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Marjo

Doubilet's Nudi Beauty!

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Nice to see another photo of my mystery Cuthona from Bali. Perhaps someone will give it a name.

Cheers,

Marli

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Looks like some were shot on a light table...
Wonderful images, watch the video with the article. He shot them with a portable background he took underwater. Then put them back were he found them.

 

Steve

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Really great shots. Excellent stuff. Great to see him pull out something so fresh after so many years photographing the same subjects. Inspiration to all.

 

Alex

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Wonderful images, watch the video with the article. He shot them with a portable background he took underwater. Then put them back were he found them.

 

Steve

 

Stunning images for sure - I'm not sure I agree with moving the nudi's to get the pics though...

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Holy cow, I think Dubilet just impressed me.

 

It is very rare that I like his photos. I can always see they are good, but typically not very interesting to me. (pers opinion)

 

These Nudi photos are immense especially the faked background ones.

 

I love the idea of the miniature studio underwater ... and for once we can REALLY see thse gorgeous little creatures.

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amazing images. technique has been around for a while for on land images. i think niall benvie was one of the first, if not the first to use it in the uk on insects. very effective.

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They certainly are fantastic photo's - but I have hope they do not inspire people to use final quality of image as justification for moving animals.

 

This looks like it was done for financial gain, rather than scientific research. As he is a world renowned photographer, how long will it be before others are tempted to start moving animals around?

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I hope some of the hundreds of thousands of people around the world who will see these images have a better understanding of the wonders of the world's ocean and will do more to protect it. If that is the outcome then I'm personally OK with gentlly moving the little guys for NG exposure. They look no worse for the wear. It's a tough call though, I understand the concern. He did mention in the video that he didn't move any that were mating, :) Guess we all have our limits.

 

Steve

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As he is a world renowned photographer, how long will it be before others are tempted to start moving animals around?

 

I agree completely. He can get away with this because of who he is and who he's working for. I can only assume that his assistants who are out looking for these little critters handle them gently and do carefully put them back unharmed, but I still don't like it. With everyone carrying a camera these days I seriously doubt that most divers really understand with how delicate marine life is and might try to reproduce this only to will end up with nudibranch juice between their fingers. The shots are beautiful and will no doubt be copied by many, but in this case I would MUCH rather see this type of effect done in Photoshop than on the reef.

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These images are indeed stunning and confirm his lifetime mastery of craft. The old dog can teach us new tricks. Congratulations, David.

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I think it is amazing that we do not see wholesale condemnation of these images.

 

Were I to enter one of my photos in a contest here at WP, and the critters were so obviously handled/posed you guys would have my head!!!

 

Why is this case any different???

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He didn't need to enter them in a competition, and so he didn't.

Therefore did not have a set of rules to abide by.

 

This has been brought up time and time again, and the fact of the matter is it is NOT always bad to handle critters or anything, as long as you know a little something something about them. (that doesnt mean go out and do it everyone)

Scientists do it all the time, infact scientist kill critters for specimens, do you jump up and down about that ?

Doubilet here, managed to get great artistic and probably great ID style shots of these Nudi's without taking them away in a container and putting them in a lab. I think he has done a much better job than many do 'in the name of science'

 

The difference for someone like Doubilet and people that (for the most part) can and do enter comps like wetpixel is that competition entrants may not have any knowledge of anything and indeed do not have to and so rules must be in place to help guide and teach what is acceptable.

 

Just like photography itself, once you know the rules there are always acceptable ways to break them.

Edited by Giles

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I thought the shots were beautiful, but my initial reaction earlier today was similar regarding manipulation and was going to bring that uo. Then I realized that issue had been discussed before and I am not sure that the debate on that would be different. I would hope that what Steve said holds true and perhaps it is a case where it could be deemed appropriate though I am not even sure if NG would be worth it - it is sort of preaching to the choir I would think (meaning NG readers probably tend to being sympathetic to various issues such as the oceans.) And as to others who may need persuading as to the beauty of the oceans, I have seen enough great shots taken by many members of this board that would be more than enough to convey the message. What Giles mentioned about the science aspect is a good point and the me the strongest reason to support what was done.

 

As to others may be tempted to try this (or something of similar ilk.) On that end I would hope that anyone with a camera underwater has some sense of the reality of their skills and what they are trying to do with the photos. I know even if I made one of those boxes there is no way I would even attempt to do what he did for the simple fact that I know that I would not feel comfortable in my ability to move things in a manner that would not be unsettling and/or dangerous to the marine life. Much in the same way I have seen DMs pick up Scorpian Fish. I ain't going to try that either.

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Doubilet has been king of the mountain for over 30 years.

 

He's still showing us new images and techniques.

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...What Giles mentioned about the science aspect is a good point and the me the strongest reason to support what was done....

 

 

Still, two standards don't seem right. Seems it depends upon who you are.

I really don't see these images as "scientific" but rather commercial.

Slippery slope. Kinda like hunting whales for research IMHO.

Edited by hoovermd

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Just because he is Doubilet doesn't change the fact that he moved critters or had them moved for him. What is the difference between his assistants doing it and a guide in Lembeh doing it for one of us? Whether for Nat. Geo. or any other purpose the same standards apply. I'll bet if people go back and reread the thread on manipulation they will see the double standard.

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Hmmm... I am one of those photographers who do not move sealife to get a shot myself. Living on an island where we have several endangered and threathened species, I am also one who is involved in efforts to educate the community and our visitors about the frailty of marine life and the importance of preserving/protecting it.

 

However, I do think that there are circumstances where touching marine life IS justified. Typically to handle protected species requires permits. For example, when people on my island come in contact with what might appear as "marinelife in distress" (turtles, sometimes whales etc) it might be tempting to "help", but we know that handling these species is not allowed, and there are authorities that we contact who will either send properly trained people with the proper permits to handle whatever situation might (or might not) exist or will give us very specific instructions on what to do and what not to do. Sometimes controlled and permitted handling of seacretures is a good thing.

 

I think in the case of David Doubilet making these extraordinary Nudi images falls under that category of "good handling".While being the resident NG underwater photographer and the worlds most recognized underwater photographer, I think one can assume that all necessary permits are in place adn that the handling of these nudis was not hurting them.

 

As for David Doubilet setting a "bad example", I do not think that he is. For most people who see these images, they will not think about how they were made. If the DO think about it, it is highly unlikely that they will ever even come in contact with a nudi and have a chanse to hurt them. The biggest group of potential "nudi-harassers" would probably be US, the obesessive underwater photographers. However, if you are at the level of underwater photograhy that you are a) shooting nudies in exotic locations and B ) using techniques as advanced as bringing backgroud materials with you on your underwater shoots, then you surely already have a deep love of the underwater mainelife and probably are highly aware of such basic ethics and unwritten (or written) cardnial rules as not to touch the marine life! You will also most likely be familiar with David Doubilets work and recognize that while the worlds most famous uw photographer on assignment for Nat Geo can do certian things, it does not mean that you can.

 

I do belive that these images in Nat Geo serves an incredibly important function showing people, who otherwise do not get to see marinelife "in real life", just how amazingly beautiful it can be and how it is worth protecting. Having been involved in trying to fend of destructive dredging projects, reef killing developments and other such efforts I know firsthand how extremely difficult and frustrating it is to try to explain to people who do not see marine life about the importance of protecting some small critters (be it slugs or seahorses...). For example, It can be hard for a leader of a small Caribbean nation to see why they should choose protecting the habitat of an UNDERAWATER SLUG (or other critters) they haven't even heard of in favor of bringing in cruiseships that would offload thousands of tourists with thousand of dollars in their pockets. They kind of see us "environmentalists" as nutty people without a grip of reality. Of course it is all a question of limited eduaction/understanding of marine ecology and it's actual impact/importance. I believe that beautiful images are possibly the MOST powerful tool that we have in the efforts to educate our nondiving community members (and leaders/decision makers). People tend to want to protect that what they find beautiful.

 

I seriously doubt that Doubilet's Nudis is going to lead to the death of even one Nudi and I do think and hope that the effect of these images will be the opposite.

 

Hence I think that using the backgrounds to amke these amazing images was both justified and good - but it doesn't mean that I will now go poke around some Nudi's to get " seaslug glamour shots" :)

Edited by Marjo

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Oh just one more thought...

 

I am not even sure if NG would be worth it - it is sort of preaching to the choir I would think (meaning NG readers probably tend to being sympathetic to various issues such as the oceans.)

 

Actually... makes me smile to think that the June issue of National Geographic will introduce Nudis to people in doctors office reception areas around the world (including all the doctors offices on my island) to loads of people who do not subscibe to Nat Geo nor have ever even heard of Nudibranchs ever before!!! :)

Edited by Marjo

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Great pictures.

National Geographic was one of the first magazines in which I saw pictures of coral reefs as a kid. I love the quality of there work and have subscribed for many years. Although, I agree with many about not moving the animals around.

 

Hopefully, these photo's will inspire others to take better care of the worlds oceans so we can discover the rest of these incredible little sea slugs!

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I do think these are beautiful images; but really, what is the difference here whether he put a background behind them, or just used Photoshop to create them? As beautiful as they are, I do find it a bit unsettling that there does seem to be a little bit of a double standard - whether the nudi's were moved or even if they crawled onto the bacjgroud, these are highly manipulated images.

Edited by loftus

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Althogh I do not think that it was a terrible thing that Doubilet might have moved the nudis onto a backgroubnd to create these different and stunning images, I do think it is good that we are debating this issue.

 

"Not touching marine creatures" is probably one of those subjects that we will keep on writing about year in and year out and all of us will basically agree that harming any marine life for the sake of getting images is not ok.

 

But It is OK that we keep repeating this - we shoudl all be reminded of our responibility not to cause harm, but rather to try to protect. Debating this subject oalso brings attention to this important issue to new UW photographers.

Edited by Marjo

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I think it is amazing that we do not see wholesale condemnation of these images.

Were I to enter one of my photos in a contest here at WP, and the critters were so obviously handled/posed you guys would have my head!!!

Why is this case any different???

 

Judging from the handful of emails and messages I have received since I first posted (praising the images) in this thread, I think that there are a lot of people who think that this level of subject manipulation is wholly unacceptable, particularly from someone in such a influential position.

 

Everyone who has written to me could have posted their thoughts here, but people are reluctant to speak out against the great man. Partly due to respect they have for him and the fact he has given us all years of pleasure and inspiration from his photographs. And partly, I guess, because criticising him is often interpreted as jealousy. I have no doubt that if someone other than DD had posted these shots the tone of this discussion would be very different.

 

Personally, I think that these are some of the most original and eye-catching images I have seen of UW creatures for a while. They really show DD's class to come up with something so fresh after so many years working UW. Nudis are pretty hardy creatures and I am sure that they all took this experience in their stride. Although the debate is also valuable.

 

Alex

 

p.s. I didn't watch all the video - but I think it would have been valuable to show an image of a nudi being gently collected for the photography - to alleviate concerns.

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My question is: Would you admire these images as much if you knew the background was created in Photoshop (quite doable)? I for one would like them just as much.

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I would like them more. It would have been absolutely wonderful if DD would have embraced digital post processing to create such a relatively easy effect, keeping the same impact of the beautiful photos.

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