Hi all, Bill here
Following yesterday's discussion about photographers I asked a mate who's
big in a camera club here in Melbourne about codes of ethics.
Seems there isn't anything written for them to follow, but these are his
thoughts about it, including someone to write to to complain about bad
From: "Malcolm Vickers" <>
Sent: Friday, November 12, 2010 6:49 PM
To: "Bill Stent" <>
Subject: Re: Camera club code of ethics
You can pass my potted view back if you wish.
Hmm... I'm not sure what to make of this:
"All they wanted were top images of birds for entry into photographic
I can only write about what I see in the amateur photography world, I
don't know about the professionals. Certainly the paparazzi have a very
It's true that birds do make good photographic subjects. However it's
also true that if you take a brilliant photo of a sparrow, or anything
else alive or dead, it will beat an ordinary photo of a rare and
endangered bird every time.
If photographers are behaving badly and endangering the animals they are
trying to photograph then they deserve to be told off or even fined (if
that's possible) as any ordinary member of the public.
If any bird watcher cares to "educate" a photographer about the damage
they might be doing - then please do so and very loudly if you wish.
I find most amateur photographers involved in "nature" photography are
doing it because they love nature and want to show it and preserve it.
Yes, sadly, there are cowboys with a little too much of the hunter
instinct, hell bent on winning competitions.
It's true that any trouble or method the photographer uses to get the
image isn't counted. In amateur photography, photos are normally judged
in a blinded way. I know that sounds silly but it means the judge makes
and appraisal based only on the image only. They don't know the
photographers name or any of the details of how the image was taken, they
can only surmise based on the image.
It's very difficult, or quite impossible to enforce ethical rules on any
amateur group. I would enquire as to which organization (if any) the
photographer belongs and write a letter of complaint to that body.
In Victoria, about 90% of amateur photographic clubs are affiliated with
In NSW (including Bowra) it's the "Federation of camera clubs NSW"
Amateur photgraphers do rely on the good will of others to succeed. If
someone has behaved badly they deserve to have their reputation called
As usual, it the few bad apples.
At 12:22 PM 12/11/2010, you wrote:
Hey Mal, does your camera club have any code of ethics governing (in this
case) bird photography?
Alleged behaviour of a minority of photographers is causing quite a bit of
angst on the Biding-Aus newsgroup, see below.
From: "Carl Clifford"
Sent: Friday, November 12, 2010 12:15 PM
To: "jenny spry"
Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Fwd: [Raptor_conservation] photographers
threaten endangered Hen Harriers in Holland
I also was up at Bowra when the Restless F-c chicks hatched. I was
taking shots from the steps of the quarters, when one of the
photographers there said I should climb up the tree "so I could get a
good shot". I replied that the birds were being disturbed too much
anyway. The photographer replied " what's the problem? The birds are
probably going to be eaten by something anyway" I walked away before
said photographer would have had to bend over to take any further
photographs. Shortly after that, signs were placed in the quarters
giving rules for photographing birds, but they seemed to make no
difference to the behaviour of certain individuals.
I find it rather bizarre that Camera clubs have a code of ethics for the
production of the images, but not for how the images were obtained.
On 12/11/2010, at 11:24 AM, jenny spry wrote:
I think some things have changed with the introduction of DSLR cameras
and are being overlooked in this discussion. Without detracting from the
concern that "some bird watchers" threaten the security of their target
bird, the matter has become much wider.
For example, the photographers harassing the flycatchers at Bowra
earlier this year were not "birdwatchers", they were "photographers".
All they wanted were top images of birds for entry into photographic
I met them there but left the day after they arrived so missed the
damage they supposedly did. I do know however that they were very
excited to have the opportunity to photograph "Leaden Flycatchers" at
the nest. They knew they were "Leadens" and not Restless because one
"had rusty orange on the breast". They had checked their field guide and
I could not persuade them otherwise.
I ate my dinner with one of the photographers in the shearers shed and
he was telling me all about his camera club and what the rules were
about the images eg no digital manipulation, the images had to be as
they were taken, hence the need for no branches obstructing the view
etc. Photoshopped images could not be used in their competitions. And
some of the photos were exquisite, even if the bird was misnamed.
It is still the minority giving the rest a bad name but they are no
longer all "birdwatchers", "bird photgraphers" have now joined the
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