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Thread: Really neat bird photography idea...

  1. #1
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Really neat bird photography idea...

    Some viewers called this "cheating" but, I don't think that it is cheating anymore than using a blind and a bird call.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sN5voUBv8cA

    If you didn't see the setup, you would never realize that the images are a bit staged....

    If I did this in my yard, it would be covered with a million finches...

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Really neat bird photography idea...

    The bird photographers I know would have an ethical issue with what is being done in the video. I understand this practice of baiting is illegal in some jurisdictions.

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    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Really neat bird photography idea...

    Somehow, I just cannot understand what is unethical about this. I could see if this interrupted the natural process of the birds and caused them harm. If it does, then maybe it is wrong but, is putting out a bird feeder without photography unethical?

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Really neat bird photography idea...

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    Somehow, I just cannot understand what is unethical about this. I could see if this interrupted the natural process of the birds and caused them harm. If it does, then maybe it is wrong but, is putting out a bird feeder without photography unethical?
    It's rather like staging a street scene to get a great image. You can get a great shot but...

    Depending on the type of bird and place that the setup is located, it can increase risk of injury and death to the birds. This is why baiting is illegal in some jurisdictions.

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    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Really neat bird photography idea...

    I'm all for anything that protects wildlife...

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    Re: Really neat bird photography idea...

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    Somehow, I just cannot understand what is unethical about this. I could see if this interrupted the natural process of the birds and caused them harm. If it does, then maybe it is wrong but, is putting out a bird feeder without photography unethical?
    I'm wondering what his setup for his shooting position was, is he using a blind? Also, the only issue for me would be the clean up, he'd probably only need to show himself to disperse the birds.

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    Re: Really neat bird photography idea...

    If the image is used as a stated 'Natural History shot' then its not allowed in any Photographic Society as far as I know and as Manfred says it is illegal in some areas to 'bait'. If you have to do this to get the shot (rather than grow the skills and the bank balance for the big fast lens) then you HAVE to state its staged or its simply a falsehood, if you kid yourself otherwise thats a shame. The main issues are risk to the health from tainted food, eg aflatoxin on peanuts, risk to the animals getting too familiar with people - not everyone is nice!, the risk to the young in the breeding season if the wrong food type is given and the risk to the population if fed to create an artificially high population and you stop feeding - the population starves. I have taken images in a country park where the wardens feed at set points every day all year - but I state that is where I took the shots if i used them in any club competitions, in those cases its fine and introducing staged props, fine but just be honest about it. End of the day I feed birds in my garden but change the food to suit the time of year and feed all year with certified quaility food - I dont do it to get close images but to help the birds after we have ripped out large areas of their natural habitat, a bit of payback .

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    Re: Really neat bird photography idea...

    Here in the UK it is normal for people to put out bird feed either on trays or in specialized feeders. My local nature reserve at Solihull uses them in an area where children are brought in for education about the environment and nature.

    On a completely different scale, there has been a feeding scheme for red kites this last 20 years which results in birds flying regularly 50 to 100 miles to reach the feeding station.
    http://www.gigrin.co.uk/

    From being an endangered species in England and Wales twenty years ago, they are now thriving. One way in which the feeding station finances itself is by allowing photographers (amongst others), access.

    The set-up in Richard's link does not seem to me to be 'unethical'. Though I agree Marks point, in general about photographic 'deception'.

    That said, I plant specific species in my garden to attract butterflies and hoverflies. In turn I suspect that this creates a 'slightly' higher density of insect which certain birds will prey on,..... I happily photograph both the insects and birds in the belief I am doing nothing to influence, adversely, their normal behaviour, but am increasing the chances that it will be in my own 'back yard'.

    In a slightly different context, I've often fished to put something on my plate....... but I do have ethical issues about 'sport' fishing, where lakes/rivers are 'baited' so that anglers attract, catch and then return a fish, just to show that they can!!

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    Re: Really neat bird photography idea...

    I digress.

    I was dragged out to go birding early one morning with a family member. At the end of the day everyone was recapping what they saw and how lucky they were. I turned to my birder relative and asked him "of all the birds we saw today, which is the most tasty?" The din of conversation died instantly.

    Joel Sartore is featured in an online video course on photography. Being an amateur I learned a lot from that series many years ago. At one point Mr Sartore shows a beautiful image of a bird on a branch - I forgot what species it was. Next, he zoomed back to show how the image was captured - the bird was perched on a branch that had been impaled into an orange (the bird's favourite food) which was in turn mounted on a stand surrounded by soft boxes, a camera and remote receiver. The image is undeniably beautiful and the photographer was truthful in how he reported the image capture. No issues for me.

    Michael

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    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Really neat bird photography idea...

    This may be an analogy... I have nothing against shooting animals in zoos and... in doing so; trying to avoid the evidences of the enclosure when doing so. In fact, this is probably the only way many (most) people will ever get a chance to shoot exotic animals...

    However, I would certainly not ever try to pass off a zoo shot, no matter how well I avoided the enclosure when shooting the image, as a shot made out in the wild...

    OTOH, is shooting wild animals from the back of an African safari vehicle driven by a guide a legitimate "wild animal shot". The guide places the photographer or the group in place for the photograph and the photographer only has to compose and expose

    I will say that, having a good guide (and a vehicle reserved for you and possibly one or two others) gives you a far better chance of getting a good image, that riding in a "meat wagon" with six or eight or more other people. My son-in-law did several safari drives on his trip to Africa. He and his dad had exclusive use of vehicles with their own guides. Despite the general lack of photo experience and despite their minimal gear (Canon SX-50HS bridge cameras), they were able to bring home some very good
    images...

    Additionally, what about cutting a flower and bringing it into a studio to light and shoot against an appropriate background? Is that not cheating also? Are you worried about getting a beautiful image or having and image that will illustrate horticutural methods

    Finally... What would be the ramifications if I knew a certain area of my fenced in acre of yard attracted certain birds or butterflies, and if I set up a camera with a light or two to capture images of those birds or butterflies... No baiting involved - except perhaps for originally planting the shrubs or flowers which will attract the birds and butterflies. Which is, in iotself a form of baiting, isn't it!

    I guess maybe the final decision is, does one want a lovely image or an image which shows the bird or butterfly in its natural habitat?

    Here's another analogy... Although I no longer hunt, I generally have no problems with hunting. Except in the cases in which the animals are baited into certain areas and hunted there. This is a very prevalent form of hunting in some areas of the state of Texas in which a hunter or hunters lease a portion of land and, throughout the year, bait that area with corn and other goodies. Then when hunting season comes around, they position themselves up in trees (there are intricate perches sold) and wait for the deer to come look for the food it has been used to getting This is perfectly legal and considering the over population of deer in the Hill Country of Texas, certaily is not hurting the survival of the species...
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 19th April 2017 at 03:17 PM.

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    Re: Really neat bird photography idea...

    Baiting for hunting purposes is illegal in many parts of the world. In some it's not. In many such as Canada and the US, it depends on where and what you're hunting. I doubt any place attaches criminal rules specifically to photography. That of course precludes a situation putting an animal in harms way.

    Organizations such as National Geographic frown on anything that puts the animals or their ecosystems in potential danger. All that I've come across merely stated that if submitted for competition you must inform them of the circumstances. Basically you shouldn't represent a photograph as being something it's not. You can't stage then say something is entirely natural in a competition where the rules stipulated you must say so. Not that you can't; you just have to tell them. NG has had lots of photographs with animals under the direct control of humans. It's fine if there's no question about it.

    Because of the multitude of situations it is somewhat of a grey area and differs not only between photographers but also between organizations to which they belong. At one time NG didn't even allow editing but now they say some is OK. What's some?

    Our world is full of human impacts. Is photographing a bird in a tree that someone planted interference? A coyote on railway tracks? It's fine to take a shot of a polar bear dining on a seal carcass it did not kill. Is it not OK if I move that carcass 5 feet to get it out from behind a rock? Is trimming a branch to get a better view OK but nailing a branch to a fence not? Back yard bird feeders are OK as long as the picture of the bird is taken in a tree that was naturally seeded? Is it OK to take pictures of hummingbirds as long as they only feed from wild flowers rather than the honeysuckles you planted? Really, you'd be hard pressed to find any wild animal photographs in populated areas that didn't put an animal in the location because of human interaction. I know some great places to photograph deer and moose and it's in the forest where nobody goes. Those critters are moving between cultivated grain fields. Is that baiting? Bears on their way to an oat field? Geese coming down for the field of peas? Raptors hunting over the hay field?

    Some people take great pride in being able to stage a location so well that it repetitively bringing birds or dragonflies to a spot in front of a blind. Some even write books about it. Good for them if that's what's they enjoy getting out and doing. Many come up as entries in local and national galleries and are well accepted. If photographers going to all the trouble to make those shots get some smiles from doing it and from the results on their walls then good for them. Just don't falsely claim it's something it's not. And for heavens sake, have fun and don't worry about what someone else thinks.(unless he has a badge)
    Last edited by Andrew1; 19th April 2017 at 03:23 PM.

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    Re: Really neat bird photography idea...

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew1 View Post
    If photographers going to all the trouble to make those shots get some smiles from doing it and from the results on their walls then good for them. Just don't falsely claim it's something it's not. And for heavens sake, have fun and don't worry about what someone else thinks.(unless he has a badge)
    Bravo to that! Each of us has to decide for ourselves the morality of each situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    OTOH, is shooting wild animals from the back of an African safari vehicle driven by a guide a legitimate "wild animal shot". The guide places the photographer or the group in place for the photograph and the photographer only has to compose and expose
    That's the same as someone thinking that all a guy has to do get some great photos of airplanes is to join a camera club to get preferential location at the time trials of an airplane race, set up a chair, and have another member of the club hold your spot while you go to the bathroom. Once that is taken care of, it's no big deal; it's just a matter of composing and exposing, right?

    A photo of an animal in the wild is a photo of an animal in the wild no matter how one got in position to capture it. A photo of an airplane with buildings in the background is a photo of an airplane with buildings in the background no matter how one got in position to capture it.

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    Re: Really neat bird photography idea...

    Here are a few (very general) tips from The Audubon Guide to Responsible Bird Photography...
    http://www.audubon.org/get-outside/a...rd-photography

    "Luring birds closer for photography is often possible but should be done in a responsible way.

    Birdfeeding stations, whether or not they’re used for photography, should be kept clean, stocked only with appropriate food items, and positioned with the birds’ safety in mind.
    Never lure hawks or owls with live bait, or with decoys such as artificial or dead mice. Baiting can change the behavior of these predatory birds in ways that are harmful for them.
    Playback of bird voices to lure them close for photography should be used sparingly, and not at all in the case of endangered birds, or birds at critical points in their nesting cycle."

    Mike wrote:

    "A photo of an animal in the wild is a photo of an animal in the wild no matter how one got in position to capture it. A photo of an airplane with buildings in the background is a photo of an airplane with buildings in the background no matter how one got in position to capture it."

    I'd be willing to bet that a photographer with only decent photographic skills and with good guide and vehicle engaged for that photographer's exclusive use will come back with better imagery than a very skilled photographer forced to share a mediocre guide in a tourist filled vehicle...

    Just like, a decent fisherman will very likely come home with a better catch if he or she is in a charter boat with, the most, two or three other fisherman, than a top notch fisherman forced to fish from a West Coast "Cattle Boat" in which fishermen are crammed in (literally) elbow to elbow fore to aft on both sides of the boat. I have been at both ends of the extremes and my final result has always been better in the smaller but, less crowded,, boat.

    Given photogaphers/fishermen of equal skill levels, I am sure the photographer with the good guide in a vehicle hired exclusively and a fisherman in a boat with two to three others maximum will come back with better results than the expers in the group setting...

    In the case of my son-in-law and his dad, the guide pointed out several images that my son-in-law and his dad said that they never saw until they were pointed out...

    Really neat bird photography idea...
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 19th April 2017 at 04:02 PM.

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    Re: Really neat bird photography idea...

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    the guide pointed out several images that my son-in-law and his dad said that they never saw until they were pointed out...
    When riding with a group of people, the group also points out scenes the guide would never see.

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    I'd be willing to bet that a photographer with only decent photographic skills and with good guide and vehicle engaged for that photographer's exclusive use will come back with better imagery than a very skilled photographer forced to share a mediocre guide in a tourist filled vehicle...
    Even when that's true (I would happily wager that it's not always the case), why does that matter?

    Based on everything I learned while on two safaris in South Africa, there are six fundamental ways of accessing wild animals via land in the private and public reserves:

    • Walk through the bush with a guide.
    • Ride on a horse through the bush with a guide.
    • Ride in a vehicle driven by a guide carrying up to several people. When tracking certain animals, the vehicle is allowed to go off-road.
    • Ride in a large vehicle driven by a guide carrying up to about 50 people. The vehicle is limited to using the roads.
    • Ride in a privately driven vehicle (with no guide). The vehicle is limited to using the roads.
    • Stay overnight and during the day at a facility that provides easy access to a man-made or natural waterhole that attracts the wild animals.

    If I capture a wonderful image -- keeping in mind that absolutely wonderful images can be captured in all of those situations -- it doesn't matter to me what the method of access was. Similarly, if I make two great photos in my makeshift studio and one is dramatically more difficult to make for whatever combination of reasons, I am no more satisfied with having made the photo that is relatively difficult to make than with the other photo.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 19th April 2017 at 09:23 PM.

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    Re: Really neat bird photography idea...

    This is why baiting is illegal in some jurisdictions.
    I would really enjoy going in front of a judge being charged with using a feeder to "bait" for
    photography and then having it shown on the local news. The absurdity of it is amazing.

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    Re: Really neat bird photography idea...

    Thanks for the link, Richard. I see that there are other links there too about how to shoot birdlife...

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    Re: Really neat bird photography idea...

    Some additional thoughts on the use of baiting, would luring worms to the surface be considering baiting or just moving nature along? My thoughts about being considerate, humane, and ethical in animal photography is: don't do anything that would harm the animal (this includes using flash to get that cool catchlight), don't do anything that alters the animals behavior or natural inclinations, and sort of on the fence regarding the need to describe your shooting environment unless you plan to submit for a photo contest, nature magazine, or specifically themed website.

    So would luring worms to the surface be considered baiting, wouldn't the luring of worms to the surface also be causing harm to the insect as well? Regarding the use of flash, I've read pros and cons of using flash; more cons without any scientific data to back it up, and a few pros suggesting there is no harm.


    \http://indianapublicmedia.org/amomen...ns-find-worms/

    https://www.naturescapes.net/article...s-and-animals/

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    Re: Really neat bird photography idea...

    The original post features excellent photos with mediocre video production via iMovie. Love the photos - they are awesome.

    While the issue of "baiting" may be sensitive and perhaps illegal on some jurisdictions, I did not observe captive animals or free drugs in the video. I am not sure what all the "bait" was but I prefer to assume that the unseen bait was as innocuous as the fruit which I did see.

    If I had a fast enough lens at long FL I would be happy to pay for the bird shooting experience which Richard brought to our attention and my conscience would be clear that the birds got to eat fruit and not French fries.

    Michael

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    Re: Really neat bird photography idea...

    If I had a fast enough lens at long FL I would be happy to pay for the bird shooting experience which Richard brought to our attention and my conscience would be clear that the birds got to eat fruit and not French fries.
    Sea gulls eat French fries and if you are trying to practice on BIF, they are a good one to practice on, just go to any fast food restaurants and you have bait. So that is cruel?

    As for John(Shadowman), have you ever thought that for your first paragraph you can change "animals" to mean humans too because we either dig our garden for baits for fishing and we also get harmed (or not) by what we eat...

    I am not against baiting, just keep it safe in all aspects. I got to watch another Murphy video yesterday apart from what Richard had posted and he mentioned "going to his hide..."

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