Can I use that picture? No. Well… I’m going to. Street photography and copyright infringement.

An issue every photographer struggles with, sharing their work with the world while protecting intellectual property, has a new high-profile case.

Humans of New York, the blog of street photographer Brandon Stanton, is a hugely popular blog featuring posed and candid images of the many unique citizens in America’s most populous city. According to The Guardian, clothing company DKNY offered Stanton $15,000 to use 300 of his photos. Feeling $50 per photo was inadequate compensation from a wealthy company Stanton requested more, which DKNY denied.

A fan of Stanton later brought to his attention that DKNY had in fact used many of his images in a window advertisement in Bangkok. Taking a very admirable path, Stanton asked DKNY donate $100,000 to his local YMCA, in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. In what was a simultaneous act-of-kindness and backhanded swipe, DKNY donated $25,000 in Stanton’s name.

So how do photographers, and artists as a whole, attempting to establish their name protect it at the same time? There’s no fool-proof way. Watermarks, finding websites that don’t allow downloading of images and small file sizes are all techniques.

Personally, I size my images small enough they wouldn’t make a decent print and hope people will at least ask if they want to use it. I have found out this isn’t an adequate approach.

The topic will only continue to brew confusion and controversy, as popular image-sharing software Instagram has recently been sued over inadequate protection of users photos.

Today I will share some of my street photography from Seattle.

© Robin Wood

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I didn’t have much reaction time when I saw how the orange of the man’s shirt and child’s stroller complemented the orange accents on the posters.

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Here I was simply interested in the smooth curvature of the drinking fountain and the bike-lane indicator in the street when a pedestrian came to quench his thirst. Again I had to quickly step back to get a more inclusive image before he continued on his way.

I dig his tall, white socks with black shoes.

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Complementary Hummers

I would like to thank everyone who’s continued visiting my blog in recent weeks despite my lack of posts. Through shooting many different subjects I have been behind on my editing and posting. Hopefully I will have many new posts in the coming weeks.

For now, to get back into the swing a things, a pair of complementary-color Hummers.

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I admit, the image is somewhat flat. But after watching the red Hummer pull parallel to the green one I couldn’t resist quickly parking to run and snap a few photos.

Complementary colors are opposite from each other on the color wheel, in this case red and green. They are often considered to create pleasing effects.

It’s too bad the colors are about the only complementary aspect of these cars.

Tractor and barn illuminated by norther lights

For one reason or another, the northern lights are something I don’t photograph enough. Being a heavy film shooter until recent probably played a factor, digital cameras are more cooperative in cold weather. Cold, lack of tripod, poor location  and early-morning hours have all played a role in deciding as well.

As the wind whistled and the lights danced overhead a few weeks ago, I said, “no excuses.” Less then a mile to get to my house I had a revelation: the hay field about half-a-mile up the road. Seems silly I had never though of it before.  Not wanting to miss a second, I decided to forgo finding my tripod and zipped to the field. I used the two-second self timer and the roof of my car. Directly off Farmers Loop Rd. subsequent cars driving by helped illuminate the farm equipment and barn. Foreground helps any picture, especially northern lights.

The image is actually two pictures placed next to each other. Photomerge, which creates panoramas, wouldn’t blend the images. The color is off and the horizon isn’t perfect, but I like it.

Worth noting, the Big Dipper is noticeable,  just up and to the left of the barn.

Northern lights dance above a hay field off Farmers Loop Rd., Fairbanks Alaska.

Critter Corner: Three bears and Georgeson Botanical Garden.

Bears, what needs to be said? Large, viscous, cute, curious, smart, omnivorous, powerful and today, wooden. Bears in Denali National Park got a lot of attention this year, when a hiker photographing a grizzly was mauled to death last August. Remarkably, this was the first fatality in the Park’s 95-year history. Bears are incredibly fast, and the estimated “50 yards” between the bear and his victim leaves little room for evasive measures. Keep your distance.

Keeping distance wasn’t a problem during the Denali Park Lottery last September. This Alaskan lottery allows 400 vehicles a day to drive all the way into the park, a trip usually reserved for tour buses. Park Rangers are fast to converge on eager photographers, keeping them safe distances from wildlife.

Please click images to view full size.

Bear gazing over riverbed.

A bear pauses while climbing a steep, rocky slope.

For some slightly different bear action, check out this statue of a bear at UAF’s Georgeson Botanical Garden, the northern-most botanical garden in North America. I hadn’t walked through in awhile, and found lots of lovely sculptures had been added. What originally caught my attention, though hard to see in the picture, was an ear of corn someone had placed in the bears paws, reminding me of the fall harvest.

Georgeson Botanical Garden Wooden Bear

Swans and bikers on the Richardson Highway

The Richardson Highway is 368 miles of pavement connecting Fairbanks, Alaska with Valdez to the south. The highway is typical of those found in Alaska: crossing mountain ranges and a very steep pass, with the occasional view of a glacier. Also common among many Alaskan roads, wildlife viewing. A trip down to Valdez earlier this summer brought multiple sightings and photo opportunities of swans.

Please click on the image to view full size.

The first group of the birds were farther off the road and didn’t allow me to get very close before taking flight, but offered me a nice action shot in the process.

The second group, much closer to the road, was far to concerned with eating to be spooked by my presence.

Then, after a few minutes of photographing, I got that unique shot photographers hope for. There in remote Isbabel Pass, more then 100 miles south of Fairbanks and with Gulkana Glacier in the background, a long-distance biker seemed to come out of nowhere, stopping to take a picture himself. Unfortunately without the preceding picture one easily looses the beauty of these large, graceful and powerful birds.

Alaska Highway Diptych

Alaska’s highways are often beautiful. And often terrifying. A diptych is two photos that attempt to tell a more complete story then just one. These two were taken just outside of anchorage on the Glenn Highway in early January, I wanted to capture a classic Alaskan view, and the feeling of impending death that often accompanies winter driving.

Glenn Highway, Jan 9th, 2012

Glenn Highway, Jan 9th, 2012