It may seem paradoxical or hypocritical for me to recommend setting your photos free when part of my income comes from selling my fine-art photo-art and photography prints, but I strongly believe in providing photos to non-profit wildlife organizations to use for wildlife advocacy and to the Commons to be used however people wish. It's my way of giving back for all those amazing opportunities I've had to participate in wildlife conservation research and also from being fortunate enough to travel or live in interesting out-of-the-way places. It's easy to get complacent - Zealandia may be an every-week event for me - but for others, it's a once-in-a-lifetime trip or remains on the bucket list. So I do like being able to share photos like this big fat kererū hanging out along Lake Road so that everyone (with an internet connection) can enjoy her too.
So what sorts of photos am I contributing? Well for every gorgeous fine-art-worthy shot I take (too few of them I fear!), there are probably a thousand more that hit the reject pile. Many are just not quite what I'm after for art purposes, but for education and advocacy purposes they're perfect, especially if they're of unique or hard-to-acquire subjects. How many of you have seen a vestigial kiwi wing? A Chatham-Island shag? A kākā's cloaca? You can now find all of the above on the Commons where none existed before and download and use them however you wish under a CC-BY-4.0 licence (attribution). If you can make money off a kākā's bum, knock yourself out! ?
I've been fortunate to attend three seminars and workshops by Mike Dickison - Wikipedian at Large - on contributing to Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons (check out this blog by Vanya Bootham, who attended one of his recent workshops at Zealandia). Mike encourages us all to contribute to these world-wide resources that we all use and benefit from. If you want your photos to be seen, this is where to post them.
And it's not just wildlife photos we need more of. Take a look in the Commons for some of your favourite hobbies, topics, people - are they well represented? Chances are you have something to add.
Photos can be donated under a variety of licences so it pays to check out the options first and find something that you're comfortable with. If you're not uploading your own work, then there are further considerations and you can find all about that on the Wikimedia help pages.
If you're not able to get to one of Mike's workshops, there is a wealth of information on how to get started on Wikimedia here. Mike's tenure ends in June 2019, and until then he's mostly based in the South Island - check out where he'll be on this Wikipedia page (where else!)
And if you're doing the 2019 Art of Birding Photo Challenge, check out Week 35 because your challenge is going to be to set one of your photos free!
All photos in this blog are by Judi Lapsley Miller, CC-BY-4.0 and are linked through to Wikimedia Commons.