Just recently I’ve decided that the walls of our house are looking a little bare and rather than spending a small fortune on pictures and paintings I’ve started searching the Internet for images of the place in which I live.The idea is to find a number of extremely high quality and dramatic images of Torbay which I’ll then blow up on to huge canvases to be hung on the wall.

My search has been hindered by the fact that while there are many sites which offer fantastic photographs of Torbay, most the images lack a certain artistic quality and are unavailable in the kind of resolutions that would allow them to be blown up.Eventually I came across Flickr; one of the most popular photo storage and sharing sites on the Internet.

The site is free, easy to use and features various methods for sorting, categorizing and tagging along with features allowing users to comment and rate pictures.You can choose to make your photos either private or public and as such it would be useful even if just as a private gallery to store images more securely than on your own hard drive.Should you decide to make your photos public you can easily apply a Creative Commons copyright license to inform users ofhow you license the photo to be used (for example, non commercial use only).It is worth pointing out that while users should respect your copyright, Flickr cannot enforce or take action if they do not.

The free account provides you with a 100MB picture and two video monthly upload limit but if you find yourself exceeding this then for $24.95 (around £17) you can upgrade to the pro account which will allow you an unlimited monthly upload limit and an unlimited amount of online storage.

The Flickr ( interface is attractive and easy to use and when searching you can choose to either perform a simple text search across the entire site, just your Flickr friends libraries, your own uploads or by a geographical place.The results of your search are displayed in order of what others have found interesting along with small thumbnails which you can then click on to reveal a larger image, comments and a full tag list.Impressively, if the user has uploaded the photo in a high resolution you can also see the original, full size image which is perfect for when quality is paramount; especially if you are looking to enlarge or print the image.

When you upload a photo by either the web, e-mail or via your mobile phone you can keep them grouped together using a number of different options such as predefined group names, keyword tags or even the location in which the photo was shot.

The quality of the material online is quite staggering; there are very few crude camera phone pictures present and instead the public galleries tend to attract a high class of amateur and professional photographer using SLR digital cameras.The real geeks can even restrict their search to specific camera make and models; it is interesting to see what others have achieved using the same equipment as you. An important issue for any Internet site containing pictures on the Internet is of course a content filter which can be set to differing levels depending on the user.


About the Author - Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.