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LAUPS winners: Subject's manipulation?


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#21 elbuzo

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 09:53 AM

[quote name='echeng' date='Dec 16 2010, 10:44 AM' post='269051']
Hello, all -

I was one of the three judges for the contest. I've seen iguanas get into the water and swim by themselves. At one Digital Shootout in Bonaire, we saw this happen without any prodding.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Erici agree with you , but note that green iguanas from Bonaire " Iguana iguana" , are a different genus than cycluras . Green iguanas are more arboreal/climbers and are known to sometimes get in the water but cycluras are more a land dwelling creature and not prone to get in the water.

In the other hand i saw a video that the author of the photographs in question have on his web page
( http://www.mblaettle...esentation.html ) and there is a photo of a ballonfish inflated ,so seems that his not very much in to respect the enviroment.

#22 handlerphoto

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 04:48 PM

In photojournalism (war, human tragedy, stories about people) and in natural history there is absolutely no space for
altering of an image digitally and or influencing the moment via subject manipulation ,etc. as he credibility of what we see is then
put into question.
This is not just a conservative view from an old time pro but a mantra to live by.
I work hard to capture the moment- all 'special effects' done in-camera and at the moment of capture.
1/13th of a second is no issue underwater- 1-2 sec neither. Spending days and weeks to capture something unique
are all in a days work.

You can put in the time- hours days, months to get a shot- but you cannot fool pros on the
acquisition of images in the wild as we all know what it takes.

I know the photographer that initiated this post very wel (elbuzol- I know his style and his code of honor (yes, some shooters have this).
I know also that he has won many competitions without influencing the subject and
simply by putting in the time and being there to capture the unique images that make a winning picture.

If this photo is for real and as per my previous post then lets see the sequence of raw photos and settle this once
and for all. I have no personal issues with the photographer but since you all
have started this thread lets move forward.
Prizes, money and reputations are at stake here.

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#23 Drew

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 07:26 PM

Mauricio, if anyone can shoot over/under with a swimming iguana @ 1/1 shutter speed or get a live sea moth to stay absolutely still for 2.1 secs, I think they deserve a prize for freezing space/time. In other words, the EXIF data is way off. :P
That said, I think we should give LAUPS the time to investigate and reply. I know a few members are on the board of LAUPS and I've notified the organizers and they are aware of the issue, as Eric said. Afterall, it's only because it's in their rules that subjects can't be manipulated that this is being brought up. They don't really owe us an explanation.

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#24 decosnapper

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 12:46 AM

Its all about integrity isn't it?


Yes.
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#25 DeanB

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 02:34 AM

Yes.



However, sadly for many its 'Fame' and 'money'...

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#26 decosnapper

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 03:24 AM

However, sadly for many its 'Fame' and 'money'...


Fame, money and integrity can go hand in hand but perhaps not always in the company of haste......

In this instance the photographer may have just been in the right place at the right time. Perhaps its best that LAUPS, if it chooses, sees if there is a case to answer or not.
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#27 yahsemtough

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 05:03 AM

I think the image exif that LAUPS has is not the actual exif. I remember in the past this was the case but don't remember why it gets posted that way.
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#28 DeanB

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 05:59 AM

Fame, money and integrity can go hand in hand but perhaps not always in the company of haste......


Agreed, totally

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#29 maxtom

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 03:31 PM

Looks like the EXIF is screwy. 2.1 sec shutter speed?!?

The shutter speed here is 1 Sec!? Time/Space continuum must've been pretty slow that day!


Just save these jpgs and look at exif in PS or any other editor/viewer...
You will find Exposure Time: 1/320 and 1/160

#30 Drew

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 11:15 AM

It's far more disappointing that LAUPS has not responded to requests from the judges and the public in general. I contacted Kelly Bracken and she said she'd look into it. 2 weeks later and nothing. Given that the holiday season is over, hopefully they will respond to this query. It'd be interesting to see which competitions have controversial entries. Even the BBC WPOY isn't immune, so it must be pretty common.

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#31 AllisonFinch

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 04:31 PM

It's tough to do things right.
Two weeks ago I was tracking a lovely yellow seahorse in the Philippines. I was watching it move from one place to another (without my help, mind you) hoping it would go to a place where I could photograph it without endangering the surrounding corals. A Russian photographer saw me watching it intently, came up and shoved his camera at the seahorse and snapped away. He scared it deeper into the staghorn corals. No problem for him....he grabbed a large branch of the coral in his way and broke it off. I was so angry I aborted the dive to fume. It was hard being on the same boat and be in any way civil.

Good thing he didn't speak English.....

#32 NWDiver

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 06:11 AM

Allison,

May I ask did you via the DM, someone else, make it clear to this guy that breaking off coral is not acceptable? Did you inform the DM of his actions? I know it is uncomfortable but I am curious.

#33 tdpriest

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 06:27 AM

... in natural history there is absolutely no space for altering of an image digitally...


I find "shorthand" comments like this, even from such lofty pinnacles of photographic achievement, very unhelpful: we must understand that there is a lot of digital manipulation taking place in the electronics of the camera and that there are certain manipulations that can be controlled on a computer that do not affect the integrity of the image: starting with RAW conversion...

... consider this: even if it is evidence of a lesser degree of photographic skill, does introducing a blurred masked background layer, instead of using an optical set-up with appropriate Bokeh, really invalidate a natural history image except in the specific context of a competition?

Why is time and effort in the water rewarded and time and effort in the digital darkroom rejected?

Tim

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Edited by tdpriest, 04 January 2011 - 06:27 AM.


#34 tdpriest

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 06:31 AM

... I was tracking a lovely yellow seahorse in the Philippines... (a) Russian photographer saw me watching it intently, came up and shoved his camera at the seahorse and snapped away. He scared it deeper into the staghorn corals. No problem for him....he grabbed a large branch of the coral in his way and broke it off...


Now this is much more serious than a bit of digital darkroom work: unacceptable in photojournalism, or art.

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#35 cor

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 06:37 AM

Mauricio, you think all of Ansel Adams' images should be removed from our heritage because he manipulated his shots with the technology available to him at that time?

I know people always refer to Ansel Adams, but thats because when someone says that only in-camera work is valid, they never actually give an argument to why, and why Adams was somehow different.

To me it's more about intent. Did the photographer intent to deceive. Thats subjective, but photography is subjective and cant easily be put into black and white rules.
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#36 Paul Kay

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 06:53 AM

in natural history there is absolutely no space for altering of an image digitally
Mauricio Handler

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How about stitched panoramas, focus stacked images, HDR shots - all techniques which might, in the right circumstances, produce more 'natural' images (ie more similar to the image which the eye sees) than images using in-camera techniques only. One of the problems with photo contests is that they can be misled by an image which involved potential subject manipulation, but they still deny the photographer the right to make digital adjustments even if these were determined by the photographer before the in-camera image was taken. I do not understand the mystique which surrounds an 'original in-camera image' and its about time many photo contests moved on and realised that digital photography is now a fusion of camera work and software adjustment. Failure to do so simply holds back photography.
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#37 Drew

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 08:10 AM

Well I do think Mauricio's post is being taken out of context. I don't think he's saying there should be no post processing, but the line has to be drawn somewhere, and it was by LAUPS' own rules.
Digital manipulation, as I see it, is limited to levels and saturation and the like, but not say masking the subject and blending a new background or even adding another subject for effect. Same for poking and prodding a subject to get the pose right, that to me, is harassment. As usual, this particular topic brings out very subjective opinions, from the no touchy touchy to the "hey it's still alive after I'm done with it" crowd.
Staying on topic, the sea moth is benthic by nature. For the picture to be taken, the fish would have to be off the seafloor by a large amount. It's not the same as changing the levels and color saturation.

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#38 Paul Kay

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 09:02 AM

Well I do think Mauricio's post is being taken out of context. I don't think he's saying there should be no post processing, ...

Sorry Drew but the post was pretty categoric as far as I can see. I totally agree that there should be no subject manipulation (prodding, poking, moving, etc.) in a natural history image, but to suggest that an image that was produced in camera is sacrosanct (except for the several 'acceptable' parameters which can be adjusted during the raw conversion) is IMHO becoming less and less credible as software becomes more powerful.

I have seen examples of 'focus stacking' done 'in camera' using film (multi exposures using masks - very difficult and of mediocre quality) but this is much better achieved digitally - multiple images and software. Would it be acceptable to use such a technique provided it was carried out 'in camera' and shooting a motionless natural history subject? There is no subjectivity here.
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#39 loftus

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 09:10 AM

Probably for photojournalism, natural history etc as Mauricio mentions, the requirements are much stricter, going beyond intent, and documenting the truth and reality of the situation being documented. Defining truth and reality is really as simple as the stipulation that anyone placed in the same situation, scene etc, would have a similar visual experience without any manipulation of the subject or scene. So really any post processing that sticks within these guidelines, even much of Ansel Adam's works, would probably fill these criteria.
Once the photographer starts manipulating the image to the degree that he is reflecting his inner vision, that would not be immediately apparent to someone standing next to him, it probably goes beyond what is acceptable for natural history and photojournalism. It's also pretty clear that some techniques such as focus stacking would be acceptable whether in camera or not, and others such as HDR might not.
Image manipulation and subject manipulation are also different. Just like Doubilet's nudi series - no image manipulation but clearly subject manipulation. Nat Geo is not OK with the former, but obviously finds the latter to be OK.

Edited by loftus, 04 January 2011 - 09:50 AM.

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#40 Drew

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 12:45 AM

Taking the topic subject and Mauricio's entire quote, I do think it's a little unfair to take his words out of context. Imagery is a very wide ranged field. In natural history and photojournalism, the code is very strict. Can you imagine if the pictures from Abu Ghriab were faked? What about Wolfgate (BBC WPOY) if it were allowed to stand as "wildlife?"
Reuters was also apologetic about the "repeating smoke" picture. There is a certain integrity that is expected.
Now going back to competitions like the LAUPS. If they didn't have such rules in the first place, there'd be nothing to say about this. Do we, as a community which supports such competitions, have the right to query the entries? I think we do. There is no proof that the photos had manipulated subjects as of yet.
Speaking of the Doubilet nudibranch pics, it's obvious that David realizes there is a certain number of people who do care about subject manipulation. That is why he even explains how he took the photos as well online. I doubt he'd have to do that in the 80s and 90s. As Paul as, times have changed and so has technology. But the basic principle of natural history photography has changed. I mean it's one thing to make a fake insect farm to see what happens underground, at least there's no hiding it's simulated.
However, the pretense of manipulated subjects as "natural" is another matter altogether.

In photojournalism (war, human tragedy, stories about people) and in natural history there is absolutely no space for
altering of an image digitally and or influencing the moment via subject manipulation ,etc. as he credibility of what we see is then
put into question.


Drew
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"Journalism is what someone else does not want printed, everything else is public relations."

"I was born not knowing, and have only had a little time to change that here and there.