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Manipulation of subjects for the shot.

What is your opinion on subject manipulation for the shot?  

154 members have voted

  1. 1. What do you think is 'ok' behavior for a photographer?

    • Get the shot any way possible!
      1
    • It's fine to position the subject by nudging it to get the best shot, so long as it's not injured.
      37
    • Touch nothing and leave only bubbles
      116
  2. 2. To get the same shot as the one I saw in XYZ book/mag/internet, would you

    • It's fine to set up the shot through manipulation so long as the animal doesn't die or is injured.
      18
    • If it's a natural behavior, I'd wait til I get lucky and shoot it.
      136
  3. 3. What is harassment to you?

    • Killing or injuring the animal
      38
    • Any physical contact
      114
    • No such thing as harassment
      2


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BTW, I wouldn't totally fill the BC....only enough to mess up his / her buoyancy :-).

 

Oh well that's ok then....NOT! :excl:

 

I think we'll leave that for another thread in the new year. I do find it interesting that the large majority of those who took part in the survey are non-touchers. It would've been interesting to have seen the response back in '98, before the big digital camera revolution and '88. Obviously times and attitudes have changed.

It does pose some interesting questions about the ethics of the publishing industry. If everyone really did stop manipulating per se, then all the old shots with wonderfully posed subjects pushed and nudged into position would have an advantage in sales. Would publishers say hey I can see the hole in the nudibranch from the pin you used:

a) healing brush it so it won't show ok?

or

B) are you kidding me? Get out of my office!

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I will certainly be comfortable at the end of my life having my impact on the environment being judged by some photos of a dolphin encounter, friendly grouper or angel fish and my wife holding a sloth at a rehab facility in Costa Rica. If some people don't see the difference between those and a UW photographer (professional or not) who intentionally destroys the reef or physically moves a critter to capture an image and then sell it or hold it up as a testament to his/her professional skill than there is nothing else I can say.

 

Jeff

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What about education and awareness? Not only on the resort staff, boat staff or guides, but for the diver? Perhaps the best tool for me to 'minimize manipulation' (yes, I have moved animals, waved fingers, swooshed water, etc) is to understand animal behavior. As a biologist in past years, learning about how animals behave, their prefered habitats, feeding habits, defenssive behaviors, etc. have GREATLY helped me truly minimize harmful interaction over 30 years of diving (Aug 2008 is my 30th year as an active diver). Knowledge is power. I am not innocent of what this thread is defining as harrasment, but if I were sentenced to jail time for harasment, I would get the minimum sentence by the reef police while other divers who DO NOT take the time to educate themselves on the various animals in the areas for which they are going to dive would get a much harsher sentence. The point I am making is that education and awareness are powerful deterrents to harmful manipulation simply because you can often improve your odds of nabbing a good shot through knowledge. For example, trying to chase a territorial fish to get a shot probably stresses the fish. But knowing that the fish is territorial, using education, I'd stay put knowing that the fish will probably come back to the same spot (as most territorial fish do..i.e. knowledge). Another trick I use that was an old biologist trick was how to better manipulate nudibranchs. In S. California there are nudibranchs in our kelp beds. We used (and I still use) the edge of a kelp blade to "tickle" the nudi into moving. The kelp is a natural life source (in lieu of a glove or poker) that is life-cooperative to the nudis I shoot. And patience is also a virtue in UW photography. For me, it is not uncommon to spend the whole dive in one spot and wait, as opposed to digging and prodding and tearing up a reef. That's, to me, the price of getting a good photo. Without any of the tricks I use I would not have nearly the collection of images I have today.

 

 

Now, I may get flamed here, but Fk it. If that poll has any accuracy to it (and I doubt it does) then we'd see a lot more crap winning the POTW (or fewer images being entered) and have fewer AWESOME images posted here. I see some FANTASTIC images posted here and if every person posting them claims the last choice of the survey, I call the bullshit card. Been around way too long. That being said, I know that there are also photographers posting here that got the shot without any harrasment, so I am not saying that ALL images posted on WP are harrassment, I want to MAKE THAT PERFECTLY CLEAR.

 

As I see it, here are the truths...we fall into one of two categories. This is to make us honest.

 

Either:

1. The poll was answered by photographers who have a lousy portfolio and TRULY follow those guideliness.

 

or

 

2. The poll was answered by photogs with good portfolios who don't practice what they preach (i.e. the poll results). It's similar to the old addage...there are two types of divers, those who pee in their wetsuits and those who say they don't.

 

 

As for the scuba police, I don't think it's my place to tell another diver how to dive or what he/she is doing wrong. Why make my trip uncomfortable by confronting the diver? No matter how nice I am about it, there will be friction and I don't pay 10k for a trip to feel uncomfortable. BUT, I do believe in bringing to the attention of a dive guide any isues that are blatent with respect to reef or animal treatment. A real example was when I wa in Lembeh. One of the divers was FNG BRUTAL to an octopus and a scorpion fish, beating them into behavioral submission with a steel rod. I felt very compelled to discuss it with the resort manager as opposed to confronting the diver. If I am not mistaken, the dude left the resort and went to another one. The point being that the diver probably would have told me to drop dead, but by having an "authority figure" discuss the situation with him, results happened. If it were me telling the diver what he did wrong, he'd probably tell me to go fly a kite.

 

Joe

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kelpfish, great points, I couldn't agree with you more. Living as I have in the past in some of the more desirable locations on the SCUBA planet I could mention a comprehensive list of some of the biggest 'names' out there and the, seemingly, complete disregard they have for their surroundings whilst underwater. I think one question should be:

 

To what level is manipulation acceptable?

 

For example is hanging Christmas Baubles off of soft coral, as shown on the home page at the moment in the post entitled " Happy holidays, and good shooting", an acceptable action? Is that acceptable because soft coral not, seemingly, a living thing? I imagine that the action of deploying and collecting the baubles would have a detrimental effect to any macro organisms living on the soft coral?

 

Am I nit picking or raising a valid point.

 

Cheers,

Mark.

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Oh well that's ok then....NOT! :excl:

 

I do find it interesting that the large majority of those who took part in the survey are non-touchers.

Of coarse they are. You MANIPULATED the poll questions to get the result you wanted.

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The discussion diverges. Is disturbance in fact a form of manipulation?

 

Some years ago I chatted to a lady who was carrying out her Phd thesis on the lesser octopus (Eledone cirrhosa). As a part of this she had carried out tests to discover its response to bright light and her conclusions regarding strobe (flash) illumination was that Eledone do not like it. In fact any strobe usage stressed her subjects and more than 6 shots apparently stressed them enough to introduce a degree of shock. She suspected that they might even die if subjected to sufficient high intensity strobes discharges!

 

So I've always limited myself to less than 6 shots of an individual, until.....

 

I found one sitting out in bright sunlit shallow water. It was not in the slightest bit bothered about my strobe going off.

 

So I'd have to say that the degree of disturbance/manipulation acceptable in underwater photography is always about knowing and understanding your subject, and some to some degree MAY be an acceptable way to shoot certain creatures under certain conditions. As has already been commented, nothing is black and white (except it seems, rules) and the crossover between disturbance and manipulation is a case in point.

 

One comment is that in the waters that I often dive in (murky, temperate), moving/prodding/coaxing a creature would all too often stir so much muck up as to make this a thoroughly counterproductive action!

 

If you've ever watched video of a bottom trawl in action you may realise that we are pretty irrelevant in the grand scheme of underwater damage although I'd say that underwater photographers can, and do, cause damage in heavily dived/photographed areas.

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Not to go too far off topic, but I have seen first hand while diving for work the devestation that trawlers cause. I mean I was underwater to watch the trawling and let me tell you it does the damage of thousand of divers. No doubt that divers do contribute to marine life damage, though. It's a debate as to how much. What a great thesis for a masters or doctrate.

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How many of you won't touch a fish, but have no problems eating it later that night?

 

Most creatures can be touched without damage. It is not the touching that damages them it is how. My last trip to Lembeh, a fellow photographer (not a very good one) destroyed more coral with his fins than I have seen destroyed in my entire life. All in about 30 seconds.

 

The subject of manipulation is complex as there are so many different ways of doing it and to so many different degrees.

 

Personally I try to minimize my contact in all ways. I use a muck stick made of plastic to minimize contact with the reef. A well placed stick in a rock, not coral, can position the camera in a very still manor off the reef.

 

I would rather see people touch critters with a stick then their hands that were just lathered in sunscreen or deet. Think before you touch. Your deet may have killed that invert!

 

I have witnessed one with a point and shoot take repeated pictures of a pygmy from about 2 inches for longer than I wish to hang around. My guess is over 1 hour. He had no intention of leaving. Even though he did not touch it, he did harm.

 

My suggestion is be gentle while diving so things will be there for future trips.

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Everyone's debating wildlife being manipulated for the sake of a shot. But have any of you ever stopped to think about how uncomfotable it is for photographers and video pros who are manipulated for the shot? I tell you - it always bothers me and I will never get used to being goosed into a position.

 

 

Seriously - the karmic lesson in all this for me goes back to an assignment I had this past year in Turks & Caicos. I watched a very large, very obnoxious, very crude gentleman who'd been rough the entire two weeks actually break a piece of soft coral to get a lame shot of a small spotted moray. Pushed it aside with his index finger, which promptly ended up in the mouth of said spotted moray. His dive vacation was over, and he was lucky to retain his finger.

 

Karma, people. Karma.

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Pointer, sand spike, poker, special fiberglass balance stick...I think we're all on the same page, we know what these things are. Sheesh.

No, we're not on the same page. I don't use a pointer, I use a knitting needle. I use it for many things including touching things. No, that's not an "admission" because admitting it suggests that I'm trying to hide that fact or that I'm ashamed of it. It's ridiculous and your points are absurd.

 

The "one finger of a dead spot" approach is improved when you use a pointer instead of your finger. For that reason alone, people who carry pointers are potentially easier on the environment than the high and mighty who think they are better because of their lack of equipment.

 

A culture that really, really takes conservation and protection of the environment seriously are cavers. This is a group that offered a US$6,000 reward because someone wrote their initials in the soft bottom of a cave! And if the <insert name here> stick is so benign, why don't cavers use them? It actually is a great way to be ridiculed right out of the community. (Not to mention an easy way to kill yourself)

As a certified caver, I can say your assertion is BS and your point is nonsense. Cavers don't use pointers because they are of no use to the task at hand. Cavers are no more conservationist as a group than other kinds of divers.

 

I stand by my assertion, you only take a special stick along to touch something. You're planning on it from the begining.
And you not only wrong, but your point is meaningless besides. Carrying a pointer is in no way an indicator of whether you are hard on the reefs. I had a pointer with me, the guy who ripped off the top of the coral head did not.

 

I'm not spreading hateraide here; it's entirely up to you and it's no business of mine. Just trying to be honest.

All the best, James

Honest? I'd say judgemental and passive-aggressive, but have a nice day :excl:

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I really can't believe the amount of gray area people are trying to inject into this very simple topic. Don't touch it. Don't move it. Don't manipulate it. If you can't get a picture of it the way you found it, and aren't willing to wait and see if it moves, then move on to something else.

 

YMMV

 

Jeff

 

I think it's because not everyone see it as you do, Jeff. Not all manipulation of a subject or image involves touching or moving. My most common use of a stick (besides poking it in sand or touching dead spots which constitutes the overwhelming majority of its use) is waving it to attract attention or to get a subject to turn. It is equally effective, does not cause stress, and does not involve touching the animal. What amazes me is that everyone who expresses distain for such techniques fails to understand how they are used.

 

Please explain how touching a sea cucumber is bad...

 

When you and Gini are taking pictures of that nice angel on your website did you ever ask her to circle around the fish to keep it headed your way or cutoff her escape? Did you swim in front of the angel to get it's image? That is simply another form of manipulation. Did it stress the fish? Sure. Did it harm the fish? I don't know, as hard as I've tried I can't ask her.

Yes, exactly! This is the point I tried to make before. We manipulate shots in all sorts of ways and we accept that in images in varying degrees, yet people single out one particular type of diver behavior and condemn it as universally bad.

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I definitely wouldn't sit back and watch. I am kind of curious why the posters above felt bad in what they saw, but did nothing. Did you even say anything to this d%$khead?

 

To start off, I would do what I could to mess up their shot (ie: grab their tank yoke and move them or add air to their BC). When we got topside it would depend on how far they wanted to take it....I am not a small man :-).

 

Of course, now that I said that, I probably won't get invited on any more trips :-). But then again, I don't want to be around people like that anyway....no matter how big of "Pro" they are.

 

Dave

That seems to be a reaction of several people here, so I'll explain why.

 

This diver was a photo pro, he was easily the most experienced and well known pro on the boat, his style and behavior are well known and accepted, hypocritically or not, in the community, he is protected both by the boat and the group organizers, and he really doesn't give a crap what people think. Nothing anyone could have done in reaction to the event would have repaired the damage and nothing said afterward would have any effect on what might happen in the future. Furthermore, saying anything about it, except among ourselves, could not have had any positive results for any of us individually.

 

On the flipside, I enjoyed diving with him, he gave me a tip or two on how to shoot, and I got to see how he approached subjects and how he got his images. It's not all bad, and perhaps in hindsight he realized he made a mistake. I don't know because I didn't discuss it with him.

 

Now, for those that endorse violence in response, that's what started this thread to begin with and no one reacted kindly to a diver getting poked before. It's not within my right to police the behavior of other divers. I don't own the ocean and I wasn't deputized.

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Of coarse they are. You MANIPULATED the poll questions to get the result you wanted.

 

Larry I'm sorry you read it that way. I admitted the questions were deliberately simple. Most polls with 3 options are. People usually choose the ones closest to what they'd do. The poll and thread was started to stimulate a discussion of photography and interaction. It became more popular than I thought it ever would because of the subject line.

I'm glad it invoked such a reaction. I still believe it is a subject worth broaching and obviously there are no right or wrong answers. It is an individual thing. I'm sure no one will have a change of heart either way by merely looking at the polls alone. It's just a simple insight to what people think. If everyone spoke of how they interact, others can benefit from it, regardless of which end of the spectrum they side towards.

 

This is the point I tried to make before. We manipulate shots in all sorts of ways and we accept that in images in varying degrees, yet people single out one particular type of diver behavior and condemn it as universally bad.

 

Well Craig, you just committed the same generalization when you say 'people' :). Manipulation is subjective right down to doing anything for the shot, as your photopro example goes. I'm not one to advocate violence although I do think if there are other people on the boat, it's nice to leave things the way they are so others can appreciate it. It's just courtesy rather than required. No one owns the ocean, but if I paid $XXXX to go to a place, I would also appreciate it if XYZ person doesn't tear up a scene for their own shot and ruin my fun too. I suppose the attitude of not caring what anyone thinks comes with the same lack of thought for anyone else's enjoyment of the scenery. I'm quite sure he is a great guy otherwise. :excl:

Also, the incident which started the thread was the photopro trying to manipulate a subject and then prod a diver who was apparently cramping his space, and presumably light. I don't think anyone is defending his actions towards the diver, not openly anyways. :(

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My 2 cents worth

 

I own a dive shop, I dive most days, I dive for 'free', i wait to catch a shot, i don't touch, harass, manipulate or deliberately damage.

 

On the other hand I don't earn my living from photography, photography means a lot to me, but it doesn't mean everything.

 

Trust me there are times when I have been tempted to poke or prod, but I haven't. (I did pick up a box crab once to get a better look).

 

However if you photograph to gain recognition, earn bigger cheques, or to encourage others to join your trips, or consider yourself only as good as your last shot then there are bigger temptations.

 

WE are the folks that are supposed to be the role models. If others see us behaving in a way that is detrimental to the environment then they will behave in the same way - so on and so forth.

 

Whilst I empathise with the sentiments of those who condone some manipulation I will not condone it. Digital photography means that the 'once a year' photographer that believes that it's all right to poke and prod 'cos the pros say it's all right' will do so much more damage in order to have a nice shot for their PC wall paper.

 

If you want to manipulate life, use people - they have the ability to provide consent!

 

As an example - St. Vincent and the Grenadines has taken the stand of making the use of wave runners illegal. I would love to own one, and I know that I would be sensible, and not make a nuisance of my self, however I understand that there are enough people who would not, and so therefore I support the zero tolerance stance taken by the authorities. The same is true within our industry and the stance that we should take in relation to the manipulation or marine subjects for arts sake.

 

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Kay Wilson

St. Vincent

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That seems to be a reaction of several people here, so I'll explain why.

 

This diver was a photo pro, he was easily the most experienced and well known pro on the boat, his style and behavior are well known and accepted, hypocritically or not, in the community, he is protected both by the boat and the group organizers, and he really doesn't give a crap what people think. Nothing anyone could have done in reaction to the event would have repaired the damage and nothing said afterward would have any effect on what might happen in the future. Furthermore, saying anything about it, except among ourselves, could not have had any positive results for any of us individually.

 

On the flipside, I enjoyed diving with him, he gave me a tip or two on how to shoot, and I got to see how he approached subjects and how he got his images. It's not all bad, and perhaps in hindsight he realized he made a mistake. I don't know because I didn't discuss it with him.

 

i'm speechless.

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i'm speechless.

Have to admit; I'm pretty amazed too. As a surgeon who spent 15 years in training, I've met my share of a--holes, but frankly never been able to justify the behavior of any one of them, no matter how good they were. This attitude was strengthened every time I met a great surgeon, who was also a great guy.

In the photopro world (like every profession) there are jerks and there are great guys - and in my opinion the jerks should never be patronized, no matter how famous they may be - I guess they're ' legends in their own minds'

Edited by loftus

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Hey guys,

 

One point i'd like to chime in:

 

Before I get flamed to death I would like to stress that this is for DISCUSSION only:

 

 

 

I work at an aquarium. We had 3500 people through today, we can have up to 5000 through on the weekends in summer.

 

There is a series of photos at near the exit showing marine life in all its beauty. Some of these are clearly manipulated. My point is, at what point do we stop and look at the "GREATER GOOD."

 

Consider this:

 

ONE animal is stressed or possibly harmed yet 3500 people or more are made more aware of the beauty or fragility of our marine life. Awareness is the basis of conservation. This ONE animal could then be the basis of behaviour change for 3500 people (A very optimistic and hypothetical view, I know).......

 

Two points:

 

I know you cannot test nor quanitfy this

 

I'm not agreeing with this nor condoning it rather I am simply raising it for discussion.

 

I'm a young photographer, I have alot of learning to do and a long way to go. I'd like to say 30 years down the track that my photos helped to save the oceans

 

Cheers,

 

Cal

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...

ONE animal is stressed or possibly harmed yet 3500 people or more are made more aware of the beauty or fragility of our marine life. Awareness is the basis of conservation. This ONE animal could then be the basis of behaviour change for 3500 people (A very optimistic and hypothetical view, I know).......

 

Good points. They are the same arguments for having zoos keep wild animals. But, you should also consider that the ONE photo that MIGHT influnce thousands of people was taken by one photgrapher who probably took hundreds of shots and possibly manipulated several individual critters. There were also thousands of other photographers trying to get similar shots to sell or show their friends. Also, a bunch of those people that were inspired to not pollute the seas were also inspired to take up diving to get similar photographs.

 

Happy diving.

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I have missed much of the development of this discussion (being offline over Christmas), but I'd like to add a couple of new points at this stage. First I think that this debate should be about harassment: touching, poking, prodding and too many flashes. I think manipulation is too wide a word and has distracted us with talk about whether getting a model to pose is manipulation.

 

I think these discussions are always valuable. I take great care to take all my photos without harming or harassing marine life. But I have dived with a number of photographers - a minority, but an ever present minority - who don't give a stuff. I am sad to say that I have rarely confronted them about this - when I am on a normal trip. Liveaboards are small - and it is not worth the aggravation. It is very different on trips that I run - and I always make a point at the beginning of week of saying what I consider acceptable behaviour - and I always make such announcements in front of the dive staff. That way everyone behaves and if people don't I don't have a problem saying something.

 

The area that does wind me up is the hypocrisy in this issue. The main difference is between what individuals practice and preach. And this is as true whether you post one thing on Wetpixel and then don't follow it or you are a big pro shooter who when gives a talk at a conference about never harassing subjects then once go underwater and do as you please. I find this very sad.

 

I also dislike the assumption by some newer photographers that ever good photo they see is either the result of manipulation in the field or hours of fixing in photoshop. Of course these things go on - but I know many photographers who behave impeccably in the field and shoot stunning images straight from the camera. In fact by assuming that you need in water or in computer manipulation to get a superb image will stop you pushing on with your photographic techniques to really get those stunning shots.

 

I would also like to suggest that one of the reasons that we react so strongly to this issue has less to do with a care for the marine life and more to do with not wanting other photographers to get great images by behaving in an inappropriate way. We want a level playing field and we also want to know that those great images we admire were taken fairly and represent something true in the natural world.

 

I also think that these discussions require a bit of perspective of the bigger picture. I am often surprised that people object to someone lifting a nudibranch yet are happy for someone to catch a lobster in a pot, lift it out of the water into an environment it can't breathe, tie its claws up to retrain it, keep in in a crowded holding tank and then drop it into boiling water. While to me both practices are unacceptable - it is important to consider which has the long lasting impact on the critter and which is the worse.

 

Alex

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That seems to be a reaction of several people here, so I'll explain why.

 

This diver was a photo pro, he was easily the most experienced and well known pro on the boat, his style and behavior are well known and accepted, hypocritically or not, in the community, he is protected both by the boat and the group organizers, and he really doesn't give a crap what people think. Nothing anyone could have done in reaction to the event would have repaired the damage and nothing said afterward would have any effect on what might happen in the future. Furthermore, saying anything about it, except among ourselves, could not have had any positive results for any of us individually.

 

On the flipside, I enjoyed diving with him, he gave me a tip or two on how to shoot, and I got to see how he approached subjects and how he got his images. It's not all bad, and perhaps in hindsight he realized he made a mistake. I don't know because I didn't discuss it with him.

 

Now, for those that endorse violence in response, that's what started this thread to begin with and no one reacted kindly to a diver getting poked before. It's not within my right to police the behavior of other divers. I don't own the ocean and I wasn't deputized.

 

Unacceptable (IMHO) but that is the response I was expecting.

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Though I agree with you overall Alex, comparing eating lobster with manipulation etc really muddies the picture. Taking this argument to the extreme, anyone who eats fish or lobster is equivalent to someone who trashes the environment while diving.

I think this is ultimately about not trashing the diving environment so that others can enjoy it, minimizing our disruption of the wildlife we are interacting with, and common courtesy and respect for our fellow divers that we have to spend a week on a boat with. Seems pretty easy, straightforward and obvious to me.

Edited by loftus

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A little off topic but definitely related:

 

You witnessed the destruction of coral by another to get a shot. That person moves on but the subjects are still "in-place". Do you move in a shoot it?

 

Should be interesting!

 

Dave

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I have a good reply for that one, Dave.

 

Generally I would say no - but sometimes it does not happen like that.

 

Recently I was doing a very dull dive in South Australia - there really wasn't anything to shoot. The best subject was a red starfish. So I was doing that and then waiting for fish to swim overhead to complete the picture. Here is one of the shots, nothing special:

 

17.jpg

 

Anyway after I had done about 10 minutes waiting for fish to pose with my starfish, another guy on the dive swam up with second starfish and placed it next to my one to enhance my shot. Now what should I do?

 

So should I move it again, ask him to move it or leave it alone. In the end I moved it away - just out of shot - as I didn't want to shoot a manipulated scene. So I actually moved the starfish again - for the sake of not wanting to have a photo a manipulated scene!

After the dive I explained my actions to the guy and as a final twist in the tale he then told me that he had in fact moved the original starfish a few inches too - before I had come along.

 

It is a confusing world!

 

Alex

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Dave, you're such a stirrer! :excl: Like Cor, I'd probably be too upset to remember I have a camera and will probably have the same thoughts you have about stopping the guy. I've had similar situations like that and I can say I've sent people home and got them banned from diving on the boat. It helps to have like minded operators who don't shield ANYONE if it affects their breadbasket. I'd go so far as to say that the photographers which tend to interact with fewer boundaries tend to dive together more often. Same for the 'like a virgin' crowd. Birds of a feather and all that.

As for shooting situations already set up by other photographers, it depends. At scuba seraya recently, I found a boxer crab with eggs out in the open, exposed and left on black sand by another photog and his guide. I decided to escort it back to cover and shoot while I'm doing that because I saw the eggs. Several fishes made passes and I interfered with the predation, all the while shooting video. Would I have dug out a boxer crab to shoot? No. Opportunism, on the hand, if it causes no further harm is different. I've also passed on shooting nautilus pulled up to the shallow depths via cages. My objections didn't stop the session and I knew a nautilus wouldn't volutarily be up at the shallows in daylight (that said, I've seen dying paper nautilus in the shallows) so I didn't shoot at all. In fact I escorted the nautilus back down to 150ft so it doesn't make an easy meal.

 

I think this is ultimately about not trashing the diving environment so that others can enjoy it, minimizing our disruption of the wildlife we are interacting with, and common courtesy and respect for our fellow divers that we have to spend a week on a boat with. Seems pretty easy, straightforward and obvious to me.

Absolutely, but it's the definition of minimal that is always going to be individual and thus difficult to have a universal rule. Sorta like religion :)

 

 

The area that does wind me up is the hypocrisy in this issue.

Alex, the unfortunate truth is we are all guilty of a bit of hypocrisy. I'm a public transport,solar power home, electric car, no seafood etc etc guy but I also blow 4000liters of fuel a year chasing sardines(carbon offset of course :(), fly intercontinentally many times a year and even my computers are on 24/7 (even if they are solar powered, it's still consumption.). Still I believe in endeavoring in minimizing my footprint. In the greater picture, breaking coral or poking a fish isn't all that significant. However, in the context of photography and interaction, it's an important aspect I adhere to. That's all any human can do in life. And it'll always be an individual thing.

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Adding a notation or caption to one's website, photos, photos for sale, contest entries, submissions to publications etc might be appropriate. It could look something like this:

 

"I found this (insert critter name) and moved it with my (insert name of your tool ie stick/poker/pointer/chopstick/elderly grandma's cane, crowbar) to get this great shot".

 

For those Pro's that provide advice/hints to new photographers on their websites you could also describe how you practice this type of activity. In the interest of education of course.

 

Certainly if physically moving something to get the shot is not a problem for some they won't mind providing that little additional information for the consumer. I for one want to know on which photos this practice was used. I can then make a decision not to look at, purchase or otherwise support photographers who do this.

 

I've started in on my Zenfolio account to provide the additional information:

jeffngini.zenfolio.com

 

Jeff

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