Photo © Ian Coristine/
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Ian Coristine's Galleries

Ian Coristine, the preeminent photographer of the Thousand Islands, produces pictures professionally. He derives revenue from his work--books, prints, and reproduction fees. As a community service Ian has generously shared his images here in Thousand Islands Life.

Ian Coristine
As a community service Ian has generously shared his images here in Thousand Islands Life.

Viewers sometimes think that because Ian's pictures already exist, and since it costs virtually nothing to reproduce them, therefore they should be able to use the images without any payment to Ian--even when used to promote their own profitable businesses.

In recent years Ian has been inundated with requests for free images. Many people fail to recognize the years required for Ian to build his photographic archive. Beyond his incalculable time, he has invested in his plane and cost of fuel, expending well over a hundred-thousand dollars in equipment, without considering the cost of acquiring and maintaining the river base of operations which have made possible his extensive regional photography.

Recently a young woman (or so we suspect, Patricia from the Alexandria Bay area) pirated fifty images from Ian's web site, putting them on her own blog, meaning to inform others of the wonders of her home--the Thousand Islands. She certainly did. The pictures were posted on a site hosted in Latvia. With astonishing speed, these photos were replicated on web sites across Europe, Asia and South America and elsewhere. The photographer was not credited, so Ian protested to the site manager in Latvia that the images were covered by copyright, and the omission was corrected after a week or so. He didn't ask that the web presentation be taken down, however--or that he receive any compensation for the international presentation of his work.

Ian commented, "Because of the fact that it was not for profit and introduced such an enormous audience to the River, I think it's an asset to leave up. ... It is simply amazing. ... At least four different Powerpoint presentations have been forwarded to me in French, Spanish and English made from these images prior to copyright being posted and they are now making the rounds on the Internet with no credit given. I have no idea how many other places on the Internet these images might have been used, but after the copyright notice was finally posted and they started providing credit, I found about 150 sites that had either posted images themselves or pointed their subscribers to others' presentations. It is nice to see that the world clearly is astonished with our wonderland - as they well should be."

Bluff Island, Admiralty Islands
Photo by Ian Coristine ©

Ian continues: "I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that this inadvertent leak probably exposed the Thousand Islands to more people around the world than any single intentional effort ever has before. Here's a recent look at sites that carried images directly or pointed their subscribers to presentations using these images. Some of these links no longer connect and there are more in languages impossible to follow, but while the peak of this has passed, it's hard to think of any single promotion/event that exploded the view of our special place out faster or to more people than this, ... all (according to their comments on many of these sites) because people were so totally blown away by the uniqueness of the place."

Here are some web sites that feature Ian's Thousand Islands images, as of December, 2007 (and probably there are more now):

Click here for list of websites pointing to site: (list of 80 sites)1

Click here for list of pointers to video shows of Ian Coristine's photographs (31 sites)2

Click here for list of pointers to sites that gave no credit to Coristine's work  (28 sites)3

The map below shows where hits to Ian's web site originated. These hits came only from people who wished to see more of the Thousand Islands than the sites with pirated images offered--and then only when a link was provided:

Map showing Pirate Site Countries

Ian has inadvertently enabled such wholesale pirating of his work by generously providing lavish galleries of images on his web site. Here the viewer is delighted to discover fourteen albums, of which merely one, "Neighborhoods," contains eighteen additional albums portraying regions of the river. If unfamiliar with this extensive presentation, you are urged to treat yourself to a truly remarkable experience.

By Paul Malo, January 2007

[Editor's note, December 2008: Information in this article, will be updated early in 2009 and published again in Thousand Islands life Magazine.] 

Low Water Lanscape
Photo by Ian Coristine ©




Pointing to videos:


Found randomly -no credit given:!DCB8777558796B16!7689.entry


Posted in: Photography
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Comment by: lian ( )
Left at: 5:57 AM Friday, May 8, 2009
amazing scenes , welldone
Comment by: cissp ( )
Left at: 12:30 AM Friday, October 2, 2009
amazing pic n information....
Comment by: Mike ( )
Left at: 10:13 AM Thursday, December 20, 2012
I was trying to find out about the laws of using an ultralight aircraft for taking pictures and then publishing them. I've been a PPG pilot for years and can't get a straight answer from anybody, even Transport Canada. They just quote a line from the CARs, "prohibited to use ultralights for commercial use or compensation". It seems like a number of people like yourself do it, are well known, have their own websites, etc. Could you PLEASE help me finally settle this so I can pursue this dream as well? Is there any "written" law that says you can't make books out of the aerial photos? Most people tell me they just do it and TC never says anything.
Anonymous User
Comment by: Anonymous User
Left at: 7:39 AM Sunday, June 16, 2013
gary wolf
Comment by: gary wolf ( )
Left at: 7:17 AM Saturday, June 29, 2013
The TC regs prohibit commercial use of an UL but when I have pursued this question it appears that they are mainly concerned with hire and reward, and the concern is if a second photographer is hiring the plane and pilot to convey them. This puts both into a situation where judgment might be impaired because of the financial arrangements.

It might seem illogical that a pilot could spend his time peering through a viewfinder instead of flying the plane, and that this would not contravene the regs. It might be a contravention but it is unlikely that anyone at TC would take the time to pursue this unless there was an accident or unless someone like a commercial flight school made a complaint. Then they would have to deal with the situation.

I have not been able to find anything specific and it appears that the regs did not anticipate this activity. If someone were charged and they took it to the Tribunal the decision would then become the precedent for future TC action. So far I have not seen that this has happened.

Gary Wolf
RAA Canada

Susie Smith
Comment by: Susie Smith
Left at: 2:58 PM Saturday, June 29, 2013
I suggest you get Ian coristein's eBook "One in a Thousand" to see his amazing shots and learn about his amazing life - in the air, on the race track and in the Thousand Islands. It is a best seller and it is easy to see why.
Susan W, Smith, Editor TI Life.