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Monday, December 12, 2016

The Value of a Mountain Lion Photo

My Sunday ended up going a little crazy. It all started with one of my kind readers alerting me that someone had posted one of my mountain lion photos and claimed it as their own. They'd also changed the date and time to make it appear to be very recent. They also implied that it had been taken about 150 miles south of where I live, in their town.

From what I've learned from other readers, the bad FB page had been trying to whip people into a fearful frenzy about the idea that mountain lions are near or in their Colorado town. For me with my values about wildlife, their motivation made their theft even worse.

Since this post is wordy, I am going to share a series of mountain lion photos that I captured recently throughout it. I found them on a memory card that I checked yesterday during my cold trail camera outing. The first one is my first ever flying mountain lion! He was leaping into the frame.

Back to the story of the stolen photo - my friends and I inundated them with comments on the photo saying that it was stolen and had originally been published on this blog in 2011 (it's the second photo in the post). The response of the page owner was to ban all of us, and then to write some despicable lies about how he could do whatever he wanted with copyrighted material on social media. I'd reported the copyright infringement to Facebook, and I was hoping that they'd solve the problem.

Here he is standing still a few seconds after his leap
At that point in the saga, ironically, I absolutely had to close my computer and go do pre-planned work on my trail cameras. It's the time of year when I move them around because most animals abandon using sites where there's deep snow. I spent the rest of my day in freezing cold places replacing batteries in cams and moving some of them to sunny spots. All of this was done by pedaling between cams on my fat bike. There was fresh snow so even the pedaling was very hard work.

A closer view of the lion from 11/13/16

It made me realize exactly how much someone is stealing when they take one of my trail camera photos. You might think, "Oh well, it's just a cam sitting outside taking photos of whatever goes in front of it.". In reality, it's a lot of work. I spend lots of time tracking animals so that I know what routes they use in each season. Then, I spend time moving cams from one place to another depending on the season because animals use different routes depending on snow. There's the constant battery replacement issue, and the need to check the cams reasonably frequently to avoid theft.
Look at those muscles!
All in all, one great photo probably required a huge number of hours of work for me to get. Back when I captured the mountain lion photo in question, it was one of my first ever photos of a mountain lion. I was over the moon to get it. That old camera has captured only one more mountain lion photo over the years. Last year, it caught a mountain lion right outside our bedroom window!

By yesterday evening, Facebook had yanked the stolen photo from the rogue FB page due to copyright infringement. Thank goodness. Now I can go back out into the cold to work on my trail cameras rather than furiously typing!


  1. I am so glad you got the issue resolved. I hadn't realized their motives, that does make it worse. People are jerks.

  2. That stinks! As a photographer, I have had to change my watermark to something big across the middle of the image. It is very hard to crop out. On our website, we've gone to a large, ugly watermark for this very reason. Glad you were able to resolve the issue!

  3. I'm so sick of people stealing pictures. Watermarking does not even help. There is a way around everything
    Lily & Edward

  4. Sadly, too many people believe that photographs posted on the internet are free to use. I am glad this one was taken down (I noticed the page lost another stolen mountain lion photograph from another photographer too). Sadly, that is all that happens. The post comes down and the page continues on their way.

    To everyone out there using Social Media, when you see one of those posts sharing a "cute" video or photograph, please don't just "share" it. A video should link back to the originators YouTube or Vimeo page (or they are clearly the creator) and a photograph should link back to the photographer. If it does not, take a moment to find the original (it is not hard with Google Images) and then share the original. The creator will thank you.

  5. Ugh, that's awful! We love your trail pictures. It's despicable someone would try to claim your work as their own.

  6. Your hard work is much appreciated by us, your fellow wildlife lovers! Thank you!

  7. I sure am glad a nice someone let you know so you could take the action!

  8. I'm glad it all worked out, but whew! What a strange response you got online. So many of us understand and appreciate the hard work you put into the blog and all your photos and videos.

  9. Your love of wildlife shines through brilliantly. The website's response effectively destroyed their own credibility, so I would not worry too much about them being able to "whip people into a fearful frenzy". I am sorry that you encountered one of the this world's low lifes. You deserve better.

  10. Glad FB did something. Hopefully, after reading his blog, people will realise that it is fake.

  11. I watermark all my photos because even though I have a copywrite notice on the blog, they are constantly used. People pin them alot, but I've found that on Pinterest at least they link back to my site. However, I like using a small unobtrusive watermark, so I realize it could easily be edited out. Most people are not crooks and wouldn't do that. However, the person who posted your lion photo and changed the time stamp was definitely stealing the photo and claiming it as their own. Their purpose seemed to be to stir up fear of a lion near the town (which was nowhere near where your photo was taken). I'm glad to know FB acted on your behalf. Maybe when we post a special photo, as someone else mentioned, we need to watermark across the pic to make it harder to remove. Whew! I got myself in a little lather over that incident! You know me - I'm usually pretty calm!

    1. I do know how calm you usually are. Even I have learned to be calmer about photo theft. However, this incident felt different because it was so obviously completely deceptive. Moreover, as the page owner wrote comments/messages, he sounded unhinged to me, with mentions of men at his door with guns due to photos he'd posted. It was a very odd and infuriating incident. Thanks so much for your support! As for the watermark, I hate to mar my especially good photos with a watermark across the center because it will bug my readers - who are the viewers that I care about! It's a tough balancing act.

  12. It's such a shame that not everyone can be honest. We sure do love your blog, KB. All of your efforts are totally worth it to us♥

  13. Grrrrr!!!! Another human lacking in morals. So glad the FB pulled the photo, but it isn't fair for you to have to go through so much to correct an evil act.

    Loved all the photos today:)

  14. People can be so shifty! Glad Facebook sorted it out.

  15. Sometimes I just don't understand what people are thinking...So glad everything was sorted out.

  16. I surely get what you are saying. I am a sixty six year old gramma and am currently running ten trail cameras! Central NY state, no where near as exciting as where you are, but when I got my first ever bear, I was over the moon! It would be horrible to have someone steal your pictures! Surely people have better things to do? Sad.


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