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Monday, 08 May 2017


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If you were an Indian villager in danger of being eaten you might not caption the photo quite so smugly. The "great white hunters" were welcomed and celebrated....

"never, ever, ever wait around for a vaporware lens to materialize"
TOP Sep 14 2012

They call it cognitive dissonance. Even if Fuji or whoever is good at filling lens lineups, do not wait. Buy the GX only when everything you need is there.

Voltz (who did use Contax with 28/2, 50/1.4 and 85/1.4s for a while, until the cameras kept throwing their mirrors).

I agree with Miserere. "Game" farms ... is it a game for the residents? Yes, I know these animals might have a shorter lifespan in the wild, but on game farms they are not "in the wild" - hence are not wildlife. So it's not "wildlife photography".

But to return to my objection to such places, I think it most often gives false solace to relieve the guilt of what humans have done and are doing to the natural environment. It's pretty much on the level of "some of my best friends are ..."

In principle I have nothing against the practice, especially considering that people do the same thing with killing animals; we've all heard the stories of big cats being chained up on "wildlife preserves" so they can be safely shot as "trophies" by "big game hunters." (Scare quotes well deserved.)

I will never accept cruelty. Never.

Long ago, I worked at a stock photo agency that specialized in wildlife, so I have literally seen and cataloged thousands of bird and animal images from the 1980s. Many were dull, but all were (as far as I know) “real” and having gone through many sheets of Kodachromes of the same subject from any given photographer, I had a sense of the effort that went into getting the images.

I’m a believer in “to each his own” (or in the current vernacular, “to each their own”) but this game farm thing just makes me sad. I’m not saying people shouldn’t participate, but I can’t not see it as another sign of the coming cultural apocalypse. While it’s true that these images are sharp and clear, they lack any sense of having been earned.

It reminds me of those model shoots that people put together, where a group of photographers (always men) pay a model (always a woman) to sit on a chair and pose while they click click click away. What’s the point of that? You can’t make a comparison between it and life drawing sessions, because those are about exercising and developing drawing skills. What does a group modelling session get you? You get to practice pressing the shutter button? *Sigh*

Our house is built on a slope so that the garage is at the basement level in the rear. Built out over the entrance to the garage is a screen porch on the main level.

For the past several years, swallows have built a nest in exactly the same spot on one of the floor joists under the screen porch, above the garage entrance. Last year, they raised two families there.

They are back again this year, have built a new nest, and already the lady of the house is sitting on a new clutch of eggs. We really enjoy their presence.

I would love to post a photo of one of last year's groups of fledglings, but can never figure out how to post a photo to this site.

I agree with Daniel's comment: 'If you photograph it, label it correctly.' If you do that, I think almost anything's fair game (sorry!).

Just look at the work of James Balog, or Susan Middleton and David Liittschwager ('Here Today'). Their work is clearly not done in the wild, but to me is powerful and affecting. By the same token, Nick Brandt's work - which I find very portrait-like - is done in the wild, and is even more powerful, especially when you consider that he often eschews telephoto lenses.

I'm so enthralled with finally seeing a wood thrush that I've listened to for twenty minutes that I forget I'm carrying binoculars.

That's wildlife. A birdcage ain't the same.

"But it's not inherently a crime for animals to work for their keep,"

I feel that this is a barbaric statement.

[I do not. Everyone is happier with good work to do. Dogs are happier if given the job of herding sheep or fetching a ball or obeying commands; my robins are certainly working like demons as they build their nests, and when the mother robin startles when we come out the back door and lands on the ground thirty feet away, chirping, I move towards her...do you know why? Because it is her job to distract me, a perceived threat, away from her nest. I imagine that by moving towards her I satisfy the instinct in her that leads her to offer herself as bait. I know I am no threat; she does not. She successfully defends her nest, which is her work.

Human animals are also happier when given work to do. Sigmund Freud defined mental health and a fulfilling life as Lieben und Arbeiten, love and work. Show me a man no matter how wealthy with no work to do, no purpose in life, and I'll show you a man who will eventually be unhappy, or less happy that he could have been. Animals, too, need to be fulfilled in this way.

It is the way of nature, of life, and of God. There are many ways that it can be made to be wrong, but it is not inherently wrong. It is inherently an essential virtue. --Mike]

To me, my bird photography is about the shooting and the shot is only satisfying if I got it without any tricks.

Now, model photography is a bit different. I've never found an attractive young woman wrapped in colorful fabric lit by just the right light in nature or in those jungles a previous commenter mentioned.

In that case, the joy is in coming up with the image, the lighting and the posing, which is a completely different challenge from standing in nature for a day or walking the streets of a city for candids.

It's that diversity that attracts me in photography.

I don't frequent game farms or zoos.

While I'm not enthusiastic enough to go on safaris, I do enjoy photographing wildlife in the wild when the opportunity arises.

Below: a few years ago in the Sequoia National Forest, California. A bear wandered around the back side of the cabin. Bears don't usually bother people unless provoked or disturbed (eating, mother and cubs, etc.)

- Richard

India had about 100,000 tigers in the wild in the year 1900. It has perhaps 2,000 now, after intensive conservation efforts over the last few decades.

An excellent account is at


Another excellent read is Jim Corbett's Man Eaters of Kumaon

which is about the great wildlife warden's experiences with the handful of tigers that actually posed a threat to human life. Contrary to still popular belief, these were but a tiny fraction of those that were killed.


I love nature and support nature conservation. I love to shoot wildlife in their natural habitat (with my Nikon). I do not support these so-called photo game farms.

The British killed thousands of tigers during their rule in India. Big game hunts were one of their favorite pastimes. It is false to state that the Indian villagers cheered and welcomed the slaughter of these beautiful animals - except for the killings of few man-eaters.

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