I spend a lot of time waiting.  Most photographers do.  I wait for the clouds to be just right.  I wait for the wildlife to do something other than yawn or chew.  I wait for the sun to get lower in the sky.  But I have found that patience is very often rewarded.  While I'm waiting I see other photographers come on to the scene, shoot and leave.  Then a few more.  Then a few more.  And I'm still waiting.  

Sometimes I think that the waiting is futile.  And, sometimes it is.  But often, something good happens.  What do I do while waiting?  I have to keep at least one eye on what's going on, and a finger near the shutter, so reading and playing solitaire on my iPhone are out.  I catch up on the news on the radio, I think about my family and friends, I remember all the things I forgot to do yesterday and vow to remember them.  And then...

The sun just peeks over the horizon, and the shot is made.

And then...

The excitement runs right in front of you, and the shot is made.

And then...

The light streams through the window, and the shot is made.

The waiting is never fun, but the payoff is often there.  So grab your camera.  Find a good spot.  Then wait.  And let me know how it turns out.



I spend a lot of time waiting.  Most photographers do.  I wait for the clouds to be just right.  I wait for the wildlife to do something other than yawn or chew.  I wait for the sun to get lower in the sky.  But I have found that patience is very often rewarded.  While I'm waiting I see other photographers come on to the scene, shoot and leave.  Then a few more.  Then a few more.  And I'm still waiting.  

Sometimes I think that the waiting is futile.  And, sometimes it is.  But often, something good happens.  What do I do while waiting?  I have to keep at least one eye on what's going on, and a finger near the shutter, so reading and playing solitaire on my iPhone are out.  I catch up on the news on the radio, I think about my family and friends, I remember all the things I forgot to do yesterday and vow to remember them.  And then...

The sun just peeks over the horizon, and the shot is made.

And then...

The excitement runs right in front of you, and the shot is made.

And then...

The light streams through the window, and the shot is made.

The waiting is never fun, but the payoff is often there.  So grab your camera.  Find a good spot.  Then wait.  And let me know how it turns out.



I spend a lot of time waiting.  Most photographers do.  I wait for the clouds to be just right.  I wait for the wildlife to do something other than yawn or chew.  I wait for the sun to get lower in the sky.  But I have found that patience is very often rewarded.  While I’m waiting I see other photographers come on to the scene, shoot and leave.  Then a few more.  Then a few more.  And I’m still waiting.  

Sometimes I think that the waiting is futile.  And, sometimes it is.  But often, something good happens.  What do I do while waiting?  I have to keep at least one eye on what’s going on, and a finger near the shutter, so reading and playing solitaire on my iPhone are out.  I catch up on the news on the radio, I think about my family and friends, I remember all the things I forgot to do yesterday and vow to remember them.  And then…

The sun just peeks over the horizon, and the shot is made.

And then…

The excitement runs right in front of you, and the shot is made.

And then…

The light streams through the window, and the shot is made.

The waiting is never fun, but the payoff is often there.  So grab your camera.  Find a good spot.  Then wait.  And let me know how it turns out.


Swan Skirmish on Ice:


Usually A Symbol of Grace and Serenity, Trumpeter Swans Can Also Be Fiercely Protective.

Most people see Trumpeter Swans gracefully swimming in the calm waters of Flat Creek, the Snake River or even the Yellowstone River. They are equally graceful in flight. Take-offs and landings can be somewhat chaotic, but always fun to observe and challenging to photograph. If not in flight, watching Swans mill around and feed is a bit like watching paint dry. After a few hundred shots in various poses, against cattails and over their own reflections, I find myself hoping for “some action”. After preening, or after leaving the water, they’ll usually stretch their wings to even out their feathers. During the winter months, many of the wild Trumpeters spend their day in Jackson Hole moving from open water to other open waters—including the aerated pond at Boyle’s Hill. In such tight quarters, it is possible to find Trumpeters displaying uncharacteristically fierce behavior. Perhaps it is simply a matter of protecting their turf—or ice in this case—or possibly one adult getting too close to the Cygnets of another family. All hell can break loose! Feathers can fly and blood is a possibility.

The sequence below was taken with a Nikon D4 using a Tamron 150-600mm lens at Boyle’s Hill. Once I saw the action beginning, I pressed the shutter and recorded around 35 shots over a period of only four or five seconds. During such an event, every Swan in the area will be “honking” and most will be flapping their wings—even if not part of the action.


Squabble 6

Squabble 8

Squabble 9

Squabble 10

Squabble 11

Squabble 12

Squabble 13

Squabble 14

Squabble 15

Squabble 17

Squabble 18

Squabble 19

Squabble 20

Squabble 21

Squabble 22

Squabble 23

Squabble 24

Once the skirmish is over, the Trumpeters take part in a victory dance. If you’d like to read more about Trumpeter Swans, hear their honking sound, and see a range map, click: Trumpeter Swan, All About Birds – Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Here’s a link to a previous Feature Post at Best of the Tetons. It includes a map and more info on the area: Trumpeter Swans of Boyle’s Hill:

Body and Lens Comments: A Nikon D4 or D4s can take around 90 images in a continuous burst before filling the buffer—and at roughly 10 to 11 frames per second! A Nikon D800 or D810 will begin to fill the buffer at roughly 12 frames and will shoot at only 5 fps in FX mode. (there are options for faster shooting in DX). My D4 came through for me in this case, allowing me to capture all of the action over the entire duration. For this page, I left out about every other image in the sequence, picking the one with the best action or showing the most heads. Shooting Data: NIKON D4, Tamron 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 600 mm, 1/1600 at f/8, Manual Mode, -1 EV,  ISO 220. I was set up in Manual Mode with Auto ISO set as the variable. Other than cropping top and bottom, these are full width captures.


During the busy summer months, people visit Best of the Tetons in preparation for a visit, or simply to see what is currently happening. During the less busy months of the year, I try to add in a few “how-to” articles and topics that can translate equally well to their home areas. This page shows an event most people will never see. Please, if you like the page and feel any of your friends will enjoy it, click on any of the Social Media icons and share it with the rest of the world.

Go to Source

Arizona Trail Hike Sponsor Profile – Chapul

Chapul Cricket Bars

Pat seemed nice enough, but there was no way I was going to eat insects, nor was I interested in his reasons to do so. I assumed his TEDxJacksonHole talk was just going to be the cliche of trying something new.

Preparing for my own TEDxJacksonHole talk, I met Pat for the second time at the dress rehearsal. I’m willing to give anyone a chance, so I listened to his rehearsal with skeptical ears. It turns out that his talk wasn’t just about eating insects and trying something new (at least new to the U.S., the rest of the world eats insects all the time). The talk went into great detail about why the Colorado River doesn’t flow to the Sea of Cortez anymore, an angle I wasn’t expecting. He made compelling arguments about our habitual consumption and why our freshwater is in grave danger if we don’t start making changes in what we eat, namely, insects.

Why insects? Many people hear about the importance of saving water by taking shorter showers, not flushing as much, etc. While it’s certainly a worthwhile effort, this only accounts for about 5% of the water used from the Colorado River. Agriculture actually consumes about 80% of the river before it ever even reaches Mexico, leaving it bone dry where there used to be lush wetlands in a fragile desert environment. Most of this is for cattle, an animal that evolved in Europe where water is much more readily available. As a result, they drink significantly more water than the arid southwest was ever meant to provide. In fact, a single hamburger requires a staggering 634 gallons of water, the full cow needing as much as 11,000 gallons of water! And for some reason we have these animals grazing all over the desert southwest. In addition, cattle consume significantly more grass than bison, the latter being our native meat source.

Water Conservation Diagram

Source: Chapul.com

This is where insects come in. For a beef cow, 100 gallons of water will yield a meager six grams of protein. From the same amount of water, crickets will yield 71 grams! They’re not only healthier for humans, but healthier for the land, both public and private. Pat recognized this and created a company called Chapul to produce them into something he knew people would (literally) eat up: energy bars.

Obviously nobody wants to eat an energy bar that has legs and antennae poking out of it, so Pat and his team grind the crickets down to a very fine flour. The result is an extremely nutritious bar that tastes amazing and is helping the Colorado River once again reach the ocean. I became a huge fan of the bars right away and was ecstatic when Pat agreed to help us out on our thru-hike of the Arizona Trail, which made Chapul an official sponsor.

For more information and detailed data, head over to the Chapul website, or watch Pat’s talk below.

Read on Source Site

Crowd-Sourcing Campaign and Future Plans

Grand Canyon Shrouded in Fog

Though the documentary is still in its filming phase, I have a number of plans for the film coming up in the near future.

In just a couple of weeks, my girlfriend and I will be thru-hiking the Arizona Trail. We also plan on making some kind of film about the hike, but that won’t come until after the light pollution documentary is completed. The hike itself has been a dream of mine for years, so I’m very eager to get going! But then, so has creating a feature-length film.

I’m preparing some shorts from the interviews to introduce you to the different people that will be introduced in the film that I will be posting during rest days while hiking the trail. – Read more

Read on Source Site

Creative Cropping in Post


 A Taboo for Some Purists, Cropping in Post Can Be Rewarding and Instructional

Most DSLR cameras capture an image in roughly  a 2:3 in aspect ratio. If printed without a crop, a full image might be 6″ x 9″, 12″ x 18″ or 24′ x 36″—or any similar proportion. When I post images on Best of the Tetons, I often crop the images to a 1:2 or even 1:3 aspect ratio to save space on the page and reduce download times and bandwidth usage. Over the past year and a half of making the posts, I have begun to “see” shots that I know will be later cropped. I am learning to “see” in pano opportunities better than before writing and posting to the blog.

On this page, I will go through some of my decision making process using this recent image. Maybe it will help you isolate smaller “gems”.


Full Capture: This is the Box L Ranch on Spring Gulch Road, part of the Lucas family homestead from long ago. I pass the ranch regularly. On some days, the golden willows light up brightly and are complimented (literally) by the blue in the distant mountains. Red barns are always eye catchers. Back in the stock photography days, I always heard “red sells”. When I ask a wrangler or cowboy to “cowboy up” for me, I usually ask if they have a red scarf. Anyway, a red barn often adds to a scene…and throw in a green truck to compliment the red…you get a second complimentary color combination. In the summer, the sun is far to the north and this side of the barn is in shadows. There’s a lot of “clutter” around this barn, but that’s a reality in almost all farm and barn scenes. Farmers and ranchers are notoriously frugal and seldom throw things away.

I sat in my vehicle and took this image with a Nikon D4 and a Tamron 150-600mm lens with the image stabilization feature turned on. The engine was OFF and I used a bean bag to help hold the lens and body still. There aren’t many good spots to pull off the road on Spring Gulch road, but I occasionally pull off as far as I can and shoot with a tripod. I took this shot “loose”, knowing I could crop it to taste later. Normally, I’d used a D800 for this kind of image, but that day, I was testing out the AF Fine Tuning on the lens and body combination. The 35mpx D800 gives me a lot more pixels for later cropping.

First Wide Crop

First Wide Crop: When I took this shot originally, I allowed for the mountains to loom over the scene, but I don’t really think I ever considered them essential to the scene. The “in-camera” composition is logical. I wouldn’t have needed to capture more of the snow field at the bottom and I wouldn’t have wanted to crop the top at the top edge of the tallest tree. As I mentioned earlier, I shot this one knowing I’d be cropping later, assuming I used the photo at all. The far left edge of the red barn on the left is running along the left edge of the image. Normally, that would be a huge red flag or “no-no”. I wasn’t sure where I’d crop the left edge. Someone taking this image with a large format film camera might analyze and compose this shot a long time before making a $10 exposure. Right? But, that’s not me! The practical artist takes over a shoot like this.

Second Wide Crop

Second Wide Crop: In Lightroom, I was able to do my creative crops with no fear of damaging my original image. I even made a couple of Virtual Copies along the way. (Photo>Create Virtual Copy). In this version, I cropped off a little more of the snow at the base.

Third Wide Crop

Third Wide Crop: After the previous small crop, I decided to take off a little from the top to allow more of the orange dominate the left side. For practical purposes, this is roughly a 1:3 aspect ratio now.

First Side Crop

First Side Crop: The red barn on the left was taking too much attention from the old red barn. There was some unnecessary info on the far right.

Second Side Crop

Second Side Crop: Again, I didn’t like the red corner and white trim on the left barn.  I pulled in a little more on both sides.

Third Side Crop

Third Side Crop: Last crop…I didn’t like the diagonal gate brace pulling my eyes out of the scene on the left, however I liked the single bright fence post to act as a “stop”on the left. On the right, I liked the way the angled boards hold your eye in the frame. For my purposes, this is the final crop. I ended up with roughly a 1:2 aspect image.

Gallery Wrap Crop

Gallery Wrap Crop: If you ever plan to do “gallery wraps”, you need to shoot and crop a little “loose” to allow for the wrapped edges. If you are planning on having an image matted, you also need to allow a little bit of image to rest behind the mats as indicated with the extra light area above. In reality, that’s usually around 1/4″ on most prints.

Final Crop

Final Crop: For a web image or a print image, the crop is applied to the actual edges. There’s still a bit of “activity” in the upper left corner that might draw attention away from the subjects. I could burn that down some. The left fence post is a little bright. I could burn it down some, too. There are two posts sharing a line at the bottom of the roof line on the right side of the frame. I’d prefer they “break” the roof line instead of share it, but that’d mean getting quite a bit lower for the shot or doing some post processing cloning. If I were to actually paint this scene, I’d simply draw or paint them higher. Overall, there’s a nice rhythm to the scene. In other words, your eyes are drawn into the scene and then unconsciously pulled in a circular motion throughout it. Look again, and you will see it! You’ll likely see the red face of the barn with a split second focus on the right window. Your eyes will follow the lines of the metal roof to the truck, down the culvert, up the willows and back to the barn. Lastly, your eyes will follow the diagonals from the gate posts to the green truck where it is stopped by the vertical wood wall.

Artistic Effects

Artistic Effects: The examples above this image are typical of quick edits I can do in Lightroom before taking them to Photoshop for final tweaking and fine tuning. I added some textures, tonal adjustments and artistic effects here.

Second Capture

Second Actual Capture: I took only two compositions that day. After going through all the cropping steps above on the full image, the second shot that day was amazingly close to my cropped results from the first image.

If I went back to the same place with similar light and shadows, I’d probably take one more tight shot that more closely resembles the crop of the loose image in the first example. I like the additional trees and I like the way the culvert “ends” in the first image. In this one, the culvert takes me out of the scene. If I needed an extra high resolution shot, I could set up the tripod and do a three or four shot image, taken with the camera in portrait or vertical orientation, then stitch them into a single high resolution panoramic image.

The Grand

On many landscapes, I shoot a normal image of the scene, then I start looking a potential tight pano crop. If if am “on my game”, I see it then and there. Other times, I see it on the computer and go back for the tight crop. The Teton Range is great for this process. Most of us naturally take that big vista scene. Call it the “obligatory” shot. Within that shot, there are probably two or three additional tight shots that can be of even more interest—sometimes requiring a short telephoto lens like a 70-200mm. With no clouds above the Tetons, I begin by looking for the tight shots.

Lastly, unless I am needing to capture a shot to fit a specific frame or the cover of a magazine, don’t feel at all limited by the 2:3 aspect ratio of the camera’s sensor. Back in my college days and art days, it was possible to buy pre-stretched canvasses in sizes like 18″x24″ or 2’x3′. We were taught how to make our own frames an stretch canvasses of our own choosing or needs. With online companies like American Frame Corporation – Custom Picture Frames:, you can order frames and mats of ANY size. No need to be conventional or limited by old standards. Of course, these reflect my personal values and training. Yours might be completely different! Variety, after all, is the spice of life!


Note: I didn’t add my copyright signature to these images but please remember they are still copyrighted. Other images on this site are also protected. Please refer to this Feature Post: THE SEVEN DEADLY MYTHS OF INTERNET COPYRIGHT:

If you like this post, please share it using any of the Social Media Icons below. Thanks! Mike Jackson

Go to Source

Ice Climbing in Cody, Wyoming

This past weekend, my girlfriend and I made a quick trip up to Cody, Wyoming for their annual Cody Ice Climbing Festival. Despite the warm temperatures, the festival went on and there was still plenty of climbing (both ice and rock, it turns out) to be had.

Being new to the sport, I did a beginner’s clinic, all of which took place in the South Fork of the Shoshone River Canyon. Our approach to the falls being quite a bit steeper and more rugged than I was expecting. A few spots had me a little nervous, but our guide seemed to know exactly where he was going so I continued on with everyone else to our destination, a route named Wake and Bake.

Though warm, the waterfall was still well suited for a beginner. It had one or two short, but completely vertical segments, with the rest of it being slightly inclined, ideal for beginners.

We had two top ropes set up, one route being a little trickier than the other. My first attempt was up the harder route and proved that my technique was completely wrong since my legs felt fine, but my hands turned to jelly, preventing me from finishing. After a rest and giving the others their turns, I tried the easier route, and ascended much easier with an improved technique, but soon discovered my calf muscles weren’t ready for the entire ascent up. I had a lot of fun, but clearly need to do it more to be able to truly enjoy it as much as I can.

That night, my girlfriend and I left the fest to go camping in the Bighorn Basin, an area that I’m quite fond of and that I believe deserves significantly more protection than it currently has. I was hoping for clear skies since I still haven’t been able to do any night photography out there, but as we found a place to camp, clouds were already rolling in with an incoming winter storm.

Morning brought the clouds of that storm beginning to break up, leaving the badlands and the Bighorn Basin lit with dramatic light, the distant desert mountains sprinkled with a light dusting of snow. I got a few shots of what I could before the bitterly cold wind left my fingers numb. We soon got everything packed up (more like hastily thrown in the car), and then headed back for Jackson.

Read on Source Site



What Photographers Must Know About Copyright and Photography to Protect Their Work
by Attorney David L. Amkraut

This is a summary of essential information about photographs, copyright, and the Internet. This was written for photographers. Most of the examples are about use and misuse of photos on the Internet. But the principles also apply to other visual works, text and other copyrightable material.


Nothing here is specific legal advice for your case. Each case has its own facts.

Copyright is a specialized field of law, which continues to evolve, and there are sometimes exceptions to the rules. If you have a specific concern—typically, that your work is being copied and used without permission—you should consult a lawyer with expertise in copyright issues. This article deals with American law. Copyright laws vary from country to country.


If you do not have specific permission (preferably written!) from the owner of the rights in a photo, you cannot legally copy it, display it on a website, post it on Facebook, send it around by Email or other means, make prints of it, sell it, or otherwise use or exploit it. The exception to all these prohibitions is the rare case of “Fair Use,” discussed below.

If you are a photographer, and someone is making use of your photos without your permission, the answer is normally, “No, they have no right to,” except for the rare case of “Fair Use.”

MYTH # 1: No Need to Register Copyright

“I don’t need to register my photos with the copyright office to protect them, because I ‘automatically’ own copyright at the instant I snap the shutter and create the

This first myth is a myth of the photo’s owner; the other myths below are self–serving myths of infringers.

Actually, this is more a half–truth than a myth. It’s true that you own copyright in a photo without registering the copyright. Your copyright in a work “vests”—is owned by you—at the moment you create the work “in tangible form.” That includes digital photos; even if you never print them out, you own copyright in them the moment you click the shutter. But if you want to deter infringement, and make sure you have full remedies for infringement, you should “timely” register the photos with the Copyright Office.

When we refer to “timely” registration we mean applying for registration either (a) before the photos are published by you or with your authorization; or (b) during a three–month window after such authorized publication.

Legally, registration within the “window” is as good as registration before publication. But for various practical reasons, such as ease of registration, record–keeping, and proving your case in court, it is better to register photos before any publication.

Legally, the registration date is the date the Copyright Office receives your application, copy of the work (“deposit”), and fee, even though it may take the copyright office many months to mail you your registration certificate. Why the delay? One reason is that the Copyright Office is swamped with applications. Another is that because of the 9/11 Islamic terrorist attacks, and other terrorist attempts and threats, application packages are first sent to a secure location for bomb, chemical, and poison screening.

When you timely register your photos, you gain powerful remedies against infringers. These include:

  • Civil penalties (“statutory damages”). “Statutory damages” means damages that are set by law; you do not have to prove how much you were harmed or
    how much the infringer benefitted. Statutory damages can be “nuclear”: The infringer is at risk for up to $150,000 for each photo infringed if the infringement was “willful.” Even if the infringement was not willful, statutory damages of $5,000 to $10,000 per infringed photo are common.
  • Attorney’s fees and costs: the infringer has to pay your attorney’s fees, and various lawsuit costs and court fees.

Additional remedies for copyright infringement (even if registration is tardy) include:

  • Injunctive relief: Restraining orders, followed by a preliminary injunction and eventual permanent injunction barring the infringer from infringing the photos.
  • Seizure: If the infringer is making hard copies such as printed photos or CDs or DVDs, those can be seized. Sometimes even the pirate’s computers or other equipment used to enable the copyright infringement, such as CD or DVD duplicators, can be seized.

Timely registration allows potential penalties that give you strong leverage to compel settlement before and during a lawsuit. The infringer is faced with the risk of paying huge statutory damages and your attorney’s fees and court costs as well as his own. And he may face a possible injunction or equipment seizure which could mean being put out of business (depending on the injunction’s wording and the infringer’s business model). Faced with these risks, many pirates will settle, pay, and stop infringing your work.

A key practical point is that if the photos are timely registered, you are much more likely to find an attorney to take your case on “contingency.” This means the attorney
doesn’t charge you by the hour. Instead he gambles and takes the case for a share of your recovery.

What if you did not timely register your photos? Then it is often very difficult to get money from an infringer. Statutory damages are not available. To get any money, you have to prove how much money the pirate made by infringing your photos, and/or how much money the infringement cost you. Often it is tough to prove either, and the total may be minimal anyhow. And even if you win, you do not recover attorney’s fees.

In addition, because it is so tough to get meaningful damages, and impossible to recover attorney’s fees, you will be unlikely to find an attorney willing to help you on contingency. So you would have to pay an attorney up-front by the hour, and his bill might dwarf any recovery.

Let’s sum up. If you have timely registered your work, you are in good shape to convince an infringer to stop infringing, and to pay you a settlement. You are also in a good position to successfully sue the thief, with the help of a lawyer on contingency.

If you have not timely registered your work, you may be without a practical remedy against copyright infringement.

This discussion may be depressing if you have not registered copyright in the work that is being infringed, or registered it too late. Don’t despair. In many states such as California, there are state laws that may allow you to recover statutory damages and attorney’s fees. A good lawyer will be familiar with these remedies, which may be available instead of copyright remedies or even tacked on in addition to copyright remedies.

The following six myths are self–serving myths of infringers.

MYTH # 2: The “Public Domain” Myth

“I got the photo off the Internet, the owner’s own website, Facebook, MySpace, a ‘public’ website, Google, or whatever . . . so it is in the ‘Public Domain’.”

Myth #2 is based on a misunderstanding of the term “Public Domain.” The term has the specific legal meaning that no one owns the photo; anyone can use it as he wishes.
There are only two ways for a photo to fall into the public domain.

  1. The owner clearly gives up his rights, such as by signing and publishing a document saying, “I now give up my copyright and irrevocably place this work in the public domain.” OR
  2. Through passage of time. The term of copyright depends on several factors, including the date of first publication. As a general rule, for works created after January 1, 1978, copyright extends for the life of the creator plus 70 more years. As a practical matter, no recent photo will have fallen into the public domain through passage of time.

When a rights–owner posts a photo anywhere on the Internet, he does not lose his rights. This rule applies to his own website, Facebook, MySpace, and other “social networks,” or to photo portfolio or hosting sites like Flickr, Tumblr, or Photobucket. Making a photo available for public viewing does not put it in the public domain.

This fact reflects well–established copyright law. When a photo is printed in a book or magazine or displayed in an art gallery or museum, it is not thrown into the public domain for anyone to copy. Likewise, when an owner displays his photo in cyberspace. There have been many copyright cases involving infringing websites which got their content from the internet—and courts have awarded judgments in the millions of dollars against the pirates.

Sometimes an infringer will post photos to websites, social media, and other Internet places without the owner’s knowledge or against the owner’s wishes. Examples include the many infringing copies of thousands of photos owned by Playboy, Penthouse, and top photographers. Such posts are themselves violations of copyright. Then other infringers copy the photos from such places and republish them. Obviously if the original unauthorized postings violated copyright—as is typically the case—the secondary copying and misuse is equally illegal.

An interesting and common situation involves people who stock their websites, blogs or Email newsletters (or for that matter, print media ads or direct mail) by copying photos they find through Google or other search engines. Google itself finds, makes thumbnails, copies and displays photos without asking the owners’ permission. Virtually every photo displayed through Google “image search” is there without the owner’s permission. So someone who infringes by copying photos he got through Google is still violating copyright; getting the photos through Google does not excuse the infringement. The owner did not give permission, and Google had no right to give any permission.

Some experts say that Google’s own image search function, and its video operation YouTube, are illegal infringement–based business models. Similar arguments have been made about Yahoo! and other search engines’ image search functions. So far the courts have let the search engines get away with this copying, saving them from liability for untold billions of dollars for copyright infringement. But it is clear that taking and using photos from Google and other search engines without permission of the actual copyright holder, is still infringement.

In short, taking photos from cyberspace, and using them elsewhere such as on your own website is copyright infringement, and you risk the severe penalties of copyright infringement.

MYTH # 3: The “Fair Use” Myth

“My [website use, posting, whatever] is ‘fair use,’ so I haven’t violated copyright.”

“Fair Use,” like “public domain,” is a legal term of art that is often misused. “Term of art” means it has a specific legal meaning.

“Fair use” is a legal “affirmative defense,” excusing what would otherwise be infringement. The fair use doctrine was created to allow some use of copyrighted material for limited and socially valuable purposes such as criticism, comment, parody, news reporting, education, and scholarly research, without permission of the copyright holder. A typical example would be a brief quotation from a book as part of a book review. Fair uses generally take only a small part of a work, and typically include an author and source attribution. Fair uses are often for non–profit purposes, although they are not limited to such purposes.

Courts rarely accept an argument of fair use when the use competes directly with the original work or harms its commercial value.

Most fair use situations involve text. It is difficult to imagine any situation involving the Internet where someone who simply copies and uses a photo, without any of the “valuable purposes” such as comment or education, could claim fair use. In typical infringements, such as unauthorized posting, stocking one’s website from search engines, scanning from Playboy magazine, or simply copying from other websites, the fair use doctrine does not apply. In such cases, the pirate is taking 100% of the work, not acknowledging the creator, hurting the work’s market value, denying the owner payment for the use, and unfairly competing, directly or indirectly, with the creator or licensed users of the work. Since he is not using the work for scholarship, news reporting, or other allowed uses, fair use would not apply.

So if you are a typical photo pirate, do not even think about the fair use doctrine. In your context it is a myth. If you are the victim of infringement, don’t worry about the fair use argument.

MYTH # 4: The “Photos Require a Copyright Notice” Myth

“If a photo does not have a copyright notice on it, it is not copyrighted—so I can use it freely.”

This myth results from previous copyright law, under which it was vital to include a copyright notice with published work in order not to lose copyright. This myth also results from misunderstandings even of that past law. Today, infringement is infringement whether or not there is a copyright notice.

Still, a copyright notice has two important functions. First, as a practical matter, it warns off pirates that the work is not to be infringed. Second, as a matter of law, the notice often prevents the infringer from minimizing statutory damages by claiming he was making an “innocent” mistake.

The copyright notice may be missing because the owner or permitted user does not want to deface the photo, or because either the infringer or an intermediary infringer has deliberately removed the notice. (Removing a copyright notice is itself a violation of copyright law.) In any case, the absence of a copyright notice does not change the fact that a work is protected by copyright (and hopefully, by timely registration as well.)

One is reminded of an anecdote about a bicycle thief. When caught by the owner, the thief protested, “I didn’t know it was your bike.” Replied the owner, “You sure knew it wasn’t yours!” When a photo is published without a copyright notice, the infringer may not know who owns the copyright, but he knows it isn’t himself, and that the owner didn’t sell him a license to use it.

A proper notice has the © mark, or word “Copyright,” or abbreviation “Copr.”; the year of first publication; and the name of the owner. For example, if this author shot and published a photo in 2008, it might be marked “© 2008 David L. Amkraut” or “Copyright 2008 David Amkraut” or “Copr. 2008 David L. Amkraut.” The owner can add “All Rights Reserved” if he wants—it has no real significance in the U.S. and some countries, but some value in several countries.

The commonly–seen parenthesis “(c)” instead of the proper copyright mark “©” is incorrect. If you use a copyright notice, you may as well do it right.

To sum up, if you do not see a copyright notice, do not assume the photo is yours to use; someone still owns copyright and you have to get his permission (“license”) before using the photo. For photographers: include a copyright notice if convenient. You should also put it in the metadata—data included in the photo but not visible.

MYTH # 5: The “No Profit Means No Infringement” Myth

“If I am not making money off the photos, I am not violating copyright.”

Copyright infringement is not excused if you are doing it for some reason other than profit, such as the collectivist notion that an individual’s creative work should be free for all to share. That’s the motive of some people who post thousands of other people’s photos—often adult photos—to social networks, file–copying sites, and other places.

The court may fine you less or treat you less harshly if you lack a profit motive. Or it may not. You can still get hurt—badly—especially if your actions are harming the commercial value of the infringed pictures. Or if you infringed “knowingly” or “willfully.” Or if you’ve been warned previously by law enforcement or by the photos’ owners. Or if the judge thinks it appropriate to “send a warning” to discourage you or other would-be infringers.

Next time you rent a DVD or Blu-ray movie, actually read the FBI copyright warning notice. It reminds you that there are severe penalties for infringement—period.

Violating copyright is illegal whether you do it for love, hate, money, competitive advantage, personal philosophy, or any other reason.

MYTH # 6: The “Nothing Much Will Happen To Me Anyhow” Myth.

“I’ll win. I have a lot of rights in court. And they can not do much to me anyhow.”

Very wrong. Though copyright infringement can be a crime, an infringer is far more likely to be sued in civil court than to be arrested and criminally charged. As a civil defendant you have far fewer rights than in a criminal case. The plaintiff—the copyright owner—only has to show a “preponderance of evidence”—that he is more right than you. He does not have the heavy burden of proof “beyond a reasonable doubt” as in a criminal case.

And, boiled down, the plaintiff’s job is often easy. There’s plenty of skilled legal work required, but the plaintiff really does not have to prove much to win. He just needs to show the court two things: (1) he owns copyright in the work; and (2) the defendant infringed it. The owner proves the first element by showing his Certificate of Registration from the Copyright Office. This is almost absolute proof of copyright ownership in the typical photo infringement case. He proves the second element by showing his copyright–registered photos and your infringing copies side-by-side and saying, “Your Honor, these are the same. Just take a look at them.”

End of story. All that remains is to figure out how much money in damages, attorney’s fees, and costs the defendant must pay the plaintiff, and the exact terms of the permanent injunction, equipment seizure, or other relief.

And a copyright suit moves surprisingly quickly. You could be slapped with a restraining order within days after the suit is filed, ordering you to stop infringing the plaintiff’s photos, and maybe others’ photos too—or risk being held in contempt of court. Final judgments may be reached in less than a year from when the case begins.

Perhaps you think you can charm or fool a jury? If the facts and issues are clear—and they generally are in such cases—the judge will decide the case based on written legal arguments and exhibits. You will never see a jury. Nor have juries proven to be sympathetic to copyright pirates, even in the rare case that goes to a jury.

Think you can fight the case? Talk to a copyright attorney. Think of paying by the hour for what will probably be a hopeless defense. And do not forget, Mr. Pirate, that when you lose you will also be stuck for the plaintiff’s legal fees (assuming he has timely registered.)

Can they “do much” to you? Copyright penalties have been called “nuclear.” For “willful” infringement, statutory penalties can be up to $150,000 per infringed photo. Even for “innocent” infringement, penalties of $5,000 to $10,000 per photo are common. There will also probably be an injunction which, depending on your business method, may put you out of business. In some cases, your computer or other “infringement–enabling” equipment can be seized.

In addition to the severe money damages for copyright violations, the infringing acts may expose the defendant to additional state civil claims, such as “unfair competition,” “passing off” other people’s work at his own, or state “RICO” (Racketeer–Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act) laws. If that were not enough, persons shown in photos, or the copyright owner, may be able to sue you under state “right of publicity” laws, which protect a person’s right to control the commercial use of his image and name. (Right of publicity law varies from state to state.)

And there are non–legal costs. Copyright cases can be big local news. Most people would not want to be famous in their community as an Internet “pirate,” let alone (as is sometimes the case) an “Internet pornography pirate.” Court filings and proceedings are public records, and the media, always looking for stories, routinely check every lawsuit filed.

In addition, in the Information Age, “information is forever.” Lawsuits and judgments may show up on search engines forever, and prospective employers, schools, business partners, lenders, and licensing agencies routinely Google the name of every applicant. Judgments may also show up on your credit report and severely hurt your credit score.

Don’t think you can successfully defend a routine copyright case. Especially when timely–registered photos were infringed. You cannot.

For the victimized photographer, the takeaway from this is that when an infringer threatens to fight a case tooth and nail, he is typically either ignorant or bluffing.

MYTH # 7: The “Copyright Violation Is Not a Crime” Myth

“Copyright violation is not a crime—it is just a quarrel between two businessmen.”

Wrong. Although rarely charged, intentional copyright infringement is a federal crime as well as a civil wrong. You can go to federal prison. Read the Copyright Act. Or the FBI copyright warning screen at the start of any DVD or Blu-ray movie. You also may be violating criminal statutes such as the federal “No Electronic Theft” law.

As icing on the cake, if you infringe “adult” images, you are taking another risk. Federal criminal law requires publishers of explicit images to keep proof of the model’s age and identity, and comply with many other strict and specific rules. Because there is no way to comply if you are pirating images, you risk severe criminal penalties.

Although this article’s title is “Seven Deadly Myths,” two other myths now come up so often that they should be included. Consider them a bonus.

MYTH # 8: The “If I give credit I don’t need permission” Myth

“If I give credit I don’t need permission.”

No! This myth reveals confusion between plagiarism (claiming someone else’s work as your own) and copyright infringement (copying someone else’s work). Reprinting someone else’s creative work and claiming it as yours, makes you both a copyright infringer and a plagiarist. Reprinting someone else’s creative work with a credit makes you merely a copyright infringer. Indeed, by crediting the owner you are admitting you knew someone else owned the work you infringed. Copyright infringement is copyright infringement whether or not you credit the rights owner.

MYTH # 9: The “Poor Man’s Copyright Registration” Myth

“I can simply mail myself a copy of my work to prove copyright.”

This is a widespread myth. Incredibly, we have even seen this “proof” suggested in articles and books as an alternative to copyright registration.

Self–mailing is called “the poor man’s copyright.” The photographer (or other creator) sends a copy of his work to himself or a friend or family member, typically by certified mail, or Federal Express or other services which provide proof of delivery. The envelope is securely sealed and tamper proof. The sender then files away the envelope, believing that if infringement happens, he can open the envelope in court to prove ownership.

The myth of “poor man’s copyright” has an interesting history. It actually stems from misunderstandings of patent law and procedures, which are beyond our scope here.

At any rate, “poor man’s copyright” is unnecessary to secure copyright, and is no substitute for copyright registration. The creator owns copyright in his work at the moment it is created and put in tangible form. No further acts are necessary to secure copyright, so self–mailing adds nothing. Suing for copyright infringement requires copyright registration; self–mailing is no substitute. Statutory damages and attorney’s fees require timely registration; self–mailing is no substitute.

The Copyright Office itself agrees with this article. The Office regards “poor man’s copyright” as worthless, stating in FAQ reports,

“. . . sending a copy of your work to yourself is sometimes called ‘a poor man’s copyright.’ There is no provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration.”


If you create photos, timely register your copyright. Ideally, register before you publish or distribute the photos or authorize others to do so. At worst, register within three months after publication. Such timely registration preserves the vital legal remedies of statutory damages and attorney’s fees. As a practical matter, registration before publication is best.

Unless one has specific permission, one can not distribute, copy, publicly display, sell, or otherwise exploit or use photos in which someone else owns copyright.

One is not free to use photos displayed on Myspace, Facebook, peer–to–peer networks, newsgroups, other people’s websites, search engines like Google, or elsewhere in the electronic world. Such photos, even when widely available to the public, are almost never in the “public domain.” In fact, with extremely rare exceptions, no recently–created photo is in the public domain.

The “Fair Use” doctrine rarely excuses infringement of a photograph, particularly where the infringing use is commercial or where it hurts the owner’s market for the photo.

Copyright is valid, and the infringement penalties apply, with or without a copyright notice.

Copyright infringement is copyright infringement regardless of the infringer’s motive.

People who infringe photographs are likely to be crushed in court. In the case of timely–registered photos, they are also at risk of being socked with large money penalties and having to pay plaintiff’s attorney’s fees. Infringers may also suffer injunctions or
even equipment seizures which may cripple or shut down their whole business.

Copyright infringement may be charged by the government as a federal crime.

Infringement may also violate other criminal and civil laws in addition to the Copyright Act. For example, infringers may be sued for violating the right of publicity of
the models in the photographs.

Copyright infringement cases may be treated as news, especially locally, and especially if adult images are involved. Copyright infringement can have many personal consequences, all bad.

Giving credit when taking someone else’s work does not excuse copyright infringement.

“Poor man’s copyright” (mailing your work to yourself) is a myth. It is not a substitute for registering copyright with the Copyright Office.

The good news for photographers is that when anyone uses their photos without permission, copyright law may provide the photographer with powerful remedies. There may be additional remedies under state law. If your work is being infringed, talk to a lawyer!


David L. Amkraut is a Los Angeles-based Attorney–at–law. In addition to major personal injury cases, his practice emphasizes copyright law, protecting creators of work
against those who exploit it without permission. He is particularly involved in cases involving photographs.

Among many other cases, he represented the plaintiffs in Louder v. CompuServe, a class-action case involving publication of 930 photographs of models by the (then) second–largest Internet service provider in the world. He also served as attorney in other important cases involving copyright and the “right of publicity” (The right to control commercial use of one’s own image). Mr. Amkraut has obtained judgments and settlements totaling millions of dollars, in lawsuits by publishers, photographers, and models against infringers.

Mr. Amkraut welcomes copyright infringement cases. An initial consultation and evaluation is free. He can often take cases on contingency—“no recovery, no legal fee.”

Law Offices of David L. Amkraut
2272 Colorado Boulevard, #1228
Los Angeles, California 90041–1143
Email: CopyrightFacts@Earthlink.net
Tel: (323) 344–4244 – Fax: (323) 344–8594


This article by Los Angeles Attorney David L. Amkraut is a revised and updated version of his original article.
© 2014 David L. Amkraut

This is a revised version of an article originally published in 2000. Permission is granted to reproduce this document, provided the document is reproduced complete and without changes, including the author and contact information, and the copyright notice. This article may not be sold.

Quotations for review, reporting, comment, etc. are permitted as long as there is proper attribution as follows:

From “The 7 Deadly Myths of Internet Copyright: What Photographers Must
Know About Copyright and Photography to Protect Their Work,” by Los Angeles
Attorney David L. Amkraut.



As instructed, this article is reprinted intact. Hopefully, a few readers will benefit from it! Thanks to David L. Amkraut for allowing others to pass the information along!

Quote from above: “The commonly–seen parenthesis “(c)” instead of the proper copyright mark “©” is incorrect. If you use a copyright notice, you may as well do it right.”

To quickly add a proper © symbol on a PC/Windows, hold down the Alt key and enter 0169, then release. On a Mac, type ALT G. On some Mac keyboards, it might be OPT G.

Digital Age Submissions:

Quote from above: “Why the delay? One reason is that the Copyright Office is swamped with applications. Another is that because of the 9/11 Islamic terrorist attacks, and other terrorist attempts and threats, application packages are first sent to a secure location for bomb, chemical, and poison screening.”

I the earlier years, people made contact sheets of their slides and negatives. They were submitted through the US Mail. With the aid of the Internet, we can now “zip” groups of related images and submit them through Internet uploads. There’s no need to screen them for threatening materials. Typically, I get my certificates back in about two months after submitting them digitally.

The image at the top of the page was scanned from the front page of my September 2104 submission. I received the official Certificate of Registration in December. I have been submitting my images for copyright for many years now. The submission steps and uploads are getting easier each year. The copyright office allows you to store a template with all of your information, so basically you are just adding information about the new images each time.

Below are a few helpful links.

  • U.S. Copyright Office The pages there have plenty of information, frequently asked questions, and resources to help you understand why it is necessary to officially copyright your images.
  • eCO Tutorial (Standard) This is the official tutorial. There are probably numerous Step-by-Step tutorials on the Internet if you do a search. eCO submissions cost $55 for a group. I typically submit a month at a time consisting of 1500-3500 in a submission. Unpublished and Published works must be submitted separately.
  • KelbyOne: For $25, you can subscribe to KelbyOne for a month and view hundreds of tutorials. A couple of the titles include information on how to submit to the copyright office. This can speed up your learning curve considerably. The accompanying lawyer in the title goes over much of the information above and more.

Various Strategies: The lawyer and photographer team on the Kelby video tutorials suggest copyrighting EVERYTHING. You never know when you might need to use a photo and it is best to already have it copyrighted. Mr. Amkraut suggests copyrighting them within a three month window to maintain the most rights. I know other people that only copyright the images they plan to use and promote. The submission fee is still $55 whether you submit a single image or a group of thousands.


If you know of anyone that might benefit from this information, please share the link by clicking on any of the Social Media icons below. While my/our perspective might come from the photographer’s side of this issue, information on this page might be of benefit to all artists and craftspeople using images from the Internet for their source materials.

I found these links on the Internet regarding using photos as source art.

Know the source!

Go to Source

Tamron 150-600mm F/5.6-F6/3 Lens:


Lightweight, Relatively Small, Sharp, and Inexpensive!

I have been a dedicated Nikon Lens user for quite a while. I bought a Sigma 10-20mm lens years ago, thinking I wouldn’t use it that often, so why sink $2000 into a specialized lens? I regretted that decision quite a few times—and it taught me a lesson. I call it “buy it nice, or buy it twice”. I bought a Nikon 28-300mm super zoom lens. I get plenty good shots with it on my Nikon D4, but always felt it was a bit too soft when on my Nikon D800. I was a bit leery of another “super zoom” lens…and a non-Nikon to boot! Buying a pro Nikon lens can “sting a bit” at the time of purchase, but that passes quickly and then you get to enjoy the investment for years. This lens made me reexamine the issues I thought I had already resolved.

Evening Light: Taken with a Tamron 150-600mm at 350mm with a Nikon D800.
Evening Light
: NIKON D800, 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 150 mm, 1/100 at f/9, Aperture priority Mode, -1 2/3 EV, ISO 100

Before this lens, my longest lens was a Nikon 200-400mm F/4. I’ve had it a long time and I still love it. There have been a few times I would have liked to have a longer reach, but there’s always that “money thing” to deal with.  I never liked images captured with my 200-400 when paired with a Nikon 1.4 Teleconverter. Images just never looked sharp. Instead, I felt better upscaling a sharp image in post production.

Red Fox Approaching: 220mm
Red Fox Approaching
: NIKON D800, 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 220 mm, 1/500 at f/8, Aperture priority Mode, -1 EV, ISO 200,

I read all of the glowing reports by satisfied customers that had been using the relatively new Tamron 150-600mm lens. My Nikon Dealer in Idaho Falls, Chris Balmer at Perfect Light Camera and Supply, bought one and kept raving about the lens. He was heading off to Africa for one of his tours, so I put my name on the list and waited for his return. In the meantime, I kept reading reviews at sites like B&H and Amazon, plus comments at Naturescapes and various forums. Chris came back from Africa—still raving about the lens. I told him I was ready when one became available.

Swan Cygnets
Swan Cygnets
: NIKON D800, 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 600 mm, 1/800 at f/9, Aperture priority Mode, -2 EV, ISO 100,

Quite often, a reviewer starts out their comments with, “for the money, this is….”. That’s often a red flag, at least for my perspective. A Nikon 600mm prime lens is just under $10,000. ($9,799.00) This Tamron lens sells for $1069. Using really rounded numbers, the prime lens is roughly ten times the cost of the Tamron zoom lens. (To be exact, it is 9.116 times.) Of course, they are two completely different products. I read one review where the person said the Nikon prime is not “ten times better”. I might add…”to that person”. You could also argue that if the images from a Nikon prime are 10% better to some professionals, it probably IS worth ten times the cost. Right? It is simply a matter of perspective and size of the wallet. I’ve never been able to cost-justify one of the 600mm primes.

Porter Barn
Porter Barn: NIKON D800, 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 600 mm, 1/800 at f/9, Aperture priority Mode, -2 EV, ISO 100

My Decision to Buy: I was hoping the Tamron Lens would give me acceptable range past 400mm up to 600mm. The low price to “take the gamble” on the lens was a factor. Sigma recently came out with a similar lens for roughly twice the price. Positive reviews for the Tamron version helped.  I am now offering One-On-One Photography Excursions here in the Tetons and wanted to have a good zoom lens to allow the clients access to a longer reach lens. They will all be tickled and it should help sell more trips. I’d  like to someday add a Canon version of the lens for the same purpose—but that might take a while.

Swan Squabble
Swan Squabble
: NIKON D800, 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 600 mm, 1/1250 at f/9, Manual Mode, -1 EV, ISO 180

Thumbs Up!

I am writing this post after only using the lens for four days. But, I used it a LOT in four days! As I alluded to earlier, I was going in somewhat skeptical. I ran it through much of my normal shooting styles and subjects, then processed them the same as I would have any of my other Nikon lenses. The bottom line….the lens performed darned well…or should I say well above my expectations. After four days, I have no regrets and I am sure Excursion clients will love their shots, too.

Red Squirrel
Red Squirrel
: NIKON D800, 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 420 mm, 1/640 at f/6.3, Aperture priority Mode, -2 EV with Strobe, ISO 1000

Random Musings & Comparisons

  • Lightweight vs Heavy Build: This Tamaron lens weight 4.3 lb and is lighter than my 4.7 lb Nikon 200-400. The Nikon 600mm weight 11.2 lbs! My Nikon 70-200mm lens weighs 3.39 lbs. The Nikon lenses are heavier and have a more rugged, long-life feel. Still, light weight is good on some level.
  • Included: The Tamron doesn’t come with a clear glass front filter. Figure adding another $40 to $140, or more for a filter. My Nikon 200-400mm came with a clear glass front, along with a heavy duty carrying case. The Tamron has no case.
  • Collar Foot: The Tamron lens has one mounting hole in the bottom of the foot. I would have preferred to see two, as I have on my 70-200mm and 200-400mm.
  • Minimum Focus: On my Nikon 200-400mm, I can focus as close as 6.6′ (or roughly 19 feet with the limiter turned on). The Tamron’s minimum focus is 8.86 feet (or 49 feet with the limiter turned on).
  • Balance in the Tripod: As the Tamaron lens is zoomed out from 150mm to 600mm, the barrel telescopes out an extra three inches. When mounted on a Gimball head or a “sidekick” style setup, the balance changes as the Tamron lens is zoomed in or out. The lens is light enough this isn’t a huge issue, but worth noting. It is also easy enough to slide the camera forward or back in the clamp to balance it again.
  • Wide Open Aperture: At 150mm, the Tamron is wide open at F/5.6 or at 600mm, wide open at F/6.3. The difference is only 1/3 of a stop. A Nikon 600mm and my Nikon 200-400mm are F/4 lenses. That’s a full stop better than the Tamron at 150mm or 1.33 of a stop better than the Tamron at 600mm. An F/2.8 lens, like my 70-200mm is two full stops better than the Tamron at 150mm. In short, the Tamron might not be the best lens in low light conditions. I typically start my morning with my F/2.8 70-200 on my D4 and then switch it to the 200-400 as I get better light. I doubt I’d be grabbing the Tamron at first light either. If none of this makes sense, check out the F-Stop Chart at Digital Camera World.
  • Image Image Stabilization: Nikon calls theirs “VR” (vibration reduction) and Tamron calls theirs VC Image Stabilization. I shot a few sets of images over a bean bag with VC turned on and they looked good.
  • Removable Collar: The collar on the Tamron lens is removable. Some people might take it off when not using a tripod. The lens collar and feet are permanently mounted in my 70-200mm and 200-400mm. I shoot using a tripod almost all the time, so this is not an issue.
  • Focus Issues at 600mm: On a few occasions, I’ve noticed a problem with the Tamron lens focusing at 600mm if the subject has limited contrast. Here’s the scenario: I was focused at roughly 9 feet on a park sign directly in front of me while checking the manual for minimum focus distances. I turned the camera to a large Spruce tree with non-defined bark. I pressed to focus on it and the camera would not focus at all. It stayed blurry until I pulled back on the zoom and it found objects with plenty of contrast. Afterwards, it locked down perfectly. When I spun the lens around to the sign, it had trouble focusing again at 600mm on the close subject.  I had similar issues while in the back yard photographing birds. If I am focus at a longer distance at 600mm and then go to something much closer while still at 600mm, the camera seems confused and does not bring anything into focus. This happens most often if the subject is very close (but outside the minimum distance) and if at 600mm.

Slepping Indian 150mm
Sleeping Indian
: NIKON D4, 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 150 mm, 1/2500 at f/8, Aperture priority Mode, -1 1/3 EV, ISO 200

Sleeping Indian 600mm
Sleeping Indian: NIKON D4, 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 600 mm, 1/3200 at f/8, Aperture priority Mode, -1 1/3 EV, ISO 200

A Landscape Lens? I have been amazed with the landscape images I’ve shot with it so far. At 600mm, it doesn’t take much shake to blur an image. I get blurry images on my Nikon 200-400 if my technique is slipping, so I can expect a similar volume of blurry images with this lens. I am willing to concede it is pilot error in most cases! Some people are hoping to hand hold this lens—and I am sure some will get good shots. But, even on a tripod at 600mm, it takes some well honed skills and rock solid equipment. Of course, the distance from camera to subject makes a lot of difference.

Tram Tower
Tram Tower
: NIKON D800, 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 280 mm, 1/500 at f/7.1, Aperture priority Mode, -1 EV, ISO 100


Partial Pano Surprise: The first afternoon after receiving the lens, I headed to Boyle’s Hill to get a few shots of Swans and test the lens. While standing around waiting for Swans to fly in or out, I took a few panoramic images of the Teton ridge line. I’ll stitch them together someday.

Tram Tower Detail
Tram Tower (tight crop)
: NIKON D800, 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 280 mm, 1/500 at f/7.1, Aperture priority Mode, -1 EV, ISO 100

This is a small crop of the image above. I can easily see the tram tower and dock at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort at Teton Village and the mogul fields. That mountain top is roughly 8 miles off!

Bald Eagle: 600mm
Bald Eagle
: NIKON D800, 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 600 mm, 1/800 at f/8, Aperture priority Mode, -1 EV, ISO 1250,

600 mm: Normally, I’d drive on by shots that might need a 600mm focal length. Teleconverters on my 200-400mm have never produced reliable results for me. This lens at 600mm is quite capable.

Sleeping Red Fox: 600mm
Sleeping Red Fox
: NIKON D800, 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 600 mm, 1/400 at f/11, Aperture priority Mode, -1 1/3 EV, ISO 400

The Tamron 150-600mm lens has been plenty sharp on both my D4 and D800 bodies, giving me lots of options. I know I crop in on some of the distant images when taken with the 35 mpx D800.

White-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
: NIKON D800, 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 600 mm, 1/800 at f/6.3, Aperture priority Mode, -1 1/3 EV with Remote Strobe, ISO 1000

The Sleeping Fox image above and this White-breasted Nuthatch were both taken at 600mm. The fox was probably 50 yards off and this nuthatch was only 10 feet or so.

Swans in Flight
Swans in Flight
: NIKON D4, 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 600 mm, 1/1600 at f/8, Aperture priority Mode, -2/3 EV, ISO 320

Birds in Flight: I’ve only had a couple of chances to try to capture birds in flight, so I can’t say how well it will perform in that regard (yet). This pair of Trumpeter Swans was taken the first day I had the lens. Only one pair flew in that day, but I did manage to capture them.

Red Squirrel: 600mm
Red Squirrel In Shadows
: NIKON D800, 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 600 mm, 1/800 at f/6.3, Manual Mode, -1/3 EV, ISO 2800

Manual Mode: I took this shot on a day when I had been trying to photograph a Red Fox. For those shots, I set the camera on Manual Mode, set the shutter speed to 1/1250 sec and the aperture to F/8, then turned on Auto-ISO. I saw this little red fox in the trees and set up to photograph him. I cut the shutter speed back to 1/800 sec. and opened the aperture up to F/6.3. The Auto-ISO modified the shot to ISO2800, which worked out fine. When the Fox was in the snow, ISO was down to ISO250 on most shots. The only reason I mention this here is to show an option on how to keep the Aperture stopped down and stop action at the same time.

Swans, Ducks & Goose
Waterfowl Parade on Ice
: NIKON D4, 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 600 mm, 1/1600 at f/8, Aperture priority Mode, -2/3 EV, ISO 320

Zoom Opportunities: Most of my lenses are zoom lenses. I like the flexibility. I checked back on most of my shots from the past three or four days and am amazed how many were taken at 600mm. I also took quite a few at 150mm. Hmmmmmm? Fall is a long ways off, but I have a feeling this lens will be on my tripod a lot when trying to photograph moose. It’s lighter than my 200-400mm and has more range at both ends. At 150mm, I might get two or more moose in one shot. At 600mm, I might get shots I couldn’t have taken before. I think I will like this lens for wild mustangs for all the same reasons. Some reports I read before making my purchase suggested the lens get soft between 550mm and 600mm. I haven’t seen that issue (when stopped down anyway).

Bighorns and Rocks
Bighorns and Rocks: NIKON D800, 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 450 mm, 1/1250 at f/8, Manual Mode, -1 EV,  ISO 2000

Last Thoughts: I don’t feel compelled to say this is a wonderful lens “for the money”…just a wonderful lens!  I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the photographers with the heavy prime 600mm lenses add one of these to their lens line-up, too. Those lenses, especially when paired with the camera body and tripod create a very heavy, back breaking unit. They seldom like to hike far with it. This lens so much lighter—making it much easier to head off across the sagebrush or down a trail with it. The Tamron 150-600mm fits into my lens line-up nicely. I’ll still use my 70-200mm early and late. It’s very sharp and relatively light. I’ll still use my rock solid 200-400mm. When weight or reach is a factor, I know I’ll grab the Tamron.  It could take me a few months to know exactly when and where to make the most appropriate calls on which lens fits the needs best. Oh yes, if I win this weeks Powerball Lottery, I’ll order a Nikon 600mm prime!

There’s a link for Perfect Light Camera in Idaho Falls in the right navigation bar. That’s where I purchased mine. These lenses are price-set by the manufacturers, so everyone has to sell them for the same price. Knowing that, this is a good time to support the small camera shops around the country!

Maybe I should include this link to Kristofer Rowe’s Flikr page that put me over the top when it was time to buy: https://www.flickr.com/photos/coastalconn/sets/72157644820182203/

If you like this post, please share it by clicking on any of the Social Media icons below.

Go to Source