It Takes A Lot To Really Piss Me Off But This “Lady” Has Succeeded

Besides orders from publishers and print requests from individuals I get many requests for other types of uses of my images and some of them are fairly unique. I’ve had requests for my photos to be used on rubber stamps, magnetic car decals, tattoos, greeting cards, educational flash cards and other types of requests that I don’t recall at the moment. Some of my images were even used in a training video for Harrier jump jet pilots at the Naval Air Weapons Station at China Lake, CA. One of the more common requests I get is for use of my photos as models/references for artist’s paintings or drawings.

All such uses are covered by copyright law and most folks recognize this and ask permission for such use. And almost without exception they ask in a professional, polite manner.

  • Just for the record, it’s my general policy to donate use of my images to educational/conservation organizations and require a reasonable licensing fee for most other uses. For me it’s a matter of principle – after all I have a lot of time, effort, skill and money (lots of money!) tied up in my images and gear and to me it only seems fair and equitable.



Two days ago I received an email from someone (hereafter I’ll refer to her as “Jezebel” – she used another name but I don’t know if it’s real, I intend to protect her identity and besides Jezebel seems more fitting anyway…) requesting to use one of my grebe images as a reference for her artwork. She didn’t identify the precise image she’s interested in, only saying it was one of a Western Grebe “dumping its chicks” back into the water. It may be this image or…




it could be this one or it might be another one – I have several others.

Based on her IP address she’s from the Prescott Valley, AZ area and I include her email below. It’s verbatim except that I’ve redacted the name she used and her email address.

“October 10, 2016- Hi Ron. I’m drawing a western grebe and would like to reference your grebe dumping its chicks in order to work on detail? Got a problems with that let me know. Until then? I’m drawing from a text with a grebe the size of a mouse. I would appreciate getting a study of two in on your grebe but notice you’re rather greedy with “use”. Not sure how you can have a website with photos and than not expect them used, especially since there are like 5 of us who care about birds. Anyhow, if you can get over your selfing wild that does not really belong to anyone? Contact me at ***************@*****.*** That’s my personal email, is private, is not to be shared, and blah, blah, blah. And? Thanks. Your photos are lovely.”


I was cooking dinner when I read this on my phone and my jaw dropped to the floor. Mia had a similar reaction when I read it to her. The following portions of Jezebel’s email in particular got my attention:

  • I “notice you’re rather greedy with use” of your images. Huh??? It’s being “greedy” to expect accountability, fairness and the law to be followed when others use my intellectual property? I don’t think so!
  • ” Not sure how you can have a website with photos and than not expect them used”. Jezebel is obviously saying that if I post images to my website I should expect them to be used by others without permission. And the implication is that it’s perfectly OK to do so. It isn’t OK and it isn’t legal. And if it happens and I find out about it I can and do pursue my legal options.
  • especially since there are like 5 of us who care about birds. I’m not quite sure how to interpret this but I suspect Jezebel may be suggesting that bird photographs are relatively worthless because almost no one cares about birds anyway. If so, you can imagine my reaction…
  • if you can get over your selfing wild that does not really belong to anyone? Contact me at” Get a clue, Jezebel – my images belong to me!


Needless to say I’ll be denying permission for Jezebel to use my images but based on the tone and words of her email she may use them anyway. If she does and any of her work matches my photos on reverse image searches she’ll be hearing from my IP attorney.




75 comments to It Takes A Lot To Really Piss Me Off But This “Lady” Has Succeeded

  • Linda Civey

    Lots of NUTS out there! Her use of English speaks volumes! Gosh, perhaps if WE had her email we could be her birdie friends since she only has five! Laughing here!!😆

  • April Olson

    I always learn something from your post. I am probably not very computer literate but I had not heard of a reverse image search or knew how to do it. I checked it out and I have learned something new!

  • Alice Beckcom

    Ron, I’ve been disturbed about this woman’s email all day and had to think about my comments.

    She seems to have a ‘chip’ on her shoulder and has chosen to take it out on you. She said ‘got a problems with that let me know’, which grammar caught my eye.

    Your photos inspire me [and apparently] many others every day and I’m sorry that you had to endure this woman’s arrogance and rude comments. She must have some problems.

  • Diane Bricmont

    “I’ll leave her alone with her conscience, which means she’ll truly be alone” – you hit the nail on the head there, Ron! I may be late to the party, but I always appreciate what you share every day. Thank you!

  • Jane Chesebrough

    Wow, I want to comment. First, I had a guilty conscience for critiquing the photo of the Meadowlark.Ha! Then I saw what it was about.She just doesn’t “get it”, because she was saying that she was going ahead anyway, suggesting that asking your permission was a mere formality.The rest? Just rude.Maybe she needs a letter from your lawyer to get the point.Did you e-mail her back and tell her which end is up?
    I have had two aquaintances proudly tell me they down-loaded my photos because “they liked them so much”. I was flattered that they like them, but NOT flattered that they felt they had the right to just help themselves.Ask first.Then pay up.I think from the tone of her “request” this woman has helped herself to other people’s photos when the photographer was not so forthright in stressing that the photos did belong to them and permission and a fee was needed to use them.Would she want her work copied? If she doesn’t care, then I would guess that she is not that good.Regardless, people including this woman, need to be educated about copyright laws and that taking photos from the net is illegal.i wonder if she has read all these comments, possibly if she follows your blog.Her ears must be burning.

  • Jane

    Hunt her down!! Makes me ill to even read what she wrote! So ignorant!

  • Charlotte Norton

    Marvelous shots Ron!! They say it takes all kinds, but sometimes you just have to wonder ,why.😁 maybe to make you grateful you’re not married to her???


  • Joe

    Sounds kinda fake…like some one is trying to pull your chain. No real person would write something like that. I would search that email and see if it’s legit. Maybe a disgruntle Audubon person…hummmm…If she is real be thankful you never married her….WOW

  • Levi V.

    The way that woman acted makes me sick to my stomach!
    Your blog and photographs are just amazing! Keep it up!

  • Tom Wilson

    There is a deeper problem here and it has to do with how many people think about photography and how they value it, or I should say, undervalue it. Many people think that photography works like a photocopier, the photographer just copies nature. Making a photograph, therefore,is not a creative act, it’s an act of duplication. According to this logic a photograph is only stunning because it is a photo of a stunning subject. People undervalue photography, they believe that when the photographer charges for his/her creation that he or she is charging for something that isn’t really theirs. According to Jezebel, that Grebe isn’t yours to sell in the first place and you’ve go no right to profit off of the sale of its picture (she probably doesn’t believe that about her painting, however). People equate photography with copying or duplicating. I’ve heard people converse while looking at a stunning photograph of a scene state that there is no way they will pay $250.00 or whatever the cost for that picture because they live nearby to that scene and they will just go to that place and take the picture themselves (they don’t know it but they can’t, they don’t have the skill or the eye or the creativity to do it). They really do take the phrase, “take a picture” quite literally as if photography consists of going to locations and just taking or collecting the pictures that are there using a picture collecting device called a camera. It’s one of the reasons that I try to be careful with my language and try to consistently use the phrase “make a photograph” not “take a picture” ( I sometimes slip but I try). I also avoid terms which trivialize photography like the statement “nice pic” Really? Photography is so trivial that you couldn’t even go to the trouble of adding the second syllable and saying ‘picture’?!?! “Hey Rembrandt, Nice Pic, dude!!!) Unfortunately the undervaluing of photography and the artistic creations that photographers bring into existence is getting worse in the digital age. However crass she is, I believe that your Jezebel is symptomatic of a much bigger problem.

    • Very, very well said, Tom! Thanks for taking the time to put it into words.

    • Pam Skaar

      Thank you for eloquently stating how undervalued some forms of art are by the public. As a dancer, another undervalued art form requiring much physical practice to develop, I can really empathize with a photographer’s work being taken for granted.

  • Dick Harlow

    I’ve been away all day, so just started to go over my 114 emails and came upon yours! Well, I agree with EC and at the same time I hope you notify your lawyer that he might have a case!
    Unfortunately, as Tom Brokaw (sp) said on NBC, we are seeing a change in American culture, where people feel they are entitled and basically ignore anything that is not to their reality show liking. I for one, hope she, Jezebel, is taught a lesson.
    Did she really expect you to give your permission after being rude, disrespectful and nasty? I have to believe that she had another angle or agenda for this kind of behavior. What it might be I haven’t a clue.
    All I know is it made me upset, I can visualize your anger! Don’t blame you at all! I would venture that all of us would contribute to your lawyer fees if it comes to that!!

  • Jean

    Well…EC has a good idea lol. I hope she doesn’t “take” your picture(s), but you never know these days. You are so right to protect your work. Like you said, you’re the one that put in all of the work. There are plenty pictures of birds online she could use for her “artwork”

  • Alan Kearney

    What a completely clueless person this (guessing young?) woman is!
    I too am pretty sick of the “entitled” attitude of so many people, seems especially bad around the election.

    Reminds me of someone asking to use one of my Roadrunner headshots, they saw it on someone else’s Facebook page!

    Where on your site do you list your license fees? Or do you wait for someone to contact you first so you can spell it out?
    I’m just curious. I can’t seem to find that info here or on any of your links.

    Thanks, Alan

    • “Where on your site do you list your license fees?”

      Alan, I don’t list them here for a variety of reasons – among them the fact that potential uses are so tremendously varied (in so many different ways) that it’s virtually impossible to come up with a concise, accurate list. So yes, I wait for folks to contact me first.

      But to be perfectly truthful I don’t promote the business side of my photography because it’s too much work and I just don’t enjoy it very much. If I wanted a job I’d go back to teaching. I DID enjoy that… 🙂

  • Hiss and spit.
    And my favourite curse. I hope that young Jezebel is afflicted with painful (and incurable) haemorrhoids. And warts on her drawing digits.

  • Thank you sooooo much for all the wonderful support everyone! It truly does help to read all your comments and I also appreciate the advice.

    I still had a bad taste in my mouth after publishing this post so I’ve been out trying to photograph birds all morning in an effort to get rid of it. Didn’t find many birds but being out there still refreshed me so I feel a little better.

    On the advice of Wickersham’s Conscience below (he truly is an attorney and a good friend whose judgment I value and trust) I plan on having no interaction with Jezebel. I’ll leave her alone with her conscience, which means she’ll truly be alone…

  • Patty Chadwick

    The more I think about this ignorant meaness, the more I wish I had more than only two middle fingers!!!

  • Ron, I think I speak for many of your followers, we will be looking at artwork now to see if your work has been copied. If we find it, we most certainly will notify you! After 40 years in education the ignorance and entitlement of some still amazes me.

  • Dan Gleason

    Great images and thanks for sharing them again. Your generosity in sharing your work each day allows us to see some of the beauty of nature, fascinating behaviors and details we would not otherwise see. And all done with the highest level of skill and professionalism. Thank you!

    Unfortunately, such people as Jezebel (no offense to genuine people) do exist. Fortunately, they are few, but I have encountered them before. I once had a woman call me and asked when she could come over to borrow ALL of my slides (pre-digital days) so that she could search through them to find the ones she wanted to copy. Since they were for educational use, she told me that she .had a “right” to them and I had no right to say no. She heard from me a bit more than simply NO. She had the nerve to call back a few days later demanding the same thing again. Trolls exist, but don’t let them stay under your skin too long. They’re not worth your time.

    Keep up the great work and know how very many find great reward in what you do. I look forward to many more great posts.

  • Lydia Schindler

    Ron, as one who has learned so much from this site, and so completely enjoys your artist capture of birds, I want to thank you for the unselfish sharing of your photographs on this site. I suspect I speak for many, this alone fills my cup!!

  • Ellen Wascou

    I would say she writes as though she is not from this country. No matter, ruse is rude. I agree with Bob Karcz, I think we know how she’s voting in Nobember!!

  • I’m surprised you didn’t pick apart her grammar mistakes while you were at it. Maybe her lack of education could be an excuse for her abominable behavior? Oh, and giving her the appropriate name of Jezebel makes me giggle.

  • Zaphir Shamma

    Terribly rude, entitled and unappreciative. What a nasty person…good riddance. I am sure that anyone that enters into any type of contract, deal or agreement with her soon regrets their decision. Jezebel isn’t “us”…those that value your talent, insight and selfless sharing of your knowledge and time put into our passion. Forget her and please continue to share and educate those of us that look forward to your blog posts. We all think you rock!!!

  • Marina

    Wow!!! Wow to your images and Wow to the most unbelievable rudeness!!!!!!!! Not worth your aggregation.

  • Wow, It is unbelieving, my jaw dropped below the floor. I meet some painters that don’t want to waste the time “to take snapshots” to paint the own paintings. Your ” Jezebel” cross the line big time !!!! The bad thing is that she can use your photos and tell that was “only were only inspirations” and she was not copy your images !! That what I hear from those “Artists” that advantage of photographers because photography is not very much appreciated by the public. Photographers are ask and expected to “donate” the work for free many , many times but the graphic artist will be paid and all the other people all the way of any publication. They promise great “exposure”? but the great “exposure” don’t pay my bills and I have to sell my photos to support as divorced mom two autistic sons.
    Ron, your photos are amazing, it give me inspiration to get better.
    So glad I found you wonderful blog.

  • Nicole

    EGADS! What an entitled idiot she is! Bah!

  • Patty Chadwick

    I sure would like her name and email, but I guess you know me too well by now to trust me with it….I hope you save it ( reminds me of an incident with a Magpie image and an a lying theif)…and what that BS cost her…this kind of piss poor behavior isn’t good for my BP!!! Makes smoke come out of my ears…you are so generous and this is so unfair!!!

  • Sharon Constant

    Wow! This is beyond belief…this almost sounds like it’s one of those nasty emails from an internet troll. It’s hard to believe that anyone asking for a favor would do so in such a way, let alone a “professional” artist. I don’t know a single artist that believes they are entitled to use anyone’s images as reference without permission. No one wants their work ripped off. Could this person really be an illustrator or an artist?

    If this is how Jez feels, and since she says she’s going ahead with using the image unless she hears otherwise, why bother contacting you at all? Unless the entire reason was to provoke and inflame?

    No matter who, what, or why, the person sending this email is sad and pathetic.

  • Every now and then someone comes along that totally amazes me at how rude and selfish they are. My first reaction is one of “I cannot believe what I am reading / hearing / seeing”. When they come out of the woodwork and target you, like this person did to you Ron, it is even more shocking.

    The hardest part is that these events can trigger an internal response of “defensiveness”, at least in myself. I first wonder “what did I do wrong? … to deserve such action toward me??”. I am **slowly** learning that these type of sick people do exist. They are really sick. I do not mean that in a derogatory sense. It is a sad fact of our human society.

    I have studied psychopathy a great deal. I now realize that there are people who have no emotional wiring in their brains — literally. They learn quickly how to fake emotion in ways that allow them to operate in society. One of the lessons I learned from reading and listening to all these books on the subject is that (1) these people do exist, (2) their behavior cannot really be changed. Whereas a healthy individual feels emotions like guilt, embarrassment, etc., and hence continually monitors their behavior to avoid these, the psychopath does not have the wiring in their brain for emotions. They never will. This is my layperson “understanding”, and I apologize for the simple broad brush I am painting here.

    I treat them now like a different species. That helps me realize when to just ignore and stay away from them. They will never change their behavior. In the books I read on the subject I was anxiously waiting for the “solution” spelled out in the last chapters to deal with psychopaths. The answer, sadly, was to stay away from them. If you work with one, get another job; avoid them at all costs. They are wired to manipulate others to help themselves, and they are good at it.

    Anyway, sorry for the rant of a response here Ron. I am also sorry that you had to experience this. Especially you! I know how much time you devote to publishing interesting blog articles every single day, accompanied by the most amazing wildlife images. All for free, on your own dime, and time. Without bragging about how good you are at what you do. Following the highest ethical standards I have ever seen from any wildlife photographer.

    • Sharon Constant

      “I treat them now like a different species.” I really like that…it’s good advice and I will keep it my back pocket for the future.

    • Patty Chadwick

      A wonderful, accurate response, Ed…couldn’t agree with you more…I studied abnormal psychology in colllege , was a special ed. teacher, but worked for a neuropsychologist and this is a classic case of pyschopathology– ALA DSM–(she may also be a troll, but I think they usually live under bridges. One our daughters lived in Prescott and I don’t remember any bridges)…

    • For those interested, here are some of the books on psychopathy that I found the most interesting and useful:

      “Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of Psychopaths Among Us”, by Robert Hare

      “Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths go to Work”, by Paul Babiak and Robert Hare

      I found it very useful to read these books.

  • Given her email to you, I think your blog post response is quite restrained. But something about her “request” doesn’t ring quite true. It makes my lawyerly instincts twitch. Sure, “Jezebel” may just be a cluelessly self-centered fool, but it’s also possible it’s a set up or a con. Proceed with caution.


  • Susan Stone

    If she wants it, it is hers, so you shouldn’t be upset. Sounds like a sociopath to me. The email made my jaw drop, too. That’ll teach me to read your blog posts before breakfast! I’m glad you stand up for your good principles – too bad she has none. And I second Patty on who this person would vote for…

  • Laura Culley

    Oh there’s so much I could say here, but so much of it would require potty fingers! Yeah, post her email address. Remember, I’ve learned to be predatory and for some reason, I’ve always been able to write scathing essays that will elegantly slice someone to bits if they piss me off. And this idiot/moron/expletive has pissed me off, too.
    From her attitude, I can tell Jezebel is young and is used to routinely stealing images and from photographers and writers (and other creative artists)–and make no mistake, it is theft. Oh let’s call a spade a spade mind–insert long stream of potty-finger expletives here!

  • WOW! Now that is ballsey. Asking for a favor by insulting the person your asking. Good luck with that!
    We used to deal with theft of images on a regular basis when we were in the resort business. Perhaps a little different because the argument was “… but it’s a picture of me”, but theft none the less.
    Others would come into the shop and try to photograph our wildlife images with their phones and then lob insults at us for having a problem with that. “Stunningly ignorant” walked through our doors on a regular basis. In fact I haven’t felt the emotional response I’m feeling after reading this post since we sold the concession in 2011. Blood boiling mad, with a shop full of people, was an exercise in anger management that I don’t miss. Like the responses and support you are getting in these replies, it always felt reassuring and gratifying when I would throw someone out of the shop and turn around to the cheers of the honest clients in our sales area.
    I had a drill instructor in the Navy that preached a rule “10% of us would screw everything up for the other 90%, but we would all get to share in the punishment”. Still true to this day, 46 years later.

    …and Jezebel, should you be reading this, Piss off!!!

  • Patty Chadwick

    Boy! Am I ever confused!!! And scared! I know I’m getting old and mixed up, but I thought it was October, NOT April 1st.!!! Wait! Maybe it is October and that came from a witch…or something that rhymes with it!??? I find myself groping for an answer, but like Bob, I’ll bet I know who someoone like her will be voting for in November (and,no names, but this old “lady” hopes to hell he doesn’t win!)….what gall!!!

  • WOW. Just wow. I really get annoyed at the entitlement attitude in our country (can’t speak to other countries as this is the one I know.) As a writer, I’ve had my books pirated, my poetry used without attribution and my non-fic get published in someone else’s publication. Oh and my YouTube videos republished on YouTube as someone else’s work. And then those idjits get MAD when I send takedown notices. What the actual hell? Ron, you are so generous with your knowledge and pictures. I can’t imagine someone using that email as an opening. What a twit. I could go on but nah….I won’t give her any more of my time.

  • Kent Patrick-Riley

    Please add me to the list of five who care. I wanted to get one early because I sorta expect there may be more ;>)

  • Ron- I think I know how she will be voting in November!


  • I was laughing as I read the email….no one is that stupid. Guess I’m wrong!!

  • Tim Estrada

    The vindictive side of me wants to see her try it….cuz after all the years I’ve been following your blog…..I have pretty good recall of your birds Ron. The talons are out……..

    Wingman #5

  • V. de Bruijn

    I think she meant to tell you she’s grebbing an image.

  • Diana

    Ron. Please delete all emailers like this from your mind. They are not worth your consideration. Sorry for you but glad I got to see the grebes again. Wonderful images. Again. Diana

  • Judy Gusick

    WOW! Appears her ignorance is exceeded only by her arrogance!!!! 🙁 The other comment I had upon reading this is NOT at all fit for publication!

    • Judy, you can imagine how careful I had to be with my wording of this post. That’s why I waited a day to publish, I had to cool down a little first.

  • Kris Eberhard

    Ron–if the manner of her “professional” approach to you is approximated by her skill as an artist , her resulting images will be garbage……while it’s true that some artists
    are extremely selfish and have poor social skills , I’ve noticed that sensitivity to all aspects of the natural world ( including humans ) is necessary in an artist
    in order to translate observation into graphic appreciation . Here’s hoping that “Jezebel” will keep attending your blog if only to learn just how out of the loop she
    is both personally and professionally and maybe at least develop a few interpersonal skills ? ( of course, that might be “belling the cat” ) I’m guessing from some of
    her phrasing that she might be pretty young, so maybe there’s hope for her yet if she can get over herself……..I’m just sorry that you as a person of spiritual and
    technical dedication had to be ( justifiably ) riled by this clueless critter…….

  • Mary Hanson

    Wow! Unbelievable. The whole tone was repulsive — not to mention that she obviously has no respect for the law… and did she really expect you to say “Yes” after she insulted you? Wow… just…. wow…

  • Wow!!! Talk about adding insult to injury!!!

    People who are so disrespectful live in a cramped and sordid world colored by their own limitations.

    I know how gracious you can be because my first contact with you was asking your fee for incorporating a lovely owl photo of yours into a photo illustration for a client. I remember your modest use fee was most reasonable.

    I pursued a different course but became a devoted fan of your blog thereafter.

    I see your sharing your photos with us as a genuine act of love and part of your life mission as a teacher. Thanks again for your largeness of heart!

    • Thank you, Alison.

      It truly isn’t my intention to make a living from my photography. Truth be told I don’t enjoy the “business” side of it anyway. For me requiring a modest licensing fee is truly a matter of principle.

  • Cindy

    I agree with Mark. Publish her email and we can flood her inbox with all kinds of opinions and really make her sorry for those inappropriate comments. She obviously has a high opinion of herself.

    • Cindy, I very seriously considered publishing her email address but in the end I decided I wouldn’t stoop to her level. She surely deserves it though…

  • Nancy Blake

    Unbelievable!! But I must say, I had not seen these grebe images before and they are exceptional.

  • Mark Runnels

    Publish her e-mail address and “all 5” of us will help “explain” things to her!

    You have the high ground here.

    What a nut!

    • “Publish her e-mail address and “all 5” of us will help “explain” things to her!”

      LOL!!! I’m still smiling at that one, Mark, and will be for a while!

      • Mark Runnels

        Seems only fair. If you can’t expect your images to be kept private, why should she expect her e-mail to be private. Yea, I know. She said not to be shared without permission……. kinda like your images? 🙂

  • Leo Miller

    Wow!, I’m at a loss for words. I mean that is certainly the approach I’d take to ask someone if I could use their work for reference. That must get her a lot of approvals if that has been her approach in the past. I’d sure be keeping an eye out for her reference work. Good luck and kkep the great photos coming.

  • CaJ

    Only 5??? She has NO CLUE to how many are watching ALL the Bird/Wild Life Cams and are truly interested.
    Bird watching… has been a “club” for many MANY Year!
    You have me & many others on your side. Totally understating ALL you have “invested” in your awesome pictures.

    Again… “Thank you” for sharing with the many who Do CaRe!

  • Carol Keeler

    I cannot believe the nerve of that lady. She thinks insulting you is going to get her permission to to use your image. I cannot get over her rudeness. I suspect many photographers have this same problem..

  • Bobbi Hamilton

    Good for you Ron!!!! It is people like this that make it hard on those of us that respect the time, devotion and money that you put into your work. My problem is I have permission to draw from one of your photos but I keep seeing one’s I like even better on your site—-I have got to stop drooling over your daily postings and just get on with it—-