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Doubilet's Nudi Beauty!


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#81 stewsmith

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 09:46 AM

this subject will go around and around for ever. i have looked at a lot of the better known photographers websites from wetpixel and i find it hard to believe that there can be so many photos of crinoid shrimps, soft coral crabs, squat lobsters to name but a few and there has been no manipulation or touching going on. whether it was by the photographer or by the guide. i have just returned from lembeh and if the guides did not touch these creatures then no one would go there as we wouldnt be able to get any photos. i cannot believe that some people on here will say " ooooh thats wrong " and know damn well that they have paid into this. anyone who has visited lembeh is in this catagory, i have dived there with a couple of operators and i have also witnessed other operators there diving and all of the guides are the same. they all use sticks.
i have done a few hundred dives and have never been lucky enough to see a crinoid shrimp sitting on the very end of a feather star waiting for a photographer to come along. in a recent posting of the same nature i openly admitted that on a few occasions i had turned a nudi slightly to get a better shot. is this such a big deal really. if it is why. because i touched it, or because i touched it to get a better photo.
if it is the fact that i touched it, then we will all have to stop our children, neices and nephews going to the beach and looking around in the pools that are left at low tide. i have fond memories of my father taking me to these such places and catching crabs and shrimps as a kid. i myself have no problems with what DD has done here. his images are amazing and i could look at them all day long.

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#82 Poliwog

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 09:47 AM

Excellent work Bonnie. :huh:

All three images look great and I would be happy with either of the two derivative images. :P

As for the legitimate use of Photoshop in a more generalized context, I think I will wait for a more appropriate thread to pop up, instead of muddying the waters here any more than they already are. :lol:
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#83 loftus

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 09:48 AM

Loftus, I really wouldnt bother. I fear I may have instigated this, and that was never my intention. I do not think DD should have done it in photoshop. I never said that. I would have welcomed it, but not for manipulation type reasons. Solely because I think a similar hypocrisy exists surrounding photoshop that Giles is attributing to arguments in this discussion. I think people should use photoshop whenever they want, as long as they're not trying to misrepresent anything. Having a wellknown photographer use PS would surely help. It was sortof off topic, and I think we may as well leave it at that. It is not what this is about.

Cor


Thanks Cor. I think Bonnie has shown how it can be done. I would add that there are further refinements that can be made as Bonnie would agree, in the edges and how they are feathered, even lighting effects can be added to simulate backlighting.
I also never indicated that DD SHOULD have done it one way or the other. My only comment is that I cannot understand why it is OK for some on this forum to 'manipulate' by bringing a background with lights etc underwater and move the animal etc, but it is not OK or less valid if it were done in PS.

Edited by loftus, 19 May 2008 - 09:50 AM.

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#84 dhaas

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 10:17 AM

Oh, just when my hand was healing from slapping it away from the keyboard and posting a thought :huh:

I won't debate the touching / moving / in water shooting or Photoshop debate which is up there with o-ring grease discussions LOL.......

The one thing I think we photographers, who try and create images that SAY something are missing is what Doubilet (I think?) was trying to do with this technique. Mainly to ISOLATE these beautiful animal's colors, physical features, etc. from any distracting backgrounds or other elements that would detract from us exploring and enjoying the details of these animals.

And to that extent I think they are wonderful photographs. As Marjo (and a few others) stated they will educate and intrigue millions of viewers of National Geographic magazine.

Hey, whadda' I know? :P

YMMV

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Edited by dhaas, 19 May 2008 - 10:18 AM.

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#85 BottomTime

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 10:44 AM

I still like the original background better. This image looks like something I might use in a brochure or on a website.


Excellent work Bonnie! In my mind, you've convinced me that this can be done in photoshop with the level of quality that rivals that of studio lighting. Like you, I prefer the original background better.

As I had said before, I've seen this style before and it really doesn't matter to me whether the subject was taken to a studio, if the studio was taken to subject or if it was done in photoshop. It's not a style that truely speaks to me. I'd be the first to argue that this style has it's merits and with all the distracting backgrounds removed, it would be excellent for ID books but it'll never earn a spot on the mantle above my fire place.

I also tend to rabidly agree with Giles that there was no wrong doing with what DD did to achieve these shots.
I think that anyone who believes that they "take only pictures and leave only bubbles" is delusional. You've very presence in that environment is disruptive. If King Kong was sitting outside your door, do you really think that you'd go on with your life as if nothing were different. And when you are hit by a car because both of you were fixated on King Kong... Is Kong not partly to blame for the accident? When an Octopus looses an arm because it was too busy watching me to notice the Grouper coming in, am I not partly responsible for that?

There is a double standard going on, but it doesn't involve DD. If you want something to change, start your day by taking a good long hard look in the mirror and go from there. I can find more pressing issues than one mans moving of a Nudi to get a good shot.

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#86 Poliwog

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 11:42 AM

I won't debate the touching / moving / in water shooting or Photoshop debate which is up there with o-ring grease discussions LOL.......


Yes, I was just thinking about how many more posts we would have to make before Eric posts something on the Home Page about this thread. :lol: :)

The tally so far, 84 replies and 1479 views and counting... Pretty healthy debate as far as I'm concerned. :huh: :P
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#87 underwatercolours

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 12:28 PM

Just like most topics there is certainly a lot of gray area and I agree with you completely. I don't know if anyone here has denied touching or even accidentally mutilating something underwater whether by carelessness or totally by accident. It happens, and as you said, some shots are not possible without it. That doesn't make us hypocrites. I doubt that most of us would be so blatant about it as DD chose to be with these images. We all affect our environment topside and underwater. That's inevitable if we're going to call ourselves underwater photographers. Doubilet had to know it would spark controversy. Perhaps that's why he revealed his shooting technique. Or maybe because he feared being accused of "Photoshopping" (gasp!). Without his input we can only speculate. Whether we like or dislike the way he did it is personal opinion. This example is exactly what artistic license and expression is all about and this discussion is doing exactly what art is supposed to do when an artist reaches into areas of contention.

#88 Marjo

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 01:06 PM

......I doubt that most of us would be so blatant about it as DD chose to be with these images. ....... Doubilet had to know it would spark controversy. Perhaps that's why he revealed his shooting technique. Or maybe because he feared being accused of "Photoshopping" (gasp!). ....Without his input we can only speculate. .



I doubt that Doubilet expected these images to spark controversy. I did not expect this discussion to go this way at all. Sure, I expected someone to bring up the "don't touch" issue, but I did think that the weight of the discussion would have been on the GOOD that will come out of these images and the power that beautiful or otherwise powerful images have or can have.

Doubilet is a photographer, not a graphic artist. I would not expect or even want photoshop composites from Doubilet. I am not saying phtoshopping is wrong (as long as you reveal exactly what you have manipulated), but I really do appreciate that there are photographers out there who can capture amazing images "in camera" still.

We have here some beautiful images. More beautiful than any other that at least I have ever seen of nudibranch. Beauty is of course in the eye of the beholder, so someone else might not feel the way I do, but I sure am very inspired by these.

No nudies were hurt. I am sure these were the most pampered nudies ever to model in front of a lens.

I bet you that there was a fair amount of scientific consultation happening before this project even was launced. I am sure that there were discussions and debates on many expert levels before this shoot happened. It wasn't one of those "let go out today and do something different" kind of off the cuff jobs. I don't think they do it that way at National Geographic...

Lots of people around the world got to enjoy these and surely these Nudies act as ambassors for the oceans and bring more interest and goodwill than many other very expensive and ultimately ineffective campaigns to save the oceans.

These images are not only beautiful, but they really have an important purpose. I think that this is what is really important. Maybe what we really should discuss is how we could use our talent and images here at wetpixel to help the oceans?

I would not be surprised if Doubilet will have some input and we can stop speculating. The underwater photography community is not that large after all and word gets around quickly... you know that concept of "6 degrees of separation"... I think it is more like "2 degrees of separation" in our world :huh:

Edited by Marjo, 19 May 2008 - 01:17 PM.


#89 tjgreen

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 01:40 PM

Beautiful pics, whoever posted them (this thread was so long I forgot) - thanks for sharing. I really hope the general public learns what nudis are; I get vaguely disturbed looks when I show pics to people now (or disappointed - "dudes, I said nudis, not Nudes").

For the rest of it, wow. Holy dead horse battery Batman. This poor horse has been flogged, buried, dug up, flogged some more, quartered, cremated, scattered at sea, reborn as carbon atoms in fish, caught, clubbed to death, made into animal feed, fed back to a different horse, whipped, ridden into the ground, flogged some more, and then rendered down for soap and glue, which (in a final irony) was probably used to bind the National Geographics.
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#90 jeremypayne

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 01:42 PM

That doesn't make us hypocrites.


No, being a diver or an underwater photographer who accidentally or incidentally does harm does not, in and of itself, make someone a hypocrite.

Condemning a world-famous underwater photographer working with National Geographic for gently moving a few nudis ... while yourself "selfishly" diving on reefs for personal or professional pleasure DOES ...
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#91 BoatMoney

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 03:23 PM

poking nudies would not be approtiate for you or me

Then neither should it be for David Doubilet, Barack Obama or my high school sweetheart....Milly....insofar as it is being done to create a pretty picture.

Mind you, I am not beating on David but rather the suggestion on this forum that a pro has a greater right or need to move animals in order to enhance their photographic image.

Only a few people in the world are even going to consider doing this. The pool of potential candidates for this would be limited to underwater photographer at the level of "obessive amateur" or higher.

Maybe in far flung locales, but not in the the Caribbean or other relatively crowded destinations. This simply is not a good example to be publishing.

The people who have gone out and spent "way too much money" on photographic gear are not the people I am speaking about. They have already determined what they find acceptable or unacceptable, and whatever level of respect for the water and it's inhabitant's they hold dear will not be affected by Doubilet's touching or some other pro's speech on not touching. It's the masses who descend by the thousands ever year on easy to access or less expensive islands which may well be influenced by this particular magazine. And they don't even have to have a camera in their hands.


And I really very seriously doubt that the Nat Geo images will cause an onslaught of photograhers rushing to the reefs to shoot glamous nudies on portable slugwalk studios!!!

You have created something of a straw man here. The reality is that all it will take is a small percentage of those who already engage in regular dive travel to become a bit more free with their hands, and/or to tranlsate David's handling of nudis to any other animal or plant they may want a better look at, for whatever reason.

On the whole it seems like a particularly dumb idea on Nat Geo's part to advertise the behaviour engaged in capturing these images even if one, like you, finds the behavior itself insignificant if not acceptable.
Cheers,
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#92 Marjo

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 03:27 PM

Well... I got this link sent to me by someone who wanted to share what reactions "lay people" had on these images. Apparently a lot of people have taken notice! This is of cousre the goal - make a differene - make an impact! http://www.wikio.com.../David Doubilet

#93 underwatercolours

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 03:31 PM

Maybe what we really should discuss is how we could use our talent and images here at wetpixel to help the oceans?


I think we all already are doing this by sharing our images and teaching others. Hopefully we'll all help save the oceans one nudibranch at a time.

No, being a diver or an underwater photographer who accidentally or incidentally does harm does not, in and of itself, make someone a hypocrite.

Condemning a world-famous underwater photographer working with National Geographic for gently moving a few nudis


Who's condemning him? I've read a lot of good, healthy discussion both for and against. If questioning is condemning, then I guess I'm guilty. So be it. Sorry, but I believe what applies to one, should apply to all. You, Doubilet, and me included, and I've never indicated otherwise.

... while yourself "selfishly" diving on reefs for personal or professional pleasure DOES ...


I guess that would make me and all photographers selfish too. Or does that apply only to people who do it as a profession? That's statement is really quite absurd (but you're entitled to your opinion too).

#94 BoatMoney

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 03:49 PM

What DD did caused VERY minimal harm (if any)

I guess we all make the assumption that enhances our position, but I have to ask anyway: how do you know that?

For all we know it could have caused zero disturbance, it could have been highly damaging or any point in between. And for that reason arguing the merits, or lack thereof, of DD's actions seems pointless were it only about the handling of the nudibranchs. In my mind what happened to the nudis or the surrounding environment isn't particulalry important at this point in time. I am curious as to why NatGeo or anyone else would find something positive about describing the handling of the animals.

The greater good you and others speak of could have been accomplished without handling the animals as well, but it would surely have taken more time and more money to do so. Perhaps that's the key?
Cheers,
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#95 jeremypayne

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 06:21 PM

That's statement is really quite absurd (but you're entitled to your opinion too).

I'm taking it to the absurd to prove a point ... but I think we (or I at least) have beaten this one to death.

Let me take a step back just to make sure my "debating" doesn't create the wrong impression.

I don't think any of us are selfish, or at least overly so, for the passion we all share and I'm jealous as hell of all the pros (and the amateurs who live near the good stuff) on this board! If I could dive every day I would and I'd own several more cameras if I could afford them.*

I respect that many people feel strongly about "manipulating" creatures for a variety of reasons - some related to photographic 'integrity', some related to compassion for animals, etc I try not to touch anything myself when I'm underwater, but I recognize that my prescence is a disruption and that if I truly wanted to "do no harm" at all, I wouldn't dive.

* actually I could afford them, it would just ruin my sex life ... :-)
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#96 sweesin

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 06:08 AM

stunning photo!!
really appreciate his hardwork on this!!
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#97 vincentkneefel

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 05:36 PM

I also think DD did a stunning job, amplifying the natural beauty of these amazing creatures. Just like only very few professional photographers get access to certain areas of wildparks (like here in Galapagos), DD did this as a National Geographic photographer. What he did, might have caused some minor harm, but the exposure of his work offsets this by far.

A lot has been said about our impact on the environment when we take underwater pictures/scuba dive. Of course there is always some impact (only to mention a few: touching the reef, even if you don´t intend to; operations, like boats that anchor and harm marine life when cruising at high speeds; your plastic waist that is dumped in the sea by others, e.g. in Indonesia; and last but not least, the CO2 emissions that are caused by long trips to exotic places).

We must not forget that photography (or art) is merely a reflection of the natural beauty of our planet, another way of perceiving realities. A picture can never be more beautiful than the living natural subject itself.

As underwater photographers it is in our own best interest to bridge the ever growing gap between biocentric humanity and humanity alienated from nature. It is important to realize that even we ´exploit´marine life (without doing much harm tough). We profit from something that does not belong to us and thus we should at least make some contribution to the welfare of our subjects.

Cheers
Vincent

ps. Please donate a picture to Sea Shepherd Galapagos if you want to make a real difference :huh:
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#98 rektek

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 09:46 PM

Has anyone been diving after a hurricane ? not the little ones but a cat 5 like mitch. I have and was shocked at the devastation caused by mother nature. so while I practice what I preach no touch diving, occasionally I have bumped something in current and probably have done harm.

DD and his assistants may have inadvertently caused harm during these shoots only they know.
if that did happen I would not be crazy about it but at the same time I know that mother nature
can be far more cruel than even the worst divers.

I hope the DD pictures will help young people think about the oceans and inspire to them towards
a possible future in helping save them and it's marine inhabitants.

#99 divegypsy

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 01:41 AM

Using the white background and "studio lighting" on animals is nothing new. Years ago James Blalog (I think that is how his name is spelled) had a series of big animals like a rhino published in Geographic and elsewhere that were shot on a white background. Several years ago Geographic published a series of marine animals shot in the outer Hawaiian Islands - virtually all on white background. Though since the pictures included fish like a butterflyfish as well as invertebrates, they were probably shot in a white aquarium.

Its a matter of taste. And intent. Do you want to photograph the animal in the real world and hopefully doing real behavioral things. Or just shoot them in little prisons, be it imprisoned temporarily or permanently. For years some photographers have shot nudibranchs against white or balck backgrounds in order to better show the details of the critter, with no background distractions. And many of the fish books contained ID pictures of a species that had been captured and killed and then put on a solid background with its fins all spread fully.

I, personally, prefer to photograph marine life in the ocean, as undisturbed as possible, in their natural habitat.

To each his own.

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#100 aboshoff

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 04:44 AM

Good going David !
A very simple technique applied masterfully underwater.

We are all pissed off at the idea , I guess " I could have done that " jumps to mind.
Fact is , none of us did .
Photographs are made in the mind !!!!