My photograph inspired a quilt

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – this story fits the bill.

A few years ago while on assignment for Via magazine, I captured an image of Lombard Street that ran in their July/August 2009 issue.  I was happy with the shot but didn’t feel it was the best image I captured that day, but that’s never the point when you are on assignment – the key is if your editors are pleased with the results – what they use is up to them.  I even had another editor (from a different magazine) comment on how they felt this was one of the best images of Lombard Street he had ever seen.  Goes to show you how subjective art can be.

A month later landscape quilter Susan Lane contacted me to ask permission to use this image as inspiration for a new quilt she was sewing, to hopefully show in an exhibit.  She said she was inspired by the iconic nature of this image.  Since she wasn’t creating the quilt as a product to sell or license, I granted her permission and a few months later she emailed me the results.

Susan made the 27” x 52” quilt using various methods including fused and raw-edge applique, painting and texture magic, taking over 2,000 hours to complete the piece.  She was kind enough to offer to meet so I could see the finished piece, but we never found a time to work for both of us.  You can see more detail of the quilt by visiting (and scrolling down): http://maverickquilts.wordpress.com/tag/susan-lane/
Susan’s “Lombard Street” piece appeared in numerous shows including the Pacific International Quilt Festival in 2010, and in 2012, it was accepted into The West Coast Wonders, to show at International Quilt Festival in Long Beach and then travel in a group exhibit.  For more on Susan’s work, visit: http://www.mysticstitchery.com/index.html
So many have inspired me in my artistic career, it’s nice to inspire another artist.

Photographs aren’t free


I recently received an email from someone claiming to be a writer for a how-to website. This person stated they wrote articles for the search site and wanted to use one of my images for their article (originally used from one of my Via magazine assignments).


This is normal in the photography industry, and a big reason why I own all of my images (and do not do “Work for Hire” jobs which transfer all image rights to your clients). I grant first-time publishing rights, and once my photos are used by my client, they are part of my image collection, available to license through my company or my stock agency. Some clients think licensing our images is ‘extra money’ but it’s not- it’s simply part of our income as freelance photographers – photographers with no guaranteed source of income, no benefits, no 401K or pension plans.

Getting back to the request, after doing a little research on my own, I come to find out this person was not a writer for the website, nor employee as a writer anywhere else. Instead the site relies on people for their content – it’s like saying you’re a writer for Wikipedia. And not to bash this person since most people aren’t aware of copyright laws, or the licensing fees for a photograph, or the proper way to go about obtaining images – shoot, I’ve had some editors and clients in the past who didn’t necessarily follow the proper way being in the business of licensing images – but pleading ignorance doesn’t necessarily get you off scot-free either.


Then as I researched the how-to site a bit more I learned that my image was ALREADY on the site – with the credit listed as the magazine I originally shot it for! They basically took the image from Via’s website and pasted it into their article.

At this point I had a few options – I could:

1) Contact my copyright lawyer and sue (which is the last thing I would do since mistakes do occur, and I’m not one to stick it to people that way)

2) Send them a bill for licensing, charging them a penalty for illegally using my image (this is more in line with the norm, and completely appropriate since the image was up for at least a week or two).

3) Notify the “writer” and the website were infringing on my copyright with the unauthorized use of my image and to remove it immediately or face a possible lawsuit and licensing fees (which is what I did).

The site removed the image that day, and at first the “writer” was a bit rude but after explaining the law, she relented and apologized. If they made me an offer to pay for the use, I would have looked up the licensing fee in my price guides, and charged them appropriately including the time they had already used it for. If she didn’t apologize, she would have been dealing with my lawyer. The site also tried to claim that they didn’t have control of what members uploaded- wrong- if it’s their site, they SHOULD have control – or they might get sued.

Moral of the story- your photos are exactly that- yours. If you are a professional photographer with your own business, they are not just sitting in your files or computer, they are part of your inventory. I can’t just go and take something off of the shelf at Target, walk out with it, and claim “it was just sitting on your shelf”. A lot of money, time, effort, experience, knowledge, and equipment goes into all of the images I produce- as with any business that has a product to sell. Control your photos – do your homework – purchase pricing guides and/or software like
Fotoquote or Jim Pickerell’s stock guide, and prepare yourself for the day when a client wants to buy one of your images- or one uses an image without asking for permission. And if someone tried to abuse your copyright, find a lawyer.

Irregardless of royalty free photos, royalty free art, royalty free graphics, and all the accessible work on the internet, my photos aren’t free.

Photographs aren’t free


I recently received an email from someone claiming to be a writer for a how-to website. This person stated they wrote articles for the search site and wanted to use one of my images for their article (originally used from one of my Via magazine assignments).


This is normal in the photography industry, and a big reason why I own all of my images (and do not do “Work for Hire” jobs which transfer all image rights to your clients). I grant first-time publishing rights, and once my photos are used by my client, they are part of my image collection, available to license through my company or my stock agency. Some clients think licensing our images is ‘extra money’ but it’s not- it’s simply part of our income as freelance photographers – photographers with no guaranteed source of income, no benefits, no 401K or pension plans.

Getting back to the request, after doing a little research on my own, I come to find out this person was not a writer for the website, nor employee as a writer anywhere else. Instead the site relies on people for their content – it’s like saying you’re a writer for Wikipedia. And not to bash this person since most people aren’t aware of copyright laws, or the licensing fees for a photograph, or the proper way to go about obtaining images – shoot, I’ve had some editors and clients in the past who didn’t necessarily follow the proper way being in the business of licensing images – but pleading ignorance doesn’t necessarily get you off scot-free either.


Then as I researched the how-to site a bit more I learned that my image was ALREADY on the site – with the credit listed as the magazine I originally shot it for! They basically took the image from Via’s website and pasted it into their article.

At this point I had a few options – I could:

1) Contact my copyright lawyer and sue (which is the last thing I would do since mistakes do occur, and I’m not one to stick it to people that way)

2) Send them a bill for licensing, charging them a penalty for illegally using my image (this is more in line with the norm, and completely appropriate since the image was up for at least a week or two).

3) Notify the “writer” and the website were infringing on my copyright with the unauthorized use of my image and to remove it immediately or face a possible lawsuit and licensing fees (which is what I did).

The site removed the image that day, and at first the “writer” was a bit rude but after explaining the law, she relented and apologized. If they made me an offer to pay for the use, I would have looked up the licensing fee in my price guides, and charged them appropriately including the time they had already used it for. If she didn’t apologize, she would have been dealing with my lawyer. The site also tried to claim that they didn’t have control of what members uploaded- wrong- if it’s their site, they SHOULD have control – or they might get sued.

Moral of the story- your photos are exactly that- yours. If you are a professional photographer with your own business, they are not just sitting in your files or computer, they are part of your inventory. I can’t just go and take something off of the shelf at Target, walk out with it, and claim “it was just sitting on your shelf”. A lot of money, time, effort, experience, knowledge, and equipment goes into all of the images I produce- as with any business that has a product to sell. Control your photos – do your homework – purchase pricing guides and/or software like
Fotoquote or Jim Pickerell’s stock guide, and prepare yourself for the day when a client wants to buy one of your images- or one uses an image without asking for permission. And if someone tried to abuse your copyright, find a lawyer.

Irregardless of royalty free photos, royalty free art, royalty free graphics, and all the accessible work on the internet, my photos aren’t free.

Seattle at sunrise


Being a night owl, I’m not a big morning person- although as an nature and travel photographer, I’ve had to get up at dawn a ton of times to catch and photograph sunrise.


Sunrise not only has a wonderful quality to it with beautiful light, but air is usually cleaner and clearer.  And although the first 15 minutes waking up is painful, I’m always glad I did so when I get out there.

Last Tuesday before returning to the Bay Area from the Pacific Northwest, I was due to photograph one of Jimmie Hendrix guitars at the Experience Music Project (EMP) in Seattle, Washington- one he smashed during a performance (for a Via magazine article).  The problem was I needed to reschedule my flight and didn’t want to pay the change fee – so I headed to the airport with a friend at 6am, booked myself on stand-by for a noon flight, and headed back to downtown Seattle with another friend (who works in the financial district).

After catching a cab to the EMP (a wonderful music museum founded by Paul Allen) arriving there at sunrise, I had a few hours to kill so I decided to photograph the the Space Needle which stands right next to EMP.  The light was beautiful and clear, there were few people around, 
and I spent the next two hours playing around documenting some of the amazing architecture with a few of my wide-angle lenses.  

Here are some of the images captured that morning with my Nikon D200 digital SLR camera– images I didn’t plan on taking, but was able to get due to certain circumstances, my experience understanding light, as well as creative play with no particular goal in mind.  “Chance favors the prepared mind” as Ansel Adams once wrote.

Seattle at sunrise


Being a night owl, I’m not a big morning person- although as an nature and travel photographer, I’ve had to get up at dawn a ton of times to catch and photograph sunrise.


Sunrise not only has a wonderful quality to it with beautiful light, but air is usually cleaner and clearer.  And although the first 15 minutes waking up is painful, I’m always glad I did so when I get out there.

Last Tuesday before returning to the Bay Area from the Pacific Northwest, I was due to photograph one of Jimmie Hendrix guitars at the Experience Music Project (EMP) in Seattle, Washington- one he smashed during a performance (for a Via magazine article).  The problem was I needed to reschedule my flight and didn’t want to pay the change fee – so I headed to the airport with a friend at 6am, booked myself on stand-by for a noon flight, and headed back to downtown Seattle with another friend (who works in the financial district).

After catching a cab to the EMP (a wonderful music museum founded by Paul Allen) arriving there at sunrise, I had a few hours to kill so I decided to photograph the the Space Needle which stands right next to EMP.  The light was beautiful and clear, there were few people around, 
and I spent the next two hours playing around documenting some of the amazing architecture with a few of my wide-angle lenses.  

Here are some of the images captured that morning with my Nikon D200 digital SLR camera– images I didn’t plan on taking, but was able to get due to certain circumstances, my experience understanding light, as well as creative play with no particular goal in mind.  “Chance favors the prepared mind” as Ansel Adams once wrote.

Seattle at sunrise


Being a night owl, I’m not a big morning person- although as an nature and travel photographer, I’ve had to get up at dawn a ton of times to catch and photograph sunrise.


Sunrise not only has a wonderful quality to it with beautiful light, but air is usually cleaner and clearer.  And although the first 15 minutes waking up is painful, I’m always glad I did so when I get out there.

Last Tuesday before returning to the Bay Area from the Pacific Northwest, I was due to photograph one of Jimmie Hendrix guitars at the Experience Music Project (EMP) in Seattle, Washington- one he smashed during a performance (for a Via magazine article).  The problem was I needed to reschedule my flight and didn’t want to pay the change fee – so I headed to the airport with a friend at 6am, booked myself on stand-by for a noon flight, and headed back to downtown Seattle with another friend (who works in the financial district).

After catching a cab to the EMP (a wonderful music museum founded by Paul Allen) arriving there at sunrise, I had a few hours to kill so I decided to photograph the the Space Needle which stands right next to EMP.  The light was beautiful and clear, there were few people around, 
and I spent the next two hours playing around documenting some of the amazing architecture with a few of my wide-angle lenses.  

Here are some of the images captured that morning with my Nikon D200 digital SLR camera– images I didn’t plan on taking, but was able to get due to certain circumstances, my experience understanding light, as well as creative play with no particular goal in mind.  “Chance favors the prepared mind” as Ansel Adams once wrote.

Seattle at sunrise


Being a night owl, I’m not a big morning person- although as an nature and travel photographer, I’ve had to get up at dawn a ton of times to catch and photograph sunrise.


Sunrise not only has a wonderful quality to it with beautiful light, but air is usually cleaner and clearer.  And although the first 15 minutes waking up is painful, I’m always glad I did so when I get out there.

Last Tuesday before returning to the Bay Area from the Pacific Northwest, I was due to photograph one of Jimmie Hendrix guitars at the Experience Music Project (EMP) in Seattle, Washington- one he smashed during a performance (for a Via magazine article).  The problem was I needed to reschedule my flight and didn’t want to pay the change fee – so I headed to the airport with a friend at 6am, booked myself on stand-by for a noon flight, and headed back to downtown Seattle with another friend (who works in the financial district).

After catching a cab to the EMP (a wonderful music museum founded by Paul Allen) arriving there at sunrise, I had a few hours to kill so I decided to photograph the the Space Needle which stands right next to EMP.  The light was beautiful and clear, there were few people around, 
and I spent the next two hours playing around documenting some of the amazing architecture with a few of my wide-angle lenses.  

Here are some of the images captured that morning with my Nikon D200 digital SLR camera– images I didn’t plan on taking, but was able to get due to certain circumstances, my experience understanding light, as well as creative play with no particular goal in mind.  “Chance favors the prepared mind” as Ansel Adams once wrote.

Via magazine cover

Just wanted to share my Via magazine cover in their November/ December 2007 issue.  Via is the magazine for AAA (Automobile Association of America), one of the biggest travel magazines in the US (2-5 million circulation depending on the edition), but many aren’t as familiar with it since it’s not on newsstands.


I shot this image last September at dusk, using my medium format Fuji 680 III camera, at the Treebones Resort along the Big Sur coast (just north of the Hearst Castle by about 30 minutes).  These structures are called “Yurts” and are circular canvas tent-style cabins, rustic but very comfortable (with heaters, porches, windows and beds). I waited ’til after sunset when the ambient light of dusk balanced with the interior lights from the Yurts.  Using a wide-angle lens and a two-stop graduated neutral density filter, I set my f-stop to a small aperture around f/32 and clicked the shutter (probably around 2 to 4 seconds) using film- then created a high-resolution scan to turn it into a digital file.

The Treebones is a great place to get away from it all and watch Whales migrate up and down the California coast.  They also have offer wonderful dinner menu with great cooks.  Call 877-4-BIGSUR for reservations.

Via magazine cover

Just wanted to share my Via magazine cover in their November/ December 2007 issue.  Via is the magazine for AAA (Automobile Association of America), one of the biggest travel magazines in the US (2-5 million circulation depending on the edition), but many aren’t as familiar with it since it’s not on newsstands.


I shot this image last September at dusk, using my medium format Fuji 680 III camera, at the Treebones Resort along the Big Sur coast (just north of the Hearst Castle by about 30 minutes).  These structures are called “Yurts” and are circular canvas tent-style cabins, rustic but very comfortable (with heaters, porches, windows and beds). I waited ’til after sunset when the ambient light of dusk balanced with the interior lights from the Yurts.  Using a wide-angle lens and a two-stop graduated neutral density filter, I set my f-stop to a small aperture around f/32 and clicked the shutter (probably around 2 to 4 seconds) using film- then created a high-resolution scan to turn it into a digital file.

The Treebones is a great place to get away from it all and watch Whales migrate up and down the California coast.  They also have offer wonderful dinner menu with great cooks.  Call 877-4-BIGSUR for reservations.

Via magazine cover

Just wanted to share my Via magazine cover in their November/ December 2007 issue.  Via is the magazine for AAA (Automobile Association of America), one of the biggest travel magazines in the US (2-5 million circulation depending on the edition), but many aren’t as familiar with it since it’s not on newsstands.


I shot this image last September at dusk, using my medium format Fuji 680 III camera, at the Treebones Resort along the Big Sur coast (just north of the Hearst Castle by about 30 minutes).  These structures are called “Yurts” and are circular canvas tent-style cabins, rustic but very comfortable (with heaters, porches, windows and beds). I waited ’til after sunset when the ambient light of dusk balanced with the interior lights from the Yurts.  Using a wide-angle lens and a two-stop graduated neutral density filter, I set my f-stop to a small aperture around f/32 and clicked the shutter (probably around 2 to 4 seconds) using film- then created a high-resolution scan to turn it into a digital file.

The Treebones is a great place to get away from it all and watch Whales migrate up and down the California coast.  They also have offer wonderful dinner menu with great cooks.  Call 877-4-BIGSUR for reservations.