Thursday, June 28, 2012

I Confess: I REALLY am a Thief!

(Photo by ???  Read below and find out! -- 2012: Lake Michigan Sunset)

First, I want to again thank my good friend Don "DL" Hammons for his awesome guest post on Tuesday!  As with everything he posts on his Cruising Altitude 2.0 blog, it was an entertaining and informative post written with the warm, personal, and open style that makes DL such a compelling blogger and author.  Thank you again, Don!

Also, I want to welcome and thank everyone who came to visit my blog as a result of DL's posting. While I've unfortunately been a little too busy this week to respond to all the comments consistently, or to yet be able to return the visits and follows, I want you to know that I greatly appreciate your stopping by and that I will be returning the favor very soon.  And if you decided to become a new follower of my blog, I hope that you will find my ramblings and postings worthwhile.  Feel free to contact me directly if you ever have comments, thoughts, or feedback about my blog or anything you see posted here.

So, now -- are you wondering about the title of today's post?

Well, quite a while ago, I posted about how I realized I was a bit of a thief when it came to my writing, but this post isn't more about that.  This isn't about how I've been influenced by the writers I've read and loved.  No, this isn't even about writing.  This is about my blog.

Notice the picture above?  What do you think of it?

Well, it may not seem like it has much to do with the title of this post, it actually has everything to do with it.  Because compared to most of the images I've posted on my blog in the past, there's something very special about that picture of the sun setting over Lake Michigan.

I took it myself. 

Live and in person.  Last month, with my own camera -- well, actually with the camera of my Droid Razr cell phone.

I've been feeling more and more uncomfortable with my method of Googling a subject and then 'borrowing' one of the images that came up.  I would never steal someone else's words, so what makes it acceptable to simply take some of the images I find around the web?  


So it's stopping.  For all posts from this point on, any image you find on my blog will either be my own, will be public domain, or will be used only with permission.  And they will all be fully attributed.

But you know what?  I plan to make most of them  my own.  This is a blog about writing, which is a creative process, so I think trying to create my own images fits well.  I like the idea of using as much of my own stuff as possible.  They might be poorly photographed; they might be awkwardly edited in GIMP (a free open-source photo editing tool I'm trying to learn); and they might have little to do with the topic of the post they're attached to.

But they'll be mine.  Created by me.  And I'll be a thief no more.


Nick Wilford said...

It's a lovely pic, by the way! Looks professional.

This is something I had wondered about as well. Most of the pics I use on posts come from Google Images. I assumed they were public domain as they are freely available, and sometimes you see the same photos coming up on different blogs, but it doesn't feel very personal. And they do all come from other websites originally so I see where you're coming from. This is food for thought!

Tonja said...

I don't like 'borrowing' other peoples' pictures. That's why I don't have many. I have awesome cameras. Just no time.

PT Dilloway, Superhero Author said...

Which one is that on Lake Michigan? Makes me think of the ones in St. Joseph's. I was there about a month ago. I've gone to a bunch of them on Michigan's west coast over the past two years, though I'm usually not fortunate enough to be around by sunset.

And I don't have problems using pictures as long as I'm not trying to claim that I took or drew them.

Chris Fries said...

@Nick: Thanks! And yeah -- I've been stewing on this for a while. It seems to me that Google image searches just pull images based on the names of the files, regardless of where on the web they come from. I'm pretty certain that at least some of the images that Google has come up with (which I've used) came from personal blogs or other private websites. Maybe I'm wrong, but at least if I'm using my own images I'm absolutely NOT taking someone else's creative work for my own use.

@Tonja: As a borrower-in-reformation, I agree -- a 'borrower' I shall no longer be! And you're right: Time is ALWAYS the limiting factor, isnt' it? ;^)

@PT: Good eye!! St. Joe / Benton Harbor it is -- from the beach at Tiscornia Park where the St. Joseph River enters the lake. ;^)

And I get you, but the thing is SOMEONE took or drew them, and just like I wouldn't want my writing posted on someone's blog without them crediting me for it, using someone else's images on my blog without crediting them for it has gotten to feel just wrong. If I made it myself, I KNOW I'm not cheating anyone.

LTM said...

I love that picture of Lake Michigan! And Don is a fantastic bloggy friend! I'm sorry I missed out on the commentary! I've thought about this image thing, too, and I've just decided to include the source as a caption when I use stuff like that a'la Pinterest. Hopefully that works. :o) Best, Chris!

Heather Murphy said...

That is a beautiful picture! We are all thieves to a degree whether we realize it or not, but good for you for making a conscious effort to be original!

Simon Kewin said...

You know, you're right. I try not to use images I shouldn't and I have bought stock images before for my blog. But I'm sure I've been guilty too at some point.

Taking your own seems like a fantastic approach. You might struggle with your next story set on the moons of Jupiter though ...

Chris Fries said...

@LTM: Thanks, Leigh! I like it a lot, too. ;^) And you're right -- D-Bone is a great blogger-friend!

I think using something and giving the source is much better than just using it (like I've been doing), but there's always the possibility that they didn't want it re-posted, or that you're attributing a source who only 'borrowed' it from somewhere else, or whatever. So if I do decide to use a picture from elsewhere, I'll try to do my due diligence, try to find the original owner, and ask.

@Heather: Thanks! I think it may be part noble ("I shall steal no longer"), but I have to admit it's at least part ego-driven too ("forget them -- check out how cool MY pictures are!")... ;^)

@Simon: LOL! Yeah, I've thought about that... I may just have to resort to putting a cover over the lens and then calling the picture "the blackness of space...." ;^)

.jessica. said...

Heya! Phew, I have been OUT OF THE COMMENTING LOOP lately, but trying hard to get back into it. :) I missed your blog while I was gone!!

Anywho - hmm. I hadn't really thought all that much about the pictures I've been blogging, to be honest. I mean, I generally try to source them, but I've been getting lazy about even that lately. I guess I need to resolve to try and use fewer images, more of my own, and be really diligent about sourcing when I *do* use others. Thanks for the kick in the pants. ;)

Chris Fries said...

@.jes: Hey, great to hear from you!

Yeah, I understand. I really wouldn't worry too much about copyright infringement or improper use of intellectual property if I were you. It's not like you're a LAWYER or anything... ;^)

Crystal Collier said...

Love the image! Very nice. I've battled with the same issue, and one solution I've come across is where artist are looking for exposure. I always link their images back to the source so they can hopefully get more exposure. Great resource for people looking for "free" images.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Good for you! And great picture, too. I try to use images that are either in the public domain, or from a "free to use without attribution" site, but I've also contacted multiple webmasters to secure permission before, too. What's funny is every webmaster I've contacted has not only granted me permission to use the material, but also THANKED me for bothering to ask. They're well aware of how many people freely use their stuff without asking.

Jemi Fraser said...

Love the pic! I need to get a camera and do the same thing!

Chris Fries said...

@Crystal: Thanks! And I'll have to check out that site - thanks for the tip'

@Susan: Thank you and that's the way I want to do it when I use someone else's work. :^)

@Jemi: Thank you very much!

Chris Fries said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
.jessica. said...

Ooh BURN! Hahaha. Yeah, the pesky thing about being a lawyer is that I never get to pretend I didn't know any better! :)