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Flying Octopuses - comments on the proliferation of these images


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#81 divegypsy

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 11:32 AM

Dear Allison et al,

I can understand your objection to my moving the cuttlefish egg from its original point of attachment. Perhaps I was not quite clear enough about what I did after taking the photo of the egg laid on the surface of the branching coral colony. After the shot I gently pushed the egg back down among the corals branches far enough that it would be difficult for a predator without "fingers" to remove. "a safe place" Additionally the eggs were quite close to hatching and the egg I had photographed was again among a number of eggs from the same batch. I think that the real danger to the little cuttlefish was far more likely to come during the time when it and its siblings were hatching and trying to disperse. It is this danger, from predators, that is the reason that many animals who provide no parental guarding and defense lay so many eggs.

My relating this incident concerning the picture in Scuba Diver had several errors. I have since seen the magazine on another news stand. The picture I commented on actually won the grand prize in the contest and not just the macro division. And of course Scuba Diver is the magazine Stephen Frink is Photo editor/Director for. And considering his experience in the ocean, and the fact that he probably had a role in the selection of this picture as the grand prize winner, I find it even harder to accept excuses that no one at the magazine was unaware that the information accompanying the picture was so misleading.

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#82 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 01:39 AM

I thought I'd repost in this thread because despite a general frowning on these types of shots, they now seem more common than ever. A few weeks ago I saw the results of a cephalopod competition and all the winners were benthic species up in mid-water!

There is no doubt that visually the complex shape of an an octopus, cuttlefish etc looks much better against a clean black or blue background in open water (than it does lost against the sandy sediment backgrounds where they often live.
And since they are able to swim, nobody can ever call foul on you and be 100% sure. So should we not care? And just lift up all our benthic cephalopods to get the swimming shot. They can all swim back down again.

I thought I'd include this quote from the early pages:

I agree that these discussions are best when they are not personal. If they get lowered into name calling and finger pointing then the more important wider issues are lost.


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#83 johnjvv

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 02:43 AM

Alex,

I have recently seen a number of images of nudibranches on mirrors and whilst it looks amazing it is unnatural so I dont like. This is the first time I see this thread and I am glad you bumped it as it will always be relevant. It is selfish to disturb wildlife for self promotion.

It would be good if there was a consensus by the top uwp that this act is frowned upon and therefore discourage people from doing it.

Cheers
John

#84 tdpriest

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 05:11 AM

Where is the line? I submitted an image in BSoUP's Splash-In competition where a spider crab was clearly annoyed, presumably at me or my camera, but it was well received by an audience that is pretty sensitive to manipulation (both physical and photographic)!

At what point does an animal reacting to our presence shade into unacceptable disturbance?

I have to say that I have worried about this for a few years, particularly when seeing the efforts that terrestrial wildlife potographers go to, to avoid disturbing their subjects. Our subjects almost always know that we are there...

#85 NWDiver

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 05:43 AM

Sadly the one problem with this is when someone does "honestly" capture that "bizarre behavior" shot now everyone thinks it's staged. Personally I think shots like this cannot be rewarded as I do think it just breeds bad behavior. First cut should be any shots of creatures in settings that are "unnatural". Next shots showing creatures in behavior that is suspect. It is too bad this has to happen but hopefully it may curb those seeking recognition from physically manipulating the subjects and settings.

#86 davichin

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 05:44 AM

Where is the line?


I know where MY line is, and touching a subject (throwing an octopus in the water column in this case) is well well beyond that line.
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#87 Paul Kay

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 07:42 AM

At what point does an animal reacting to our presence shade into unacceptable disturbance?

I have to say that I have worried about this for a few years, particularly when seeing the efforts that terrestrial wildlife potographers go to, to avoid disturbing their subjects. Our subjects almost always know that we are there...

Its a good question because you are quite right, our subjects genrally do know we are around (at least those able to do so). So is our unavoidable presence the limit of acceptability? Should we offer incentives to subject matter ('baiting' as used by our terrestrial counterparts), use remote cameras (I suspect some creatures can tell that electrical or even metallic systems are presnt too) or simply touch nothing and disturb as little as is possible? Of course our presence pales into absolute insignificance compared to the 'adjustments' carried out by commercial fisheries so perhaps we shouldn't be too pedantic?

Edited by Paul Kay, 12 October 2012 - 03:03 AM.

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#88 davichin

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 09:29 AM

Of course our actions pale into absolute insignificance compared to fisheries, construction, pollution...

It is just that I find obscene/not coherent trying to obtain something beautiful by harming an animal.
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#89 johnjvv

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 11:32 AM

Maybe the problem is the first lesson you are taught as a new uwp...."get close and then get closer"

#90 in_minsk_we_trust

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 12:18 PM

I just spent a couple of days diving in Tulamben and was horrified by both the guide's and diver's behavior there. Almost all the divers I saw were shooting large DSLR's which made their lack of buoyancy and concern for habitat all the more unforgivable. Almost every photog there would have their fins digging into something behind them, or their knee on something else and both guides and divers were going completely overboard with their pointers. I left feeling a great despair about our community as a whole. It seems to me lately that when you see divers carrying lots of photographic equipment they are probably on their way to break, bother or kill something. It sucks.

#91 vetdiver

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 04:49 PM

Minsk, I totally understand. We did a 2-day trip to Santa Cruz Island (California) a couple of weeks ago, and we stopped at a site known for neosimniae. These feed/lay eggs on red gorgonians and can make great images, but they aren't all that common here and you have to be patient and look for the right one(s) over many dives - they often sit at the innermost portions of the fan and are facing in, so the most common shots are "butt shots", if you will. Anyways, looking around the site, we saw that about 10 fans had been totally ripped off the rocks. We mentioned it to the captain, and he was really upset - turns out that the last group of divers here were on an organized photography trip. I thought my husband was going to blow a gasket.

There are a lot of people carrying photo gear out there who aren't really divers (as in, they don't see themselves as fortunate visitors). They can call themselves such, they can win prizes, they can get pictures out for the world to see, they can have the biggest camera under the sun...but if they are not really divers, they'll never understand what the problem is with acting this way. It's terribly sad.
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#92 Uli Kunkel

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 03:25 AM

[ opinion ]
:)

Being a diver who is used to these types of animals, it's pretty easy to see when something isn't right about a particular situation. Flying octopi? Never seen one do that naturally, high enough in the water column to get a clear shot of, and without significant spooking. As a photographer it's pretty easy to turn your back for a few seconds leaving the guide to his business- and then spin right around, just in time for that "magic moment" where the mimic shows you it's superman imperssion, or the sea moth starts doing the macarena in the water column.

Personally, if I really did just happen to find something totally un-natural I just wouldn't shoot it to enter into a competition, sell, or otherwise pass off as a natural shot. The onus of responsibility, and ultimately integrity as always rely on the photographer...and this should be linked to common sense. In case that doesn't work, there should always be people who question these types of images, and I think rightfully so.

So, anyway- sorry to anyone who has ever taken a flying octopi shot, but as they say; "If it smells fishy...."

[ \ opinion ]