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Archive 2018 · Ethics in landscape photography

  
 
thrice
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Ethics in landscape photography


Hi folks,

Sorry if this topic has been done to death.

I recently noticed someone on Facebook in a Fuji GFX group shared an image of Kirkjufell in Iceland. Having been there numerous times I could tell immediately that the image was taken on the other side of the barrier rope meant to keep people off the fragile flora.

I pointed this out and his response was that he's lived there for 41 years and knows how to walk without damaging the plantlife (sounds like bs to me). A bunch of others chimed in with things like "boom", "you got told" and other childish things.

I pointed out that even if he has this mythical one-with-nature ability to walk perfectly without standing on a sprouting plant in the middle of the night, sharing that image would encourage those without that ability to emulate his photo.
Cue a bunch more childish remarks from others in he thread.

Am I being the fun police? Do others think it's fine to trash nature to get a photo? Why are these people even into landscape photography if they're not conservationists at heart?

Kirkjufell from behind the barrier:



Nov 24, 2018 at 01:20 AM
dakel
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Ethics in landscape photography


For what it's worth I don't think you were being the fun police, you were just expressing your opinion. Personally I wouldn't say the photographer was "trashing nature" at least not intentionally. I would say they were some mixture of apathetic, oblivious, arrogant. With expressing your opinion there's now a chance that he will think a little more aware of the potential for damage and that's a good thing.


Nov 24, 2018 at 01:44 AM
thrice
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Ethics in landscape photography


Thanks! I am probably a cynic but it seems more and more are using landscape photography as a means to generate popularity on social media platforms rather than as an artful expression of their love of nature.


Nov 24, 2018 at 02:22 AM
smmokan16
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Ethics in landscape photography


There's a barrier there now? When I was at that location in 2014, there were no ropes- only 2-3 different paths to walk down to see the falls.

I've also read about Bruarfoss being shut down to tourists too, so I guess it doesn't surprise me.



Nov 24, 2018 at 09:28 AM
RobCD
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Ethics in landscape photography


In my opinion it depends on how you handled the situation. It doesn't matter how many times you've been to Kirkjufell, you can't know the circumstances that led to a photo posted on Facebook so you are obligated to give someone the benefit of the doubt before publicly posting accusations. And if I lived somewhere for 41 years where there probably wasn't a need for any barrier and then watched a zillion people over the years invade my country's landscape and create the need for barriers I'd probably be a little irritated by one of those people calling me out since arguably they are much more a part of the problem than I am which is why I say you can't know the circumstances by looking at one image. I'm not saying that gives them the right to ignore the barrier but I am saying the circumstances are different for each situation and one image can't tell you that.

So, I think it's great to educate people and sometimes calling them out publicly might be needed but I think that should be approached very carefully and perhaps be a last resort. I've been in a few situations where I missed a sign or was confused by the instructions and had I posted a picture in that scenario I'd really appreciate someone alerting me privately instead of embarrassing me publicly. And if they felt the need to comment publicly before knowing the details I'd hope they would do so in a way that wasn't accusatory or judgmental without knowing the circumstances. I'm not saying you handled it this way but I find your last comment questioning why someone is into landscape photography a little bit alarming because it sounds like you want others to have the same priorities or motivations and that shouldn't be your concern. If someone is following the rules I don't care why they are into landscape photography or whether they are conservationists.



Nov 24, 2018 at 12:31 PM
ckcarr
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Ethics in landscape photography


RobCD wrote:
... And if I lived somewhere for 41 years where there probably wasn't a need for any barrier and then watched a zillion people over the years invade my country's landscape and create the need for barriers I'd probably be a little irritated by one of those people calling me out since arguably they are much more a part of the problem than I am...


Totally agree with this. However, nothing can stop it now. Unless photography crashes and implodes as a pastime for aging retired people... It could get replaced by something like...golf or fishing or drinking martinis...

He probably shouldn't have posted the picture. But he didn't care.

In the early 1970's the battle cry in Colorado was "Don't Californicate Colorado." There were bumper stickers everywhere in that era of John Denver and Rocky Mountain High. Unfortunately that battle was lost, although it took several decades... In Utah it was "Wild Utah." Ha, now it's all being exploited by tourism, hotels, and ATV's... Machines that didn't exist 15 years ago are now destroying all the back country.

Wish I had something more profound to say, but sometimes I feel that it's all over... I think like in the book Centennial when the pioneer saw the smoke rising over the mountain far away.



Nov 24, 2018 at 04:21 PM
rw11
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Ethics in landscape photography


if it is in a National Park you should report it to the Park Police or Rangers

in the US it is a felony, tho usually treated as as less than that

I have no leeway for these jerks



Nov 24, 2018 at 05:53 PM
ckcarr
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Ethics in landscape photography


rw11 wrote:
if it is in a National Park you should report it to the Park Police or Rangers

in the US it is a felony, tho usually treated as as less than that

I have no leeway for these jerks


Here's a story.

Two weeks ago I was hiking up to Delicate Arch because my sisters both came to visit. So we're hiking back down and this couple is going up but with their dogs, a Siberian husky and a mixed breed. Two dogs. Although dogs are clearly not allowed on the Arches trails, especially the crown jewel of the park, there are signs everywhere and in the brochures... A felony? Walking with dogs, or crossing a fence line, or on cryptobiotic soil a felony? I doubt it.

I finally find a ranger, which took forever.. I tell him these people are up there right now and they should be ticketed. He says "There's only three of us here today, what can we do?"

So, you get these endless emails about donating to the Park Service, and where does the money go I wonder? Three rangers? In a crown jewel park? It's getting pissed away... The sad part is that the NPS office is right next door to my office, the parking lot is full of vehicles, so what are they doing, who are all these people...?

And you wonder why False Kiva is now closed...
I'd guarantee that people no longer have that same sense of ecology that they did in the past. Now it's the "Me."






Nov 24, 2018 at 07:49 PM
dclark
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Ethics in landscape photography


The most popular sites need protection and those who circumvent the protections should be called out at the time or when they publish their work. I have been in situations where ethically I had to pass on some great shots and I am sure many others have too. In the case you describe the person was a long term resident and that should make them even more dedicated to protection of the site, rather than claiming some special status that justified damage to the site and encouragement for others to do a little damage too. It all adds up.

IMO, you did the right thing.

Dave



Nov 24, 2018 at 09:33 PM
Moonshae
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Ethics in landscape photography


ckcarr wrote:
So, you get these endless emails about donating to the Park Service, and where does the money go I wonder? Three rangers? In a crown jewel park? It's getting pissed away... The sad part is that the NPS office is right next door to my office, the parking lot is full of vehicles, so what are they doing, who are all these people...?

I'd guarantee that people no longer have that same sense of ecology that they did in the past. Now it's the "Me."



There are 50% more people in this country than in 1970, and tax rates are substantially lower. If the demand for a service increases but funding decreases, the quality of that service inevitably suffers.

Here's a link to their budget, so you can see what they're doing with the money, an 11% reduction since 2017. I don't think they're pissing away money, they're facing budget cuts despite increasing demand for services.

https://www.doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/files/uploads/fy2018_bib_bh069.pdf



Nov 24, 2018 at 09:35 PM
thrice
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Ethics in landscape photography


Yep, it's a small rope barrier because they don't want to obscure anyone's view. There's a sign at the carpark advising to keep to the path (in multiple languages) and forbidding drones - I saw many of those flying there also.

In 2014 (when the photo I posted was taken) there was no barrier and I was there with 3 other photographers who all kept to the path.

In 2017 in the dead of winter it was incredibly busy with about 60 people there at any given time and I got so sick of telling people (politely) to keep to the path that I doubt I will ever visit the location again.

smmokan16 wrote:
There's a barrier there now? When I was at that location in 2014, there were no ropes- only 2-3 different paths to walk down to see the falls.

I've also read about Bruarfoss being shut down to tourists too, so I guess it doesn't surprise me.




Nov 24, 2018 at 09:35 PM
tfoltz
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Ethics in landscape photography


I donít feel you were wrong and I donít care if the guy lived there 100 years what he did was wrong. Period. Nowadays in every type of photography or for that matter anything, there are self entitled people that do what they want when they want with no curtesy or thought of rules, regulations or other people. Youíre lucky you donít live in So CA everyone here walks, drives and eats with their nose buried in the cellphones, most of the photographers live and die by social media. They need that endorphin rush and itís only going to get worse Iím afraid. So sad.


Nov 24, 2018 at 10:39 PM
jdc562
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Ethics in landscape photography


Thrice: you definitely did the right thing in calling out this guy. Good for you. The guy admitted he walked in the prohibited area by claiming he knew how to do it right. So, the guy is also admitting he did it deliberately. It is irrational to contrive bleeding-heart excuses for the guy. He doesn't deserve any "benefit of the doubt." Let him tell his b.s. to the judge.

Regarding Ckcarr's experience at the Delicate Arch, does everyone remember the incident where a famous photographer took his paying photography class to the Arch and built a fire under the Arch for dramatic lighting effects? The artificial logs he used for the fire produced oily soot that stained the Arch. This jerk was prosecuted by the government, so sometimes the culprits do get some dose of justice, but he's still in business.

I have seen countless cases where photographers have harassed resting flocks of migratory birds just to get a mass flight shot. I have calmly and politely informed the offenders that (1) the birds need their rest; (2) the harassers have scared away the birds and ruined the photo opportunities for everyone else; and (3) the harassers have broken California and Federal laws prohibiting the harassment of migratory birds. Some of the culprits are embarrassed and contrite, some launch into contrived justifications, and others go into a rage, yelling obscenities and threatening to beat me up (I'm 74 years old). It is sad and frustrating that the rangers don't take action. I do understand that they are overworked and stretched too thin, but a few citations for the worst offenders would go a long ways as a deterrent.

I've found that the most effective thing that I, myself, can do is point my telephoto lens in the direction of the offenders and take photos of them, their actions, and their vehicles. Most of these culprits know they're doing wrong and quickly leave with their heads down. One group even sped away in reverse so I couldn't photograph the license plate on the back of their Jeep. However, none of this would help in Thrice's circumstances.



Nov 25, 2018 at 01:21 AM
GregWCIL
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Ethics in landscape photography


Well, Thrice, it appears he was in the wrong. Having said that, I find it interesting that some people like you feel the need to call him out on it in a public forum. Yet, you say you have been to Iceland many times. Just wondering what your carbon footprint is for all that travel from Australia. Do you pretend your activities have no negative effects on the planet? My grandmother had an expression for that: "The pot calling the kettle black."





Nov 25, 2018 at 05:56 AM
Dragonfire
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Ethics in landscape photography


GregWCIL wrote:
. Just wondering what your carbon footprint is for all that travel from Australia. Do you pretend your activities have no negative effects on the planet? My grandmother had an expression for that: "The pot calling the kettle black."



My sentiments exactly in the Conowingo thread where the response from a Drexel professor was "Lol". https://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1571876/8#lastmessage






Nov 25, 2018 at 06:28 AM
ahender
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Ethics in landscape photography


GregWCIL wrote:
Well, Thrice, it appears he was in the wrong. Having said that, I find it interesting that some people like you feel the need to call him out on it in a public forum. Yet, you say you have been to Iceland many times. Just wondering what your carbon footprint is for all that travel from Australia. Do you pretend your activities have no negative effects on the planet? My grandmother had an expression for that: "The pot calling the kettle black."



So everyone must stay at home and not travel anymore?



Nov 25, 2018 at 07:05 AM
Dragonfire
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Ethics in landscape photography


ahender wrote:
So everyone must stay at home and not travel anymore?







Nov 25, 2018 at 07:15 AM
InnomnateViem
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Ethics in landscape photography


interesting. an invasive species by force takes the land of an indigenous people. setting up their rules and regulations that are contrary to the culture of the indigenous conquered peoples. the invasive species then complains about the violation of said imposed rules.

makes one wonder how the decimated few of the remaining indigenous people feel about those forced laws. a very interesting dichotomy, to say the least.



Nov 25, 2018 at 11:52 AM
elkhornsun
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Ethics in landscape photography


There are many places that have been trashed by photographers who only care about the picture they get and have no respect for anything or anyone else. I saw this with underwater photography where divers would damage the coral or even remove a creature from the water to put in an aquarium to photograph in their studio. If it was a single photographer doing this it would be of little harm only a loss of personal integrity which is not big deal to most people. But when this is magnified by literally millions of people with cameras and smartphones the result quickly becomes evident.

It is sad when we must rely on law enforcement personnel to maintain good behavior. A friend left the US Park Service when she was told she would be required to carry a firearm and take weapons training. How uncivilized we have become.

The barrier rope would not have been necessary if people were not so stupid in their actions as hundred of last selfies whose owners died in the process. In my own lifetime I have seen the destruction of so many places I loved to visit as a child and as a young adult that have been utterly destroyed for future generations to enjoy.



Nov 25, 2018 at 01:00 PM
thrice
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Ethics in landscape photography


Qantas (the Australian airline I fly with) allow me to offset the carbon used by the flight for a small fee which I always do. You can read more about it here: http://www.environment.gov.au/climate-change/government/carbon-neutral/certified-businesses/qantas

I also have solar power for my house and when I can afford to I will buy an electric vehicle.

I believe your argument falls into the "no true Scotsman" fallacy.

GregWCIL wrote:
Well, Thrice, it appears he was in the wrong. Having said that, I find it interesting that some people like you feel the need to call him out on it in a public forum. Yet, you say you have been to Iceland many times. Just wondering what your carbon footprint is for all that travel from Australia. Do you pretend your activities have no negative effects on the planet? My grandmother had an expression for that: "The pot calling the kettle black."





Nov 25, 2018 at 02:08 PM
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