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Manipulation of subjects for the shot.


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#61 craig

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Posted 27 December 2007 - 09:40 AM

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.

YMMV

Jeff


I think it's because not everyone see it as you do, Jeff. Not all manipulation of a subject or image involves touching or moving. My most common use of a stick (besides poking it in sand or touching dead spots which constitutes the overwhelming majority of its use) is waving it to attract attention or to get a subject to turn. It is equally effective, does not cause stress, and does not involve touching the animal. What amazes me is that everyone who expresses distain for such techniques fails to understand how they are used.

Please explain how touching a sea cucumber is bad...

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.

Yes, exactly! This is the point I tried to make before. We manipulate shots in all sorts of ways and we accept that in images in varying degrees, yet people single out one particular type of diver behavior and condemn it as universally bad.
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#62 craig

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Posted 27 December 2007 - 09:50 AM

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.

Dave

That seems to be a reaction of several people here, so I'll explain why.

This diver was a photo pro, he was easily the most experienced and well known pro on the boat, his style and behavior are well known and accepted, hypocritically or not, in the community, he is protected both by the boat and the group organizers, and he really doesn't give a crap what people think. Nothing anyone could have done in reaction to the event would have repaired the damage and nothing said afterward would have any effect on what might happen in the future. Furthermore, saying anything about it, except among ourselves, could not have had any positive results for any of us individually.

On the flipside, I enjoyed diving with him, he gave me a tip or two on how to shoot, and I got to see how he approached subjects and how he got his images. It's not all bad, and perhaps in hindsight he realized he made a mistake. I don't know because I didn't discuss it with him.

Now, for those that endorse violence in response, that's what started this thread to begin with and no one reacted kindly to a diver getting poked before. It's not within my right to police the behavior of other divers. I don't own the ocean and I wasn't deputized.
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#63 Drew

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Posted 27 December 2007 - 11:03 AM

Of coarse they are. You MANIPULATED the poll questions to get the result you wanted.


Larry I'm sorry you read it that way. I admitted the questions were deliberately simple. Most polls with 3 options are. People usually choose the ones closest to what they'd do. The poll and thread was started to stimulate a discussion of photography and interaction. It became more popular than I thought it ever would because of the subject line.
I'm glad it invoked such a reaction. I still believe it is a subject worth broaching and obviously there are no right or wrong answers. It is an individual thing. I'm sure no one will have a change of heart either way by merely looking at the polls alone. It's just a simple insight to what people think. If everyone spoke of how they interact, others can benefit from it, regardless of which end of the spectrum they side towards.

This is the point I tried to make before. We manipulate shots in all sorts of ways and we accept that in images in varying degrees, yet people single out one particular type of diver behavior and condemn it as universally bad.


Well Craig, you just committed the same generalization when you say 'people' :). Manipulation is subjective right down to doing anything for the shot, as your photopro example goes. I'm not one to advocate violence although I do think if there are other people on the boat, it's nice to leave things the way they are so others can appreciate it. It's just courtesy rather than required. No one owns the ocean, but if I paid $XXXX to go to a place, I would also appreciate it if XYZ person doesn't tear up a scene for their own shot and ruin my fun too. I suppose the attitude of not caring what anyone thinks comes with the same lack of thought for anyone else's enjoyment of the scenery. I'm quite sure he is a great guy otherwise. :excl:
Also, the incident which started the thread was the photopro trying to manipulate a subject and then prod a diver who was apparently cramping his space, and presumably light. I don't think anyone is defending his actions towards the diver, not openly anyways. :(

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#64 indigo

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Posted 27 December 2007 - 12:33 PM

My 2 cents worth

I own a dive shop, I dive most days, I dive for 'free', i wait to catch a shot, i don't touch, harass, manipulate or deliberately damage.

On the other hand I don't earn my living from photography, photography means a lot to me, but it doesn't mean everything.

Trust me there are times when I have been tempted to poke or prod, but I haven't. (I did pick up a box crab once to get a better look).

However if you photograph to gain recognition, earn bigger cheques, or to encourage others to join your trips, or consider yourself only as good as your last shot then there are bigger temptations.

WE are the folks that are supposed to be the role models. If others see us behaving in a way that is detrimental to the environment then they will behave in the same way - so on and so forth.

Whilst I empathise with the sentiments of those who condone some manipulation I will not condone it. Digital photography means that the 'once a year' photographer that believes that it's all right to poke and prod 'cos the pros say it's all right' will do so much more damage in order to have a nice shot for their PC wall paper.

If you want to manipulate life, use people - they have the ability to provide consent!

As an example - St. Vincent and the Grenadines has taken the stand of making the use of wave runners illegal. I would love to own one, and I know that I would be sensible, and not make a nuisance of my self, however I understand that there are enough people who would not, and so therefore I support the zero tolerance stance taken by the authorities. The same is true within our industry and the stance that we should take in relation to the manipulation or marine subjects for arts sake.


Thanks for reading!

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#65 writepic

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Posted 27 December 2007 - 03:40 PM

That seems to be a reaction of several people here, so I'll explain why.

This diver was a photo pro, he was easily the most experienced and well known pro on the boat, his style and behavior are well known and accepted, hypocritically or not, in the community, he is protected both by the boat and the group organizers, and he really doesn't give a crap what people think. Nothing anyone could have done in reaction to the event would have repaired the damage and nothing said afterward would have any effect on what might happen in the future. Furthermore, saying anything about it, except among ourselves, could not have had any positive results for any of us individually.

On the flipside, I enjoyed diving with him, he gave me a tip or two on how to shoot, and I got to see how he approached subjects and how he got his images. It's not all bad, and perhaps in hindsight he realized he made a mistake. I don't know because I didn't discuss it with him.


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#66 loftus

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Posted 27 December 2007 - 04:06 PM

i'm speechless.

Have to admit; I'm pretty amazed too. As a surgeon who spent 15 years in training, I've met my share of a--holes, but frankly never been able to justify the behavior of any one of them, no matter how good they were. This attitude was strengthened every time I met a great surgeon, who was also a great guy.
In the photopro world (like every profession) there are jerks and there are great guys - and in my opinion the jerks should never be patronized, no matter how famous they may be - I guess they're ' legends in their own minds'

Edited by loftus, 27 December 2007 - 08:41 PM.

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#67 diving_melbourne

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 12:04 AM

Hey guys,

One point i'd like to chime in:

Before I get flamed to death I would like to stress that this is for DISCUSSION only:



I work at an aquarium. We had 3500 people through today, we can have up to 5000 through on the weekends in summer.

There is a series of photos at near the exit showing marine life in all its beauty. Some of these are clearly manipulated. My point is, at what point do we stop and look at the "GREATER GOOD."

Consider this:

ONE animal is stressed or possibly harmed yet 3500 people or more are made more aware of the beauty or fragility of our marine life. Awareness is the basis of conservation. This ONE animal could then be the basis of behaviour change for 3500 people (A very optimistic and hypothetical view, I know).......

Two points:

I know you cannot test nor quanitfy this

I'm not agreeing with this nor condoning it rather I am simply raising it for discussion.

I'm a young photographer, I have alot of learning to do and a long way to go. I'd like to say 30 years down the track that my photos helped to save the oceans

Cheers,

Cal

#68 zippsy

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 01:03 AM

...
ONE animal is stressed or possibly harmed yet 3500 people or more are made more aware of the beauty or fragility of our marine life. Awareness is the basis of conservation. This ONE animal could then be the basis of behaviour change for 3500 people (A very optimistic and hypothetical view, I know).......


Good points. They are the same arguments for having zoos keep wild animals. But, you should also consider that the ONE photo that MIGHT influnce thousands of people was taken by one photgrapher who probably took hundreds of shots and possibly manipulated several individual critters. There were also thousands of other photographers trying to get similar shots to sell or show their friends. Also, a bunch of those people that were inspired to not pollute the seas were also inspired to take up diving to get similar photographs.

Happy diving.

#69 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 04:04 AM

I have missed much of the development of this discussion (being offline over Christmas), but I'd like to add a couple of new points at this stage. First I think that this debate should be about harassment: touching, poking, prodding and too many flashes. I think manipulation is too wide a word and has distracted us with talk about whether getting a model to pose is manipulation.

I think these discussions are always valuable. I take great care to take all my photos without harming or harassing marine life. But I have dived with a number of photographers - a minority, but an ever present minority - who don't give a stuff. I am sad to say that I have rarely confronted them about this - when I am on a normal trip. Liveaboards are small - and it is not worth the aggravation. It is very different on trips that I run - and I always make a point at the beginning of week of saying what I consider acceptable behaviour - and I always make such announcements in front of the dive staff. That way everyone behaves and if people don't I don't have a problem saying something.

The area that does wind me up is the hypocrisy in this issue. The main difference is between what individuals practice and preach. And this is as true whether you post one thing on Wetpixel and then don't follow it or you are a big pro shooter who when gives a talk at a conference about never harassing subjects then once go underwater and do as you please. I find this very sad.

I also dislike the assumption by some newer photographers that ever good photo they see is either the result of manipulation in the field or hours of fixing in photoshop. Of course these things go on - but I know many photographers who behave impeccably in the field and shoot stunning images straight from the camera. In fact by assuming that you need in water or in computer manipulation to get a superb image will stop you pushing on with your photographic techniques to really get those stunning shots.

I would also like to suggest that one of the reasons that we react so strongly to this issue has less to do with a care for the marine life and more to do with not wanting other photographers to get great images by behaving in an inappropriate way. We want a level playing field and we also want to know that those great images we admire were taken fairly and represent something true in the natural world.

I also think that these discussions require a bit of perspective of the bigger picture. I am often surprised that people object to someone lifting a nudibranch yet are happy for someone to catch a lobster in a pot, lift it out of the water into an environment it can't breathe, tie its claws up to retrain it, keep in in a crowded holding tank and then drop it into boiling water. While to me both practices are unacceptable - it is important to consider which has the long lasting impact on the critter and which is the worse.

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#70 dbh

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 04:57 AM

That seems to be a reaction of several people here, so I'll explain why.

This diver was a photo pro, he was easily the most experienced and well known pro on the boat, his style and behavior are well known and accepted, hypocritically or not, in the community, he is protected both by the boat and the group organizers, and he really doesn't give a crap what people think. Nothing anyone could have done in reaction to the event would have repaired the damage and nothing said afterward would have any effect on what might happen in the future. Furthermore, saying anything about it, except among ourselves, could not have had any positive results for any of us individually.

On the flipside, I enjoyed diving with him, he gave me a tip or two on how to shoot, and I got to see how he approached subjects and how he got his images. It's not all bad, and perhaps in hindsight he realized he made a mistake. I don't know because I didn't discuss it with him.

Now, for those that endorse violence in response, that's what started this thread to begin with and no one reacted kindly to a diver getting poked before. It's not within my right to police the behavior of other divers. I don't own the ocean and I wasn't deputized.


Unacceptable (IMHO) but that is the response I was expecting.
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#71 loftus

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 05:04 AM

Though I agree with you overall Alex, comparing eating lobster with manipulation etc really muddies the picture. Taking this argument to the extreme, anyone who eats fish or lobster is equivalent to someone who trashes the environment while diving.
I think this is ultimately about not trashing the diving environment so that others can enjoy it, minimizing our disruption of the wildlife we are interacting with, and common courtesy and respect for our fellow divers that we have to spend a week on a boat with. Seems pretty easy, straightforward and obvious to me.

Edited by loftus, 28 December 2007 - 05:09 AM.

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#72 dbh

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 06:05 AM

A little off topic but definitely related:

You witnessed the destruction of coral by another to get a shot. That person moves on but the subjects are still "in-place". Do you move in a shoot it?

Should be interesting!

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#73 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 06:34 AM

I have a good reply for that one, Dave.

Generally I would say no - but sometimes it does not happen like that.

Recently I was doing a very dull dive in South Australia - there really wasn't anything to shoot. The best subject was a red starfish. So I was doing that and then waiting for fish to swim overhead to complete the picture. Here is one of the shots, nothing special:

Posted Image

Anyway after I had done about 10 minutes waiting for fish to pose with my starfish, another guy on the dive swam up with second starfish and placed it next to my one to enhance my shot. Now what should I do?

So should I move it again, ask him to move it or leave it alone. In the end I moved it away - just out of shot - as I didn't want to shoot a manipulated scene. So I actually moved the starfish again - for the sake of not wanting to have a photo a manipulated scene!
After the dive I explained my actions to the guy and as a final twist in the tale he then told me that he had in fact moved the original starfish a few inches too - before I had come along.

It is a confusing world!

Alex

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#74 Drew

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 06:48 AM

Dave, you're such a stirrer! :excl: Like Cor, I'd probably be too upset to remember I have a camera and will probably have the same thoughts you have about stopping the guy. I've had similar situations like that and I can say I've sent people home and got them banned from diving on the boat. It helps to have like minded operators who don't shield ANYONE if it affects their breadbasket. I'd go so far as to say that the photographers which tend to interact with fewer boundaries tend to dive together more often. Same for the 'like a virgin' crowd. Birds of a feather and all that.
As for shooting situations already set up by other photographers, it depends. At scuba seraya recently, I found a boxer crab with eggs out in the open, exposed and left on black sand by another photog and his guide. I decided to escort it back to cover and shoot while I'm doing that because I saw the eggs. Several fishes made passes and I interfered with the predation, all the while shooting video. Would I have dug out a boxer crab to shoot? No. Opportunism, on the hand, if it causes no further harm is different. I've also passed on shooting nautilus pulled up to the shallow depths via cages. My objections didn't stop the session and I knew a nautilus wouldn't volutarily be up at the shallows in daylight (that said, I've seen dying paper nautilus in the shallows) so I didn't shoot at all. In fact I escorted the nautilus back down to 150ft so it doesn't make an easy meal.

I think this is ultimately about not trashing the diving environment so that others can enjoy it, minimizing our disruption of the wildlife we are interacting with, and common courtesy and respect for our fellow divers that we have to spend a week on a boat with. Seems pretty easy, straightforward and obvious to me.

Absolutely, but it's the definition of minimal that is always going to be individual and thus difficult to have a universal rule. Sorta like religion :)


The area that does wind me up is the hypocrisy in this issue.

Alex, the unfortunate truth is we are all guilty of a bit of hypocrisy. I'm a public transport,solar power home, electric car, no seafood etc etc guy but I also blow 4000liters of fuel a year chasing sardines(carbon offset of course :(), fly intercontinentally many times a year and even my computers are on 24/7 (even if they are solar powered, it's still consumption.). Still I believe in endeavoring in minimizing my footprint. In the greater picture, breaking coral or poking a fish isn't all that significant. However, in the context of photography and interaction, it's an important aspect I adhere to. That's all any human can do in life. And it'll always be an individual thing.

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#75 JBriggs

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 06:59 AM

Adding a notation or caption to one's website, photos, photos for sale, contest entries, submissions to publications etc might be appropriate. It could look something like this:

"I found this (insert critter name) and moved it with my (insert name of your tool ie stick/poker/pointer/chopstick/elderly grandma's cane, crowbar) to get this great shot".

For those Pro's that provide advice/hints to new photographers on their websites you could also describe how you practice this type of activity. In the interest of education of course.

Certainly if physically moving something to get the shot is not a problem for some they won't mind providing that little additional information for the consumer. I for one want to know on which photos this practice was used. I can then make a decision not to look at, purchase or otherwise support photographers who do this.

I've started in on my Zenfolio account to provide the additional information:
jeffngini.zenfolio.com

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#76 TheRealDrew

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 07:46 AM

at what point do we stop and look at the "GREATER GOOD."

ONE animal is stressed or possibly harmed yet 3500 people or more are made more aware of the beauty or fragility of our marine life. Awareness is the basis of conservation. This ONE animal could then be the basis of behaviour change for 3500 people (A very optimistic and hypothetical view, I know).......



Interesting point, but I am not sure it is necessary. People here (Wetpixel and otherwise) and divers in general have a different perspective on what is a good photograph and views on the underwater world compared to the general public. There is a totally different baseline for the two.

While someone here may (justifiably) see more warts in photos and video, many more in the general public would not see it the same way. Photos that are just okay, not necessarliy properly exposed or composed, of rather common marine life can get people's attention. A good well composed and lighted wide angle shot of a reef or any other item other item underwater will go even further. Looking at the photos and videos that are posted here, I would bet that many photos (and video) shot by people on this board which they may consider "throw aways" would be more than enough to get the message out.

I think the nuances and changes of manipulation and the rest are not necessary. And if the person becomes further interested in the subject and finds out that images are manipulated, it could even have a back fire affect.

Again just my opinion, but sometimes I think diving and shooting often and knowing the subject (and photography) more so than most can make people a bit jaded and the forest can be missed through the trees.

Again just an opinion.

#77 Kelpfish

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 07:58 AM

Define Maniulation:




Define Harrassment:



Is either okay as long as it supports public education and awareness?


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#78 Paul Kay

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 08:20 AM

Perhaps we should redefine this thread as "The Ethics of Underwater Photography" which is what seems to be being discussed. I'm as guilty as anyone of moving the discussion beyond this (side issues do often make topics more interesting) but move too far off and the debate widens out too far and loses track of what it is all about.

But on the 'ethics of underwater photography' I'd say that I personally have run a great many dive trips, mostly with people who are underwater naturalists first and foremost. Anyone seriously interested in the marine life that they see is usually pretty caring about it. If, as has happened, I find that someone has no regard for the marine life and acts inappropriately, they never come on another trip I organise and, due to the way information travels, they are unlikely to go on a good few other trips either!!!
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#79 zippsy

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 11:08 PM

I feel like the kid who lost his innocence when he saw his father slaughter the deer that was shot during a hunting trip.....

I was looking through the latest edition of Scuba Diving and there is a picture in there of a tiny octupus just emerging from a bottle. I thought it was an interesting shot (how do they find those things and how do they have the presence of mind to take the photo instead of watching the spectacle??) but it would be hard for me to say the shot looked artistic to me.

Then I read the caption. The shot was taken by Rod Klein and he told the story about how he was diving a few years ago in Lembeh with the DeLoaches and Anna told him she saw an octopus in a wine bottle. Rod searched for it for three more dives then spent more than an hour photographing it to get the lighting right.

All I could think of then was:
I hope no one else that paid a lot of money for their trip waited behind him to see the sight or get their picture;
How stressed was the model after an hour of flashes;
How frustrated Rod must have been looking for it;
How little fun diving must be for Rod to spend so much time fiddling with a camera and not seeing anything else;
Whether he moved the bottle to a better location;
Whether he tapped on the bottle to get the octopus to come out just when he got the lighting right;
Rod is a name dropper; :excl:

I don't think I will look at dive photos the same way again.....

#80 Scuba_SI

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 11:22 PM

I'm sorry to say that i really do not see any difference in moving a starfish/crab/fish on a dive compared to moving it in a tidepool on a rocky beach. I take my nephew the the beach regularly in the british summer and 'catch' all sorts of stuff in a bucket and then he learns about them by taking pictures, drawing them etc. Nothing dies, saying someone is satin reincarnate for moving stuff is just silly. Having a hands on approach in a rock pool (still underwater, right?) gives far more understanding than visiting an orca in seaworld. and definitely more eco friendly than catching 'bugs' on a divesite in florida. By the response to Alex's comment, is it ok to touch and move something as long as i eat it?

I also studied Marine Biology, and a stupid volume of Sharks, Flatfish, Cod, and benthic organisms (from trawls in the name of 'science') were killed to let a bunch of people dissect and 'learn' about them, i could quite easily of learned that from a book or shared each subject with 10 people rather than have multiple creatures to myself. I think less than 1% of my class went on to study at a further level in Marine Biology, so is it necessary to kill all that stuff. That to me is a crime against nature, not giving something a gentle poke to take its picture.

In my photography i do not normally touch stuff, but i have picked up several nudibranchs to show a guest who interested in them, played with the sand in front of a mimic octopus to make it come and play with us, and hand fed sharks. Does that mean all my images are manipulated? No. Does it make me an evil nature hating coral wrecker? Up to you guys.

----

A random analogy to think about:

If you drive at 45 in a 40 zone (im sure most of you do at least once a day), whilst being a very careful, conscientious, experienced driver, would you think of it as being bad? Probably not, if you did it 10000 times you might run a child over due to increased stopping distances and a momentary lapse in concentration, but does that stop you? So imagine you pull up at some traffic lights or a shop and someone in the car behind (not a policeman) came up and told you off for being an asshole / irresponsible fool etc with no regard for humanity.... What would you think? Probably f*ck off..

Then correlate that to someone bending the 'no touch rule' to safely move a nudi or whatever.

I have also noticed that many of you here on wetpixel are quite old :) , so imagine it's someone who you deem to be quite inexperienced and new to driving, say a 20 year old who chastises you. Who is in the wrong? The speeding driver no doubt, but i'm sure most of you would say something patronising to the kid and carry on driving as you had before; wouldnt you? Afterall you have much more experience in dRiving and know that driving a little faster when the environment is suitable will cause no harm.

I think that makes sense, may the Schwartz be with you, always. :excl: :(

Nauticam Rossa / 5Dmk3 / A7r / EM-1 / S110

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