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Photographers - be careful


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#21 Graham Abbott

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 06:03 AM

I think everyone is kind of missing the point here. As divers we are generally not talking about divers or photographers killing the whole reef. What should be the talking point here is - are divers killing dive sites? In general divers don’t go diving anywhere they want, as a rule the vast majority of divers want to dive on this or that site to see this or that animal or even this or that scene and photograph it. This is where the diver impact factor surely comes in to play? Are divers or photographers impacting our dive sites? YES THEY ARE, of course they are, take a look at your favourite coral reef site, one that you know well and that is regularly dived, has it been impacted by divers, I bet you it has!

I have to say that as a general rule photographers and film makers will indeed do more damage than your average diver. I’ve seen this in a few places, I’ve seen a lot of sea fans all over Indonesia slowly die and eventually disintegrate due to diver impact… Yes, they simple die due to too much stress by careless divers handling them, trying to get a close look at these little critters. I use these animals as they are very cute, photogenic and divers want to see and photograph them, photographers are in constant competition to better their own shot or his/her friends shot! I do show divers these animals, I don’t however grab hold onto the sea fan recklessly and pull it round so the photographer can take his/her shot and I try not to go down to the same fan time after time now.

I have had divers complain to me about other divers who they saw resting a fin on the reef whilst shooting or taking a close look at something, while the divers complaining were trying too hard not to touch anything whilst shooting and their fins were flailing behind them, inadvertently smashing the reef, while the guy resting a fin was in fact doing no damage at all to the reef.

Basically we all need to try and be as careful as we can, look around before shooting, be conscious of our surroundings before going in to take a close look or attempt that particular shot.

#22 pmooney

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 08:42 AM

I have to agree with graham
o
On a recent expedition to the "passage'' in Rajah Ampat I had really looked forward to the lush fans that i experienced on my previous trip - to my dismay they weren't there.

I mentioned to the guide that we were in the wrong spot . He did get a little out of sorts but not nearly as as we did given the main photographic feature is no more.

#23 CMOS 1

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 01:11 PM

I recently went on a mass diving boat to the great barrier reef out of cairns and observed that 95 % of the people entering the water used sunscreen. The dive master strongly recommended the use of it. If each diver/snorkeller uses 100ml of this sunscreen & if there are 5000 people/day = 500 litres of chemical being poured onto the reef. no wonder the reefs are in a sad state.

#24 writepic

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 01:46 PM

interesting topic.

ok so divers do less damage than shark finners or dynamite fishermen, but that does not mean that dive guides or instructors should tolerate sloppily terrible behaviour from clients. i've seen some absolutely appalling behaviour from other photo/video divers, and sometimes i feel shamed to be wearing fins in the same vicinity of some of these people.

sadly it is all down to money, and when the dive/tourism industry wakes up and starts paying dive professionals a decent professional salary, then they can weed out the bad ones willing to work for near slave wages that are letting their guests behave in this way.

will that ever happen? maybe not, but it's not impossible. botswana no longer encourage budget (land)safaris realising that high paying guests mean less feet and vehicles in the reserves for the same money. great idea. lets see the dive industry move that way.

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#25 shawnh

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 08:20 PM

I agree with a lot of the sentiment of this thread. As this is a forum dedicated to U/W photogs/video divers, i can see why they are singled out. That being said, the kind of diving I saw in Crystal Bay, Nusa Penida (Bali) this September was appaliing. In this case they were tourists being dragged along by "dive masters". They were litterly bulldozing the reef as they "finned" along. The amount of damage done by these completely incompetent divers far exceeded anything I have cumulatively witnessed by shooters. As such, Crystal Bay is in a rapid downward spiral...quite obviously so in the last few years.

What is one to do? If the divers are not common, the fishermen WILL decimate the the site. If they are, it gets worn down over time. I suppose a slow death is better than an instant one?
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#26 Islandbound

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 11:29 PM

On our little island of Okinawa there is an ongoing practice of "reclaiming" land from the ocean. Thousands of cubic meters of dirt are simply poured 20-30-40 meters or more from the shoreline outward to create more usable land space. This has been going on so long that there are places on the island where successive remnants of seawalls are visible showing the progression of the land creation.

#27 scorpio_fish

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 04:01 PM

I recently went on a mass diving boat to the great barrier reef out of cairns and observed that 95 % of the people entering the water used sunscreen. The dive master strongly recommended the use of it. If each diver/snorkeller uses 100ml of this sunscreen & if there are 5000 people/day = 500 litres of chemical being poured onto the reef. no wonder the reefs are in a sad state.


Drivel

1) People don't use 100ml a day
2) 5,000 people over what area?
3) Sunscreens generally consist of at least 65% water.
4) They have a specific gravity of less than 1. You can't pour them on the reef, unless the reef is above water.
5) The amount of "chemicals" covering the area of 5000 divers/snorkelers would produce a ppm so low as to be completely insignificant.

If the reefs are in a sad state, it is not due to the use of sunscreen.
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#28 scubarobot

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 06:48 PM

:D I hate to bring this up but we have all contributed to the gradual demise of the ocean reefs. Global warming has had a far greater impact than a hoard of clumsy photographers/videographers. Just look up the studies on that subject. Most of us on this site are probably very careful. Most of the time it's the average consumer with a camera that are not as careful. Someday quite possibly in our lifetimes the reefs will disappear and only exist in our memories, photographs and videos!

#29 ScubaSpen

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Posted 04 October 2007 - 02:43 AM

Check this out, it's getting worse, this incident made it to the local paper about violence underwater. Click on "Inside Story" from link below. You will need a PDF reader.

http://www.phuketgaz...t...6259&Cat=34

#30 pakman

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Posted 04 October 2007 - 09:13 PM

I thought the article on top of page 6 was more interesting... a warning to u/w photographers who dive leach infested ponds with loose fitting swim trunks... :D

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#31 DeanB

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 06:11 AM

I thought the article on top of page 6 was more interesting... a warning to u/w photographers who dive leach infested ponds with loose fitting swim trunks... :)


Ahh bugger !!! Thas my fetish dives cancelled now its out in the open (so to speak)... :D :)

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#32 colinwen

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 03:20 PM

I spent a few time to glance these articles above.
I quite agree most of you experince diver and photograhper.
But according to my personal experience, as a recruit diver, marine biologist, photographer.
In my memery, when people wont to take photos underwater, it increse the possiblity to have physical contact with coral or other marine creature, both experience or inexperience.
I believe the original ariticle may have some experimental bias or sample size problem.
However, I reckon the orginial writer just try to get people's attention when take photo underwater.
And the turth for me is when I didnot bring the camera with my self, I will keep every creature away off me.
Once I bring my camera, sometimes I will contact with some creature, even I am quite confidence with my natual buoyance.
Accident happened while I got more close to the bottom.
And I believe this will happen to the less experience more definitely.
Of course, it may never happen to some experience diver, but who can guaratee he/she never hurt any marine creature while take a underwater photos?
That's my personal experience to support the article.

#33 wbk

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 12:17 PM

funny to note this topic was started in 2004 but wanted to bump it to the front as it is becoming ever more important!

It is interesting looking back over the opinions expressed over the time and slightly comical aswell to look at the people's attitude who were trying to defend the original point. There seem to have been a few attempts to say it but what i felt they missed was simple... any damage that divers / photographers do to the reef is too much. It doesn't matter if it is the main cause of reef degredation or not.. it all adds up.

Interestingly enough, recently i was watching a photographer who shall remain nameless but is in the esteemed ranks of a National Geographic photographer working on a project. First of all i found it hysterical that he appeared to be terrified of just about all the sealife there was, couldn't help but thinking he picked the wrong area to work in... but most of all i was completely appauled by the complete and i mean 100% disregard for the reefs. To my great distress i was forced to sit back and watch as he smashed repeatedly into the reefs and would tread all over them in the attempt to get the shot he wanted. And before you say, why didn't you say something.. i did.. but have you ever tried talking to some of those guys. His arrogance was mind blowing. Over the course of the project the amount of coral destroyed has been mind blowing but due to certain contracts that i had to sign i am unable to do anything about it, though am trying to get them to make a biorock project when they have finished at a vague attempt at compensation.

I work full time in the dive industry, being an instructor first and foremost and it is very interesting to see the varying approaches from divers, especially when you look at their level of diving. Quite often i find the worst and biggest offenders are not so much the new divers but actually the far more experienced divers. I happen to work in kenya and at our dive base we take a very strict approach to people touching the reef and will most seriously reprimand people for doing so and have gone so far as to refuse to allow a couple to dive any more with us as they refused to take any notice of our warnings and continued to hit the reefs. Sadly this approach is pretty much only at the place i work and have not noticed any enviromental awareness at the other dive schools. This is mainly as the manager and i have strong opinions on the area and are in the position to be able to enforce them.

But i would also say for people who are new to diving and are keen to enter into the world of underwater photography; please, please, please focus on your buoyancy first, before you try to pick up a camera. First of all it will make a massive improvement in the shots you take but also just a point and shoot makes a difference to your buoyancy let alone a bigger rig as your concentration shifts to your camera rather that your buoyancy. In their eagerness it kinda slips peoples minds. If you are totally insistant on taking a camera on dive 1 after your open water then please stay back from the corals just a weee bit till you are more totally in control. If you are learning throug PADI then the Peak Performance Buoyancy speciality is a great thing to do but like all specialities make sure you have an instructor that vaguely cares for you to really get the most out of the course.

It is a very common sight to see photographers in their eagerness to get extra close grabbing hold of stuff, that stuff turns out to be living coral. On the funny side i did see one person grab hold of some "coral" to get a close shot of something. That "coral" turned out to be a scorpion fish. That most certainly taught them a lesson and i bet they never grab anything again! hehe.

There are some terryfying stats out about the rate of coral reef destruction and it is safe to say that our grandchildren will never see a fraction of what we have been able to, especially for those of us that have been diving for 20 years plus. We have apparently wiped out 92% of sharks at the moment and show no signs of slowing down and tragically it is not "if" any more but "when" we wipe them out.

Most people are just trying to live their lives and survive. So long as they can get their fish in the supermarket they really don't care. They just don't have the time too, it is not malicious and to get angry with them for not caring is pointless. It is not so much they dont care, they just simply dont have a clue. We are in such an amazing position as divers and even more so as photographers/videographers and i really hope more and more people start to fully understand the reality of where we are at with the destruction of reefs and fish levels. But that is most certainly a morbid subject.

Back to the relevant subject. As a dive guide and especially as an instructor you have a huge influence on divers habits under water and it is vital that you try to introduce proper methods to people but you dont have to be a guide or instructor to make a difference. If you see someone lying all over the reef, in a non aggresive manner try to get them to stop. As more and more people get in to the water we easily forget that they simply have no clue about it. Instead of just ranting and raving to them, try explaining it, make them understand why and you will see a huge change in the approach. There are just too many angry enviromentalists that just give them grief. They forget that everyone has to start somewhere. They also forget they too had to start somewhere and i bet that their love for the ocean grew massively once they started to dive, so try to remember that they are new to it, and just learning about it, so try a little patience and you will get a far far better response.

Well that's my two pennies worth for the moment, clearly it is sunday evening and have had a nice slow day, but missing being out of the water for a while. Remember that it just doesn't matter if photographers are the most responsible or not, that fact that we do contribute to reef damage in any way is enough and we must try to remember that and adjust out behaviour. Man, i sound like a boring preacher so will stop, but just hope that you all remember the next time you go underwater. Most of all, make sure you really enjoy ever second when you are down there as they are quite simply not going to be there for that much longer!

Hope you all had a good weekend! :P
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#34 derway

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 02:58 PM

I hope you documented the damage. Videos or photos of the damage being done. And then report the NG photog to NG, and where ever else it takes to get a response.

This person should not be allowed to shoot underwater for pay! Being kind to newcomers is one thing. But this kind of behavior in a paid national geographic photog is immoral, and unacceptable!!

Some people who happened to be in the water, in kona, and shot video of the clouds of mud raining down over the coral, when it rained up on the illegal development above redhill, after they developed land against the rules, and against their own civil engineer's advice!

This kind of evidence got the whole thing shut down.

Same thing happens with tropical fish collectors over there, who illegally break up coral, going after fish. A few photogs show up, and things change.

Please don't hold back on this. Report this person to his bosses! Make sure he gets pressure to change. I suggest reporting the name here, so we can all be on the lookout.

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#35 wbk

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 04:04 PM

i agree with you but i have a problem as i have signed confidentiality contracts but also i am not too sure who it is best to email. The project is also nothing to do with NG. No one else was allowed cameras nearby as the shoot if for a very well known artist and his project is taking 5 years to complete hence all the contracts which makes things a wee bit harder. So far i am persuing it through the artist himself and at the very least if i can get a biorock project out of it at least that goes someway to placating it and trying to get him off the project, but there is a reality issue here... i am just some guy, the artist is one of the highest paid in the world, and the photographer one of the top... lets be realistic.

But not to get sidetracked by that.. the point was that there are quite a few photographers at the top that move a lot to get the shot they want... bait stuff.. etc.etc.. and these are the guys who should know one hell of a lot better!
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#36 DeanB

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 11:10 AM

A swift kick in the 'markets' usually gets the message across that you are not happy with someone's conduct. There are to many people out there who think they are better than others because of their job title. Pity you cannot name and shame the knobber.

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#37 TheRealDrew

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 11:34 AM

There are to many people out there who think they are better than others because of their job title.



Been on more than one dive boat where above water it all sounded very impressive and then when in the water turned into a ..ahem...mess.

#38 PIG004

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 03:14 AM

A swift kick in the 'markets' usually gets the message across that you are not happy with someone's conduct. There are to many people out there who think they are better than others because of their job title. Pity you cannot name and shame the knobber.

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wbk I suspect I have met the exact same 'Pro' who wore gloves in the tropics so he wouldn't hurt his hands whilst crawling all over manta cleaning stations etc. The dive company I dive with were sh*t scared to offend him as he also writes articles for dive magizines.
They were more concerned about negative press.

I on the other hand don't have to worry about that and after 3 days of biting my tongue I calmly told the arrogant ass to clean up his act.
It came as quite a shock to him that someone would actually have the audacity to challenge his photographic and diving edicate.
Now make no misatke he is an excellent diver and photographer but he had simply lost the plot and getting the shot was his only concern to the detriment of the reef and other divers.

#39 David L

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 09:21 PM

Occasional photographers doesn't feel any damage to the coral reefs and so on.. but the photographers who snap frequently in any possible direction they make like diving might cause damaging to coral reefs.So,special care should be taken by photographers in possible situations.

#40 Jackiebalboa

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Posted 08 April 2011 - 09:30 AM

I think the thing is we should not touch nothing ! But I don't understand why we can make damage if we do everything alright?!

Other stuff are arming stronger the sealife...