Does this cloud look like a Baby Chick Begging for Food to you? (Purchase)
Summer is not always a time for a high level of photography activity for me. These past two summers the parks and public areas have been crowded as people limited travel due to Covid. Summer of 2021 was exceptionally hot and started with a record breaking heat dome which many will not forget anytime soon. So I didn’t get out and photograph all that this summer, but I did do some in the backyard. In the evening after working in the garden I occasionally noticed some flowers that needed some camera attention, and during one of those evenings I happened to look up and see a lot of great cloud shapes and formations in the evening sky.
There isn’t a lot one can say about these sorts of photographs, but I included this first one at the top because it is my favourite. The main shape here reminds me of a baby chick in a nest with its wings stretched out and its mouth wide open hoping for dinner from Mom or Dad. Hopefully I’m not the only one that can see this! The others I photographed that evening were either shapes or striations in the sky that I found interesting.
December brings the time of year where we look back on the previous year and reflect on what occurred. I was hoping 2021 would be less eventful than the situation in 2020. While it was different, and much improved in many ways, the weather decided to be a big force where I live and not in a fun way. On the plus side, I did get out a lot more this year (locally) for photography, and I think I improved on some things from the previous year, which is all one can ask for really. 2021 also brought some really good fall foliage which I was able to both enjoy and photograph.
As usual, I started working on this list when I collected images for my 2022 Nature Calendar. I’ve published new images since then, and had many others to consider as well. If you click on a photo you’ll be taken to my Image Archive. I’ve also linked to corresponding blog posts that contain these images (if available) to provide more information about the location or to see other photos from that area. As usual, choosing 10 images is rather difficult, even though these should be considered my favourites and not the “best” necessarily. These aren’t in any order really as that would be just too hard!
I hope you enjoy this years selections and am curious to hear if you have any particular favourites. What do you see in photo #5?
My 2022 Nature Calendars are now available! I have put together some of my favourite recent photographs into a 11″x17″ (28cm x 43cm) calendar. Included are 12 photographs of landscape, wildlife, and nature scenes from British Columbia and Washingon State. As the purchase website no longer has a preview available, take a look at the index below for a small preview of the images contained in the calendar.
It is time once again to post my favourite images from the past year. 2020 has not been a typical year by any means, but I can’t really complain overall. I stayed closer to home this year, and photographed more wildlife than usual. Part of this was the limited locations I had at times, avoiding crowds/people, and due to owning a longer lens now. As usual, I started working on this list when I collected images for my 2021 Nature Calendar, though the criteria for that is a bit more limited than a top 10 list (I generally avoid human elements). I let this selection of images sit for a while like I did last year, but only wound up rotating one image in/out this time.
If you click on a photo you’ll be taken to my Image Archive. I’ve also linked to corresponding blog posts that contain these images (if available) to provide more information about the location or to see other photos from that area. These photos aren’t in any specific order though I think the first photograph of the fledgling Barred Owls is my favourite. The blog post below the photo outlines some of my luck involved in making the owl image. That was a photo opportunity I never imagined having and can’t really expect to again! I didn’t anticipate photographing a comet this year either, so there are always surprises.
I hope you enjoy this years selections and am curious to hear if you have any particular favourites.
My 2021 Nature Calendars are now available! I have put together some of my favourite recent photographs into a 11″x17″ (28cm x 43cm) calendar. Included are 12 photographs of landscape, wildlife, and nature scenes from British Columbia. As the purchase website no longer has a preview available, take a look at the index below for a small preview of the images contained in the calendar.
30% OFF! Use the code BFCM30 (case sensitive) for 30% OFF at checkout through November 30th.
Comet NEOWISE (C/2020 F3) photographed in the skies above Burnaby, Abbotsford, and Langley, BC.
Comet NEOWISE in the evening sky above Burnaby Mountain (Purchase)
Comet NEOWISE was first discovered on March 27, 2020 and was visible in the night sky throughout much of July 2020. Since NEOWISE was going to be visible with the naked eye, and not long after sunset, I made a number of attempts to photograph it. I have never really done any photography of the sky at night, so I had do to some research as to how these sorts of photographs were accomplished. The first photograph above was made from the top of Burnaby Mountain at Simon Fraser University. I had thought that the nearby Burnaby Mountain Park would be a good location, but it was crowded. Not wanting to try to figure this all out while trying to socially distance from people, I moved up to SFU on the top of Burnaby Mountain. Seems this was a good call as the police showed up after sunset at the park to deal with some car rally people who were misbehaving in the parking lot. SFU was certainly a bit more serene – though it was weird being up there with every building closed (they are typically open 24/7). The photo above is a combination of 9 images made over a period of about 45 seconds. I thought the clouds that were rolling through would have been a big problem processing this one, but I rather like the outcome – it has a bit more going for it than just a comet in the sky. I had been trying to think of a good location where I could work something into the foreground for NEOWISE but never really came up with many promising ideas that weren’t likely around a lot of people. These clouds do make a foreground of sorts I guess!
Learning what sort of settings to make these photographs with, find a location, and get some decent weather was not my only obstacle in creating these images. I later had to learn how to “stack” the photographs using different software than I was used to. I tried several but by far had the best results from a program called Sequator. Stacking photographs like this together brightens up the dim stars (without creating the star trails of a long exposure) and also cancels out some of the noise that is created by the camera sensor.
Comet NEOWISE in the night sky above Burnaby Mountain (Purchase)
For the next opportunity to photograph Comet NEOWISE I went to a viewpoint in Abbotsford that looks over Glen Valley and the Fraser River. While on Burnaby Mountain the comet wasn’t all that easy to see with the naked eye which was probably a combination of light pollution and where NEOWISE was positioned in relation to the sun. On this second attempt the tail was very easy to see. There is less light pollution out there and it is also likely that the comet and tail was simply brighter at that point in its journey. I could easily spot it just glancing out the car window! I picked up quite a few mosquito bites making the above photo, but this night turned out to be the best conditions I had photographing NEOWISE.
Comet NEOWISE above Langley
The last photograph of Comet NEOWISE here is not very good, but it is interesting in that the comet’s core appeared quite green. The tail was quite faint, and I was actually never able to see the comet with my eyes – even through the camera lens. The green color was nice though. I photographed this at Glen Valley in Langley, amid the blueberry and cranberry fields. What was probably the more interesting even that evening was when I saw a few Coyotes on the side of the road. One was clearly this years crop and was considerably smaller than the others. A few kilometers from where I saw the pup is where I photographed, and there was a pack of Coyotes rather close by howling and singing away while I made my photographs. I clapped my hands a few times just to make my presence known, but they weren’t overly concerned with this and never seemed to cease the celebration over a rabbit hunt or whatever they had going on. Perhaps they were enjoying the comet.
This is an update (March 2020) of a post I wrote in 2014 as infringement search has changed since then.
If you share your photographs on the internet it is possible that people are using them online without your permission. No amount of transparent overlay images, right click disabling, watermarking, or other measures are going to stop this. Copyright infringements may be in the form of anything from display on personal blogs to commercial uses by large companies. Some may give you image credit, but most of the time I haven’t found this to be the case. Others may even take the credit for your image themselves! So how do you find these infringements?
How do you find your photographs being used without permission?
Search engines such as Google, Bing and Yandex have reverse image search capabilities you can use to find your photographs. Other websites such as Tineye do this exclusively, and other companies such as Infringement.report will do the searching for you (more on those kind of sites later). For most of these reverse search engines you can drag and drop an image from your computer to be searched, or copy and paste a URL instead. I find searching for individual images with the reverse search engines to be a tedious method when I have many many photos to search for. Luckily there is an easier way utilizing browser extensions.
Personally I use an extension for the Firefox browser called “Reverse Image Search” that allows me to search for infringements on all 4 services (Google, Tineye, Bing and Yandex) with just one right click. The search results open into new separate tabs. You can also download extensions that just use one of these sites for your reverse image search. Similar extensions exist for Google Chrome and other browsers as well. With most of my searches Google Images is the service that seems to find the most results. For more “popular” images I use all 4 services just to be thorough (they all have slightly different results). The extra time involved continually clicking results tabs with no results is easily paid for in the 1/50 times when Tineye or Yandex will yield a result other than my own websites. Frequently these are results that Google did not find. While TinEye is frequently mentioned by photographers looking for image uses, Google really is the best bet if you don’t have time to search all 4 services.
The screen capture below shows the Firefox extension in action – performing a reverse image search on one of my blog photographs. Sometimes searches on thumbnails and full size images yield different results. It can be worth it with “popular” images to do a search on both your thumbnails and full size images.
When using a reverse image search plugin, you can right click to search for infringements of your images with multiple services at once.
What if I can’t right click on my images?
For some of you the majority of your images may be on a site that does not allow you to right click and search for the image. While many of my infringed photographs come from my blog, the bulk of my image library (2800+ images) is on Photoshelter. A right clicking isn’t possible for those images I simply batch upload downsized copies to my own website in a hidden folder. I then load each photo in a browser tab and do the right clicking from there. When I am finished I empty the folder (I don’t need search engines picking up on the contents). This is laborious but I do it slowly, and cycle through my images once every 2 months approximately. For those of you without a website – there are fewer options. You can right click on some social media sites if you have your images there.
The search results
The various sites show their search results in a similar fashion. Google, which seems to give the best results, keeps changing the layout but the content is the same. I usually scroll through the page(s) of results and am scanning the urls for sites that are not my own, or places I know I’ve uploaded the photograph (Flickr, social media, etc). From there I check out everything that is a potential infringement and determine what I want to do next.
Regardless of the reverse search engine used, I scan the results for sites that are not my own, or are social media posts that I did not make. One area to point out in the Google results is the area titled “Visually similar images”. Most of the time if the image I am searching shows up here, it is on one of my websites or social media profiles. However, I do think it is important that you hover over a photo in this area to verify its location. I have caught more than one infringement in the visually similar images area that did not show up in the main search results.
The above reverse image search methods may not be the only way to accomplish this kind of searching, but in the many methods I have tried it is currently the fastest and easiest (and free). People usually ask me how I pursue infringements but before they’ve found their own. There are a lot of options for searching for images but not everyone will find results, and if they do they may not be commercial in nature. I usually recommend you find some results on your own before using a service (paid) to find them or think too much about what to do with an infringement.
Sites that do the searching for you
There are many sites that will take a batch of your images and do reverse searches for you. While these sites have the advantage of being easy compared to searching yourself, there can be some major and costly drawbacks. Many require you to attempt any settlement for an infringements through them. In addition to this, and monthly/yearly subscriptions, they usually take far more of a percentage of any potential payments from infringers than lawyers would. If you are already part of a site like this, make sure you read the Terms of Service to see if you are contractually obligated to pursue infringements through them. I no longer use these sites for anything infringement related, with the exception of a few that can pursue things in Europe or Australia.
That said, there is one site I use for searching sets of images that is called Infringement.report. The search results are not as organized as some of the big sites, but they are higher quality. There are many instances of settlements I’ve had in the past where I missed it while searching on my own, but this site found the infringement. They also have zero interest in what you do with any infringements they may find for you, so what happens next is completely up to you. They are also not cheap, so as I said above, I’d search for images yourself first and verify you indeed have enough images being used to warrant the cost of this service or others like it.
What do I do once I’ve found a Copyright Infringement?
It is again time to post my favourite images from the past year. Choosing these images is always a good exercise, though I did something a bit different this year. Usually selecting my images for my yearly calendar is a good basis for my top 10 selections. This year I ignored the calendar images, and went through all the photos I have completed from 2019 from scratch. I also set aside this selection of approximately 25 images and then went through all the 2019 images again a few weeks later. Often I wonder if my selections in these lists are just my favourites from the 20 minutes it took to choose them. So this year I went through the list a few times over a longer period.
I like sharing this list each year, and viewing everyone else’s lists as well. I also make this post so I can participate in Jim Goldstein’s annual Your Best Photos project. His collection of these posts is a great place to find new photographers you may not have discovered before.
If you click on a photo you’ll be taken to my Image Archive. I’ve also linked to corresponding blog posts that contain these images (if available) to provide more information about the location or to see other photos from that area. These photos aren’t in any specific order though I think the first one from Silver Lake may be my favourite. In this moment I’m writing this at least.
I hope you enjoy this years selections and am curious to hear if you have any particular favourites.