Thursday, May 8, 2014

It's a Small World After All

How does a photo of a May basket hung on a weathered farm house door in Kansas end up on a stranger's Facebook page from Iowa?

When I walked into the church office last week, the secretary had a question. On May Day, she'd seen a photo on her cousin's Facebook page. The cousin was born in Great Bend, grew up in Hutchinson and now lives in Iowa.

My friend thought it was a photo I'd taken several years ago, but she decided it was probably just a similar image. I'm certainly not the only one to make May baskets using lacy white doilies, lavender lilacs and delicate spirea. She forgot about it until I walked through the church office door. So she pulled it up on Facebook. And, yes, it was a photo I'd taken in 2010. I use it as a blog header every May. I entered it in the Stafford County Fair in 2010 and got a blue ribbon. I've made it into notecards.

We were curious, so she asked her cousin, who explained that she'd put the following words in Google search: May basket, lilacs, spirea. My photo was one that came up, and she chose it from the multitude of options. By the way, she and I don't know one another. Here is what she shared with my friend:

That's awesome! May Day to me means spirea and lilacs. Spireas grew behind our old house, and my sister and I would fill the baskets we made with them and delivered them to our neighbors' doors. As my kids were growing up, we've had lilac bushes in our yards so we used those and the spireas. I love the combination, so I just typed both into Google images and found this beautiful photo. Please let her know how much I love it, and I appreciate her letting me share it! It is a new favorite of mine now.
That same day, she emailed me directly. She said that she'd saved the photo to a May Day file and uses it to tell her preschool students about the tradition, then helps them make baskets for special deliveries. Spring blooms are often hard to come with Cedar Falls' later transition to spring, she explained, so they usually use paper flowers, greenery, popcorn or treats. She hoped it was OK to continue using the photo in that way, and she offered to pay me.

I emailed her back and told her to use it with my blessing. It is, indeed, a small world that I ever even knew that the photo was being used in a Cedar Falls, Iowa, preschool or shared on a Kansas-native-turned-Iowan's Facebook page. 
I was curious, so I did a little exploration of my own. I typed other keywords into Google Images. Many of my photos pop up. If you click on the photo, it shows the source of the image, in my case, Kim's County Line. Type in "Zenith KS elevator, sunset" and nine of the first 12 images are my photos. Ironically, just one of them is actually Zenith at sunset. One is of Rayl's Hill elevator near Hutchinson and others are at our farm, which, for all intents and purposes is Zenith.

I did similar searches on other favorite photos and found some of my images with pretty much every click of the mouse, though sometimes buried several rows down in literally hundreds of images.
I found this one by using "ice, fence and sunrise Kansas"
My takeaway from this exercise? I should watermark my photos. Will I start doing that? I'm still thinking about it. I use a lot of photos on my blog. I already spend an inordinate amount of time writing. Then, it takes another investment of time to download photos from the camera, edit some of them and then upload them to the blog from my rural home with its less-than-ideal internet speeds. Since I use so many photos, it would take even more time to add yet another step to the process.
Used the key words "dew on green wheat"
Still,  if I had my http://kimscountyline.blogspot.com address or even Kim's County Line on each photo, then people would know that the image belongs to me and might even check out the blog. However, it still probably wouldn't generate any income.

Once in awhile, I've been contacted and someone has asked to use one of my photos found floating on the Web. A floral wreath designer asked to use my image of a sunflower and wheat stalk framing a rainbow for her website. I gave her permission but asked that she provide a link to my blog. Did it generate any traffic? Probably not, but at least someone knows it's an image I created, rather than people who post without offering any attribution.

But maybe I should just look at it as a compliment that someone else finds pleasure with this amateur photographer's work.  For me, looking through the camera view finder opens my eyes to God's blessings all around me. Hopefully, it does the same for others.

Another blessing this morning? We had 1.10" in the rain gauge after showers last evening. It was wonderful to drive home from church choir rehearsal running the windshield wipers the entire way. Does it break the drought? Absolutely not. But it sure is a much appreciated answer to prayer. So keep praying, friends!


  1. So glad that I stumbled across your blog. I have found it very interesting. Your photos are beautiful. Look forward to following your blog.

    1. I'm glad you visited here on Kim's County Line. I was glad to "visit" you in Australia, too! (Sorry I'm so slow in responding. We had family here for Mother's Day weekend, and I didn't spend much time on the computer!)