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Manipulation of subjects for the shot.


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#41 loftus

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Posted 26 December 2007 - 05:30 AM

The photopro who damaged coral to get the shot isn't as uncommon as we'd like. This actually makes a great second topic... what would you do if someone blatantly destroys and manipulates beyond all taste and boundaries?

What can you do except report it to the boat captain / guides etc, and verbally express your disapproval to the individual?
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#42 JBriggs

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Posted 26 December 2007 - 09:40 AM

Interesting read! Amazing that almost %15 think its acceptable to move or manipulate a sea creature or that a more experienced photographer or professional can put the "chopsticks" to something because they can do it without causing stress or injury. I'm throwing the BS flag on that!

I really can't believe the amount of gray area people are trying to inject into this very simple topic. Don't touch it. Don't move it. Don't manipulate it. If you can't get a picture of it the way you found it, and aren't willing to wait and see if it moves, then move on to something else.

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#43 vincent

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Posted 26 December 2007 - 10:10 AM

Totally agrees with JBriggs.

In fact, I think UW photographer has done more damage to the environment compared to other leisure divers. I'm one of the guilty party too as I'm still very new into UW photography but I'm trying very hard not to touch anything while shooting.


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p/s - I'm using the same camera as you, jeff. I wonder how many more out there who's using it as well?

#44 Steve Williams

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Posted 26 December 2007 - 11:14 AM

I'm throwing the BS flag on that!


I'm afraid I'm going to have to pick up your flag and chuck it back in your direction. :excl: Nothing is that Black and White. When you and Gini are taking pictures of that nice angel on your website did you ever ask her to circle around the fish to keep it headed your way or cutoff her escape? Did you swim in front of the angel to get it's image? That is simply another form of manipulation. Did it stress the fish? Sure. Did it harm the fish? I don't know, as hard as I've tried I can't ask her. We, all of us, affect the reef simply by being there. If we care about being able to pass the legacy of the beauty and wonder on to our kids and theirs we must be stewards of the ocean and all the creatures in it. I agree. But, I'll bet you "manipulate" more than you realize. There is gray here. That being said, I like your approach. It's just a little too holier than thou for my taste. I'd be happy to buy the first round of rum punch, if we ever find ourselves on the same island, and discuss it with you. B)

I'm also afraid I must disagree with Vincent."I think UW photographer has done more damage to the environment compared to other leisure divers." If you have ever been under a gaggle of rookie divers blowing clouds of bubbles and headed toward the bottom out of control you wouldn't say that. Unquestionably, in my mind, the number one cause of diver damage is under trained, incorrectly weighted, neophyte divers. What can we do about it? Help them every chance you get.

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#45 JBriggs

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Posted 26 December 2007 - 01:05 PM

Steve, Always willing to meet up with a fellow scuba diver/photographer for a rum punch. :excl: Human life impacts the environment both above and below the water and that is fact we all have to deal with in our own way. Heading off a fish certainly does introduce some gray into the discussion (and could be considered manipulation by some) but no I haven't ever asked Gini to coral fish for me. That said after reading this thread and the one that brought this out I have had to sit down and think about how I do things while diving (always a good thing). I still believe physically moving something to get a better shot is wrong.

It's a personal choice for me to try and keep it as black and white as possible rather than decide how much gray I'll let in. Not holy just my opinion. Chopsticks are for dinner not diving! :)

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Vincent, I know of several folks using various "SD" models. I just recently added a Canon A570 IS to my kit. Camera and housing for under $300. What a bargain.

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Edited by JBriggs, 26 December 2007 - 01:07 PM.

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#46 dbh

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Posted 26 December 2007 - 01:25 PM

... what would you do if someone blatantly destroys and manipulates beyond all taste and boundaries?


I definitely wouldn't sit back and watch. I am kind of curious why the posters above felt bad in what they saw, but did nothing. Did you even say anything to this d%$khead?

To start off, I would do what I could to mess up their shot (ie: grab their tank yoke and move them or add air to their BC). When we got topside it would depend on how far they wanted to take it....I am not a small man :-).

Of course, now that I said that, I probably won't get invited on any more trips :-). But then again, I don't want to be around people like that anyway....no matter how big of "Pro" they are.

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#47 marinedomain

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Posted 26 December 2007 - 02:38 PM

Interesting that once people put their head underwater all animals get hurt if we interact with them, but once on the surface it's ok and won't hurt the animal. Somethings are ok to interact with and some aren't, it's no different underwater than it is above, just make sure you know what it is before manipulating/touching it.

Jeff i'm sure the animal in this photo http://jeffngini.zen...5441#1024218177 wasn't injurd by the person touching it. But it sure isn't natural behaviour for it and I bet the first human contact it came into it was a bit aprehensive about it.

I've had a turtle sit on me when I've taken a photo of it because it saw its reflection in my dome port and wanted a closer look. I can asure you it was not hurt when I gently pushed it off me, nor was it any worse off (IMHO) for me having been there. It just kept on with what it was doing and is still going strong nearly a year later(it had a distinct making on it's shell). It even comes over and says hello every now and then, a bit like the birds in the backyard get used to you being there and don't fly off as soon as you walk out the back door like they used to.

The touch pool at a lot of public aquarium show that some things are ok to touch

Edited by marinedomain, 26 December 2007 - 02:42 PM.

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#48 JBriggs

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Posted 26 December 2007 - 02:56 PM

Jeff i'm sure the animal in this photo http://jeffngini.zen...5441#1024218177 wasn't injurd by the person touching it. But it sure isn't natural behaviour for it and I bet the first human contact it came into it was a bit aprehensive about it.


Can't argue with that being pointed out and is something I thought about after reading these posts. Stingray City in Cayman comes to mind as well.

Dave, Gini and I will dive with you any time. :excl:

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#49 okuma

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Posted 26 December 2007 - 04:25 PM

I definitely wouldn't sit back and watch. I am kind of curious why the posters above felt bad in what they saw, but did nothing. Did you even say anything to this d%$khead?

To start off, I would do what I could to mess up their shot (ie: grab their tank yoke and move them or add air to their BC). When we got topside it would depend on how far they wanted to take it....I am not a small man :-).



dbh:
It is one thing to disapprove of what you observe under water, but to add air to some ones BC is not only stupid, but a highly unsafe practice. Consider the life long consequences, both morally and financially. if you were responsible for some one's uncontrolled ascent.

Furthur more while as you say "I am not a small man" , there is always some one bigger in the forrest!
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#50 dbh

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Posted 26 December 2007 - 08:49 PM

dbh:
It is one thing to disapprove of what you observe under water, but to add air to some ones BC is not only stupid, but a highly unsafe practice. Consider the life long consequences, both morally and financially. if you were responsible for some one's uncontrolled ascent.

Furthur more while as you say "I am not a small man" , there is always some one bigger in the forrest!


You are correct. I was speaking from my emotions and not my brain (bad habit of mine). The best thing to do would be to get pictures of them doing the destruction and send them to his / her publisher as well as post them on all u/w photography websites. I would, however, convey my disgust after the dive. It is not my nature to sit back and do nothing.

BTW, I wouldn't totally fill the BC....only enough to mess up his / her buoyancy :-).

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#51 Drew

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Posted 27 December 2007 - 03:41 AM

BTW, I wouldn't totally fill the BC....only enough to mess up his / her buoyancy :-).


Oh well that's ok then....NOT! :excl:

I think we'll leave that for another thread in the new year. I do find it interesting that the large majority of those who took part in the survey are non-touchers. It would've been interesting to have seen the response back in '98, before the big digital camera revolution and '88. Obviously times and attitudes have changed.
It does pose some interesting questions about the ethics of the publishing industry. If everyone really did stop manipulating per se, then all the old shots with wonderfully posed subjects pushed and nudged into position would have an advantage in sales. Would publishers say hey I can see the hole in the nudibranch from the pin you used:
a) healing brush it so it won't show ok?
or
B) are you kidding me? Get out of my office!

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#52 JBriggs

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Posted 27 December 2007 - 06:30 AM

I will certainly be comfortable at the end of my life having my impact on the environment being judged by some photos of a dolphin encounter, friendly grouper or angel fish and my wife holding a sloth at a rehab facility in Costa Rica. If some people don't see the difference between those and a UW photographer (professional or not) who intentionally destroys the reef or physically moves a critter to capture an image and then sell it or hold it up as a testament to his/her professional skill than there is nothing else I can say.

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#53 Kelpfish

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Posted 27 December 2007 - 07:24 AM

What about education and awareness? Not only on the resort staff, boat staff or guides, but for the diver? Perhaps the best tool for me to 'minimize manipulation' (yes, I have moved animals, waved fingers, swooshed water, etc) is to understand animal behavior. As a biologist in past years, learning about how animals behave, their prefered habitats, feeding habits, defenssive behaviors, etc. have GREATLY helped me truly minimize harmful interaction over 30 years of diving (Aug 2008 is my 30th year as an active diver). Knowledge is power. I am not innocent of what this thread is defining as harrasment, but if I were sentenced to jail time for harasment, I would get the minimum sentence by the reef police while other divers who DO NOT take the time to educate themselves on the various animals in the areas for which they are going to dive would get a much harsher sentence. The point I am making is that education and awareness are powerful deterrents to harmful manipulation simply because you can often improve your odds of nabbing a good shot through knowledge. For example, trying to chase a territorial fish to get a shot probably stresses the fish. But knowing that the fish is territorial, using education, I'd stay put knowing that the fish will probably come back to the same spot (as most territorial fish do..i.e. knowledge). Another trick I use that was an old biologist trick was how to better manipulate nudibranchs. In S. California there are nudibranchs in our kelp beds. We used (and I still use) the edge of a kelp blade to "tickle" the nudi into moving. The kelp is a natural life source (in lieu of a glove or poker) that is life-cooperative to the nudis I shoot. And patience is also a virtue in UW photography. For me, it is not uncommon to spend the whole dive in one spot and wait, as opposed to digging and prodding and tearing up a reef. That's, to me, the price of getting a good photo. Without any of the tricks I use I would not have nearly the collection of images I have today.


Now, I may get flamed here, but Fk it. If that poll has any accuracy to it (and I doubt it does) then we'd see a lot more crap winning the POTW (or fewer images being entered) and have fewer AWESOME images posted here. I see some FANTASTIC images posted here and if every person posting them claims the last choice of the survey, I call the bullshit card. Been around way too long. That being said, I know that there are also photographers posting here that got the shot without any harrasment, so I am not saying that ALL images posted on WP are harrassment, I want to MAKE THAT PERFECTLY CLEAR.

As I see it, here are the truths...we fall into one of two categories. This is to make us honest.

Either:
1. The poll was answered by photographers who have a lousy portfolio and TRULY follow those guideliness.

or

2. The poll was answered by photogs with good portfolios who don't practice what they preach (i.e. the poll results). It's similar to the old addage...there are two types of divers, those who pee in their wetsuits and those who say they don't.


As for the scuba police, I don't think it's my place to tell another diver how to dive or what he/she is doing wrong. Why make my trip uncomfortable by confronting the diver? No matter how nice I am about it, there will be friction and I don't pay 10k for a trip to feel uncomfortable. BUT, I do believe in bringing to the attention of a dive guide any isues that are blatent with respect to reef or animal treatment. A real example was when I wa in Lembeh. One of the divers was FNG BRUTAL to an octopus and a scorpion fish, beating them into behavioral submission with a steel rod. I felt very compelled to discuss it with the resort manager as opposed to confronting the diver. If I am not mistaken, the dude left the resort and went to another one. The point being that the diver probably would have told me to drop dead, but by having an "authority figure" discuss the situation with him, results happened. If it were me telling the diver what he did wrong, he'd probably tell me to go fly a kite.

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#54 CamDiver

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Posted 27 December 2007 - 08:09 AM

kelpfish, great points, I couldn't agree with you more. Living as I have in the past in some of the more desirable locations on the SCUBA planet I could mention a comprehensive list of some of the biggest 'names' out there and the, seemingly, complete disregard they have for their surroundings whilst underwater. I think one question should be:

To what level is manipulation acceptable?

For example is hanging Christmas Baubles off of soft coral, as shown on the home page at the moment in the post entitled " Happy holidays, and good shooting", an acceptable action? Is that acceptable because soft coral not, seemingly, a living thing? I imagine that the action of deploying and collecting the baubles would have a detrimental effect to any macro organisms living on the soft coral?

Am I nit picking or raising a valid point.

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#55 Lionfish43

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Posted 27 December 2007 - 08:19 AM

Oh well that's ok then....NOT! :excl:

I do find it interesting that the large majority of those who took part in the survey are non-touchers.

Of coarse they are. You MANIPULATED the poll questions to get the result you wanted.
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#56 Paul Kay

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Posted 27 December 2007 - 08:26 AM

The discussion diverges. Is disturbance in fact a form of manipulation?

Some years ago I chatted to a lady who was carrying out her Phd thesis on the lesser octopus (Eledone cirrhosa). As a part of this she had carried out tests to discover its response to bright light and her conclusions regarding strobe (flash) illumination was that Eledone do not like it. In fact any strobe usage stressed her subjects and more than 6 shots apparently stressed them enough to introduce a degree of shock. She suspected that they might even die if subjected to sufficient high intensity strobes discharges!

So I've always limited myself to less than 6 shots of an individual, until.....

I found one sitting out in bright sunlit shallow water. It was not in the slightest bit bothered about my strobe going off.

So I'd have to say that the degree of disturbance/manipulation acceptable in underwater photography is always about knowing and understanding your subject, and some to some degree MAY be an acceptable way to shoot certain creatures under certain conditions. As has already been commented, nothing is black and white (except it seems, rules) and the crossover between disturbance and manipulation is a case in point.

One comment is that in the waters that I often dive in (murky, temperate), moving/prodding/coaxing a creature would all too often stir so much muck up as to make this a thoroughly counterproductive action!

If you've ever watched video of a bottom trawl in action you may realise that we are pretty irrelevant in the grand scheme of underwater damage although I'd say that underwater photographers can, and do, cause damage in heavily dived/photographed areas.
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#57 Kelpfish

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Posted 27 December 2007 - 08:34 AM

Not to go too far off topic, but I have seen first hand while diving for work the devestation that trawlers cause. I mean I was underwater to watch the trawling and let me tell you it does the damage of thousand of divers. No doubt that divers do contribute to marine life damage, though. It's a debate as to how much. What a great thesis for a masters or doctrate.
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#58 rickcavanaugh

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Posted 27 December 2007 - 09:10 AM

How many of you won't touch a fish, but have no problems eating it later that night?

Most creatures can be touched without damage. It is not the touching that damages them it is how. My last trip to Lembeh, a fellow photographer (not a very good one) destroyed more coral with his fins than I have seen destroyed in my entire life. All in about 30 seconds.

The subject of manipulation is complex as there are so many different ways of doing it and to so many different degrees.

Personally I try to minimize my contact in all ways. I use a muck stick made of plastic to minimize contact with the reef. A well placed stick in a rock, not coral, can position the camera in a very still manor off the reef.

I would rather see people touch critters with a stick then their hands that were just lathered in sunscreen or deet. Think before you touch. Your deet may have killed that invert!

I have witnessed one with a point and shoot take repeated pictures of a pygmy from about 2 inches for longer than I wish to hang around. My guess is over 1 hour. He had no intention of leaving. Even though he did not touch it, he did harm.

My suggestion is be gentle while diving so things will be there for future trips.
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#59 peacedog

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Posted 27 December 2007 - 09:28 AM

Everyone's debating wildlife being manipulated for the sake of a shot. But have any of you ever stopped to think about how uncomfotable it is for photographers and video pros who are manipulated for the shot? I tell you - it always bothers me and I will never get used to being goosed into a position.


Seriously - the karmic lesson in all this for me goes back to an assignment I had this past year in Turks & Caicos. I watched a very large, very obnoxious, very crude gentleman who'd been rough the entire two weeks actually break a piece of soft coral to get a lame shot of a small spotted moray. Pushed it aside with his index finger, which promptly ended up in the mouth of said spotted moray. His dive vacation was over, and he was lucky to retain his finger.

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#60 craig

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Posted 27 December 2007 - 09:29 AM

Pointer, sand spike, poker, special fiberglass balance stick...I think we're all on the same page, we know what these things are. Sheesh.

No, we're not on the same page. I don't use a pointer, I use a knitting needle. I use it for many things including touching things. No, that's not an "admission" because admitting it suggests that I'm trying to hide that fact or that I'm ashamed of it. It's ridiculous and your points are absurd.

The "one finger of a dead spot" approach is improved when you use a pointer instead of your finger. For that reason alone, people who carry pointers are potentially easier on the environment than the high and mighty who think they are better because of their lack of equipment.

A culture that really, really takes conservation and protection of the environment seriously are cavers. This is a group that offered a US$6,000 reward because someone wrote their initials in the soft bottom of a cave! And if the <insert name here> stick is so benign, why don't cavers use them? It actually is a great way to be ridiculed right out of the community. (Not to mention an easy way to kill yourself)

As a certified caver, I can say your assertion is BS and your point is nonsense. Cavers don't use pointers because they are of no use to the task at hand. Cavers are no more conservationist as a group than other kinds of divers.

I stand by my assertion, you only take a special stick along to touch something. You're planning on it from the begining.

And you not only wrong, but your point is meaningless besides. Carrying a pointer is in no way an indicator of whether you are hard on the reefs. I had a pointer with me, the guy who ripped off the top of the coral head did not.

I'm not spreading hateraide here; it's entirely up to you and it's no business of mine. Just trying to be honest.
All the best, James

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