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March 26
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Creating this journal in the hopes of providing artists with extra leads for high quality resources that might otherwise be ignored. More specifically from government websites that many people shy away from because the last thing you want is government knocking on your door for copyright infringement. 

Perfectly understandable, but a good number of government organizations do allow you to use their images for free with minimal restrictions. It varies from one organization to the next and you have to be careful in reading the Terms of Use in each case as some draw the line between commercial and non-commercial use... but I want to start a list of some that I believe in good faith to be safe both for both personal and commercial uses. 

A list I hope you may help me to expand, with the understanding that government sources should always be credited if only as a matter of common courtesy to give credit where credit is due. And that everyone should read the fine print on any government website because there are certain exceptions like obtaining additional permission for things like official logos or any photos with identifiable people that may require model releases.

That said, here are some my favourites:

Hubble / spacetelescope.org: Bar none my top pick. Affiliated with many other space agencies like NASA and ESA, where they offer you a downloadable monster ZIP file for their top 100 images. Terms of Use here: spacetelescope.org/copyright/ (where they also ask you to notify them of image use; something I've done in "batches" which they have not responded to, but I imagine it's because they have much greater priorities =p (Razz))

NASA Landsat Image Gallery: Amazing aerial photos from what I think are taken in satellite orbit. Terms of Use said to be public domain with proper attribution in the opening paragraph preceding the image previews.

Yellowstone National Park (via Flickr): A great number of images from a public profile that states: "Images in the public domain mean that there are no licensing restrictions on them and that you can use them for free. All we ask is that you credit the photographer and the National Park Service (NPS) like this: photographer name, NPS. So, go ahead and download images you might need for a school project, PowerPoint presentation, cool advertisement, magazine article, or your next viral video"

Grand Canyon National Park (via Flickr): Another amazing well of inspirational images. From a profile that states the same thing as Yellowstone: "Images in public domain mean that there are no licensing restrictions on them and that you can use them for free. All we ask is that you credit the photographer and the National Park Service (NPS) like this: NPS photo by "photographer name" So, go ahead and download images you might need for a school project, PowerPoint presentation, advertisement, magazine article, or your next viral video."

- U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service / Pacific Southwest Region (via Flickr): Sizes & subject matter vary quite a lot, some real good gems in landscape & animal resources if you're willing to comb through their gallery. At the time of this posting, you just need to scroll down a little to find some epicly gorgeous sand dune scenes at high resolution. From what I see the images are mostly offered with a Creative Commons Attribution license, which is ok for commercial use as long as you credit and link back to them. Always best to double check in each case though, and I would stay away from using any photos with recognizable people because they can require additional model releases. Also worth noting this organization operates several Flickr accounts from different regions of the USA, and that their licensing terms are not necessarily the same from one region (or Flickr account) to the next. This one in particular for the Pacific Southwest stood out for its quality & generous terms of use.


Hope to provide more sources as time permits, although it is a slow process since I try my best to ensure these sources are safe and useful especially within an artistic context. Please feel free to offer any other government resources that you think might complement the ones above, even outside the US provided they allow for commercial use :)
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:iconbirdsatalcatraz:
Birdsatalcatraz Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
awesome, just been on the hubble and it's brilliant, thanks so much xx
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:iconsomadjinn:
somadjinn Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2014  Professional Photographer
welcome, glad you find the resources useful :)
Reply
:iconbirdsatalcatraz:
Birdsatalcatraz Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
it's brilliant, I had no idea about the hubble one, have already used in a manip, with proper credits, at least I hope i did it right xx
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:iconbirdsatalcatraz:
Birdsatalcatraz Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
and they have the terms all nicely listed, wooohoooo
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:iconlaurentiusmark93:
laurentiusmark93 Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hahahahaha... Good bye Google image search...
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:iconsomadjinn:
somadjinn Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2014  Professional Photographer
I hope that's a good thing :)
Reply
:iconeagle9615:
Eagle9615 Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2014
Thank you for this list :)
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:iconsomadjinn:
somadjinn Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2014  Professional Photographer
Welcome, I hope you find good use for it :)
Reply
:iconlormet-images:
Lormet-Images Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2014  Professional Interface Designer
Thanks for providing this very useful information! I am sure a lot of DA artists will benefit from this information! :)
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:iconsomadjinn:
somadjinn Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2014  Professional Photographer
My pleasure Lori :hug: I have a few more bookmarked, but given the amount of time that has elapsed, I might just post a new updated journal eventually. NASA for example has another website called the Earth Observatory ( earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Imag… ) which has got the sci fi lover in me super jazzed up =D
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