Frankly I was quite impressed with Alex showing his split level basking shark shot with the land in the background - a composite image of course. That's not something I'm comfortable doing. I think it took big balls for him to throw that out there being an editorial photographer. But again, it's all about disclosure.
The basking shark shot is certainly an interesting one, which unlike my well known pygmy seahorse shot (that is pretty obviously a composite because the same individual is in the frame 4 times) the basking shark is photo real. There is nothing in it to indicate that it is a composite.
This is why I have endeavoured to see it published with full disclosure (and I am sure many of you have seen it in print) - which has happen most of the time it has been published. And many photographers have written to me to complement me on my honesty.
It sells really, really well, but I have turned down several very high profile opportunities for it to be published where disclosure wasn't possible. When I show it in talks it is also marked with an M for manipulated image, as are the seahorses (I don't know any other photographers who do that, BTW). And it is also now in stock libraries - the description says it is manipulated - but stock sales mean that I don't have the chance to ask the magazine for disclosure. BBC Wildlife magazine ran it without stating it was a composite - despite them being aware it was from the library description.
I would also make the point that the basker shot does not misrepresent the subject. Both halves were shot on the same day, with the same lens, in the same area. The sharks were right below the castle. Doug Perrine, who I was sharing the boat with that day, said he would vouch for me that it was not unrepresentative.
Anyway, the shot is out there now. So I am happy for people to make their own decision on it. I am happy that I have been honest and open with how it was created. I see a great many UW photos that have the same amounts of photoshop in them - where the photographers never say anything...
The basker shot would be possible as a straight shot, given ideal conditions. I hope to get that one day - I just need a shark, close to shore in the middle of the day, in the sun. Which is actually quite possible. It was taken with my 550mm dome and I hope one day to nail a similar shot (not with the castle) in camera. I have a similar shot of a grey seal, that is not a composite in the Telegraph newspaper this week
I am also hoping to take that dome to Mexico for the Wetpixel Expeditions whale shark trips this summer.