My Year on Google+

My Year on Google+

My Year on Google+

Ok so I haven’t been on G+ exactly a year yet but it was July 8th when I finally bagged myself an invite after watching from outside for nearly 2 weeks, desperate to get in.

My 1st (not so wise) words here were… Ok so I got in… Now what?

Now What?!… Wow what a ride its been!
Aside from the advancements in my work encouraged by the many many people that have supported me and given me the confidence in my work that was certainly not there a year ago. If only the confidence in real world environments were there… but I digress.
The amazing thing about G+ is the people that are part of it. I can now claim to have true friends spread throughout the world – not bad for a guy who lives in a village of 65 people and last left the country 17 years ago…

I don’t remember much detail about the initial weeks on Google+, apart from +Colby Brown was a true leader and showed us the ways to use this platform and make it a pleasant place for all.

Fast forward to December and things took off and have never been the same since. +Andy Stuart, who I knew IRL, “held my hand” as I tested Hangouts – I’ve not looked back since. After stumbling into the 1st episode of Midweek Photo Talk hosted by +André Appel and +Rogier Rood (unfortunately we haven’t done one for months now..) I was addicted to hangouts!
Working from, or stuck at home, it wasn’t long until we started hanging out daily whilst we all worked away and our little gang formed. Spending my days with “colleagues” made the long lonely days of self employment disappear. So I thank you +André Appel +helen sotiriadis +mark helm +suzanne clements +Kev Isabeth +John Butterill  and of course +Don Noll for keeping me sane and entertained since Christmas. Our gang is of course much bigger than these few names and if I went further I’d only forget someone and they’d get upset, but you all contribute so much I can’t imagine life without seeing you all at least once a week!
Being one for late-ish nights there is another group of hanger-outerers! The lovely ladies +Elizabeth Lund +Kellianne Hutchinson +Katie Wright +Mary Sass Clark my birthday buddy +Wes Lum and the always entertaining +Boris Gorelik. Thank you all for ruining my sleep pattern and keep me up waay too late! :)

Highlights have been mainly in giving back to the community and seeing the good will and interaction here. Many of us submitted for the +Plus One Collection which benefited KIVA, submitted images for +Lee Daniels and being there when the idea for +Virtual Photo Walks™ which helps many see what they never could have, was being born (John says my post about the impromptu walk sparked the idea) was brilliant!

Recently I took part in +Chrysta Rae‘s Scavenger Hunt (May) and it was amazing – can’t wait to do more!

One thing that would make Google+ even better… I wish there was no such thing as time zones! It feels like so much cool stuff happens at 4am my time and there are many people I’d love to hangout with that just aren’t around whilst I’m awake!

Going back to photography, Google+ has opened my eyes to many talented people I’d never heard of before (even the “big names”) who have inspired me to try shooting techniques, processing styles, subscribe to their thoughts on the art and image management, found educational resources that I had never come across etc etc. Some limited examples are…
+mark helm for getting me into macro photography.
+Joel Tjintjelaar for inspiring me to try long exposures.
+Boris Gorelik and +Vivienne Gucwa for making me want to leave the UK and see New York for myself.
+Thomas Hawk‘s images for making me realise that there is so much potential art around us, far away from the landscapes I was exclusively taking when I started out here.
+Alan Shapiro for just basically being Alan Shapiro, for the challenges he lays before us, his beautiful flowers, his willingness to give time and tips and for taking the mick out of me for being quiet in hangouts :)

Year One on Google+ has been astounding and has changed the way I look at so much in my life, how much will Year Two change my life? I can’t wait to find out!!

Attaching this image A Song of Fog and Castles IIbecause, whilst taking this series of images, I have simply never been as excited about photography and capturing the scene presented before me, and its all down to Google+ and the amazing people that contribute, encourage one another and have made such a difference to me and my life.

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Andy Gray

Andy is a Northumberland UK based Freelance Photographer, web and print designer. Selling images from

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