The Labyrinth Rocket

Join me in the Peachpit Photo Club Tomorrow!

Register now (Free!) for the Peachput Photo Club event!

The event is on Tuesday, September 28, 2010 from 8 to 9 p.m. ET (5 to 6 p.m. PT). See you there!

Portfolio Question

I wanted to ask your opinion before I did this about my portfolio at

Personally, I really like when I see photography slideshows set to music. But I also know that it is annoying when this happens on the web. I understand that it is actually more than annoying — because most people are already busy listening to something else. Switching to my music or turning off my music immediately starts out with a negative experience. That’s not good…

So, having said all that, should I add music to my portfolio?

Daily Photo – The Labyrinth Rocket

Isn’t this a beautiful and unique church? It’s been so long since I’ve posted a photo of it. It’s called Hallgrimskirkja. This is much easier to say if you are a dolphin. And drunk.

On my last trip, I made my fourth visit to this spot. I was graced with good clouds to complement the monotonemapping of the scene. The doors were locked, so I could not get inside. I had some bizarre visions of possibly climbing up the rock face to clamber in through the windows, but then remembered it wasn’t a video game… dangit.

HDR Photo

  • casusan

    Oh wow! This is an awesome shot Trey! I remember your first shot from here and I was so surprised because I’ve never seen anything like it – the foreground in this adds a nice touch – love it!

  • John

    Would prefer no music, as yes I am already listening to my own.

    If I watch a video then by all means hit me with whatever you got. πŸ™‚

    Happy travels…

  • Thumbs down on the music, Trey. I want to focus my attention on what I see, not what I hear when looking at your or anyone else’s portfolio.

  • Iztaci Popo

    Unique and beautiful shot. For me, music on a website is a huge pain-in-the-butt.

  • my vote is for no music as well. I know you make iTunes playlists…do you make Youtube playlists as well? Maybe provide a link to a Youtube playlist instead.

  • no music please in the portfolio..:) nice pattern on the floor, what a unique shape of church.

  • Joe

    If the music is PERFECT for the shot, then yes. But, if you’re not 100% sure about it, no. I tend to just “X out” of the webpage if the music is annoying in order to get rid of it quickly. Plus, while I LOVE your website, info, and personality, let’s just say that your apparent taste in music (as seen in “what I like”) would present a “broadening” opportunity for me if asked to consider it in order to see your photos. Yet, maybe I need some broadening…so, go with our gut…

  • I’d say no to the music as well. Normally have my own going.

  • Wow what a curious building πŸ™‚ I like the distortion on the foreground tiles.

    I think the music would be a cool idea – i know that people like listening to their own music so why not just set the music to ‘off’ in smugmug as a default setting so we can switch it ‘on’ and listen to it if we want?

    I like your music taste I’ve got to say so it wouldn’t bother me. Maybe you could incorporate some ‘Motley Crue’ or ‘AC/DC’ for those ace motorbike photos you posted! That would rule!

  • Gorgeous shot Trey, do you use “Tonal contrast” from Nik Color Efex a lot? Or how do you get these awesome detailed textures?

  • Burt

    Well, I don’t hear the music, so it doesn’t bother me… πŸ™‚

    Seriously, not sure why I am not getting music on your page, but I ALWAYS kill the link/RSS to any page that starts off with music. Some pages have a button for “unmute” or “listen to music”, and those are fine — if the mood strikes me and I am in a room where music is not a problem, I may click the button. If the site instantly gives it, the sites get the boot. The only exception is for sites that I know are linking to video clips, such as There, I expect to hear audio, and will only click when I am alone and/or my partner will not be bothered.

    On the topic of this church, where is it? Your post implies that you have shown it before, but I do not recognize it. Perhaps it was before I started watching this feed, or simply my old mind has forgotten. Would love to know, so I can be sure to visit it if I am ever in the area (we travel quite a lot)

  • Awesome shot! Personally, I’m not a fan of music on websites, so I vote no music. πŸ™‚

  • Great image. What time in the day did you need to take it in order to ensure there were no people in shot? I actually like the music, but learnt ages ago to take it off my own web site because clients looking for a photographer whilst at work don’t want to be exposed for surfing in the firm’s time. What lens did you use for this? It looks very wide and entirely appropriate for the shot.

  • I usually prefer no music, or you could add music that would have to be actively turned on. Generally, anything that makes sound on the Internet is a pain in the a**.

    LOVE the new photo!

  • Patrick

    No music, please.

  • I’m not a fan of music on the web. I have my own. So I vote NO!

  • Wingnut Roy

    I’ll go with NO music too…We have damn slow Internet connections in India.
    However, I do believe that the right music and ambient sounds can create strong impact on images/slideshows…but definitely not portfolios…

    And W-O-W…the angle from which this photo has been taken makes the building look a li’l like Saruman’s tower…

  • charles

    Music ?? No Music, please.
    You have a great picture of Hallgrimskirkja. The last time I was there there were to many people and the front of the chruch was hidden behind scafolding. Even the view from up there was a mess.

  • Don

    Great photo Trey. On the subject of music, I think you have good taste, especially going with Patrick O’Hearn selections. Like others have commented, it would be nice to have the option to click music on or off depending on what the situation is at the time. I also like Andy Bird’s suggestion of some Motley Crue or AC/DC music to go with your fantastic motorcycle photos. Also, NLSchober brought up a good point. Have you made up a playlist for YouTube or something else besides iTunes?

  • Michele

    I was gutted to find Hallgrimskirkja shrouded in scaffolding on our visit in 2008. I couldn’t even bring myself to go to the cathedral at all, after seeing it from a distance. Still, it gives me a reason to go back to Iceland one day!

    As far as the music, I prefer none. Another option would be to have the music off as default, and give your viewers the option of turning it on when viewing slideshows. Sometimes no music is preferred by those people viewing websites during work time. There’s nothing like foreign sounds emanating from computers to give away the fact that you’re not working!

  • lucky henry

    No music. Don’t care for slideshows either…much better to show thumbnails and let us click the ones we want to enlarge.

  • Hi Trey, I don’t usually comment (I get disheartened when I see 30 or more comments and feel like I’m talking into a void) but this is an issue close to my heart and I must save you from yourself :p I often have several tabs open at a time and when strange sounds begin emanating from my lappy that I’m pretty sure I didn’t ask it to make I have to hunt down the offending website and then find where on their website the no muzak button is. Plus, I tend to associate music on websites with My Space and animated gifs. Have I saved from yourself? Good πŸ™‚

  • Gail in Montana

    Wow, what an amazing looking church, great photo, Trey. I go along with everyone else on music on the web. So I guess you have your answer on that one. Back to the photo, I think this is such a beautiful, if strange looking church. And the parking lot? is really pretty, also. Thanks for sharing it with us and taking us to Iceland again!!!! πŸ™‚

  • Funny thing. Just yesterday I was talking with a friend about the first time I saw your old portfolio with music. It was a very cool experience. I even asked my friend if he was hearing music when he viewed your new smugmug portfolio thinking that maybe I was in the wrong place since I had no soundtrack.
    Bottom line is this, there is no comparison between the way the older portfolio w/music displayed and the current version. I was quite surprised you ditched the music when you made the move to SM. It was like, “Why did he do that?”.
    I’d be curious if those set against a soundtrack had ever viewed your original portfolio? If not, they missed an almost out of body experience. Really.

  • Lisa Bradley

    Lots going on in this image….very interesting! I have to say I find that music and web slideshows do not mix well for me. I always turn the music off or get out of the page quickly, especially if the music is turned up. My vote is to let the images speak for themselves and keep the music in non-web slide shows. Thanks for inviting input!

  • I think adding music to slide shows adds another dimension and speaks volumes about what the photographer was thinking and feeling about the subject(s)/topic(s). Having said that, I have to tell you that it also takes a great deal of time to find the right music and a piece that fits the length of your slide show. It makes a more polished product to have the music end at the same time the slide show ends, rather than being cut off … obviously. If your interested in seeing slide shows matched with music check out the Slide Show category on, but I have to tell you finding music short enough to match these slideshows took hours and hours, and once or twice a day or two. You’ll notice your influence in one or two of the slide shows (Fields of Power and Southampton Antique Auto Show [not the Details the other one]), as they are my husband’s photographs. Thanks to you and Rick Sammon, he’s doing a lot of HDR these days with wonderful results, we think. Hope you enjoy them.

  • Please no music. I like the site as it is now.

  • Marie

    Please, no music

  • I would prefer no music on any website. Right now, I’m listening to an album on my iPod in an office environment. If I switched to your portfolio and music started blaring, it would be annoying to my co-workers and I’d just have to rush to shut it off.

    At home, I’m listening to my own music in iTunes and then I’d suddenly have competing music coming from your portfolio.

    Also, consider that ASCAP and BMI require licenses for much of the music that we find familiar. You’d have to either pay thousands of dollars for those licenses or find some obscure music at a lower royalty-free rate to keep compliant with the music licensing.

  • I love music included, but definitely not on a website! And If I had my way I’d scrap the flash too.

  • I’ve NEVER had a good experience with music on a photography site. It always throws me off and I usually leave right away.

    Like someone else said above: If you’re going to have music, set it to off so that the viewer must make the choice to turn it on.

  • Thanks all ! Great feedback on the music stuff… Sounds like a resounding no ! hehe

    On the previous one, I had a lot of music tracks that I still have on the music list (see “What I Like” link at the top!) — maybe some good sutggestions in there….

  • The most amazing thing about this shot for me is how you managed to catch a moment with zero people in it! Awesome shot all the way around!

  • I agree with most. No on music. But….if you had a button that said, “Click here for music that I like with these images.”, that would be fine. Great shot today!

  • no music!

  • Trey, no go on the music. I think if there is a play button music is good. Then I turn mine off and gear up for yours. But no go on the music for sure. But no auto starting music please please please!

    You are great. What talent!

  • great shot! real cool, i think maybe a music text or link to what you think suits or what you were listing at the time wold be mint

  • Love the French shots dude!

    The ideal situation is to have music that is defaulted to mute. Then make it clear that it can be turned on next to all the other controls.

  • Strange — so many “no music” votes. I like music for slide shows (then again, I’m usually viewing wedding slide shows and the music adds to the mood and story). I would have said YES, but the majority say no, so there you go…

    =) Liz

  • tuan

    No music, definitely not on the web.

  • Pingback: Is there a software that will lock my window registry? | Get Encrypt()

  • Fran Wheeler

    Dan, I edit a free web-based newsletter for statisticians. This church is an excellent and enjoyable picture of a perfect normal distribution of data. I would love to use it. Could I do so? If so, what kind of citation would you like? Thanks for your consideration.

  • I’m not sure if you’re replying to another comment on this page or not, but if you’re interested in licensing the image, please send details of use over to [email protected].

  • Fran Wheeler

    Thanks for your reply. Yes, someone had sent me the picture of the church, which I assumed was his. When I asked to use it, he said that he didn’t own the rights, but put me on to your site. I would love to use it, but I can’t afford to pay for it. My newsletter is a freebie. I would be glad to give you credit and send folks to your site, however.
    Would you be willing to give your permission?

    Thanks for your consideration.

    [email protected]

  • Fran,

    I can’t discuss it here – please email [email protected]. Thanks!

  • Pingback: Cool Software images | Torrent or Softwares()

  • Pingback: Nice The Carpet photos | Carpet For Everyday, Everywhere()

  • Pingback: Cool Travel Spots images | Etravelb1ackboard()

Newsletter Sign Up

The most beautiful newsletter ever!