Reflections On Wildlife Photography

Despite all the recent photowalks shooting urban ephemera, my primary interest in photography was always wildlife and animal photography.

Photo 1

Forests of trees have been sacrificed to literature on this subject, and I accept with all humility that I may not have any earth-shattering technical insights to offer here. There have been plenty of excellent articles on this site alone about wildlife photography and the equipment one can use in its pursuit.

Photo 2

But elsewhere I have seen too many photos of wildlife and animals that have been captured simply because they were there. As laudable as they are, the most inspiring images for me are where the subject engaged me and caught my imagination, giving me a more profound relationship with it and enhancing my viewing experience.

Photo 3

Of course I am not an expert on the subject and would never claim to be. Nor will I wax lyrical about telephoto lenses and shutter speeds. This is an ideological submission in which I hope to reflect on a desire to capture something special, albeit sometimes typical, about wildlife.

Photo 5

This does not happen just by turning up, of course. All the usual advice applies. Learning about the animal and its behaviour; being in the right place at the right time; having a great deal of patience and reverence for the animal you wish to photograph, the last of those being most important. More than anything, however, since wildlife can be as unpredictable as we are, a tremendous amount of luck is involved too!

Photo 4-

There may not be a special methodology or killer tip to producing engaging wildlife images, but I believe lighting plays a big part. How the animal is lit in relation to its surroundings can have a profound impact in how we perceive and relate to it. Even a silhouette can express the animal’s presence or character. I remember one of the winning images of WPOTY one year was merely a partial sunlit outline of a polar bear. Just a short, single orange line on a black background, but you knew immediately what it was; profound through its simplicity.

Photo 6

Behaviour is always satisfying to capture, and this may be an exercise in waiting for the subject to do something! It may be as subtle as a parent reassuring its young or as dramatic as two polar bears having a fight. Patience leads to opportunity, and then the unpredictability of behaviour, in all honesty, begets a flurry of shots, hoping that one of them will capture a decisive moment.

Photo 7

Again, knowledge of your subject will help understand their activity. For example, most big cats sleep during the day, so getting a decent shot of them being active usually involves waiting until the light is waning. Seals are very anthropomorphic in their gestures, and lend themselves to great captions.

Photo 8

As previous articles have suggested, rendering in black and white can remove the distraction of colour to create more impact and imposition through the clarity of lines, shapes or expression.

Photo 9

Photo 10

Another factor is eye contact. Now, I would never advocate confronting or disturbing a wild animal just to get a photo! Please don’t do that! But if you are lucky enough to win your subject’s curiosity from afar then it’s worth taking the shot at the peak of their glare. Eye contact will personalise the viewer’s experience by reeling them into the animal’s world.

Photo 11

One important consideration, which Nasim has rightly reinforced many times, is the post-processing. Understandably, most people would want to see wildlife in its natural glory, without any manipulation or need for enhancement. Wildlife rarely needs any make-up! But at the same time, the camera doesn’t know how you as an individual wish to represent the subject. Perhaps selective dodging and burning, or better contrast and colour can truly project the subject to the viewer.

Photo 12

To be sure, as many of my images have been captured of animals in captivity as they have in the wild, but usually the same rules on capturing an image apply. It is good practice to try to frame the subject in a way that belies its captive environment.

Photo 13

Many people, including myself, have been attacked for presenting images that were taken in captivity, as if that somehow diminished the aesthetic quality of the animal. While seeing an animal in its natural habitat is rewarding, I have stated on my blog many times that I am not claiming to offer a commentary on any animal’s environment. I simply want to capture its aesthetic and promote a greater appreciation of it through the image. I have also stated many times that I would gladly give up the opportunity to photograph any animal if its safety in the wild and protection against humans was guaranteed. Of course we know this will never be true. Soon, many of the iconic species we take for granted, such as tigers, rhino, sharks and orang-utans will become extinct in the wild. A shameful indictment on humankind’s behaviour.

Photo 14

Furthermore, creating engaging images of animals, wherever they may be, can surely only enhance the viewer’s appreciation of them, and perhaps promote and contribute to conservation efforts. Getting closer to the animal will help procure images that fill the frame and are more dramatic. I understand the reservations that people have with captivity, and they are entirely valid. I have been lucky enough to visit many of the top wildlife parks in the world, and almost all achieved that status by giving their animals plenty of space and enrichment. Not the same as freedom in the wild, of course, but still cared for with compassion.

Photo 15

Well, I hope my images here, taken both in the wild and in captivity, demonstrate that in either case it is possible to represent the beauty of life on Earth. I also hope they reflect on my commitment to capture wildlife in a way that invokes the viewer’s sympathy and compassion for the animal. Thank you for reading.

Photo 16 Photo 17 Photo 18 Photo 20

All the images you see in this article were taken with the Nikkor 70-200mm F/2.8 VRII, with or without teleconverters, and on various bodies. You can see more of my wildlife images here.

Comments

  1. 1
    ) Ernesto
    June 22, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    Wow, that’s some body of work there.

  2. 2
    ) Winston Cooper
    June 22, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Superb gallery of wild life captures and thank you for the lens info. I shoot the same lens on my D800 for my outdoor stuff only it’s the budget version, f4. What was that gator eating….????

    • June 22, 2014 at 3:03 pm

      It had just swallowed an egret. More from that Florida wetland here:
      http://alphawhiskey.slickpic.com/photoblog/post/FloridaWildlife

      • Avatar of Frank Lynch
        24
        ) Frank Lynch
        June 23, 2014 at 5:44 am

        I am certainly no wildlife or photography expert by any stretch, but I am somewhat familiar with the animals that visit the shores of the lake I live by, and that sure looks like the foot of an American Coot: http://jboyd.net/Birds/IMG_4931.html. I often affectionately refer to them as the bird that was made with leftover parts.

        In any event, as a fellow animal lover and conservationist, I enjoyed the pictures and your article very much. Thank You.

        • June 23, 2014 at 10:52 am

          You may well be right, Frank! Thanks for the info. I’m not so hot on identifying birds by their feet! :)
          Thanks for the kind words :)

  3. 4
    ) Don K
    June 22, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    Sharif,

    Those are very nice photos. I particularly like photo #3, the snow leopard, I think; #11, the Lion; and #13, the monkey. Great captures!

  4. 6
    ) Alfred A
    June 22, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    Your pictures are beautiful and a wonder that there is still beauty in this world that we haven’t destroy yet. love your work.

    • June 22, 2014 at 5:04 pm

      Thank you Alfred. Hopefully people’s wildlife photography will encourage more people to preserve that beauty for posterity :)

    • 27
      ) Betty
      June 23, 2014 at 6:04 am

      Fear not, we are getting there and by the end of the century we should have wrecked pretty much all of it.
      Yes, let’s take pictures of animals in prison for posterity.

  5. 8
    ) Debbie
    June 22, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    Another well written article and beautiful body of work! My favourites are #13, #15, #16 & #26, but love them all!

    I have the Nikon 70-200mm f/4 (not the f/2.8) and have been looking for a longer lens, but lately I’ve been considering a teleconverter instead. You’ve helped me to see that this can work too :-). Any advice on the lens/teleconverter combo? My camera body is the Nikon D800E. Any advice would be most helpful.

    Best,
    Debbie

    • June 22, 2014 at 5:42 pm

      Thank you again Debbie! :)

      I have the Nikon TC-1.7eiii which gives me the equivalent view of 340mm on FX and 510mm on DX. I think the 1.7 is a decent compromise between focal length and AF speed, which does slow down slightly with the teleconverters. They tend to be sharper stopped down too (around F/7 – F/8), at least to my eyes, but I have used them wider than that. I imagine that’s one advantage of the F/2.8 lens, which is you can maintain a faster aperture with the TCs attached. They’re also less costly than a longer lens! Subject isolation (and bokeh) is still pretty good as long as you are reasonably close to your subject. With the pixel count of the D800E I’d imagine your shot discipline would also have to be very good to avoid blur and mis-focus, so you’d probably need faster shutter speeds (and thus maybe higher ISOs) than a lower pixel count could get away with. :)
      The hummingbird at the top and the damselflies trying to mate are examples of a shots made with the TC-17E attached to the 70-200mm F/2.8.

      Hope this helps you! :)

      Warm Regards,
      Sharif.

      • 26
        ) Betty
        June 23, 2014 at 6:01 am

        Sorry, the 1.7x converter does not give you 340mm on FX and 510mm on DX.
        It gives you a narrower angle of view not an increase in focal length which cannot be changed.

        I too, use a D800E and can tell you that using a 1.7x is mostly not a great idea.
        I have tried it and found it unsatisfactory.
        It is the worst performing of Nikon’s converters and does not do justice to that magnificent D800E sensor.
        OK maybe for small web images but if you are making large prints then the shortcomings become all too obvious.
        Frankly, you would probably be better off cropping an high resolution image than creating a larger, low resolution image.

        • June 23, 2014 at 6:13 am

          I can only speak for myself but my experience with the 1.7TC is that it’s a fairly decent performer. I’ve printed images at A3 from it and had no issues. I have no idea about its performance with 36MP. At the pixel level it’s not as sharp as an image without it, but then I don’t spend my time staring at pixels :) All TCs are a compromise in the end, but it’s that or bigger heavier and costlier lenses :)

        • 36
          ) Patrick O'Connor
          June 23, 2014 at 6:46 am

          If you read his comment, he wrote, “equivalent view of 340mm.” From all your comments here, I’d say you find pretty much everything “unsatisfactory.”

          • 48
            ) Betty
            June 23, 2014 at 7:25 am

            You are quite right.
            My apologies.

            Yes, I do find an awful lot of what is going on pretty unsatisfactory.
            Do you not read the papers or watch TV?

            On a purely photographic note, I repeat, if you are making small images for the web (as here) then the 1.7x converter will do fine.
            If you are making critically sharp A2 prints, then it won’t.
            Simples.

            • 54
              ) Patrick O'Connor
              June 23, 2014 at 7:36 am

              No. I don’t read the papers or watch TV. I learn everything I need to know on “Photography Life.” ;-)

              Seriously, though, I read the Bible. Taken in that context, nothing happens that isn’t predictable, lamentable, but also full of hope.

              As for acceptable images, I don’t really think of photos the way most people do (as far as I can tell). When I’m shooting for money, they have to meet certain criteria, but for my personal use, it’s more about the idea than any measure of technical perfection.

        • 149
          ) Jorge Balarin
          June 27, 2014 at 1:16 pm

          Sorry Betty, but I don’t understand what you are saying. I also have the 1.7 teleconverter and the 70-200 f/2.8 Nikon zoom. The maximum focal lenght of my zoom is 200 mm, but when I attached the teleconverter my zoom increases its focal lenght up to 340mm (I have a D700). Ken Rockwell wrote the next about the TC17E: “The Nikon TC-17E is an expensive (about $400) 1.7x teleconverter. You lose 1.5 stops of light and get 70% more (1.7x) the focal lenght.
          1.7x sounds stupid, but it’s actually wonderful because I find performance is much better than I’ve gotten with the TC-20E. Since you lose 1-1/2 stops, an f/2.8 lens becomes an f/4.8 lens.”
          So the worst Nikon teleconverter is the TC-20 E, and even the updated last version is not so wonderful. Best regards.

    • June 23, 2014 at 7:12 am

      I’d look for a review that tests the 70–200mm f4 against specific teleconverters. Generally, teleconverters are only appropriate on primes, specifically long expensive primes such as the 300mm f2.8 up. The 200-400mm is an exception (though as expensive as the long primes) and so is the 70-200mm f2.8 (though not as good with teleconverters as the 300mm f2.8).

      What applies for the 70-200mm f2.8 with teleconverters may or may not apply for the 70-200 f4. In any case, it’s a slower lens and you may have to stop down an extra stop or two to retain quality. In many lighting conditions, that may put you on a tripod and the ISO may be higher or the shutter speeds lower than you might prefer. If using a 2x converter, that takes you down to f8 wide open which many bodies will not focus at. It could still be worth your while but just be aware there are compromises.

      • 52
        ) Betty
        June 23, 2014 at 7:32 am

        Good advice Murray.

        I would introduce a caveat however, about the 200-400mm.
        It is a super lens on its own( but a bit soft at the long end compared to a 500mm or 600mm).
        It works very well with the 1.4x converter.
        It works rather less well with the 2x aspheric MKIII.
        It sucks with the 1.7x and the older 2x converters.

        I have tried it also with the 70-210mm F2.8 VRII and the same general pattern seems to apply.

        • June 23, 2014 at 8:10 am

          Yes Betty, good points.

          I’ve never used the 200-400mm. On the other hand, if Nikon were to duplicate the Canon 200-400mm, I might be tempted.

  6. 10
    ) David Gray
    June 22, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    Great photos; interesting article!

    I have just started down the wildlife route so it is all good encouragement.

    Regards to all
    Dave

  7. 11
    ) John M
    June 22, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    amazing shots…

  8. 12
    ) ZEESHAN MITRA
    June 22, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    Beautiful images and a insightful article. I like all the images but the third image is amazing. I want to ask a question at what settings and shutter speed did you take the first image and one more question as I have just started with photography and havr not done much of post processing so I want to know how did you make the background of the image of the polar bear black, I use View Nx2 for post processing as I am just a beginner.
    I mostly shoot wildlife . Thank you for the wonderful images

    • June 23, 2014 at 1:39 am

      Thank you Zeeshan. The first image of the hummingbird was taken at 1/500sec at F/6.3 (using the Tc-17e teleconverter on the 70-200mm F/2.8).
      For the polar bear image, I used the B+W tool in Lightroom. Then adjusted the colour sliders to get the contrast I wanted :)

      • 22
        ) ZEESHAN MITRA
        June 23, 2014 at 5:35 am

        Thank you for the reply and valuable information

  9. June 23, 2014 at 1:30 am

    I have reservations about the title of this article. Perhaps it should be “Reflections on Animal Photography” because animals in zoos are not in the wild and therefore not wildlife. You wouldn’t expect wildlife competitions, for example to allow images taken in zoos. There have been scandals in fact where winners of such competitions have had their prizes removed after it has been proved their images were of tame animals.

    This is not a criticism of the images or the writing. A shot of a lion in a cage, though, has a different emotional and reality value that a shot of a lion in the wild recovered from a camera found where the owner of that camera was last seen.

    There are lots of grey areas. An animal in a wildlife park is not as far removed from the wild as one in a circus cage. An animal might be on an island or in a fenced area and that might still qualify as wildlife because the purpose is to keep out feral predators. A photograph of a wild animal that is attracted to an area to be fed by humans is arguably at least questionable as a wildlife image.

    Personally I think that where a “wildlife” article includes both images in the wild and animals in captivity, the captions on the images should at least identify the ones that are not in the wild.

    • June 23, 2014 at 1:49 am

      All fair points. I have never entered a captive animal photo into a wildlife competition and nor would I. (I did enter the photo of the seals fighting on the beach, taken on the Norfolk coast, into a marine wildlife competition some time ago and that won.) As I said in the article, I’m not trying to offer a commentary on the location or environment of the subject (unless I choose to for the composition), merely its aesthetic.
      Thank you for the feedback.

    • 19
      ) Patrick O'Connor
      June 23, 2014 at 5:06 am

      I don’t understand why people care where the animal was photographed. Is it some kind of contest to determine the best “hunter”? Is a tiger in a zoo somehow less majestic than its brother in the jungles of India? I think the article’s point about photos garnering appreciation for, and therefore an interest in the conservation of, the subjects is the most important contribution they have to offer. That and, you know… pretty pictures ;-)

      • 25
        ) Betty
        June 23, 2014 at 5:51 am

        People care where an animal is photographed because keeping wild creatures locked up is wrong.
        “Appreciating” an animal in a cage is an exercise in hypocrisy.
        Period.

        • 31
          ) Patrick O'Connor
          June 23, 2014 at 6:30 am

          I started to write something kinda snarky but changed my mind.
          While I agree with your assertion that wild creatures shouldn’t be locked up, this is the place I live. I don’t live in the land of unicorns, lollipops, and rainbows. Animals’ natural habitat is shrinking all the time. You don’t like it. I don’t like it. But, there it is. So…do something about it. The problem is: along with disagreements about what should be done, there aren’t enough people who care enough to do ANYTHING. And so, photograph the animals in a way that might increase people’s appreciation for them. Wherever they may be.
          As far as I can see, you’re in a “cage” of your own making. But I appreciate you none the less.

          Just out of curiosity, is it 2x as redundant to end a sentence with a period, then write “Period,” and then end it all with another period? ;-)

          • 44
            ) Betty
            June 23, 2014 at 7:14 am

            You seem to have changed your mind a second time and written something ‘snarky’ anyway.

            If you agree that wild creatures should not be locked up then don’t support those that lock them up.

            It’s not the way that animals are photographed that I have an issue with, it’s where they are photographed that is the problem.

            Oh, and I am doing something about it.
            Are you?

            • 46
              ) Patrick O'Connor
              June 23, 2014 at 7:21 am

              Just because someone is doing something, doesn’t mean they’re helping. I’m not saying you aren’t but a lot of people think they are but aren’t. I don’t advertise anything I do. Bad things out of embarrassment and good things out of humility.

              Alpha Whiskey has already explained the benefits of programs that, out of necessity, cage some wild animals. There’s really nothing I can add to that.

              I’m sorry for being such a jerk. It’s my nature. Just, please, try to see there’s just as much good in people as in wild animals.

            • Avatar of Mike Banks
              58
              ) Mike Banks
              June 23, 2014 at 8:08 am

              Betty,

              I appreciate you attitude regarding the capture and display of “wild animals”. However, I’m not in full agreement with your position. Yes, capturing photographs of animals in their natural environment would be much more exciting than doing so in some zoo; however, how many people would be denied the opportunity of seeing such wonderful beasts…at all? Time, resources and expertise limit most folks from going to the places where they might see one of these animals in the “wild”.

              I have a three year old granddaughter and recently we took her to the local zoo. I don’t have to tell you the attentions span of a three year old, but when I lifted her up to stand on the cement wall separating the habitat from the humans she just watched this majestic beast for half an hour. Then of course she turned to me and said “poppi” I want one. (A bit of humor).

              As a busy photographer specializing in other fields, I don’t have the time to travel, sit and wait in hopes of capturing species of animals. I treasure our better zoological parks for their care and maintenance of this wonderful exhibits, as well as their dedication to keeping the animals safe and healthy.

            • 81
              ) Betty
              June 23, 2014 at 11:48 am

              Mike,

              Sounds to me like a well run prison.

              Being “denied the opportunity of seeing such wonderful beasts” is not a justification for locking them up and denying them their opportunity for a free and natural life.

              Why is it considered OK to do to animals what would be considered cruel and inhuman if done to a person – or at least is reserved exclusively for criminals?

              We are learning more and more that animals are more sentient and much more self aware than has hitherto been thought possible. It is a disgrace that we lock up elephants, monkeys, dolphins and whales under the pretext that we are keeping them ‘safe’. They become neurotic, broken shadows of their true selves and no one who truly cares about wildlife would knowingly contribute to that still less gain amusement from it.

              Perhaps we should put some members of endangered peoples in such facilities.
              They would, after all, be kept safe and healthy and we could go along and photograph them to remind ourselves how wonderful their life and environment used to be?
              Oh, I remember, we already did that – to the native Americans.

              (A bit of dark humour – but I hope you get the point)

            • 83
              ) Patrick O'Connor
              June 23, 2014 at 11:59 am

              Betty,

              I can’t imagine anyone, today, thinking it’s okay to unnecessarily lock up animals, if they thought about it. The problem is: what constitutes necessity? Scientists think it’s necessary to study the animals and their behavior. I think that could be done in the wild. Some conservationists think it’s necessary in order to preserve the species. Through breeding programs, they can increase their numbers and reintroduce them to areas they used to inhabit. I’m not sure about that one. Some corporations use animals to test drugs and other substances before further testing them on people. I agree with the drugs; disagree with cosmetics, etc. Some people, as you so eloquently stated, want to exploit them for money. I guess what I’m getting at is this: The scientist and the conservationist are trying to save them (I don’t know if it’s working or not). The second group is attempting to save human lives, in some cases, and make a living without endangering humans, in others. The last group are trying to make a living and feed their family. Is that any different from indigenous peoples destroying their habitat to farm the land?
              You don’t like it. I don’t like it. But there it is.
              Does this have anything to do with where Sharif took his pictures? No!

      • June 23, 2014 at 6:54 am

        The article’s point is to reflect on wildlife photography because that’s what the title is. Therefore the illustrations should entirely be wildlife. In this case, it is not even designated where they are not.

        The point of most successful wildlife photography is not to show the inner workings of a tiger’s eye, or for that matter a full-face portrait of an animal but to show a wild animal in the context of its environment. In a wildlife article, to include images of captured animals without even identifying them as such debases, I believe, the integrity of the unidentified images that were taken in the wild.

        • 42
          ) Patrick O'Connor
          June 23, 2014 at 7:07 am

          I guess I didn’t get that memo. Who decided what the point of any wildlife photography is? I think you guys (I’m not sure who all that includes ;-)) take yourselves and photography too seriously. Is it art? Then the artist (photographer) can do anything he/she wants. Is it journalism? Have you ever heard of “Schrodinger’s Cat”?
          What is wildlife anyway? At what point does an animal cease being wildlife? Does the habitat of an animal change its nature? If a caged lion isn’t wildlife, does a dog that runs away into the woods, suddenly become wildlife?
          Stay tuned. Next week we’ll discuss, “What is sex?” ;-)

          • June 23, 2014 at 7:22 am

            Have you heard of rhetorical questions? Is it perhaps you who is taking themselves too seriously?

            Wildlife photography is well defined by both professional and amateur organisations. The meaning is part of the vernacular of photography.

            • 50
              ) Patrick O'Connor
              June 23, 2014 at 7:29 am

              Umm, which question are you referring to? I NEVER take myself seriously.

              I couldn’t find a definition for “wildlife photography” in any professional or amateur organization’s website, but Wikipedia says it’s “the act of taking photographs of wildlife,” which goes back to my question of ‘what is wildlife?” Since anyone can contribute, maybe you and/or the membership of professional and amateur organizations should correct their error.

              By the way, is that really your picture? Cool beard. Mine doesn’t look that good but I’m not really quite old enough to pull off something that full.

            • 56
              ) Betty
              June 23, 2014 at 7:53 am

              Murray, I think you are trying to deal with a troll……

            • June 23, 2014 at 8:02 am

              Yeah, that’s me, though the photograph is probably about eight years old.

              What error are you referring to?

              What it comes down to is categories or definitions for photographic competitions run by amateur or professional associations. Since we’re talking photography, that is the appropriate point of reference.

              There’s a related category of Nature which is an image where “the hand of man” is not visible. Strictly that’s almost impossible, except in most of Antarctica because almost all landscapes are modified in some way by the activities of Man in the last hundred thousand years or so, but they don’t take it that literally.

              Wildlife is then a sub-category of Nature and refers to living organisms in Nature, undisturbed by Man. There was a case a few years ago where a photographer won a wildlife competition and it was subsequently proven that the wolf he photographed was a captive wolf in Spain that was repeatedly “set free” in a fenced environment until he got the shot he wanted. That’s not wildlife. Neither is animals in zoos.

            • 142
              ) Patrick O'Connor
              June 24, 2014 at 8:35 pm

              This is really late but I noticed I hadn’t responded to your last post. I always try to respond if there’s an opening for one or a question asked, as in this case.

              I was referring to the omission (according to you and like-minded individuals) of an acceptable definition of wildlife. The Wikipedia article doesn’t state that.

              I appreciate the background information contributing to your attitude on this topic and I think I understand your point of view on the subject.

              I’ve enjoyed the discussion (although I fear you haven’t) and look forward to further discussions (like our recent discussion on your website, regarding Japan) where we’ll be on the same side of the fence.

            • June 24, 2014 at 10:06 pm

              I’ve just given a definition of wildlife, in the comment you are responding to. If you doubt me, look at any international wildlife competition run under the auspices of FIAP and see how they define wildlife in their conditions for entry.

              I did a search for “What is wildlife?” and the first entry from the “Bing Dictionary” was: “wild animals and birds: wild animals, birds, and other living things, sometimes including vegetation, living in a natural undomesticated state”. Similarly, Dictionary.com says “undomesticated animals living in the wild”.

              However, I don’t generally believe in dictionaries, though it would be different if English were not your first language. The important thing is to have read a lot so you can understand context. A dictionary only gives you a static interpretation of the meaning of a word, which may not reflect nuances, changing usage and cultural associations. Often the inferences are more important than the dictionary definition. In this case, the word has a specific meaning in a photographic context that some online dictionaries may not capture.

              I’m happy to respond to questions though there can come a point where further elaboration just obfuscates the meaning.

            • 147
              ) Patrick O'Connor
              June 25, 2014 at 4:35 am

              Not being interested in contests of any kind, I’m not familiar with their rules. Not being part of any organized community of photographers, I’m not familiar with the vernacular. I respect your definition, within its context. I think that about covers it.

  10. 14
    ) mayank Manu
    June 23, 2014 at 1:36 am

    Dear Nasim
    again coming back as didn’t got your advise , with removed low pass filter you said its not a problem in day to day photography , but I deal mostly in fashion and fabric , so need to handle repeated patterns etcs , how to over come moire in that if i plan to upgrade to D5300.

    looking forward for your advise.

    regards
    Mayank Manu

  11. 20
    ) Patrick O'Connor
    June 23, 2014 at 5:11 am

    Here’s a wonderful and funny video regarding photography and wildlife conservation.

    • June 23, 2014 at 5:24 am

      Very interesting, thank you Patrick. Also a slightly depressing indictment on Mankind’s encroachment on its own planet.

      • 32
        ) Patrick O'Connor
        June 23, 2014 at 6:35 am

        Not trying to be a jerk but isn’t it kinda disingenuous to talk about “Mankind” as if you weren’t part of it? I’m not saying that’s what you’re doing but that seems to be the meaning of most people using the term. There is no “mankind” from the standpoint of action or thought. Each person makes decisions and acts upon them. Most of us try to do the best we can. We all fall short.

        • June 23, 2014 at 6:41 am

          I include myself in ‘Mankind.’ I am just as guilty as every other human using the planet for resources that demand a greater encroachment on other species. I never claimed to be without fault.

          • 37
            ) Patrick O'Connor
            June 23, 2014 at 6:53 am

            It was more of a general statement than an attack on you. And, while I love wildlife and nature, I don’t place guilt on anyone for the current trends regarding either. We, as individuals, aren’t doing anything wrong. We’re just trying to get by. Collectively, there is a tremendous negative impact on wildlife and nature but it can’t be helped. It really can’t. There is NOTHING anyone can do about it. It just is. Of course we can try to mitigate the effect but then, we’re already doing that. Do you think it couldn’t be a lot worse?

            • June 23, 2014 at 6:58 am

              It could be, but it does depress me to think how rare so many species are becoming, and that their decline seems almost inevitable. We’ll never win against big business and economics, and our own human population is set to double by the end, if not middle, of the century. More mouths to feed and land to live and income to generate…not that we should rescind our efforts at conservation but it’s a losing battle for the other species.

            • 153
              ) Jorge Balarin
              June 27, 2014 at 3:01 pm

              The fact is that if a giant asteroid is in collision rute with the earth, not a horse, a fly or a lion is going to save the earth. Our only hope would be the science on men. So we can see that the same force that is affecting our enviroment, creating global warming, could be what ultimately save terrestrial live, at least for a while.

  12. 23
    ) Betty
    June 23, 2014 at 5:43 am

    Sorry to piss on your parade, but very little if anything here represents wildlife photography.
    Most of the animals appear to be captive or constrained in one way or another.
    Zoo, ‘wildlife’ park, ‘game farm’ or holiday resort.
    It is perhaps a sad reflection on the times in which we live that this is presented as wildlife or nature photography.
    It’s not.
    It is neither wild, nor natural.
    Keeping animals in captivity, however well intentioned, represents a curtailment of their natural behaviour and a crushing of their spirit and the people who exploit them for money are to be decried not condoned.
    This time, effort and money would be better spent on stopping the destruction of the places that these creatures live in than lining the pockets of exploiters.

    • June 23, 2014 at 6:05 am

      Betty, thank you for your comment. As a point of fact, over the half the animals presented in this article were photographed in their natural habitat, with no man-made interference whatsoever. I’ve never been to a holiday resort and I don’t know what a ‘game farm’ is :)
      But I take your impassioned point about animals in their natural setting. And I do state in the article that I would gladly give up the privilege of taking any photographs if their safety could be guaranteed.
      Unfortunately, conservation is always going to be a losing battle precisely because of economics. Destruction of habitat for farmland and human dwelling, as well as poaching for trophies and medicine, is an economic issue, and trying to counter it is like pushing against the ocean. There are also deep cultural differences across the world in how animals are viewed; some cultures revere them, others see them as simply food or commodities.
      So I would hope that by enlightening people about the beauty they are destroying, they may think again. It’s only a small gesture but many small gestures add up to a large movement, and without conservation efforts many of these animals will simply become extinct. It is naive to think that they won’t.
      I am wholly against exploiting animals for profit, for instance in circuses, or a certain well known marine theme park. But any money that can be raised compassionately for conservation and protection is worth the effort. No one will realistically spend anywhere near enough money to protect these animals otherwise.

  13. 30
    ) Betty
    June 23, 2014 at 6:26 am

    I couldn’t agree more.
    The view ahead is bleak.
    Nothing is sacred.
    If money can be made something, then Man will exploit, destroy, pollute and defile it.

    However, if you want to give people an appreciation of wildlife, go to the few wild places that are left and bring back some images of genuine wildlife – not take the easy path of shooting animals behind bars. Any klutz can do that and it actually does very little for the conservation effort – it just ‘normalises’ keeping animals in captivity in the eyes of the public and turns animals into a mere spectacle on a par with Disney and other amusement parks.
    Animals are not here for our amusement or for exploitation and this kind of apologia does real conservation a disservice.

    • June 23, 2014 at 6:38 am

      Sorry to repeat myself but over half of these images were taken in wild places, not behind bars. But feel free to call me a klutz :) (I’ve been called much worse)
      I’m not sure what ‘real’ conservation is, as opposed to ‘unreal’ conservation, but I know that much of the funding for conservation efforts comes directly from commerce at zoos and wildlife parks. Perhaps the animals are thought of as ambassadors for their species, who knows. Obviously, in an ideal world they wouldn’t need to be. In an ideal world we wouldn’t need conservation. But as you say, since Man is in this world it can’t possibly be ideal.

      I respect your view and have tried to answer it as best I can, and I respectfully disagree with your critique.
      Thank you.

      • 40
        ) Betty
        June 23, 2014 at 7:00 am

        First, I did not call you a klutz.
        I said any klutz could take photos of captive animals – which is true.
        After all they can’t run away can they?

        Second, the “animals are ambassadors for their species” is a piece of propaganda touted by the people making a handsome living from exploiting them.

        • 49
          ) mark
          June 23, 2014 at 7:27 am

          I studied deforestation in Sumatra, Indonesia. The news there is pretty grim, about 2% forest loss per year. Zsl (ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF LONDON) Have done lots of work there to try and conserve the sumatran tiger. Local and international experts are trying their hardest to conserve what is left agaisnt palm oil, farming illegal logging and forests fires. Although i understand the dislike of zoos and animals in captivity i think some people have shown an overly simplified outlook on the world. I would prefer that no zoos existed but i fear many more species would go extinct. Many zoos make no money at all, the gate money going to study and conservation efforts abroad.
          Many people do not seem to care about the planet, if beautiful photos of animals help to wake people up then i am all for it.

          • 51
            ) Patrick O'Connor
            June 23, 2014 at 7:30 am

            I wish I had written that! It sucks having good intentions but very little intellect.

            • 53
              ) Betty
              June 23, 2014 at 7:35 am

              Don’t be so hard on yourself.

        • Avatar of Mike Banks
          67
          ) Mike Banks
          June 23, 2014 at 9:02 am

          True, you didn’t call Alpha Whisky a klutz, you called me a klutz. As I am one who has to rely upon zoos and managed wildlife preserves to make what few photographs of animals I can, yet I take no offense so no need to apologize. Perhaps I make myself feel better by donating my money to such places.

          • 78
            ) Betty
            June 23, 2014 at 11:11 am

            No, mon ami, I did not call you a klutz either.
            I just said that any klutz could stick a lens through the bars and press the shutter release.

            If you feel taking photos of animals in confinement puts you more in touch with the natural world, then who am I to argue?
            Personally, seeing wild creatures in cages makes me want to cry.

            And donating money to such places just enriches those who are doing it.
            How does that make you feel better?

            I should perhaps exclude organisations that are dedicated to the conservation and breeding (unavoidably,in captivity) of critically endangered species – but that’s not the same thing as taking photos of some poor sad creature pacing up and down a chain link fence is it?

            • Avatar of Mike Banks
              90
              ) Mike Banks
              June 23, 2014 at 1:04 pm

              Ok, well since I’m that “any klutz” who WOULD stick a lens through the bars, you did call me a klutz. But its ok, I can take it, I’m a big boy with broad shoulders and did say you need not apologize. Oh! excuse me, I’m sure that was no apology.

              No, I didn’t say it put me in touch with the “natural world” but did give me and a lot of folks the opportunity to see animals they would not ordinarily be able to see “in the wild”; albeit, behind a cage or manufactured environment. I’m intelligent enough to know that isn’t a natural environment. I’m also intelligent enough to know that were we not to have such places, as unnatural as they may be, many folks would never know of the plight of the endangered species; just as the video offered above indicates. So maybe these awful places will do some good as children see animals behind cages or in artificial environments and then do get involved with the same passion and commitment you have displayed here. Wouldn’t that be worthwhile?

              As for your statement of “who am I to argue”, that’s all you’ve done within this thread. It’s ok Betty, you are obviously very passionate with your position and I appreciate that. Nothing anyone says here will sway your firmly set attitude regarding the subject or definition of “wildlife”, or your support for those you feel are doing the most good.

              Donating money to those who have dedicated their lives to preserving species on the brink of extinction has been one of the things I chose to do with my money. I am aware paying my entrance fee to a zoo does little more than pay for the electricity to keep the place open. You assumed I donated to organizations that may have been something less than what you would support. But then you don’t know anything about me…nor I you.

        • 154
          ) Jorge Balarin
          June 27, 2014 at 3:09 pm

          Well, actually even the zoo of Vienna – where I live – is sometimes out of my reach; so I like to do animal photos in the natural museum, that comes from the times of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It is wonderful because the animals are not moving at all, and using a big aperture you can get very realistic shots. Of course, some animals are really crappy, because they died long time ago, but the nice thing is that you can photograph extinct species and even dinosaurs : )

      • 150
        ) Jorge Balarin
        June 27, 2014 at 1:46 pm

        In an ideal world Betty would would have been eaten by a lion in the savanna : )

    • 34
      ) Patrick O'Connor
      June 23, 2014 at 6:41 am

      Just out of curiosity, don’t you think ‘going to the few wild places that are left’ does some damage to those places? You’re a bit of a hypocrite yourself, aren’t you!? I love wildlife and wild places but I really can’t stand pseudo environmentalists like you.

      Sorry Nasim, I know you don’t like personal attacks but…

      • 41
        ) Betty
        June 23, 2014 at 7:06 am

        Actually no.
        Wild places can be visited in a careful and caring way without leaving so much as a footprint.
        And the photos from those places can give people an appreciation of what is being lost.
        It’s not wildlife photographers that damage wild places.
        It’s oil companies, loggers, frackers, and mining corporations et al…

        • 45
          ) Patrick O'Connor
          June 23, 2014 at 7:15 am

          What a bunch of BS. Have you never heard of Schrodinger’s cat? You really think you can go anywhere without having an impact? it’s IMPOSSIBLE. What hubris!
          But I do see your point about oil companies, loggers, frackers, et al. They’re so EVIL. I hope they all go to hell so those of us who’re enlightened (we know who we are) can recreate the world in a “careful and caring way.” ;-)

          • 55
            ) Betty
            June 23, 2014 at 7:44 am

            I am sorry, but I am not sure what quantum indeterminacy has to do with my travelling to Africa but then it is difficult to argue with “what a bunch of BS”.

            • 60
              ) Patrick O'Connor
              June 23, 2014 at 8:10 am

              I was referring to observation affecting outcome. I DID mention that I’m no great intellect, didn’t I!? :-)

              As for the “BS” statement, that was a reaction to my frustration at not being able to effectively convey my ideas. Those being that it’s impossible to not have an effect on things you observe. Just because the subject of your observation doesn’t obviously acknowledge your presence, doesn’t mean it wasn’t noticed or had an effect on its behavior or environment.

            • 151
              ) Jorge Balarin
              June 27, 2014 at 1:49 pm

              But to go to Africa you need to take an airplane…

        • 152
          ) Jorge Balarin
          June 27, 2014 at 1:57 pm

          And you must not forget that the airplane that is taking you to Africa needs oil to fly, and for sure is going to pollute the air. Also could happen that the airplane engines sucks and kill some pregnant birds, and its going to be your fault. : )

  14. 61
    ) Betty
    June 23, 2014 at 8:30 am

    If you are, on your own admission, “no great intellect” and are “unable to effectively convey your ideas”, it might be better for all of us if you said nothing.

    Posing hypothetical, quasi philosophical questions on obscure aspects of quantum theory which have almost no relevance to the subject under discussion, simply serves to further draw attention to your intellectual shortcomings.

    • 63
      ) Patrick O'Connor
      June 23, 2014 at 8:34 am

      Almost as effectively as your myopic statements regarding captive wildlife draws attention to yours. At least I admit my shortcomings. We can only rely on your statements to discover yours.

      • 76
        ) Betty
        June 23, 2014 at 10:58 am

        This may not be obvious to you, but if it’s captive, it’s not wildlife.
        There goes that intellect tripping you up again.

        • 77
          ) Patrick O'Connor
          June 23, 2014 at 11:11 am

          Oh. Well if you say so, it must be true.

          Merriam-Webster’s 11th Collegiate Dictionary:
          wildlife, noun
          : living things and especially mammals, birds, and fishes that are neither human nor domesticated.

          Hmm…

          • 79
            ) Betty
            June 23, 2014 at 11:24 am

            Collins English Dictionary:

            Wild: (of animals) living independently of Man; not domesticated or tame; a free, natural state of living.

            • 80
              ) Patrick O'Connor
              June 23, 2014 at 11:35 am

              Hmm! Well, I guess that explains our differing personal definitions. I do, however, think it was kinda rude of you and Murray (independently – not to infer any kind of collusion) to inject this (in my mind) side issue into Sharif’s excellent article. In fairness, if people like me hadn’t responded, it wouldn’t have taken over the thread.

              Sorry everyone :-(

            • June 23, 2014 at 11:54 am

              I’m sorry, Patrick. I’ve reread my comments and I don’t see where I was rude. I originally said “This is not a criticism of the images or the writing.” and Alpha Whiskey replied to my comment as a whole “All fair points”.

            • 84
              ) Patrick O'Connor
              June 23, 2014 at 12:07 pm

              Murray,
              Sharif presented a well thought out, well written, and well illustrated article on photographing animals in a way that makes them more attractive and relatable for viewers. Your comments didn’t acknowledge his contribution to wildlife photography (I don’t think writing, “This is not…”, does that but goes on to pick nits that nobody else (well, except Betty) even saw. Sharif, along with most of the posters on Photography Life, is extremely patient and gracious. I can imagine him grinding his teeth while typing some of his responses :-)
              Your comments were “all fair points” but I think you could have presented them in a larger comment of the truth of his overall point.

              Betty, on the other hand…

            • June 23, 2014 at 12:56 pm

              I went back and reread my initial comment and do not see I should have changed it in the way you suggest. I’m unable to assess his contribution to wildlife photography because I don’t know which of his images are wildlife images. This is not picking nits and it is my larger truth.

            • 93
              ) Patrick O'Connor
              June 23, 2014 at 1:21 pm

              Which goes back to my question: “what is wildlife?”
              We can debate the question but I think (and these are the most important two words here) it doesn’t really matter. If he had replaced the word “wildlife” with “animal,” as you suggested, it wouldn’t have changed ANYTHING about his article. I’ve photographed animals in the wilderness, at refuges, at zoos, and my backyard. Everything he wrote was true regardless of the environment. And You know what he meant. And that, my friend (I hope), is picking nits.
              But, as always, I could be wrong and often am.

              Just out of curiosity, and I should have probably asked this before, why is it such a big deal to you?

            • June 23, 2014 at 1:31 pm

              I’ve already answered all the questions you pose. I see no point in repeating myself.

            • 101
              ) Betty
              June 23, 2014 at 1:45 pm

              Patrick, changing a word from ‘wildlife’ to ‘animal’ changes everything completely.
              It is anything but nit picking.

              The universally accepted definition of wildlife is animals living free and unconstrained in their natural environment.

              It follows that animals that are domesticated, bred or kept for food, sport, or amusement are not wildlife.

            • 103
              ) Patrick O'Connor
              June 23, 2014 at 1:56 pm

              Murray, you didn’t say why you care so much.

              Betty, how does it change the point of looking/waiting for interesting “poses” in the animal you’re photographing vs taking the picture without that consideration? And I don’t remember (wait a second…let me re-read the article…) Nope. He didn’t say anything misleading (unless you want to consider the definition of a word that we’ve found competing definitions for) regarding their environment.

          • 85
            ) Betty
            June 23, 2014 at 12:11 pm

            The question of keeping and photographing wild animals is, with respect, not a side issue and stems directly from Sharif’s article.

            If we are truly wildlife photographers, as opposed to voyeurs of animals behind bars, then this issue could not be more pertinent.

            No collusion between myself and Murray – we just happen to think (clearly and alike) on a number of points.

            • 87
              ) Patrick O'Connor
              June 23, 2014 at 12:15 pm

              It is a side issue to the point of his article. Period.
              See? I can be redundant too! :-)
              And, honestly, I don’t think Murray’s point is the same as yours. I could be wrong, though. I often am.

        • Avatar of Mike Banks
          96
          ) Mike Banks
          June 23, 2014 at 1:26 pm

          That’s really semantics now, isn’t it?

  15. 62
    ) Guest
    June 23, 2014 at 8:33 am

    First, Mr. Alpha Whiskey, another wonderful article. Very pretty photographs. Thank you!

    Ahh, excellent! In the wake of Mr. Alpha Whiskey’s previous excellent article, I think we now have 2
    takers for, “Where have all of the pixel peepers, test chart shooters, and armchair photographers gone?”

    Drum roll, please . . . .”Betty” and “Murray”! “Patrick” came very close, but no cigar. For Betty and Murray, I award your participation with this excellent article written some years ago, picked out especially for you. Please, enjoy!

    “The Two Kinds of Photographers”
    http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/2-kinds-of-photographers.htm

    • 64
      ) Patrick O'Connor
      June 23, 2014 at 8:36 am

      Awww…. ;-)

    • June 23, 2014 at 8:54 am

      Ah a gratuitous comment by an anonymous person. “There are two kinds of photographers: those who make pictures, and those who just talk about it.”

      I presume you are implying I am someone who just talks about Photography and does not make pictures. If you click on my name, it takes you to my blog where you will find 4,000 landscape, wildlife, street photography and live music images from a variety of countries, as well as links to another 4,000 live music images and in the blog 160,000 words providing context for the images. Guess how I spend my time. And no I’m not a pixel peeper and I don’t shoot test charts except to rarely calibrate my lenses.

      Betty is clearly a photographer as well, though she would probably have cautioned me not to bother to reply.

      Your anonymity and the source of you reference suggest you belong in the latter category but you are welcome to log on with your real name and a link to your work to confound me.

    • 71
      ) Betty
      June 23, 2014 at 10:31 am

      Well Mr Anonymous Person,

      Like Murray, I am a photographer, although not a professional one – just a very keen and almost exclusively wildlife photographer of about twenty years standing.

      I rarely contribute to forums like this because, until retiring (early) recently, I had a successful career to take of and much of the little spare time I had was taken up in travelling to wild places to take photographs of wildlife – mostly Africa (once or twice a year for the past fifteen years) – apart from other places of course.

      I have had some success at club and international level and now that I have more time, will be launching a web site to show some of my work more widely.

      Like Murray, I only pixel peep when making really large prints (because that’s when it really matters) or when calibrating a long telephoto lens (because that’s also when it really matters).

      Translated, that means I not only a lot of photographs, I also digitally edit and print them for exhibition and projection.

      I never photograph test charts or brick walls or agonise endlessly in public about whether my latest acquisition can resolve one more line pair than yours. Honest.

      I also learned a long time ago not read the nonsense spouted by the well known internet buffoon Mr Rockwell as he is almost always wrong about practically everything.

      And what do you do?

      • 92
        ) Don K
        June 23, 2014 at 1:13 pm

        Wow, Betty,

        Your attack on KR sure sounds like defamation of character to me, as in Libel. I sure hope, for your sake, that he doesn’t tune into this site.

        • 94
          ) Betty
          June 23, 2014 at 1:24 pm

          It’s not an attack, it’s an opinion.
          Fair comment and free speech are not yet libel – even in America.

          • 110
            ) Don K
            June 23, 2014 at 2:46 pm

            Since Mike Banks, the forensic psycologist, has chosen to reveal his true profession, and comment on your possible condition, I feel a similar need to inform you that I am attorney, and that in my opinion what you have said about KR is not “fair comment” or protected by the First Amendment, it is libel.

        • 95
          ) Patrick O'Connor
          June 23, 2014 at 1:25 pm

          Everyone gives him a hard way to go, and maybe not entirely without reason, but he fills an important function in the photographic world. The fact that everyone is familiar with him demonstrates the impact he’s had on photography. While I don’t agree with everything he writes, I’ve found him to be very pragmatic in his reviews and overall approach to photography.

          • 98
            ) Betty
            June 23, 2014 at 1:30 pm

            Wow, I actually agree with you on something!

            • 100
              ) Patrick O'Connor
              June 23, 2014 at 1:41 pm

              We would probably agree on a lot of things. I think it’s fairly obvious that we have similar personalities :-)
              I really appreciate debating with someone who doesn’t take it personally or the subject too seriously. Well…one out of two isn’t bad. ;-)

            • 102
              ) Betty
              June 23, 2014 at 1:51 pm

              I never take it personally unless it’s overtly personally insulting and meant that way.
              Slogging it out with reason and logic is fine with me.

            • 105
              ) Betty
              June 23, 2014 at 2:02 pm

              And I only take this subject seriously because it’s a serious subject.
              I don’t treat myself with the same seriousness – you will be glad to hear but ‘wildlife photographers’ who profess to love nature and wildlife and then happily collude in the imprisonment and exploitation of the thing they love are beyond my understanding.
              Captive breeding of critically endangered species is one thing, truncating an animals existence so that people can gawp and take photographs is something else.

            • 106
              ) Patrick O'Connor
              June 23, 2014 at 2:13 pm

              It’s certainly a serious subject but not relevant to Sharif’s article. Also, while your commitment and passion are laudable, the relative issues aren’t as simple as you suggest. And I know you’re going to hate this but, it really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. The fact is: everyone and every thing has only one life to live (Gee! That sounds like a bad soap opera.) and the worst lives that people or animals have continue no matter what you or anyone else does. Certainly each of us should do what we can to make things better but you can’t eradicate any of the world’s ills.

              I forget who said it but, “you can’t wring your hands and roll up your sleeves at the same time.”

            • 112
              ) Betty
              June 23, 2014 at 3:00 pm

              I think we may be in danger of agreeing again.
              First at the immediate local level my point was that photographs should not be misrepresented.
              If a photographer takes a photo of an animal in captivity he should have the honesty and integrity to declare the fact. Not pretend it’s wild.It’s that simple.
              Whether we should be exploiting captive animals for what amounts to amusement is another question altogether.
              I agree that it doesn’t matter in the greater scheme as within around 50 years or so the proverbial will hit the fan. That much is already certain. Even with immediate, drastic action the world is going to face catastrophic changes – and the world is busy doing nothing – worse, the world is actually accelerating the consumption of fossil fuels, is accelerating deforestation, is accelerating population growth and is wedded to the idea that eternal and accelerating growth is both our right and a good thing.
              The math says otherwise.
              There can only be one result to that particular equation.
              We are sleep walking through a mass extinction so you are right, what we do at this eleventh hour amounts to no more than a laughable pin prick.

            • 117
              ) Patrick O'Connor
              June 23, 2014 at 3:37 pm

              I didn’t think he willfully misrepresented his photos but I think we’ve covered that subject quite enough.
              I was really curious to read your entire comment because it showed up in my “Spam” box. That’s never happened before with a PL post. I’m not sure what set it off unless, perhaps, it was the final word in your comment!?
              Anyway, I’m planning to go to the Wolf Park refuge in Indiana, this weekend. I just wanted to make sure you I wouldn’t see you, tied to a tree in protest of something or other, trying to convince them to let the wolves go. :-)
              Oh yeah, here’s a video of those poor, hapless, mistreated animals who’ve been imprisoned for our amusement. Make sure to turn up your speakers…

      • 155
        ) Jorge Balarin
        June 27, 2014 at 3:23 pm

        Betty, it is nice to know that your life is a complete success, but you must understand that not everybody is so lucky as you, and that fact doesn’t mean than the unlucky ones have not talent. Van Goh had a very sad life and didn’t know success, however he was a great painter. If we don’t have money to travel to Africa every year, at least let us do our wildlife photos in the zoo : )

  16. 65
    ) Don K
    June 23, 2014 at 8:50 am

    So, Betty, if that really is your name, what other things have you done to further your interest in conservation other than to attack a couple of photographers on an obscure web site that gets very limited viewings? Do you send similar letters of complaint to National Geographic , Outdoor Photography, or the various zoological societies? Do you contribute monies to conservation groups? You’re preaching to the choir? Wildlife photographers, in general, appreciate the beauty of nature and take and post these pictures so that others can do the same. If it wasn’t for photographers, many would probably know nothing about wildlife and wildlife conservation. I am not going to go further with this, although I certainly could, since I’m sure this just fuels your fire.

    • 69
      ) Phoenix
      June 23, 2014 at 10:22 am

      Yes, Don you said it perfectly.

    • 74
      ) Betty
      June 23, 2014 at 10:51 am

      I did not “attack” anyone.

      I simply pointed out that the ‘wildlife’ photos on show were not photos of wildlife and drew attention to the fact that institutions that lock up wild animals for the general public’s amusement and of course for profit, should not be supported.

      I am sure Mr Mansurov would be surprised to hear that you thought his very popular website was obscure and received very limited viewings. It seems rightly rather popular and well supported – to me at least.

      National Geographic et al do not present photographs taken of animals in captivity as wildlife photographs.

      Yes, I do contribute monies regularly – by direct debit to three wildlife and conservation groups.

      It is true that if it wasn’t for photographers many would probably know nothing about wildlife and wildlife conservation but such photographs have to be true and the photographers taking them have to have integrity.

      The two things things that really fuel my fire are wilful ignorance and the destruction of the natural world. Your views only score on the first count.

      • Avatar of Mike Banks
        91
        ) Mike Banks
        June 23, 2014 at 1:13 pm

        So Betty, do you propose we take these current animals in captivity and release them into the wild? If visitors to these venue didn’t support them the animals would surely perish. Would that be something you would want?

        • 97
          ) Betty
          June 23, 2014 at 1:28 pm

          Why are you asking such patently silly questions Mike?

          • Avatar of Mike Banks
            104
            ) Mike Banks
            June 23, 2014 at 1:58 pm

            Perhaps to receive a reply.

            You stated that people should stop attending and supporting zoos. I’m wondering what you think would happen to the animals? You didn’t answer that question nor make any suggestions.

            Perhaps because most of the responses and replies in this thread are patently silly when one considers this actual premise of the article.

            Perhaps had Sharif mentioned that all his photographs were absolutely made in the wild, and perhaps if his definition of wildlife was the same as yours some of your angst would be justified.

            Perhaps, lastly, I find it very easy to pull your trigger and am amused as your ire. Since you chose to take control, with your personal attitude, of someone else’s article and thread speaks volumes to your personality. Oh, I forgot to mention that besides my being a professional photographer, I’m also a forensic psychologist. It’s good to have you here Betty. It’s a slow day for me.

            • 107
              ) Betty
              June 23, 2014 at 2:36 pm

              Stupid questions designed to bait rather than elucidate are not deserving of a reply.

              The premise of the article was wildlife photography.
              The photographs were largely of captive animals.
              That was the disconnect and the (probably inadvertent) lack of integrity.
              It has nothing to do with whose definitions we are using and everything to do with right and wrong.
              I happen to believe that imprisoning and exploiting wild animals is wrong.
              And yes, had Sharif taken all his photos in the wild he would have received my applause.

              I did not ‘take control of someone else’s article’ as you put it.
              I made an initial critique for which I was attacked on a number of fronts.
              I have no problem with that – but of course have the right to reply.
              If that rather took over, it is regrettable but hey, that’s life.

              I am glad to have given you some amusement but please don’t flatter yourself with the notion that your childishly transparent efforts pulled my trigger.
              I am a retired member of the medical profession and I find it difficult to believe that you are a forensic psychologist.
              A medical professional would not abuse his position and then boast about it in public.
              If you are indeed a forensic psychologist, then you should be ashamed of yourself for misusing your position and bringing your profession into disrepute.

              Oh damn, you’ve pulled my trigger again!
              I simply must stop falling for your clever subterfuges.

            • 108
              ) Patrick O'Connor
              June 23, 2014 at 2:45 pm

              Betty,
              Darn! I was going to ask you out on a date but learning you were in medicine, I’ll have to withdraw. It’s all those needles and telling me what I should and shouldn’t do! Having been diabetic for almost 40 years, I’ve just had my fill of doctors and such.
              Oh well, c’est la vie.
              ;-)

            • June 23, 2014 at 2:45 pm

              I’ve been happily staying out of this ‘discussion’ and enjoying the football. :)

              But… “The photographs were largely of captive animals.
              Er, no. For the third time, over half of them were taken in the wild. (The rest were in a captive/designated environment. I did not state or claim otherwise in the article.)
              Continuing to assert something that just isn’t true (it must be nice not to allow actual knowledge to get in one’s way) doesn’t do much for the credibility of the person making the assertions. Like someone insisting the water I just drank wasn’t wet or cold! (it really was)

              Feel free to continue….I’m going back to the football. :)

      • 165
        ) Jorge Balarin
        June 28, 2014 at 6:28 pm
  17. 68
    ) Phoenix
    June 23, 2014 at 10:21 am

    Alpha Whisky, thank you for sharing your outstanding “wildlife” photography…from the images to your words and philosophy. I appreciate that you never misrepresented that some images were shot in natural setting and others in zoo-like places. Mostly, I appreciate that you remind us why some of us photograph nature and wildlife. They touch our souls and it’s just possible by capturing and sharing our images we can make a difference in raising consciousness and saving these magnificent places and beings. It seems that all the rest are rather insignificant details…except for those who like to rant.

    • June 23, 2014 at 10:37 am

      Thank you Phoenix, I’m truly gratified by your understanding. :)

      Everyone is entitled to air their views, of course, and everyone is entitled to respectfully disagree with one another, hopefully in a civilised way. I would always welcome the rebuke and the debate than simply hide from its imminent possibility. I personally don’t carry the enmity, anger and vitriol that many others seem to, and I think to categorically state that one view is right and another is wrong probably constitutes a form of extremism, regardless of one’s background or level of experience.
      This is a friendly and valuable site for photographers of all types to participate in and learn from.

      In any case, I am grateful to Photography Life for the opportunity to share my words and pictures and I can only hope that more people appreciate it than don’t.

      Thank you and Warm Regards,
      Sharif.

  18. June 23, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Wow, just read some of these comments on a Monday morning :)

    Come on guys, let’s keep it civil. If a couple of sample images were taken in a zoo, it does not mean that the author cannot write about wildlife photography…

    • 72
      ) Phoenix
      June 23, 2014 at 10:32 am

      Totally agree. For me, I don’t come to this wonderful website to read negativity and personal attacks on those who generously share their time and talents. If fact, I rarely, comments. And, this barrage just felt mean and unnecessary.

  19. 86
    ) Patrick O'Connor
    June 23, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    I have been remiss by not commenting on your (always) wonderful photos and your excellent point of trying to photograph animals’ expressions and activities. I’ve seen, and taken, too many photos that were just a reaction to, “Oh my God! There’s a (fill in the blank).”
    You’ve been a very welcome addition to the Photography Life team. Please continue your efforts with the knowledge that they are appreciated.

    • June 23, 2014 at 12:27 pm

      Thank you very much Patrick. I appreciate that a great deal and will endeavour to continue my efforts :)

  20. Avatar of Mike Banks
    111
    ) Mike Banks
    June 23, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Betty, once again you are assuming that because I am a forensic psychologist I was a clinician. I’ve never worked in the medical profession so I’m not dishonoring it in any way.

    I spent 38 years in federal law enforcement throughout my military career. My specialty was, and in some cases still is, serial killers and serial rapists. My expertise in that field rendered me a 87% closing ratio.

    After retiring from the military and federal law enforcement I chose to get back into photography as a journalist but found a niche in medical and criminal forensic and scientific photography and scientific product photography. Alas, it pays well but we in this field never get famous.

    BTW, it is interesting I was unable to respond to your last post. Did you do that or is it something automatic?

    • 115
      ) Betty
      June 23, 2014 at 3:21 pm

      Well, if you are as professional as Mike, you will know how much I value your opinion.
      I suggest you exercise your needs on someone else.

      As I said, I do actually read the mighty Ken’s material now and again. Lest he take offence, which I am sure he is too big a man to do, he of course has my sincere apology for, and unreserved retraction of, anything said in the heat of the moment that might in any way be misconstrued as malicious or intended to cause injury.

    • 120
      ) Betty
      June 23, 2014 at 3:43 pm

      Behaving dishonourably because you were never a clinician makes it all OK then?
      That quite a moral compass you’ve got there Mike.

      I don’t know why you seem to think that your rather drab bio is of any interest to anyone but yourself is beyond me I am afraid.

      Now, instead of baiting people (with your psychological powers and boasting about it, you should perhaps grow up a little – at least enough to take part in a discussion for grown ups.

      And lastly, no, I didn’t ‘do’ anything to your last post.
      Or perhaps time to exercise those formidable forensic skills?
      Or maybe suffering just a touch of paranoia?

      • Avatar of Mike Banks
        128
        ) Mike Banks
        June 24, 2014 at 9:24 am

        I think it might be too late for this reply but Betty, (or WHOMEVER), I have to grow old, I don’t have to grow up.

        Not paranoia, just not enough computer skills.

  21. Avatar of Mike Banks
    113
    ) Mike Banks
    June 23, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    Sharif,

    I just went back through this thread and realized in all the excitement of the game, I forgot to thank you for putting together this article and the amazing photographs. Thank you sir and please continue. Perhaps your next article on “wildlife” will include photographs of Florida Spring Break. Now that’s wild!!!

    • June 23, 2014 at 3:09 pm

      Thank you very much Mike, and you have my deep admiration for your service in law enforcement (I just read your comment above). That’s one job I couldn’t imagine having the fortitude to do myself. :)

      You can see more of my Florida wildlife shots from the wetlands here:
      http://alphawhiskey.slickpic.com/photoblog/post/FloridaWildlife

      and my first ever baseball shots (also in Florida) here:
      http://alphawhiskey.slickpic.com/photoblog/post/Baseball

      Many thanks and warm regards,
      Sharif.

      • Avatar of Mike Banks
        116
        ) Mike Banks
        June 23, 2014 at 3:35 pm

        Thank you for all you do.

      • 123
        ) Betty
        June 23, 2014 at 4:23 pm

        Sharif

        My apologies if all this discussion got a bit out of hand.
        I feel like I have been through twelve rounds with Mohammed Ali in his heyday but I am not a quitter and so the arguments had to be made.
        I acknowledge that not all your photos were of captive animals and hope you understand that my criticism was not personal to you but of the principle of keeping wild animals captive.
        Many of your readers seem to think that it’s OK to keep wild animals in captivity as long as they are ‘well treated’ – which is to miss the point entirely – both about the animals and about the photography.
        Wild animals belong in the wild and wildlife photography is about more than poking a lens into a cage.
        I hope you continue to pursue your wildlife photography – truly wild that is.
        It is challenging but all the more rewarding for that.
        Keep up the good work.

        Betty

        • June 23, 2014 at 4:34 pm

          No apologies necessary. I rarely take anything personally :)
          People should always feel free to express themselves and their views, even if others may disagree. I feel very strongly about everyone having that freedom and right.
          I hope you had a spirited debate with other commenters, and I appreciate that wild species certainly need an advocate in their corner. Perhaps we can agree to disagree about the nature of that advocacy. :)

          Thank you, and kind regards (and goodnight!)
          Sharif.

  22. Avatar of Mike Banks
    118
    ) Mike Banks
    June 23, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    Patrick, I really think you should reconsider and ask Betty out on a date. Betty, said she was in the medical profession…she didn’t say she was a physician. Perhaps a hospital administrator, or physical therapist, or maybe head of the X-ray department. Most of those things have nothing to do with needles.

    Betty, I see you and Patrick as intellectuals and both of you love debate. I think, as long as neither of you are married, you would get along and have much in common to talk about. I mean this from the bottom of my heart. (Who ever came up with that expression)?

    • 121
      ) Patrick O'Connor
      June 23, 2014 at 3:47 pm

      How rude! I am NOT intelligent. I am, however, hoping to work my way up to “not entirely stupid!” ;-)

      Who, indeed? I think it would be more meaningful to say, “in the cockles of our hearts.” Or maybe below the cockles, maybe in the sub-cockle area, maybe in the liver, maybe in the kidneys, maybe even in the colon. We don’t know. (with apologies to Denis Leary)

    • 122
      ) Betty
      June 23, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      Patrick,

      Sadly our love is not to be.
      Conjoined in spirit we may be.
      Conjoined in the flesh we won’t be.
      Alas, my name is not really Betty.
      I am not even really a woman.
      And even more sadly, I live in a land far, far away.
      So you will just have to grease Schrodinger’s cat and make do as best you can.
      Adieu and Farewell.
      Betty

      • 125
        ) Patrick O'Connor
        June 23, 2014 at 5:02 pm

        Now that thar’s funny. I don’t care who you are! :-)
        It’s probably best that you didn’t reveal that you’re a transgender poster until after Mike had to go! (big grin)

        • 144
          ) buttholebetty666@gmail.com
          June 25, 2014 at 3:05 am

          Do you think so?
          Mike rather sounds like he might be up for it.
          Big Grin.

          • Avatar of Mike Banks
            148
            ) Mike Banks
            June 25, 2014 at 8:31 am

            Betty, once again I say you don’t know me. Although we have no real evidence of your gender identification, I am not one to play or pray upon that. You can read the extent of my humor in a post below this one. I also feel there is no reason you need to hide who you really are. I AM one who does not tolerate bigotry in any form for any reason in my home or studio. Not even the suggestion of bigoted humor. Now, having said that.

            If indeed you really are as passionate about conservation as you have stated your position to be, I applaud you your stance. I wish things were different around the world but they aren’t. Personally, I would rather photograph “wild animals” in a completely natural wild environment but I’m not able to do that so I opt for any situation where I can. If that means a preserve or zoo, etc, that is where I’ll go with the limited off time I have.

            As for Betty, coming to shoot down in flames the staggering ignorance we have regarding wild as oppose to captive, you certainly did an admirable job and I hope we all consider your opinion as well as Murray’s. However, as Patrick pointed out several times, “it is what it is”; and unless we can change that, this is what we have to deal with. I know you won’t agree with me but I feel that if the only way mankind can work to save endangered species from complete extinction is in a preserve or zoo for that matter, we should.

            Perhaps, as Betty pointed out, down the road 50 years from now when humans have destroyed most of the planet these saved species can somehow adapt back to the wild.

            I poked fun at you because you said you didn’t take things seriously or to heart. I hope you understand that everything I wrote which may have seemed to be disparaging, was meant in jest.

            BTW, in case you are unaware, Thomas Stirr has a new article regarding photographing animals in zoos. Perhaps, in a little while, I’ll meet you over there.

            Betty, or whomever you are, you are a welcome addition to my cyber life.

      • Avatar of Mike Banks
        129
        ) Mike Banks
        June 24, 2014 at 9:32 am

        Oh, now I’m disappointed with this revelation. Betty, is not really a Betty? Not really a woman? So then does Betty really care about wildlife at all? Did Betty really only come to this article to “FLAME”?

        Conjoined in the flesh is not really a masculine statement so now I’m intrigued….Is Betty really a woman.

        Tune in next week for the conclusion of “As Betty’s World Turns”.

        Patrick, I really thought you might have found your true soul mate. LOL

        • 130
          ) Patrick O'Connor
          June 24, 2014 at 9:49 am

          It’s probably best that she’s a he or he’s a she or… um… what were we talking about? :-)

          Just out of curiosity, do you photograph surgeries? There’s no way I could do that. I threw up after watching my first son come into the world. I was able to hold it until I got to the parking lot but still…

          • Avatar of Mike Banks
            131
            ) Mike Banks
            June 24, 2014 at 10:34 am

            Patrick, before I respond to your reply I have to get something off my chest. One of the comments I really wanted to make to “Betty”, was if she/he/they, (whatever) didn’t think a lion in a cage was wildlife I would have invited Betty to enter during feeding time. Oh well!!!

            To answer your question, yes I do about 150 surgeries per year. Mostly for grants that physicians have to make better their technique for patient care or teaching; or with experimental prosthetic appliances. I also do gross specimen photography for a number of pathologists around the country as well as several teaching institutions. In addition, I am an on call criminal forensic photographer and work both for municipalities as well as private law firms. On occasion, I still am called to assist law enforcement in determining the personality and identity of serial killers and the apprehension of those individuals. What you might call a “profiler”. We, in the profession call it “Behavioral Scientist”. (Just makes us feel good about what we do and we can charge more).

            This photographic profession never gets those who are involved fame but it is very lucrative since most photographers, like you, would react in the same manor as you did with the birth of your first child. Not many folks are prepared for the sights, sounds or smells of an operating room or a gross specimen lab. Furthermore, not many law enforcement types really want to investigate a home or dwelling where several bodies are found after a weeks time. I won’t go into that description but just know I can go through an entire bottle of oil of cloves on my face mask. (Oil of cloves or wintergreen scent is used to make the stench associated with such venues).

            My justification for spending time here at Photography Life, as well as several other photo blog sites is to learn from folks like Nasim, John Anderson, Sharif, Murray and all the other photographers who come here to share their knowledge and expertise with all of us. I don’t require help reproducing the color of a particular carcinoma. That’s my business. I need help in discovering how to get a owl’s eye sharp.

            • 135
              ) Patrick O'Connor
              June 24, 2014 at 12:07 pm

              I don’t need justification to read the articles on PL. Like you, I want to learn as much as I can, wherever I can, and from whomever I can.
              I should provide justification for my occasional outbursts but I have none. It’s one of my many character flaws. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a website that can help me with that. Reading the Bible, and thinking on it a great deal, helps but it’s a slow process. I can only hope people have more patience with me than I have had with them.

          • 145
            ) buttholebetty666@gmail.com
            June 25, 2014 at 3:10 am

            Why?
            He can’t have been THAT ugly?

        • 146
          ) Betty
          June 25, 2014 at 3:23 am

          No, Betty came to this article to shoot down in flames the staggering levels of ignorance that persist in spite of years of education from biological scientists and the conservation community.
          In spite of all that, some people still persist in believing that wolves behaving like lap dogs in a wire pen are the same as wild wolves or that a lion in a cage is still a wild animal because it has the capability to injure or kill a human being.
          ….Infantile reasoning which it is difficult to challenge simply because it stems from such a deep well of ignorance reinforced by an unwillingness to learn and an essentially callous indifference to the plight of the animals you amuse yourselves photographing.

          • 157
            ) Jorge Balarin
            June 27, 2014 at 3:57 pm

            Betty, a photo of an animal must not necessarily show the behavior of an animal, it could be done only to show its beauty.

      • 156
        ) Jorge Balarin
        June 27, 2014 at 3:45 pm

        That was funny : )

  23. Avatar of Mike Banks
    119
    ) Mike Banks
    June 23, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    OK kids, I have a 7:00PM surgery to get ready for so this is it for me today. Enjoy.

    • 158
      ) Jorge Balarin
      June 27, 2014 at 3:58 pm

      Mike, sorry but I don’t like you job : )

      • Avatar of Mike Banks
        163
        ) Mike Banks
        June 28, 2014 at 7:05 am

        Jorge, I truly understand how you feel. Not too many people do what I do and that is good for me as a professional. But this is a very necessary endeavor so that teachers can teach and doctors, researchers, and engineers, can produce new techniques and medical prosthetics, to make operations safer and more efficient for the patient.

        Personally, I would rather be doing pure journalism but at 69 years old I just could not keep up the pace any more.

        • 164
          ) Jorge Balarin
          June 28, 2014 at 6:21 pm

          So thank you very much, because I think I will need a pair of prosthesis. Best wishes.

          • Avatar of Mike Banks
            166
            ) Mike Banks
            June 29, 2014 at 7:49 am

            Jorge, I too am a candidate for knee replacement. I’ve been putting it off for so long I don’t think I can put if off any longer.

            The surgery I mentioned last week is related to my decision as we are researching new material for this procedure. Today, along with my videographer we will be documenting the progress of less than one week after surgery to see how the new prosthetic along with new materials will hold up and work for the patient. If all goes well over the next several weeks of documentation and physical therapy I just may be the second research patient to have this procedure with the new prosthetics. The device is not yet FDA approved and still in the developmental stage. Although the new material to produce the device may be the new best on the market, the actual procedure does not change nor will the physical therapy post surgery. The only difference may be no further replacement after time and use of the device. Normally knee replacements last about five years.

            • 167
              ) Jorge Balarin
              June 30, 2014 at 12:20 pm

              Thank you for the information Mike. It would be extraordinary to get a prosthesis that doesn’t need to be replaced. All the best.

  24. 126
    ) Antonio Cristerna
    June 24, 2014 at 3:35 am

    What a wonderful photographs. Great texts, very inspirational. Congratulations.

  25. 132
    ) David Meyers
    June 24, 2014 at 11:22 am

    Well that was one strange trip. In my view, most of the conversation was about the distinction between “wildlife” and “wild life”. I would suggest that the former refers to non-domesticated life forms; the latter more clearly to life “in the wild”, as it were. Tigers, et al., are certainly non-domesticated life forms, regardless of where they’re found, unless, perhaps, they were born and raised in captivity, in which case they know no other way of being. Even then, “domesticated” might be a stretch.

    I’m certainly sympathetic with “Betty’s” point-of-view, but it brings up a philosphical question that none of us can really know the answer to. Is an animal that lives an extended life in a “natural” setting in a zoo or wildlife park, that is well cared for, well fed, not subject to predation, and living with others of its species, better or worse off than one that lives in the wild and is eaten or starves after a few years, especially if its natural habitat cannot support the remaining numbers of its species?

    For that matter, what about my cat? She is entirely an indoor cat, though because she was a stray, she would very much like to be an indoor/outdoor cat. (She lets us know her opinion regularly.) Because I like birds and chipmunks (and my cat) we keep her indoors. Her “nature”, though, is to hunt. Are we depriving her of her rightful place in the natural order of things by keeping her indoors? Should we let her and the wildlife in our yard take their chances?

    • 159
      ) Jorge Balarin
      June 27, 2014 at 4:00 pm

      Personally I would prefer to be a family lion.

  26. 133
    ) Patrick O'Connor
    June 24, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    That was my fault as much as anyone else’s. I should have kept my mouth shut (er… my fingers away from the keyboard). Sorry, to everyone and especially Sharif, for the distraction.

  27. Avatar of Mike Banks
    134
    ) Mike Banks
    June 24, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    David Meyers, I am in agreement with your thoughts. First, yes, that was one strange trip!

    Truly, wild life and wildlife have two meanings which become a philosophical determination depending upon one’s natural and political perspective. Sharif photographed all wild animals, whether in the wild or wild in a preserve or zoo they are still wild and not domesticated. There is no end to the truth that Patrick O’Connor, brought up that human advancement, encroaching on wild habitat, is spoiling the range of certain species. Therefore, is it wrong to capture them, try to increase their numbers by breading in partial captivity in order to save that particular species? My opinion is this is a good thing. The Chinese have been breeding and releasing Pandas into the wild for many years with some degree of success.

    Whether or not the character of “Betty” was real or not is not germane to much of what was written by that person. I am sympathetic to the plight of many species that may go extinct. I am equally sympathetic to the plight that the human species may also go extinct should we not pay attention to the world’s situation; which was aptly noted by Patrick. I have a t-shirt with the slogan; “it is what it is”. Not that this attitude is correct but it is a fact. The growing world requires more of everything. Technology can produce enough if given the chance and it stands to reason that endangered species can be saved utilizing compassion and technology in the same manor. However, in some cases that may not allow for re release in the “wild” and preserves, managed by humans may be necessary so our children will know what an orangutan looks like in real life. Having said that, I will stand as saying if I have to decide between some wild species extinction and human existence, I will side with human existence.

    We can’t have everything our way unless we can construct a perfect world. When in college my philosophy professor told us this. “Three things govern your life; the way things ought to be; the way you want them to be; and they way they are. The way they are is all we have to deal with unless we can effect change to something else”. Just my .02.

  28. Avatar of Mike Banks
    136
    ) Mike Banks
    June 24, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Patrick, perhaps the word justification was an incorrect choice. Desire may have been a better one.

    I also think as a participant in the heated debate I owe Sharif an apology. Sharif, you have my apology as the “football” took precedence over your great work and the real point of your article.

    I too have my character faults. Ire goes up whenever I encounter someone who only sees one side of any situation whether it is right or left. Black and white are only two ends of the spectrum…We all must consider the grey in between. As photographers, we all understand the value of grey.

    • June 24, 2014 at 1:11 pm

      Dear Mike, no apology necessary as no umbrage was taken, but thank you and to Patrick for your graciousness anyway :)

      As I indicated above, I believe everyone is entitled to air their views and engage in a spirited debate. We can only make progress in this world by airing out the issues rather than bottling them up.
      I had anticipated before writing this article that it might be controversial, as wildlife enclosures are always controversial for many. But I don’t believe in hiding from a rebuke or surrendering to the discomfort of some, especially when it was never my intention to upset or offend anyone by writing this piece :)
      And, like yourself, I don’t take absolutist positions on such issues, but try to understand and respect the views of others, especially if I disagree with them. And if I disagree, I try to do so with the courtesy and grace that I would want shown to me :)

      I am glad that some people enjoyed the article in the spirit in which it was intended. That is reward enough. I hope I can contribute more in the future :)

      Warm Regards,
      Sharif.

  29. Avatar of Mike Banks
    138
    ) Mike Banks
    June 24, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Sharif,

    Thank you. I look forward to your next installment.

  30. 139
    ) David Meyers
    June 24, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Sharif, I was remiss in not adding my regards as to the quality of your pix. Very nice. And I was wondering where the damselfly preserve is. I’d like to visit some time. Apparently, the insects there are very cooperative with photographers. ;-)

    • June 24, 2014 at 3:57 pm

      Hello, David, thank you. The damselflies were shot in Richmond Park in London, the largest of our royal parks and a haven for wildlife. Not sure how much co-operation was involved as I shot that image from a distance with the 70-200mm F/2.8 + 1.7x TC. :)

      • 160
        ) Jorge Balarin
        June 27, 2014 at 4:04 pm

        Here you have a nice documentary:

  31. June 24, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    Haha, this has been perhaps one of the most entertaining posts in terms of feedback / comments. Thank you all for participating and keeping it civil! :)

  32. 161
    ) Rajesh Dharmaraj
    June 28, 2014 at 6:46 am

    A good article and a gallery too..

  33. 168
    ) James
    July 1, 2014 at 4:33 am

    OK after that long debate a comment about the wildlife photography. I live in Africa where we are spoiled for choice and it is fantastic. I use a D800e and D4. I only have the 70-200f4 that I often use with a 1.4 converter on both Camera’s mostly the D4 for closer shots. I use the D800e with a 300mm f2.8 vr2 and use it naked or with the 1.4 or 1.7 TC’s. I find the TC 1.7 on this lens outstanding. I had it focus calibrated at Nikon with both bodies and the results are great. I like to take pictures with a bit more space around the animals to create context. I never try to stretch the lens by shooting to long distances. On the Open Savannah Plains you often have long shots and this is where the 1.7 is of great value. I agree it does not perform well on f4 and especially on the zoom’s including the 200-400. The 200-400 that I have used often is very sharp at a range up to about 50-65 meters. I recently went to s bird hide in one of the National parks. as I walked in there where about 15 people all armed with 600mm lenses 1Dx and D4/D4s. all focussing on a Goliath Heron. Any movement or action resulted is what sounds like machine gun fire, all taking the same picture burning pixels at 11 frames/sec. You could smell the testosterone in that hide. I sat down with my D800e and 300f2.8 +Tc 1.4, I was looked at like I fell out of a tree, coming to the same battle with a peashooter..I frames the image of the heron and then realised that even my 420mm was to0 long if you wanted to get the full bird in the frame.. The next moment the heron speared a fish and the place was in total mayhem. I managed to get 3 nice images of the bird with the fish the rest, where his wings were spread could not fit in the frame..The one guy wanted to have a look at my image in the LCD Display, had a look and showed me the image of the birds hear and half the fish..My point, It looked more like a show-0ff of equipment than anything else. After I was asked by more than a few people if the 300mm was the longest lens I owned, Yes it is..

  34. Avatar of Bharat Darji
    169
    ) Bharat Darji
    August 25, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    Good articles, really helpful for me.

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