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#362474 Underwater 3D Photometry - Second World War era Valentine Tank

Posted by decosnapper on 21 June 2015 - 12:08 AM

Something I have been working on for a while now is underwater 3D photometry.


The subject are a pair of WW2 era Valentine Tanks. Used extensively by the allies, these are duplex drive (DD) variants designed for amphibious landings. These examples were lost during Exercise Smash in 1944, a training exercise leading up to D-Day. A further 5 tanks were lost and sadly six of their crew drowned. 


The models are derived from around 700 individual frames, all shot on one dive:-


Firstly, the intact example:-




Secondly, the damaged example:-




The tanks are annotated to highlight a few of their features.

#354946 Flickr selling Creative Commons photos?

Posted by decosnapper on 03 December 2014 - 12:08 PM

Yeah, but it will probably come as no surprise to find my views less than positive...


As far as I can tell, Flickr are using the Creative Commons CC-ND-CA-BY material for commercial gain via print sales, with no revenue share being handed back to the creator. That's the nutshell...here's a longer view.


Creative Commons has at its heart a series of tags that allow photographers (amongst others) certain use rights without asking permission first. So by tagging the image CC-BY-NC-ND means anyone can use an image as long as:-


BY - there is a byline or credit. 

NC - non-commercial.

ND - no derivatives


The credit bit is basically an assertion of moral rights. Generally these need to be asserted, and I charge double for anyone not crediting my work, but nevertheless BY makes it clear. Non-commercial is interesting as I charge for pretty much every single use with only prints (tangible objects/physical goods) generally being given away...bloggers, twitter users, corporations, charities - basically the rest of the world who functions with money - pays. Many who think their use is free fail to remember they are paid a salary, their employer has overheads with everything from the cost of the building to the tea/coffee fund etc, yet there is 'no budget for images' whilst at the same time issuing shareholder dividends...I digress...Finally the no derivatives means no on may alter the work as it stands.


As I understand it (feel free to chip in if you use CC... been a long time since I looked at it...) you cannot revoke a CC license. Its a one-way street and once published as such, there is no going back. So what I hear you cry? Well how about you find the Anti-Nazi/Nazi League using your images under CC and as your moral values are not aligned yet your name is associated you want it removed and them to stop using the image? No matter how much you object and find it objectionable there is nothing you can do.


So Flickr are using the work of their members and quite within the terms. The members are wondering why...and I am wondering why no one didn't see this coming? It is, after all, the new way of making money; free content and no sharing of the dosh. And no, there is nothing anyone can do - which is pretty much why I chose to give CC a very wide berth a long time ago.


Hope this helps?

#354330 Facebook thoughts

Posted by decosnapper on 14 November 2014 - 01:57 AM



​Since when does posting on social media amount to "giving work away?" I don't think I did.

The terms of social media use give broad use rights to the publisher and others. This can mean simple sharing amongst others or for full-blown commercial advertising. That's part of the deal. You get to showcase your work and in exchange give away very broad rights indeed. 




I should point out that if your costs of obtaining a great image are exceeding that image's earning potential in the market...... That is also capitalism.

Well yes, capitalism has indeed. Funny thing is I have never seen other photographers as direct competition really...and actively welcome competition as it raises all of our collective abilities...But my main point is those who espouse capitalism and derive significant profits or benefits have decided to put the cost of overheads for things like website content at zero. Or to put it another way those who publish my work have unilaterally set the fee at precisely nothing without asking me, even when there is a huge spoiler of a watermark running through the image that visibly asserts my rights and my phone number is embedded in the meta data...its just ignored. I really am at a loss to understand this...equally I am at a loss to understand why anyone would pay for stuff they can just help themselves to when there are no apparent or obvious consequences - that is until I show up and ask them to do the decent thing and pay only to be told "we don't pay for images..." and then the process of asserting ones rights commences...


This is not capitalism, its theft. This is not a definition of a functioning market between willing buyer and seller. This is what I mean by not being able to compete with free.




I am also not suggesting that anyone should allow people to use images for free. However art and picture editors will increasingly look at social media as a source for obtaining images as supposed to the "old way" of sourcing images which was contacting people that they knew. Perhaps reductions in image sales volumes is due to people not engaging with this process? 


Always made more sales by knowing who would most likely use the image before I created it, rather than using a scattergun approach. But even when I used social media to push my work, the volume of infringements did not slow down, nor did anyone make contact asking to use before publication. It became apparent that I was adding more material to a conveyer belt that eventually ended in infringing publication.




What I am suggesting is that we should use Facebook and other media creatively as advertising outlets for our images. 

It can be a great tool. Its just not worked for me. I'm taking a very long view on the image market and right now I am actively choosing not to participate in the electronic world. That does not mean I have stopped creating, nor does it mean I have stopped selling my work, its just not online. 




Your court case raised around £1400. I have been lucky enough to have made considerably more than that on single image sales where the purchasers originally found the images on Facebook! And I didn't need to go to court! Sure there is some unlicensed use, but the licensed use more than recompenses me for this.

Couple of points;


Luck is like hope - its great when an unforeseen sale happens but I don't see hope/luck as good strategy for business. When creating an image I usually have an end publication or use in mind. It is, if you like, stacking the odds of a successful outcome rather than relying on the chance of someone finding the image.



As for the court case, don't look at the headline figure. The judge "only" awarded £350 for two months online use - or £175 per month. The rest was further damages for ignoring a watermark and first british serial rights. The balance was costs. I was happy with the original valuation for what was quite a low traffic site and for the additional damages. I would have rather sold the rights, but that didn't happen and once published the infringer took away any chance of selling an exclusive license.


And whilst selling an image for a lot more than the court case achieved might seem like a good deal, without knowing the use rights that were sold its pretty much impossible to make any form of sensible comparison. Like I said, don't always take the headline figure at face value.


And sometimes its worth going to court to assert your rights, to stand up for fellow creators and help set guidelines as to why ignoring a watermark is a bad thing. I really wish other creators would stand up for themselves and in doing so help others, but I do recognise its a personal decision.


Finally I will add this; I have been known to refuse very lucrative use rights because the intended purpose of publication was not in keeping with my own values, or was misrepresentative of the subject in question. This right - the right to say "no, not at any price" is often overlooked by the masses - until something goes wrong that is. But by then its too late...right now I have an uncredited image doing the rounds, acting as a non-attributed advert you might say. Of the 3000 or so infringing uses there are political agendas, religious bias and other disagreeable uses I would not allow at any price. And all of this from an image someone else decided to share on my behalf...

#344929 Underwater Photography Challenge

Posted by decosnapper on 24 March 2014 - 01:35 AM

Hi Decosnapper or should I say Hi Simon, I haven't heard from you for a few months, well not since you last asked to come diving with us at Studland to take pictures of seahorses to sell (I seem to remember you wanted to help promote the work of the trust), even though you knew we do not allow flash or light under licensing conditions. Funny how you were happy to accept my 'opinion' when you wanted to come and get a dive, interesting that.



Are you sure you have the right 'Simon'? Apart from helping me ID some Hippocampus I photographed in Bulgaria's Black Sea last year, I can't recall being in touch with yourself for a very, very long time indeed?


As already stated, I have precisely no interest in photographing seahorses in the UK and have have nothing to lose or gain by a lifting or imposition of a ban on the use of flash. Equally, I cannot see there is nothing wrong with questioning the opinion of others who hold a particular view. Reason and debate is just part of a functioning democracy. 

#341060 BBC Natural History Request

Posted by decosnapper on 24 December 2013 - 01:06 PM

Places like this help hold the line...credit to the OP for a) asking and b) declining to give away and devalue.


Merry Christmas everyone.

#340964 Your Favourite/Best Image of 2013

Posted by decosnapper on 22 December 2013 - 12:43 AM

Apologies for really breaking the rules here...elsewhere I have been doing a 12 Days of Christmas meets Advent Calendar posting, revealing a new door each day...so rather than make Wetpixelers sit through the 12 doors again, I'm showing the first and last calendars. Here goes:-




And now for all the doors opened:-




1. The model Ivory Flame. Shot in a swimming pool.

2. Sunset over Brough Sound, Orkney.

3. Westland Wessex XS122 in NDAC, UK.

4. Alvis Stalwart in NDAC

5. Aquaman Cometh. Vobster Quay, UK. An image from this shoot now graces the front cover of this month's Canadian Diver magazine.

6. SMS Coln. Scapa Flow, Orkney.

7. Underwater iPhone with bubbles. Vobster Quay, UK.

8. HMS Scylla. Cornwall, UK.

9. Forward guns, SMS Karlsruhe. Scapa Flow, Orkney.

10. Bows of HMS Scylla. Cornwall, UK.

11. Ivory Flame again.

12. Fellow photographer Tony 'Goose' Neal. Tattoo based on an image by Alex Mustard. Inking of the tattoo by Kirsty Peake.


Just 36 dives this year. Would have been more, but a broken collarbone kept me out of the water for a bit...



#340098 Agency vs agency

Posted by decosnapper on 30 November 2013 - 12:47 AM

I have withdrawn all my work from stock libraries. The business - at the moment - is working on a race to the bottom whereby each competitor appears to be cutting fees in an effort to maintain market share. The business model does not work in the creator's favour. Here's why:-


1 x image sale at $1000 = $1000

Terms are 50% so agency make $500 and photographer gets $500


Now consider the 'secure market share' option:-


100 x image sales at $10 = $1000

Same terms so agency makes $500 and the photographers get $5


There is no incentive whatsoever for an agency to maintain fees as long as volume sales rise...


The best agent is yourself. Sell direct and sell high. If you have stock of clownfish images then maybe its time to shoot something else...if you have something unique and in need then cut out the agency, pick the phone up and negotiate the best terms for yourself.

#339790 Morel v AFP & Getty

Posted by decosnapper on 23 November 2013 - 12:44 AM

The jury has found AFP and Getty guilty of wilful infringement of Daniel Morel's images, awarding maximum damages. Full story here:-



#338750 Stitching images

Posted by decosnapper on 28 October 2013 - 11:41 PM

Try Hugin Bob. I used it to stitch some of a mosaic together.

#337865 Strobe "Shutter speed"

Posted by decosnapper on 07 October 2013 - 12:40 PM

Remember the camera has limitations; the shutter will only sync up to 1/250th of a second (or thereabouts). The camera won't (shouldn't at least) allow you to select a shutter speed in excess of what the mechanical curtain can cope with.

#336483 Getty Images Copyright Extortion

Posted by decosnapper on 31 August 2013 - 12:23 AM

At risk of inflaming what has become a quiet thread, I will add another step - more overhead of time when I could be diving/photographing/contacting a legitimate client - to the already long-winded process of setting with someone who does not want to pay:-



1. Find the infringing use.

2. Document and record the use

3. Contact the infringer detailing the use, required payment etc

4. Be ignored, send a follow -up letter

5. Respond to their solicitor's letter denying liability

6. Respond to their solicitor's letter offering a paltry fee

7. Repeat steps 6 and 7 as required

8. Prepare court papers

9. Serve papers on infringer, add costs such as court fees, paperwork etc

10. Be paid just before the case is heard

11. Prepare, sign and send to infringer (for their signature) a consent order* before submitting said order to the court for the judge to review before closing the case.


*Basically a letter that says you both agree with the settlement


I wasn't aware of this step until my first case has (nearly) completed. 


The infringer could have caused a lot less hassle for everyone - the courts, the photographer and themselves - had they not published without prior consent, or settled quickly when first contacted.


Eleven steps just to get paid. Is it any wonder not doing the right thing is more expensive?

#335852 Getty Images Copyright Extortion

Posted by decosnapper on 15 August 2013 - 11:06 AM


I very much doubt whether such fees would be awarded by a court in the UK


Paul et al - have a read of this:- Stolen Photos - what to do?


Its written by a lawyer-turned-photographer who has taken the legal view on what to do. The courts can and do award damages, but the trouble is most cases settle on the steps of the courthouse and judgement/case law is lacking on this point so both parties have precious little examples of what judges actually think and award. What is perhaps most interesting in the article are aspects of law often overlooked that would readily apply.



If the photographer could demonstrate the fees were reasonable...


Most photographers are micro business, operating in their own way and under individual terms. One will have a trail of paid invoices that will show 3,4 or perhaps 5 times the base fee is reasonable and some will have no such evidence. What one will think is reasonable - be it related to contract terms, licensing or even when to get out of bed and ring a client - will be different.


Getty think 10x is reasonable and named their price. Like others, I will negotiate if I think the other party is treating me fairly and - crucially - are not ignoring me. The point at which I dig my heels in is when I am ignored. Its impossible to negotiate with a unresponsive party and reach a settlement, so at that point I am left with two choices; forgetting it or taking up a case. Neither are attractive, but one does result in cashflow for the business.



I am not a fan of this approach as it smacks of real heavy handedness which can be very counterproductive


Each infringement will be unique and in an ideal world needs to be assessed on its own merits. Like you Paul I can't say I'm a fan on the bulk one-size-fits-all Getty approach and its one I would hesitate to use.


But as I have already stated, Getty must be faced with millions, perhaps tens or hundreds of millions of potential cases and trying to assess each one on an individual basis would be I suspect very, very difficult. And for difficult, read expensive. Its not unreasonable to pay more to receive a personal/individual  service and the overhead to business would need to be recovered from somewhere. Considering how unpopular it is to pay at the current rate, any adjustment  to take into account an individual service to the fees claimed would probably be most unwelcome. 


Just to reiterate; I do not think a one-size-fits all approach is helpful or the preferred solution. I am simply explaining what may be the business issues Getty face and why things are the way they are. I honestly do not know what solution or alternative is available?

#335837 Getty Images Copyright Extortion

Posted by decosnapper on 15 August 2013 - 04:24 AM


I'm sure you'd consider it inappropriate if your plumber demanded 10x more than his fee for an unpaid bill, particularly when it was an oversight and you immediately agreed to pay the normal rate.


If the plumber had to engage debt recovery services, or suffered consequential losses  - bank charges, for example, due to my non-arrival of payment - then said plumber would be entitled to recover said losses*. Furthermore, we have something called the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interests) Act that allows businesses to charge statutory fees and interest over and above the base rate for late payment.


So I would not be surprised if a plumber charged me more if, for any reason, my payment was missed. And it would not take too long for these costs to escalate, particularly with bank charges, or losses to others such as missed salary payments to employees. I feel these charges would not be seen as extortion, or illegal, but US law might be different.


Would I pay 10x the rate? If the plumber could demonstrate the fees were reasonable (a prerequisite of Pre-Action Conduct* (AKA taking someone to court)) then I think payment would be the cheaper option. Again, this is not crookery or scamming. Its seeking legal redress for losses of what the claimant thinks their image is worth.


As soon as legal counsel receive instruction and prepare a case costs can spiral dramatically, so if said plumber shows 10x is reasonable then yes I would pay and stay out of court and avoid losing legal costs. As in the case of Getty and the theoretical plumber, it all depends on what evidence each side must disclose* and how strong they feel the case is, if there are any precedents and if they wish to use this case to apply the precedent in future to others.


If you want to test if Getty's fees are reasonable, then I wish you luck.


*Relevant in the UK. Unknown elsewhere.

#335801 Getty Images Copyright Extortion

Posted by decosnapper on 14 August 2013 - 10:16 AM


You clearly agree with scamming someone out of 10x your own going rate by agreeing with Getty, I do not. 


All I have done is try to indicate there is an alternative view to the situation you unfortunately find yourself in, using reasoning and examples to clearly articulate why things might be so. I do not agree its a scam, of that I will state, but equally I have not been in the situation you find yourself facing.


Speaking personally, I treat every infringement on a case-by-case basis. If the infringer is quick to offer redress and save both mine and their time & energy then I have been known to settle quickly too, for considerably less than what a court might be inclined to award. The volume of infringements means I can do this, but Getty probably have a far greater volume to cope with than I and the one size fits all model may be the most cost-effective way for both parties, although I can see why you might not see that viewpoint.


For the record, the most I have increased a fee by was x 4 - but this case was special; no prior permission, ignoring my embedded contact details but reading & publishing the embedded description, something called 'consequential losses' (this one was special...) and moral rights infringement of no credit. If I were to find a particular case that required a higher fee, I would seek it.


I can't speak for Getty. Its their business. They will be aware of the return on time/effort invested and charge a rate that they presumably feel would stand up in court. 



Ruining businesses as described in the article you posted is certainly very heavy handed. 


Either way, someone is ruined; either the creator for not being paid, or the infringer when they are caught. It is a situation that no one really benefits from. Who should stand the losses? The creator? The creator's legitimate clients? The infringer?

#335774 Getty Images Copyright Extortion

Posted by decosnapper on 13 August 2013 - 10:50 PM


This was a truly inadvertent use of an image with no clear copyright noted


Copyright requires no assertion. Protection is inherent from the moment the shutter is released. A decision was taken to publish an image so there was no inadvertent use. Someone took a conscious decision to publish something that suited their needs. The question of 'innocent infringement' was settled in the case of Hoffman v DARE here in the UK; a user either has permission, or not. There may well be a US precedent on this point too.



Pulled off the internet by an ignorant staff member


Ignorance of the law - particularly in the course of a business - is no excuse. At least here in the UK that's the accepted reasoning, but it might be different in the US...



A simple request to remove the image and/or a request for payment of the actual advertised fee of $150 if I were to purchase it today to use on a blog,


A request to remove an image does not earn any money. What would you suggest to ensure payment is made?


And the point of additional costs/overheads has appeared to been completely overlooked. A four step process is cheaper for all than the alternatives.



Getty clearly has this all automated


Considering the volume of infringements Getty must be faced with I suspect an automated process is the only cost-effective way of dealing with infringements. If a non-automated process is what you prefer, would you be prepared to pay more to support the associated costs a manual, human driven process would demand?



Any photographer who would practice this way or condone this practice is just as much of a crook in my opinion


Here in the UK using copyright protected works in the course of a business is a criminal offence. I will leave it to others to determine who the crook might actually be. 


Finally I will reiterate a point; I deal with infringements but the process is about as unwelcome and undesirable as it gets. It is a deeply unsatisfying process that is far more stressful and unpleasant than dealing with clients. Clients are a joy to deal with and once a month I sit down to lunch with one not to sell/buy anything but just for a chat and catch up on the gossip. Its a very nice way of doing business and I wish more lived close enough to meet more of them.


But without these payments I would have shut up shop and given up whilst at the same time businesses, who are getting content for free, keep their overheads artificially low (by not paying for images they also gain a competitive advantage over those business who acquire legitimate content) and continue to derive profits for their owners. So I am dammed if I do, and starved if I do not. What would you suggest I do as an alternative?