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Nature Photography Ettiquette.
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Common sense! Well I say that, it's probably common sense for togs but anyone else would just walk straight in-front of the lens!!!
A very good article. For the most part I hope it is not me but it might be where major-league telephoto lenses are in use in crowded places and it is not so easy to see who is shooting what (I wasn't in France this last few days I have to say!). For the most part I find people (whether photographers or not) really polite and I try to be as well.
Interestingly and in keeping with the article, I was at a national motorsports meeting recently on the first of 3 days when the bikes and riders practice. This first day is usually much quieter than race day and attracts quite a few photographers (but nowhere near many as the second 2 days where elbow room can be non-existant) but on this occasion I had never seen so many people and as there were only 4 or 5 main points to take shots where bike and light were right, it got pretty crowded. It wasn't long before a guy with a big lens and all the gear (not that should differentiate him from any other tog) parked himself in front of three others, blocking two. Their displeasure was made known but he didn't move and at one point I thought it was going to be fisticuffs but I think he picked on the wrong three guys and moved away - sensible, but more sensible would have been to be polite enough to set himself up so as not to obscure them or not stand there at all. Then there are the photographers in the 'inner track' who have the media cards and are of course working. While they mostly move on reasonably quickly as they now exactly what they want and when, even waiting while we get our shots, many linger in front of the photographers behind the fence and that causes friction as well because they have the advantage of getting shots from just about anywhere that is safe.
It occured to me then and after seeing a photo of the crowds cheering the Olympic convoy of medal winners in London that I wondered if there are just so many 'photograpers' now (nearly every one of the 100s of spectators in the photo was looking through an SLR, compact or mobile phone) that getting any shot is becoming more stressful. But how must ordinary fans or spectators feel about it as we block their view, panning from one side to the other in unison, shot after shot; they want to sit down and watch while we all stand up along the fence line; I feel for them as well and try not to interfere with anyone's view by looking for other shots if necessary but it's not always easy to do.
Perhaps that is why I would not have made a very good press photographer, elbows not sharp enough, but we all ought to be able to get the shots we want without ruining shots or the view for others.
Interestingly, I have had more problems with other togs blocking the view than I have with non-togs, who seem very polite and helpful.
Quote: But how must ordinary fans or spectators feel about it as we block their view, panning from one side to the other in unison, shot after shot; they want to sit down and watch while we all stand up along the fence line; I feel for them as well and try not to interfere with anyone's view by looking for other shots if necessary but it's not always easy to do.
I was thinking about this kind of problem yesterday, when I was at an airshow. There were huge crowds of spectators, and inevitably everybody tended to stand as soon as there was something of particular interest going on (e.g. the Red Arrows always gets everybody's attention). Towards the end of the display, there was a tallish guy standing in front and slightly to the left of me. He wasn't really in my line of view, so my interest was purely academic, but because everybody was standing he lifted his young son up onto his shoulders to ensure he could see. I fully sympathise. It's sometimes bad enough for adults struggling to see (let alone take photos!) past somebody tall in front of us. For a child, it must be far worse. But the other side of that coin, of course, is that people behind him were suddenly confronted with a 7' tall human blocking their view! As it happened, nobody was close enough behind him that it would have been a significant problem, and some spaces had developed which would have allowed people to move around and find better vantage points. Still, it's an interesting dilemma, and I doubt if there's an ideal solution to it, not even in terms of etiquette.
On the other hand, after the flying display had finished and the big exodus of spectators was more than half over, I did feel irritated when setting up a shot of a static aircraft when somebody lumbered directly across between me and the 'plane without glancing to right or left, or apparently being aware that they might be blocking anybody's view. I was shooting with a 'standard' zoom at this point, so I was standing close to my subject. It's hard to see how he could have been unaware, and a tiny diversion to pass behind me would not have lengthened his journey by any measurable amount. To be fair, though, I've more often found people going to excessive lengths to avoid getting in the way of a shot, so I think the average person tends to be sensitive to the needs of photographers, and more than willing to co-operate.
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