Monday, March 23, 2015

Dealing with Image Theft

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Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
Stolen by pet.com.pk
More and more I'm finding that my images are being stolen and published throughout the internet. I'm no expert at finding my stolen images, and I don't check for them very often, but I figured I share the little I know, and if any you have any tricks up your sleeve for how to deal with this, feel free to add your thoughts in the comments. I'm always trying to learn more.

Finding Images
The best way I know of to find stolen images is to use Google Image Search.  You can just drag one of your images onto the page and it will show you where your picture has been published on the internet. I've found several stolen images this way.

Contacting the Site Owner
Sometimes all it takes is a nice but firm email to the site owner to get your images removed. About a year ago I found one of my images on NOAA's website.  They had made a presentation promoting a wildlife refuge, and they used one of my images of a Reddish Egret.  So I found their contact email address on the website and sent an email pointing out the theft.  I included the specific web address of the page using my image and also a link to my gallery page that showed the image belonged to me.  I politely but but firmly asked them to remove the photo. The good people at NOAA replied quickly and fixed the problem.

Now I'm normally very generous with my images with those who ask, especially if it's for a good cause.  So I explained to NOAA that I'd be happy to let them use the image if they gave me credit. I'd have happily given permission to the person who made the presentation if they had just asked.

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Reddish Egret
Stolen by NOAA
Contacting the Website Hosting Service
Sometimes image theft is not so benign.  That is, sometimes the problem isn't ignorance.  The person responsible for the site just doesn't care if he is stealing your images. A couple weeks ago I found one of my images on pets.com.pk.  There was an "article" (it did not read like a legitimate article) about bird migration.  They used one of my images of a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. They did not give me any credit for the photo.  So I emailed the contact listed on the website and received no response or acknowledgement. After a week I tried leaving a comment on the offending page.  The comment never appeared, and again I had no response.  So I decided to email the web hosting service.  I went to whoishostingthis.com and copied the URL to the site.  It gave me the name of the hosting service. I then went to the website for the hosting service, found the contact page and sent another email. Within an hour I received a response.  I was told that they had alerted the site owner, and if the image wasn't removed in 7 days, they would shut down the site.  A couple hours later I checked the page, and it was down. In fact, the whole website was down.  I'm guessing they found other suspicious activity on the site and shut it down.

If your images are being stolen, there are things you can do.  It's too bad this has to be a problem at all.  But I've found these methods largely effective.  What I would love to have, though, is a program that would scan all my photos I've posted on my smugmug site and blog and then show me where all those images appear, excluding places I normally post my photos.  That would be wonderful. Searching for images one at a time is a drag.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Purple Sandpiper at Ponce Inlet, 3/21/2015

Lighthouse Point Park, Ponce Inlet
Purple Sandpiper
Two of my aunts and uncles are in town staying with my parents, and so we all decided to go to the beach for a couple hours this morning.  It was pretty fun hanging out with my daughter and extended family, and of course, I kept an eye on the birds.  I didn't see much that was unusual, though I did see about 30 Barn Swallows flying in from the ocean--nice to see them returning.  The biggest highlight, though, was seeing a Purple Sandpiper at the jetty.  At least one seems to turn up here every winter, so I always hope to see one when I visit.  This morning I was not disappointed.  These are by far my best photos of this beautiful little bird.

Lighthouse Point Park, Ponce Inlet
Purple Sandpiper
Lighthouse Point Park, Ponce Inlet
Purple Sandpiper
Lighthouse Point Park, Ponce Inlet
Purple Sandpiper
Lighthouse Point Park, Ponce Inlet
Purple Sandpiper

Friday, March 20, 2015

Finally an American Pipit Photo I'm Willing to Show You

Marl Bed Flats
American Pipit
I see these wonderful little birds all the time during the winter.  My favorite place to see them is Marl Bed Flats, where a flock of 50 or more may fly overhead at any moment.  I have a terrible time getting photos of them, though.  I get shots of them in flight, usually far away, and I can never seem to get close enough to them after they land to get a photo.  Well, yesterday a flock of about 20 flew by, and then one little straggler followed and landed not too far in front of me. As I made my way a little closer, it seemed okay with me.  Here's my best shot.  There's certainly room for improvement, but at least I don't mind showing it to you.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Sparrows at Hal Scott Preserve

Hal Scott Preserve and Park
Eastern Towhee
On Saturday I visited Hal Scott Preserve to look for Red-cockaded and Hairy Woodpeckers.  I found both, but too early in the morning for photos.  Later in the morning Eastern Towhees and Bachman's Sparrows decided to put on a show.  They are such pretty birds I couldn't help but stop and take a few portraits.

Hal Scott Preserve and Park
Bachman's Sparrow
 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Crested Caracara Portrait

Brumley Rd
Crested Caracara
This morning I drove out to Brumley Rd looking for birds to add to my year list.  Top on my list were Summer Tanager (missed), Red-eyed Vireo (found), and Yellow-throated Vireo (found). But perhaps the best moment of the morning was when this Crested Caracara flew up on a fence post.  It was so close, I pretty much could only get the whole bird in the frame when its head was facing to the left.  So this is just about a full frame shot.  I cropped a little bit of the barbed wire from the bottom of the frame, but that's about it.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Great Blue Heron With Needlefish

Fort Mellon Park
Great Blue Heron
This morning I drove to the marina on Lake Monroe.  It was about this time of year that a Royal Tern showed up here last year, and I thought it might be worth checking to see if it might have returned.  I didn't find it, but I did see a Great Blue Heron.  It looked like it was just standing there, not too interested in fishing.  But as I was taking a few shots, it lunged forward and plunged its head into the water.  It came out with pretty large Needlefish.  At first I thought it was a gar, but one of my friends gave me a positive ID.

Fort Mellon Park
Great Blue Heron
Fort Mellon Park
Great Blue Heron
He only stood in the water with the gar for a few seconds. Almost immediately, he flew onto the grass so that he could begin the process of killing and consuming his prey.

Fort Mellon Park
Great Blue Heron
He repeatedly stabbed the fish, puncturing its head and ensuring that it was good and dead. This seems to explain why he wanted to fly onto the grass.  This way the fish couldn't swim away while he stabbed it.

Fort Mellon Park
Great Blue Heron
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Great Blue Heron
Pondering between strikes
Fort Mellon Park
Great Blue Heron
Then he began to swallow it--head first, of course.

Fort Mellon Park
Great Blue Heron
But he must not have liked the way it was going down, so he pushed it a little way back out and then tried swallowing it again.

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Great Blue Heron
Sanford Marina
Great Blue Heron
Sanford Marina
Great Blue Heron
The second time was a charm.  The whole process of catching, killing and swallowing the fish took just over 7 minutes. But he looked kind of funky for quite some time afterwards.

Sanford Marina
Great Blue Heron
All that to say, sometimes you can have an even better time seeing a common bird do something amazing than finding an unusual bird.  I left this encounter feeling it had been a worthwhile morning.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Great Blue Heron with Crayfish

Audubon Park
Great Blue Heron
This morning I saw a Great Blue Heron by the shore of the pond at Audubon Park. I thought it was in pretty good light for a photo, so I decided to take a photo. As I knelt down the heron struck the water and came up with a crayfish. He didn't take long to swallow it; it was gone in seconds.

Audubon Park
Great Blue Heron
Audubon Park
Great Blue Heron

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