto links. (They went out of style, remember?) The exact configuration depends on what you use.

Anti-virus blocking things might happen because clicking on the link invokes some action that an overtly-alert antivirus program can interpret as virus work.

Mike, as to viewing of the attachments, shouldn't there be an option somewhere that says "Show attachments inline"? Yes, on your end.

I've been looking forward to this ever since you first mentioned it 10 days ago, only to find this morning that submissions opened and closed since my last visit yesterday.


How about a 24 hour window for the next round, for those of us on the other side?



Exciting times. Seeing the subject title starts a little panic about which picture to submit. The only problem is the entry is closed before I had a chance to start.

I'm here in sunny Aberdeen (UK) and tend to read TOP over breakfast about 7 am (about 1 am over with you). Did not see the post until this morning, which is too late.

Next time could we have a 24 hour day to submit entries for your international readers?

Thanks for writing this site; one of the best things going.

Yours sincerely, one of the (normally) silent majority.


BTW, the reason why mailto links went out of style is spam. That is, spambot spiders started crawling web pages and copying people's mail addresses from mailto links. Which resulted in tons of spam to the said addresses so everybody went off to find a way to mail from web pages that won't include addresses in plain text...

Dear Trevor,

I did not entirely understand your question. Suggest you read the comments in Mike's original post (linked to in the second line of the article) to see a discussion of getting the printing done by me or others.

Precise details have not been settled, but you can safely assume they will be before it matters.

pax / Ctein

Hi Mike,

Just a small suggestion.

Since we're a global community, it would be nice if everyone all over the world had equal opportunity to participate. Because the submission window is defined by Central US Time, I would suggest next time to post the invitation at 00:00 Central US Time, so that everyone gets 24 hours to find a moment to get home to their computer, pick a photograph, prep it, and send it. During a span of 24 hours everyone, no matter where in the world, will have a fair chance to find the time to prepare a submission.

On the file naming and formatting:
1- Mike, you did not include the initial file naming requirement in your final submission guidelines...
2- But in any case: after pasting the image in the e-mail body in MS Outlook I also had no chance to check the file name or edit it.
3- When I click on my saved sent-mail message, and try to save the picture, the file name has been changed to "untitled". Sigh.
4- When opening this file I saw that even the exif (that would have my name) had been stripped.
This reminds me of http://xkcd.com/949/ ;-)

Might I request that you have a 24 hour window? I usually read TOP first thing in the morning my time ( which would be around 4:00 a.m. Central) and don't come back to it during the day. I suspect there may be more besides me who are on a 24 hour reading pattern.

Now it may have been posted for 24 hours, I can't say for sure. I'm also usually quite busy first thing in the morning and I may have missed it.

I'm sure there are those that are on a weekly pattern, but I would draw the line at allowing your daily readers a chance to participate.

Just had to look up Kalamazoo. Now I know. Thanks for the unexpected piece of education Mike.

You should schedule the next participation windows and let us know when. I really wanted to submit some work, but lost the opportunity even though I was keeping an eye on the RSS reader. Argt. Thanks!

To quote a T-shirt the K-zooans are sometimes seen wearing, "Yes, there really is a Kalamazoo."


I had no trouble putting the image into the mail body by dragging it with the mouse (Windows 7, Thunderbird, not in gmail), but I just checked on the file name and sure enough, it turned into gobbledygook (hcagdaga.jpg) now instead of the TPS-Croell-Fruendenhorn.jpg which was my filename. So your two requirements seem to be mutually exclusive for most Windows users..

Oh one other thing, if you use GMail and the Firefox browser it can be configured to use GMail as the mail client for mailto: links. Works for hosted "gmail for your domain" accounts too.


As always, your mileage may vary on other browsers...

If clicking the mailto link tries to bring up Outlook, and you've never installed Outlook, that means whatever mail program you HAVE installed didn't register itself with the computer.

You can right-click on the link and use "copy email address" to pick up the address for use in some email environment where the mailto link doesn't work (like mine at work; clicking a mailto link brings up the WORK email, not my personal email which I access from work via webmail). (Well, you could back when the link existed; Mike's taken it down now that the submission period is over.)

I found Thunderbird to handle putting the image into the message and displaying it inline to be painless, and it appears not to have changed my file name (I sent a copy to myself, so I could see what went out). I did have to remember how to start composing email in HTML mode, though, since I do that maybe once a year.

It's like judging the images at a Camera Club "show and tell" night. Lots of really good images, but none great, and certainly nothing I'd want to put on my walls. Especially if i had to pay for it.
I do like the cat.

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