Changes to On The Wing Photography

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Antelope Island mountains covered in snow

Antelope Island mountains covered in snow

Because of image theft I have made some changes to my blog, one of the first that will be noticed by people who have subscribed to my blog is that I will only be using a summary for my published posts from now on. The reason for that is that content scrapers can access my images through my RSS feed. It pains me that I feel that I have to do this because there may be some of you who read my posts in your RSS feed rather than on my site.

Another things I have done is removed the link I had up at the top to my Bird and Nature W a l l p a p e r s and I removed those images from my site entirely. What started off as a gift from me to my viewers may have caused the image thieves to find my site and begin lifting my images from it.

I also changed or removed the word w a l l p a p e r everywhere so that the content scrapers don’t pick that up on a Google search. If you have a blog really consider not having the word w a l l p a p e r anywhere on it and don’t use it as a tag or a category.

I found a plugin that can block access to my blog by country and I have blocked a few countries from being able to see my blog because some of the content scrapers live there. It won’t stop all of the pukes that steal images but it will slow down some of them.

I am particularly fed up with w a l l p a p e r sites that steal our images to get money from advertisements that the rotten jerks place on their sites and how difficult it can be to get the images removed.

Seeing how rampant copyright infringement is on the web is disheartening at times. This is one of them.



  1. Bosque Bill January 15, 2013 at 9:46 am

    I just don’t understand how reducing your RSS feed is supposed to stop the poaching of your photos. The only way to stop the theft is to stop publishing online. Technically there is no other way – if it can be seen (or heard) it can be copied. Sorry for your pain.

    • Mia McPherson January 19, 2013 at 3:52 pm


      Some of these thieves sign up for either the RSS feed to sites or the email subscriptions and from there they can swipe images without even going to the sites. I’ve installed and activated a no-right click plugin in that will stop some of that on my site and by going to summary on my RSS feed they can’t swipe the images from there. Nothing will stop the thieves completely but I won’t make it easy for them either.

  2. Tami Vogel (@_CabinGirl) January 14, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Mia, I’m just catching up on my reading and was so saddened but heartened at the same time while reading the trials of being a professional photographer in today’s electronic age. Thank you so much for sharing all your knowledge in this area. I’ve learned so much for reading your blog, paying attention to your critiques on your photos, etc.

    I will say the one thing I’ve always liked so much is that your watermark is unobtrusive and doesn’t ruin the photo. So many other images I see have a great big watermark on them which, in my mind, destroys the “feeling” of the image.

    I don’t have a solution to the watermark conundrum, but I’m hoping the steps you’ve taken will work and you won’t need to break up the beauty of your images.

    Love your work. Love your pep and determination. Some day things will change due to people like you who try to make the world a better place.

    • Mia McPherson January 19, 2013 at 3:49 pm


      Stopping the one thief in Indonesia has given me a little peace of mind, that guy from is a puke. I’m not going to stop fighting these thieves.

  3. LaNelle January 12, 2013 at 6:10 am

    Sorry that this is happening but stand strong! Glad you have posted this notice for all the jerks to read and for the rest of us to learn and beware.
    Your work is a blessing to all……

    • Mia McPherson January 14, 2013 at 5:26 am

      Thank you so much LaNelle. They won’t win.

  4. Kathie January 11, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Mia, I don’t even know if any of my images have been hijacked or stolen. I think I am afraid to look because I do not know what to do about it. I love to write and communicate with others. I am amazed at the detective work you have done and the ways you have found to fight back. Does Copyscape work at all to deter this? I would not even know how to block other countries from my blog!

    • Mia McPherson January 14, 2013 at 5:26 am

      Kathie, I’ve never heard of Copyscape but will look into it. I found a WordPress plugin called 1Q Country Block and it seems to be working great, the countries I have blocked have shown zero visits to my blog since activating and configuring it.

  5. Merrill Ann Gonzales January 11, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    After what I’ve been through on the social media sites, I truly understand what you are going through. I have had to close everything down and now people can only access my stuff by contacting me directly via e-mail. I too not only used every site as a free gift to those who might enjoy what I was doing, but to also publish others and support them as well. A lot of my friends whom I have supported over the years this way write and tell me how much they miss me, but it became extremely dangerous when someone actually attemtped to gain access to my computer and my personal files on top of spreading false information about me.
    Since last September my life has been changed a great deal because of this. At the present time I’ve found that my friends and supporters are still there and my life has become much more quiet and productive. Some of these sites are not as beneficial as they seem to be. I hope that you too will find you have more time for your art once you can be freed from trying to track these fellows down and protecting your integrity.
    I guess we’re all learning some hard lessons about what is viable for each of us on the internet.
    I am just so very happy that you have found a way to continue to share your remarkable photography with us. I was just up at the Audubon Center in Pomfret and the work you fits right in with the work they are doing. In a world where the human race is fast becoming internet and electronically bound, people like you keep the human family connected to our true roots… keep us understanding our true nature. My good thoughts and hopes go with you. Thank you for all you’ve done in this regard.

    • Mia McPherson January 14, 2013 at 5:24 am

      Merrill, I am sorry to hear about how social media sites caused you such distress, that isn’t good for the mind or the body. Getting too wrapped up in social media is exhausting and can be counter productive. I know I’d much rather be spending my time being creative than playing a detective trying to find stolen images and getting them removed.

      Thanks so much for your kind words and support Merrill.

  6. Sally Wood January 11, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    I love your work and like visiting the blog. As a photographer myself, I am looking into how to sell my images online. Fotomoto and Photoshelter are some resources I may consider. To be honest, I am new to photography and was of course a bit naive about all of this. I posted a bunch of things on twitter/twitpic, which I removed after many months upon learning about how they can use your images. One other remedial site I looked at, and can’t find now, mentioned how you could parce the image out into four corner squares and cut a cross in the middle, making it more diff (but not impossible) for thieves to reassemble the image. I am now posting things on my fb timeline and wordpress blog, which is probably stupid, altho I do watermark it some. I hear that is not much of a deterrent though, if someone really wants the image they can remove it…
    All of this extra work makes me sick at having to do. It’s wrong wrong wrong. Photogs work hard to get their images right in all aspects of creating them. Yours can be especially challenging since you are into bird/wildlife photographer, and from what I have read about what it takes to get them sometimes.
    I can’t say enough how I detest thievery and the slime that commit it. I have had things I have written stolen from me as well. There was little I could do about it because the people who took my ‘phrases’ and ‘posts’ were people I couldn’t go up against due to their ‘status’ in the filmaking industry. And it’s the worst feeling in the world, to be ripped off like that.
    And once when I was a child even, in grade wchool there was a competition to create ads for local businesses. We were asked to create some ideas in our fifth grade. Mine was chosen and months later the image, or logo if you will, was used by the restaurant. I was ten and nobody believed me when I said that it was my idea. of course, I received nothing for it, not even any recognition.
    So I guess in conclusion, be vigilant, but don’t lose heart, Mia. Don’t let them steal our joy as well.

    • Mia McPherson January 14, 2013 at 5:20 am

      Sally, I was sad to read that your idea as a child had been stolen, very disturbing that someone would do that to a child.

      I don’t post many images on Facebook because of their terms and because I don’t want to be viewing my time line and see one of my images with some silly quote stuck on it, I don’t want to see my images stolen or used in such a manner. Always put a watermark on your images and add your copyright to the exif of the file. Yes, the watermark can be cloned out if a thief is really determined. Or cropped out because images thieves don’t give a crap about composition.

      I spend more hours than I want to think about getting my images because they are wild animals. I don’t do zoos or those silly game preserves for photographers.

      I won’t lose heart and allow these scumbags to win.

  7. Nicole January 11, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    good for you! I always go to your site and not via RSS… DAMN THIEVES!!! I hope the situation improves. Technology is so good today, you would think that there would be a way to block photos from being copied???? Argh

    • Mia McPherson January 14, 2013 at 5:12 am

      Nicole, I hope that one day soon there will be a way to protect images from being stolen 100% until then I’ll stay vigilant.

  8. Scott Simmons January 11, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    You have some nice ideas here. Too bad the few ruin things for the rest. I had thought about adding free w a l l p a p e r s to my blog, but now I’m reconsidering.

    • Mia McPherson January 14, 2013 at 5:11 am

      Scott, I would seriously advise not putting w a l l p a p e r on your site. It seemed to attract all these content scrapers when I did.

  9. Jane Chesebrough January 11, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Maybe it is for the better, liked how I could click on your link in my inbox and come right to this site and comment here.I had a short-eared owl downloaded from your site (walllpaper with your signature) but will delete it out of respect. Someday I hope to go to Antelope Island and I am happy to be able to access your site for your wisdom, your views and your great photos. Thank you. Jane

    • Mia McPherson January 14, 2013 at 5:10 am

      Jane I hope that you didn’t delete the owl WP. I hope that someday you will see Antelope Island, it is a spectacular place for nature photography.

  10. Syl Lobato January 11, 2013 at 9:55 am

    so sorry..takes all kinds of people and the world seem to be full of the dishonest and moochers.

    • Mia McPherson January 14, 2013 at 5:09 am

      Yes Syl, there are hose who are dishonest and moochers. And of course thieves.

  11. Bob Bushell January 11, 2013 at 9:31 am

    Strange people, evil people, why in hell’s name do they think they are doing.

    • Mia McPherson January 14, 2013 at 5:08 am

      I don’t know for sure what they think they are doing Bob, but it is aggravating that they do. On those WP sites it is to make money off of the ads they have there, if they didn’t have the images no one would see the ads because it would be a blank page.

  12. Bob Draper January 11, 2013 at 9:29 am

    I hate that you have to go to such great lengths to protect your images. I love your photography. Just discovered you a couple of weeks ago and I’m addicted. Keep up the good work (how do you find the time?)

    • Mia McPherson January 14, 2013 at 5:06 am

      Thank you Bob, I appreciate your kind words on my work.

      In answer to your question about time… I just keep plugging away!

  13. Sherry in MT January 11, 2013 at 7:56 am

    I don’t think anyone that really wants to read your blog will be bothered by any of your changes. I know there are ways on HTML to block the downloading of images and it probably is time to start looking at that closer. I honestly haven’t had the problem (my stuff isn’t that outstanding). Still keep posting those lovely photos as those of us that are not thieves learn a lot from them!

    • Mia McPherson January 14, 2013 at 5:05 am

      Thank you Sherry, I have added a plugin that prevents image downloading and dragging to desk tops but it does not work in all browsers. I wish it did. I’m not going to let the images thieves win.

  14. Larry Jordan January 11, 2013 at 7:53 am

    Pukes is right! It saddens me that you have to go thru all this grief to keep your property safe. It is a sad commentary on the the integrity of the people of the world. I’m curious, are most of the perpetrators here in the US or overseas?

    • Mia McPherson January 14, 2013 at 5:04 am

      Larry, most of the perpetrators are overseas, Indonesia is one of them that has been an issue for me but I have now blocked that country from seeing my site. They now get this message when trying to view it “Forbidden – Users from your country are not permitted to browse this site.”

  15. Beverly Everson January 11, 2013 at 7:12 am

    Go, Mia!!! 🙂

  16. eric c11 January 11, 2013 at 6:28 am

    you re rigth, as all the work you have done there, it should be better to protect it

    if you want to stop it more, a smaller size could help it, the picture on 600 pixel maximum for exemple, many peaple will not use this resolution for a wall paper.. or any other print project etc..

    there a possibility to place a watermark on the subject itself, of course it s a bit ugly, somes author have tried it, other give up, but it s a radical solution against croping picture over your copyrigth, or to copy & past some textures above it.

    take care mia

    • Mia McPherson January 14, 2013 at 5:02 am

      Thanks Eric, I do watermark my images but maybe the watermark needs to be larger.

  17. judy watson January 11, 2013 at 5:58 am

    “Pukes”, huh? I like that. Now that I might ‘steal’.
    It’s nasty of people to steal your photos and make money. It’s sad that you have to make all those changes. You worked hard for your photos.

    • Mia McPherson January 14, 2013 at 5:01 am

      Yes Judy, photographers work hard to get their images and these pukes have no right to steal them.

  18. Steve Creek January 11, 2013 at 5:22 am

    I also read your blog via RSS and will not have a problem with the way you have decided to post it. It is sad that people can’t enjoy our photos the way we want them to . I know you go through a lot with your site so that everyone can enjoy your photos and I hope you continue to do so.

    • Mia McPherson January 14, 2013 at 5:00 am

      Thank you so much Steve.

  19. Linda Dougherty January 11, 2013 at 4:37 am

    So sorry this has been happening to you, Mia. There are unscupulous people out there, for sure. I’m just thankful you’re continuing to publish your blog … I start my day with your beautiful images.

    • Mia McPherson January 14, 2013 at 5:00 am

      Linda, I am so happy that you start your day with my images. That brings me joy that compensates for the stress of the content thieves.

  20. Julie Brown January 11, 2013 at 4:05 am

    I do read your blog from the RSS feed when I am away from home, but it will not deter me from regular visitation to your site, so that’s OK. Unfortunately, your actions are necessary and I understand that. It was so generous of you to provide the w a l l p a p e r. I still have the short-eared owl on this computer and continue to enjoy it every time I boot up. I admire your diligence in fighting these thieves!

    • Mia McPherson January 14, 2013 at 4:59 am

      Julie, I am glad you will continue to read my blog even after changing my RSS to include only a summary. Also glad you are still enjoying the Short-eared Owl WP.

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