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Old 03-07-2013, 06:02 PM   #1
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The Ethics of Wildlife Photography
Sticky Questions for the Digital Age
By Kristina Boyd

The Ethics of Wildlife Photography | The Wildlife Society News
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In 2010, a wildlife photographer in Madrid, Spain, was stripped of the prestigious Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year award when the contest committee ruled that he had likely hired a captive wolf to represent a wild animal in his winning image (Booth 2010). Months earlier, in Florida, a wildlife photographer submitted heavily altered digital images to a National Wildlife Refuge Association photo contest and was summarily disqualified after admitting to creative use of his digital darkroom (NWRA 2009). In Uttarakhand, India, a wildlife photographer captured images of a tiny lapwing chick hiding motionless in the mud as an ant crawled across its open eye. Likely fearful of the photographer’s presence, the chick stayed still rather than blink to remove the ant, which the photographer later feared may have potentially caused eye damage or energetic costs to the chick (Patra 2010).

The use of captive animal “models” hired to represent wild ones, the digital manipulation of images, and the disruption of natural animal behavior while in pursuit of images are at the center of a debate about whether such incidents are breaches in wildlife photography ethics…
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Old 03-07-2013, 06:21 PM   #2
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Most, but not all, of my backyard bird photos are based on them coming to my birdfeeding station. My bluebird pictures are often based on them coming to the nest boxes I've provided--although one of my favorites is just a shot of one in a tree.

Is providing habitat considered "baiting"?
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Old 03-07-2013, 06:56 PM   #3
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I think luring them with food to get a photograph is considered baiting. And birds at feeders, though not really captive, are not really eating in the wild.

As for photo editing though, I see nothing wrong with that if you're tweaking exposure or cropping, not adding to or deleting from a natural scene. Photography outdoors is subject to a wide range of lighting conditions. Correcting that post-processing is fine IMHO. The big photographic contests usually want you to provide an original in the event that you win, but of course they can demand whatever rule they want.
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Old 03-07-2013, 07:47 PM   #4
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I think luring them with food to get a photograph is considered baiting. And birds at feeders, though not really captive, are not really eating in the wild.

...The big photographic contests usually want you to provide an original in the event that you win, but of course they can demand whatever rule they want.
Hmmm...so, the wren came to my yard because I put out black oil sunflower seeds in the winter. So, should I not have won?
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Old 03-07-2013, 07:51 PM   #5
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You are lucky we don't apply the rule here!
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Old 03-07-2013, 07:54 PM   #6
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I built a pond on my property which attacted frogs...and that is how I got the photo of my frogs--except the first one that was taken at a park.

My goal is to document the variety of wildlife (and native plants) on our property.
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Old 03-07-2013, 07:55 PM   #7
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You are lucky we don't apply the rule here!
~smile~ Seriously, I don't want to feel like I did something unethical.
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Old 03-07-2013, 07:57 PM   #8
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Not to worry, we won't turn you in to the DEC Police! But if I had known about the your sunflower seed lure...
j/k!
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:12 PM   #9
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Not to worry, we won't turn you in to the DEC Police! But if I had known about the your sunflower seed lure...
j/k!
:-P

My goal is to have our property provide enough seeds, fruit, nectar, breeding sites, etc., so that I don't have to do any supplemental feeding. Creating natural habitat on our two acres is meant to attract (lure?) and support wildlife.

...I do realize that two acres is not enough--surely whatever fruits and seeds my plants provide will be eaten and the wildlife will move on...I can't imagine it providing enough throughout all winter.
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:15 PM   #10
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Yes, that would be a big project!
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