I was reading a thread on a well-known photography website about a landowner shutting down photography on his lands. Why? The story presents two sides but no one really knows why the property is off limits except the owner but are we sometimes guilty of bad or less than courteous behavior? I have seen photographers ignore railway no trespassing signs at Bosque to photograph early morning cranes on a wonderfully located pond, and the pond was drained as the result of these trespasses. Many have seen the chaos that occurs at the Oxbow Bend Overlook during the fall with photographers failing to act in a courteous manner. I could go on and on about these types of stories, and we have all experienced such actions by others and maybe we have been less than courteous ourselves. Continue reading
Story and photography by Ralph Bendjebar
As the use of UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) has become more commonplace in aerial photography and videography, the inevitable questions arise about their ethical use: What are the responsibilities of operators to ensure that they comply not only with the legal restrictions concerning commercial use (FAA Certificate of Authority and legal use in the National Airspace), but also the responsibility to adhere to the ethical standards we impose upon ourselves when doing land-based photography/videography.
We as photographers/videographers have a responsibility to tread lightly when photographing nature. If we disturb wildlife in the act of recording images or footage by altering the behavior of the animal or disrupting its environment, we have crossed an ethical boundary that is hard to justify. Most of us have a reasonable sense of when that boundary is crossed. For example, if a safari vehicle intersects a cheetah in the act of stalking prey, forcing it to abandon the hunt, that is unacceptable from an ethical standpoint. But if that same vehicle causes zebras or wildebeest to maneuver out of the way, most of us would consider that acceptable. The line between what is and is not considered ethical can be difficult to determine, but the question that needs to be asked is: Does my act of recording images/footage interfere with the normal behavior of the animal? Continue reading
Story and Photos by Melissa Groo
As Melissa Groo explains in her Outdoor Photographer article Finding the Right Track back in March- “Now, more than ever, we need an open discussion on the ethics of wildlife photography. This is the best time in history to be a wildlife photographer, and this is the worst time in history to be a wild animal. That statement might sound extreme, but consider the facts. It has never been easier to find a wild subject. Online databases, photography forums, texting and social media yield instant information on the location of a bird or other animal—often with GPS coordinates. Workshops that promise spectacular shots of wildlife in thrilling destinations abound. Thermal-imaging devices locate dens and nests; camera traps, drones and buggies find and track elusive animals. It also has never been easier to actually photograph a wild subject. Current lens technology, AF systems, and gear lightness and maneuverability make stunning images easily within reach of both amateurs and professionals. Ultimately, it’s up to each of us when we’re out in the field. If we work within the bounds of patience, respect and an understanding of the challenges wild animals face, we’ll be on the right track.” Continue reading