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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here.
Earlier this evening, I was working on another NINE Questions interview and the interviewee sent me two Flickr links of pictures to choose from.

Unfortunately, Flickr had some sort of weird protection that prevented me from dragging, copy & pasting or saving the photo I needed. I kept getting this 1x1 pixel transparent image named spaceball.gif.

I really needed this picture, and I had permission to use it from the interviewee, but she wasn't available at the time to just send me a copy, so I started looking for a way to get around spaceball.

Here is what I came up with:

1. Right-click on the page (not the photo) and select "View Page Source."
2. Search for "spaceball"
3. This reveals that Flickr is using some css to place the transparent image over the photo at the same height and width.
4. Looking all the way to the left (in the code) of this result reveals the original url of the photo you need. (It will probably start with "http://farm1.static.flickr.com" and end with the filename and extension of the photo.
5. Copy and paste that url (just the address, not the HTML around it) into the browser address bar. This gives you the unprotected photo.
6. Save, copy or drag this image as you see fit.


Disclaimer: This information is presented for information only.  Please don't use this to steal photos you don't have permission to use. Use at your own risk. Subject to change at any time. I'm not responsible for anything stupid you do. Posted on Thursday, September 11, 2008 8:39 PM General Interest | Back to top


Comments on this post: Getting protected pics from Flickr

# re: Getting protected pics from Flickr
Requesting Gravatar...
Good find Chris. If you have the web developer toolbar extension for Firefox (or other similar plug-ins I imagine) you can basically do the same by clicking 'Images' > 'View Image Information' and it will display all images loaded in the page. You can find it there too.
Left by Chris Missal on Sep 11, 2008 9:01 PM

# re: Getting protected pics from Flickr
Requesting Gravatar...
Your way works too, although I would imagine there are plenty of non-web developers out there that could find this useful.
Left by Blogus Maximus on Sep 11, 2008 9:12 PM

# re: Getting protected pics from Flickr
Requesting Gravatar...
Here's my MO in this exact same scenario at flickr:

ALT + PRNT SCREEN
Start > Programs > Paint.NET
CTRL + V
MARQUEE Tool Select Area of Picture
CTRL + SHIFT + X (crop)
CTRL + A
ALT + TAB back to Live Writer
CTRL + V into Live Writer.

Blammo, done. No looking at source.

But then again, there are always 10 ways to skin a cat. :)
Left by Donn on Sep 12, 2008 10:11 AM

# re: Getting protected pics from Flickr
Requesting Gravatar...
Yup that works too
Left by Blogus Maximus on Sep 12, 2008 10:12 AM

# re: Getting protected pics from Flickr
Requesting Gravatar...
File->Save As 'HTML' and pick the appropriate (usually the largest) image out of the directory with the associated files. (or use the Page Info in FF/Moz)
Left by Steven on Sep 18, 2008 1:41 AM

# re: Getting protected pics from Flickr
Requesting Gravatar...
use adblock to block spaceball and you can then treat it like any other image.
Left by Paul on Oct 12, 2008 12:22 AM

# re: Getting protected pics from Flickr
Requesting Gravatar...
Why is everybody so eager to steal pictures that photographers already share with you. You hav no idea how much work they put into these pictures. Just buy yourself a camera and shoot your own pics.!
Left by Picture passion on Oct 24, 2008 7:26 AM

# re: Getting protected pics from Flickr
Requesting Gravatar...
Perhaps you didn't read the part where I mentioned having permission to use the picture?
Left by Chris Williams on Oct 24, 2008 8:28 AM

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