Protecting your images with DigiMarc

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With the growing popularity of social media and photo communities it is not uncommon to see unauthorized use of our images on other websites. Recently two of my trophy white tail deer images showed up on a hunting outfitter website. Obviously, their web master removed my copyright signature, stripped metadata and used my images on the website. When I sent an email requesting to remove my images from the website, I got a response saying they purchased those images from a penny sock agency. As usual I replied back with a jpg image with my copyright signature to show my ownership. Here is what I got in response. “How do we know you are not trying to scam us by purchasing same image from stock agency and putting your signature?” After couple of email exchanges and lots of reasoning finally they removed my images from the website.

After this fiasco I decided to register some of my images with copyright protection office. I am in the process of making my first batch of 200 images for submission. Along with this here is another quick and simple solution from RC Concepcion’s book “Get your photography on the web”. Digimarc is an image watermark plug-in installed in Photoshop since 1996. This works by embedding an imperceptible digital watermark into your images. This watermark shows the image came from you, and can convey copyright information and usage rights as well as contact information. Since the watermark is all embedded in entire image even the cropped version of the images will retain this information.

Digimarc is a paid service and requires users to create an account and signup for basic, professional or enterprise level services. With professional services ($99/year) users watermark up to 2000 images and can search for images online using their watermark using Digimarc service. Basic service ($49/year) allows up to 1000 images watermark and comes with no search option. Once the signup process is complete user will be provided with a Digimarc ID and passcode. Users are required to enter these details in their Photoshop Digimarc by clicking [Filters->Digimarc->Embed watermark]. Once this setup process is complete, users can watermark their images by clicking [Filters->Digimarc->Embed watermark] and read watermark by clicking [Filters->Digimarc->read watermark].

Some useful info
Digimarc for Images Tutorial: How to Digitally Watermark Digital Images for the Best Results.
All you need in one Youtube video.
Digimarc website.

Trip Report – Black bear photography at Orr, Minnesota.

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Recently I had an opportunity to participate in Shoot the light (STL) “Black Bear Plus” workshop conducted by Chas Glatzer at Vince Shute wildlife sanctuary at Orr, MN. The Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary operated by the American Bear Association is considered as the best place to view and photograph wild black bears in their natural habitat in North America. STL made special arrangements to open the sanctuary for workshop participants and we enjoyed 4 productive days of black bear photography.

Located around 30 mins drive from Orr, Minnesota, this Sanctuary is 360 acres of natural habitat that provides seasonal home to around 80 black bears. Sanctuary feeds bears on a regular basis by putting apples, dates, granola and sunflower seed at feeding stations located on the sanctuary property. Every morning and evening we photographed bears coming into feeding stations for food. We also had the pleasure of photographing couple of mothers with very young cubs and 4 yearlings living on their own for the first time.

Best bear activity was at peak late in the morning and late evening and worked out well with soft diffused light. Feeding stations were close to shooting location and with 70-300mm I was able to make full frame images on 1D Mark IV. Most of the times bears followed a standard route from one feed station to another and provided us ample time and multiple opportunities to make different images. Since sanctuary was reserved for group, we were allowed to approach the bears closely on foot while maintaining a safe distance. Most of the feeding locations are under tree shade and black bears in shadow require higher ISO. 70% of my images were made at ISO 640 and above.

Also, I had the pleasure of meeting many wonderful volunteers working at sanctuary and helping in educating public about black bears and their habitat. Special thanks goes to Klari Lea, Vice-President of the American Bear Association and Tom Klingbiel for their help and making our time at sanctuary productive and enjoyable. I came back home with good number of keepers and learned more about black bear behavior and habitat.

Big thanks to Chas Glatzer, Tom & Susie Merigan, Steve& Marian Uffman, Scott Davis and Martin Sneary. Wonderful people and enjoyed shooting with them very very much. Hope to meet you all again someday in the field.

Thanks
Sid

PS: Click on the image below for more black bear images from Orr, MN on my 500px.

Book Review – Alan Murphy’s Songbird Setup Guide

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Making good image of songbirds is probably one of the hardest things to do in bird photography. Considering the size and natural habitat of these birds it is pretty hard to get them on clean backgrounds with interesting perches. Living in Florida and spending majority of my time on wading and shore birds, I often overlooked these little birds with pre-conceived notion that they are hard to photograph and requires lot more time and effort. After reading Alan Murphy’s book and 5 full days of song bird setup photography I changed my opinion and now looking for another opportunity to revisit South Texas.

I first saw Alan Murphy’s work on naturescapes.net in mid 2006. Since then every song bird image he produced was both artistically and technically perfect in my opinion. I have never seen an “OK” or “So-So” image from Alan and I hope someday I can meet his standards. When I decided to take a trip to South Texas last year first thing I did was purchasing Alan’s book and studying it. From my experience it is a valuable resource in song bird photography and played a key role in making my South Texas trip productive.

What I really like about this book is it is simple, real practical and “Step-by-Step” instruction guide. It does not take much time to understand the content and putting it into practical use. This book covers how to setup perches efficiently using tools available in local hardware store. All it took for me was a trip Lowes and couple of test runs in my living room before the trip to make sure setups were complete and ready.

Another key element I noticed in the field was attracting the birds to setups and controlling their approach and direction. This book provided lots of useful info on baiting birds, perch setup and access control to make birds sit on pre-defined location on the perch.

In few words a real practical guide to song bird photography as described and authored by one of the best avian photographers I have seen. Thanks to Alan for such a wonderful resource.

You can purchase the E-book(download) from AlanMurphyphotography.com

PS: Click on the image below for more images from South Texas on my 500px.

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