Germans shoot Edinburgh – The Edinburgh Photography Workshop 2012, a joint UK-German venture.

Wikimedians in the War Room
Wikimedians in the War Room

Post by Peter Weis

Participating in Wikimedia’s projects is not just about editing Wikipedia. Many Wikipedia articles have images, but not many people understand how they get there. Images on Wikipedia are provided by Wikimedia Commons – the free media archive and one of Wikimedia’s many projects. The aim of the Edinburgh Photography Workshop on 1 August was to involve local photographers, share skills and show them how to participate on Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia.

The idea for this workshop was conceived last year when I met User:Brian McNeil for the first time. Photography workshops are popular in the German Wiki community – Nuremberg will have its 11th workshop this year. User:Gnu1742 of the Nuremberg workshops and Daria Cybulska of Wikimedia UK helped the two of us create the 1st Edinburgh photography workshop.

With the support of Wikimedia UK, Wikimedia Deutschland and the experience of a dozen German photography workshops, we met on 21st July at the McDonald Road Library to start a weekend of shutter speeds and aperture values. Saturday kicked off with an initial session on cameras and a photo tour to Calton Hill. After our excursion we evaluated most of the images and tried to point out mistakes and improve the general image quality. Approaching attendees on an individual level and trying different camera settings “in the field” has proven to be a suitable solution. Brian McNeil and Andrew Gray presented on Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia, preparing participants for an extensive introduction the next day.

On Sunday we gathered at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh well prepared to take images of the various plants and flowers. Gladly most of the names were indicated by signs, which saved Category:Unidentified plants from being spammed. Unlike the urban photography of Saturday, the images taken at the RBGE were benefiting from dead calm and clouds. A first selection of these images was uploaded right after returning to the library. An in-depth session on Wikimedia Commons involved creating an account, image licensing, explaining the basics such as categorisation and image descriptions, as well as the actual upload using the UploadWizard. Later on, experienced Wikimedians shared tricks on how to improve the workflow and showed which next steps to take. In the end we informed participants about the follow up information to this workshop, which can be found here

We found that small events can be successful too. Six new users and 50 new images are just the beginning of a growing community of Wikimedians in Edinburgh. Participants of the local Open Street Map community offered to join forces for an unconference in October 2012. Now it’s up to the local Wikimedians to make the best of this chance.

Featured pictures is what the community considers to be the finest images available. For Scotland, there have been 18 of these excellent media files so far (there are around 300 featured pictures of Germany). The community voted for one of the images, which is now a featured picture. A future goal is to get more featured pictures of Scotland and promote both, the country and the community creating these stunning images.

If you would like to participate in a UK photography event, Wikipedia Takes Coventry is for you! User:Rock drum is hosting a one day photo scavenger hunt on 1st September in Coventry, England. Anyone can participate, regardless of photography ability.