Western Wild

Dave Showalter's Conservation Photography Weblog

Jerks

Bad Boys

February 13, 2012 | 4 Comments

I’ve been hearing reports of bad photographer behavior during this year’s snowy owl invasion – then this video showed up on YouTube. An asshole with big glass is still an asshole and there’s no excuse for approaching wildlife and forcing them to fly. In case anyone is wondering – this is not how ethical photographers make their images. I hope the video makes the rounds in B.C. and these morons are exposed in the local community for their complete disregard for the beautiful creature they seek to photograph.

4 Comments

  • Monte Stevens says:

    Asshole fits!

    • I think it’s now “criminal asshole” Because I heard they got fined. What goes through your head right before you start crawling directly at the rare bird? Too bad it wasn’t a sleeping grizz…

  • Sigh. Makes you wonder if every good bird photo you see was a bird that almost flushed, or flushed a second later.

    But what goes through your head before crawling at that bird? I’m pretty sure I know: composition, light, perspective, DOF, ISO, that eye’s gotta be sharp…. all the stuff we photographers spend a lot of time thinking about. And it doesn’t help that we’re always being told “the final image is all that matters; the story behind it is interesting to no one.”

    Wildlife photographers have it a lot tougher ethically than landscape guys like me. But I hope to remember this next time my world narrows to the viewfinder, the larger world fades away, and I hear that little voice saying, “Maybe I could just tiptoe across that cryptogamic soil. It’s not like everyone’s doing it, it’s just this once and it could be a great shot.”

    • Thanks for the thoughtful post, Jackson. Although there’s some questionable field practices out there, I still believe that most photogs care about their subject’s well-being and carry their ethics with them in the field. And you may be right about what goes through the head of an offender; but I have a different slant.

      I submit there are two motivators:
      1. Glory ~ It’s the I’ll win at the camera club/be published in a really important magazine/win the adulation of my friends/become a top pro/ be famous…
      2. It’s just me ~ This is the same mindset as the crypto soil crusher or the wildflower trampler. I’ll do whatever I need to do to make the image. These folks will look at you cross-eyed if you talk about the sum of human impacts.

      When you combine Glory and It’s Just Me you have a hopeless situation. Perhaps an alternate personal value is don’t hurt what you love, then accept that you may not make the photo of your dreams.

      “The measure of a man’s character is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out.”
      THOMAS BABINGTON MACAULAY

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