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Photography Question 
Alex T. Mizuno
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/28/2007
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Same Bridge and Different Sky


 
  The bridge image on Hotel Planner site
The bridge image on Hotel Planner site
© Alex T. Mizuno
Nikon D80 Digital ...
 
  My Finalist Image
My Finalist Image
© Alex T. Mizuno
Nikon D80 Digital ...
 
 
When I was searching images of San Francisco Bay Bridge on Google, I found my own image of the bridge from my BP gallery which won Finalist last year. Also, I found another image used for a commercial site. Then I realized that both images look similar. Maybe too similar. I studied them closely. The clouds and the reflection on the water are a little different. But the angle of the bridge, the reflection of the lights on the bridge are identical. Sure, the color of the bridge is different but that's the only difference.

I'm convinced. This is my bridge. They changed and adjusted some details but they used my bridge image. Without my consent!

The question here is, is it worth approaching and complain this business and taking some action? This is the first time I found my image has been used without my consent. I really don't know exactly what to do. If any of you have any knowledge of a case like this and can give me any feedback, I really appreciate it.


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10/14/2010 3:42:27 AM

 
Christopher J. Budny
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/3/2005
chrisbudny.com
  IMHO, I don't think they are the same image. (I googled to find the hotelplanner website image.) In their image, the fourth, furthest "tower" of the bridge sticks out more than yours.
I suspect theirs is a legitimately different image (probably taken from a stock site) shot from nearly an identical vantage point. (ie, there are "must shoot" positions for that bridge, than many, many photographers will pick again and again.) I have a hard time believing they'd go to the effort of photoshopping in a new sky and reflections carefully around all the cables and streetlight starbursts...
Just my take...


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10/14/2010 10:31:12 AM

 
Alex T. Mizuno
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/28/2007
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  Thank you for your feedback Christopher. I looked at their photo again after reading your opinion. I really cannot tell if their furthest pillar is sticking out more than mine since their photo is so small. There's no definite vista point of this bridge. I picked an unmarked position just for a perfecto composition for myself. I wonder how the angle can be identical. On the other hand, it's true, it's such a hustle to change the clouds behind the complicated bridge detail.

Again, thank you for your feedback!


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10/14/2010 11:00:19 AM

 
Christopher J. Budny
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/3/2005
chrisbudny.com
  I certainly cannot say "It is IMPOSSIBLE that they stole your image and then manipulated it to make it different"... it seems quite unlikely, is all. What really would make it challenging (in my view) is the starburst effects on the lights---I think trying to clone in a new sky and keep your starbursts would be more work that was worth it for a tiny 1-inch thumbnail. (Though, a thumbnail would make it easier to hide the flaws of a bad photoshop job, too.)
I was unable to find a larger version of "their" image, to try and compare more closely to yours. Which I guess is a good thing---IF in fact they took your image and IF they did heavily modify it,
A) it no longer resembles your Finalist (other than the shooting perspective)
B) it is so tiny on their website (and is not really being used to drive/sell/promote business that I can tell)
C) their alleged edits make it so dark overall, it isn't a terrific image at this point.

All to say, from your original question, I doubt very seriously it would be worth the effort to pursue any kind of action in this specific case. (And I'm all for going after blatant image theft---I just think there's so much room for these images being 2 uniquely-shot, different images, that you'd be wasting your time.)


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10/14/2010 11:19:41 AM

 
Alex T. Mizuno
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/28/2007
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  Thank you for pointing out details Christopher. I gave a second thought to my original question. Although I think their site is for their business promotion, over all, it may not be worth creating an argument when I consider the partial similarity. I wish they used a bigger image to make the comparison much easier :)


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10/14/2010 11:44:39 AM

 
Usman M. Bajwa
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/11/2006
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  I agree with Chris here, Alex.

On another note, its great that you have brought this lovely image in the discussion thread. Maybe its time for a resubmit!!!

UB.


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10/14/2010 10:53:42 PM

 
Alex T. Mizuno
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/28/2007
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  Thank you Usman. I agree with Christopher now also. Maybe I was just too quick to judge. And thank you for your encouragement!


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10/14/2010 10:58:15 PM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
cammphoto.com
  I too think it's highly unlikely that your photo was pirated.
Just think about how many identical images of Oxbow Bend in the Tetons are out there. (Every tour bus stops at that same pull-off.)

It's more likely that the same vantage point was used by you and others to shoot the bridge.


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10/20/2010 1:41:18 AM

 
Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/11/2005
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  Alex, I think the clouds are slightly different too...agree with folks...and I can certainly confirm Bob's comment about Oxbow Bend..nearly 100 photographers there the other day for sunrise!


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10/20/2010 4:18:03 PM

 
Alex T. Mizuno
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/28/2007
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  Bob, Ken, thank you guys for your feedback. I really appreciate it.

Where I photographed San Francisco Bay Bridge has no marked vantage point. That's why I was surprised to see the exactly (or almost exactly) same angle. But photographers with a good composition sense would take the same spot (that proves I have a good composition sense too :).


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10/21/2010 2:02:33 AM

 
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