I realize Flickr has been around since 2004 but I really have just gotten active with it this summer. Flickr is a site that allows you to upload your photos to share with others. You can have a free membership, which has pretty generous limits on how many photos you can upload per month. If you find that you use Flickr more than that, a “pro” membership is $25 per year. That pro membership has advantages, including the fact that if you delete your photos on your own computer—or it fails—you can replace them by downloading the original from your Flickr account.
Think about this: Even if you don’t own a camera, you’ll want to join Flickr. You can enjoy and sometimes “borrow” photos from other people—and we’re talking about a pool of 4 billion images! Need a photo of a Unicorn Clubtail dragonfly for your presentation? How about Hairy Lip Fern or LeConte’s Sparrow?
Officer Friendly: What’s the rush, ma’am? Do you have a license for that photo?
Nice volunteer lady: Oh, I don’t have to worry about it if I’m just using the picture for an educational purpose…do I?
Actually, you do.
Borrowing an image from the Internet is legal if the owner of the photo allows it. When you upload your photos to Flickr, you designate whether or not your photo will be viewable by the public, or only by invited folks. You also specify what kind of copyright you want. The default setting is “all rights reserved”—meaning no one can make use of your photo in any way except to view it on Flickr. I changed my default setting to a “creative commons” (cc) license, meaning that others have my permission to use the photo for non-commercial purposes, as long as they attribute the photo to me.
The next step for the presentation/report is to search for an image you want that has a creative commons license. Say you know a fourth-grader named Tyler who needs a bobcat picture for a report. My favorite way find it is to go to Compfight, enter “bobcat” in the search box, set Creative Commons to “only,” be sure “Safe Search” is turned on, and browse. Now Tyler has 4,210 choices. Simply display the name of the photo’s owner by the photo. In a presentation, you can also link to the photographer’s Flickr page. You may have noticed that many of the images in “Gardening with Binoculars” are attributed to “Flickr friends,” including the Northern Flicker above, by Matt Ward http://www.iseethelight.com/. My blog would be a lot less interesting without their generosity.