I recently did the copyright & free graphic session of the Winterfest Digital Media Day, with accompanying handout (FindingImages.pdf). I have to confess that images hold a special place in my heart pedagogy wise. As much as I love text, there are times when nothing can replace a visual.
Like text, still images can also be “cheaper” than video or animation especially in terms of the amount of memory needed. But images can be expensive in terms of production especially if you are wanting an image of a relatively rare phenomenon (e.g. a green flash when the sun appears green just at dusk or dawn). It’s often cheaper to borrow if you can.
Seriously enlarged image of a green sun on the horizon. Original courtesy of Kai Schreiber. Licensed under Creative Commons
Fortunately, the Web 2.0 world has given us more options than ever for finding legal images. For instance the Wikipedia page on the Green Flash includes a lovely photo donated by Mila Zinkova who licenses under a GNU Free License documentation. Wikipedia is great for finding both donated images and images from the U.S. government which are otherwise buried in opaque search interfaces.
Flickr is another great source. As Stevie Rocco explained in an earlier copyright seminar, the advanced search option in Flickr includes a checkbox for Creative Commons licensed items. Again, you can often good results like this image from Mike Baird.
I can attest to the power of both tools because I had to find an astonishing arrays of photos for thermodynamics including:
- A smoggy city (Flickr)
- A car with closed windows (Wikipedia)
- A blender (Wikipedia)
- A power plant turbine (Flickr)
- A power plant (NOAA)
I’m really glad we didn’t have to send a photographer to all of these locations.