What defines a true nature shot?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by W1MRK, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. W1MRK macrumors 6502

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    Dec 9, 2010
    #1
    Hey guys.

    Went to a local nature photo club toady and was actually a bit confused about what they require for their contests and submissions and wanted to poll the forum.

    Their definition of a true nature shot is one where the "hands of man" have not been involved. Such as a shot of a tree but if it has a cut branch then its not eligible. Or A tree in the middle of the cornfield, ect.

    My question is this. Is this common of most nature photography clubs or uncommon? My definition of a nature shot is of the subject matter in its environment. Wether it have human progress or not in the shot.

    I am new to digital photography and am still getting used to the d80 as well as Aperture for the past month so would appreciate input.
     
  2. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #2
    It's their club so their rules and so on...

    That's a tough definition, if you ask me. The Nisqually Delta Wildlife Preserve just north of Olympia, Washington is a haven for birders and camera bugs like me. The natural estuary was diked up and turned into farm land for decades. The Nisqually Tribe of Indians along with the US Fish and Wildlife have bulldozed the dikes and are returning the estuary to it's natural flow. It has the hand of man twice, once to tear it down and again to return it to it's original state. Dose this mean that none of the photos I take there are nature shots? Not in my book. But then I'm the author...:) to me it's more like this: it's nature if the hand of man isn't visible. The field of corn isn't nature as a whole, but a corn plant shot in isolation is.

    Dale
     
  3. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

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    #3
    Natural? Unnatural?? It's a pretty pointless distinction, IMO, and almost always wrong. The 'hand of man' is everywhere...

    Anyway, we're part of the natural world too; it's only our innate arrogance that makes us think we're lords of all we survey. :)
     
  4. W1MRK thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #4
    Thanks for the responses. I agree that I would have a hard time not considering the Nisqually true nature when its finished even though it has had the hand of man in it. It is their club and their rules but it just took me as a bit of a shock. Personally many of the pics I take have the hand of man in it but it works well. I also do a good amount of landscapes and it is hard not to incorporate the hand of man at 18mm wide shots.
     
  5. iBlue macrumors Core

    iBlue

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    #5
    It may be ubiquitous but skies (day or night) and oceans come to mind for being the most naturally created, but even that could be disputed since we have air planes and boats. Almost everything has the hand of man involved, which makes the requirement a bit ridiculous.
     
  6. W1MRK, Jun 16, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2011

    W1MRK thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #6

    Its funny you mentioned that as con-trails were also mentioned as hand of man. Honestly I have a nice sunset shot at 18mm on a high elevation on a hill overlooking a barn with a cessna in the photo and I think it looks awesome.

    While they seem to have very smart members who can help me learn and grow in photography, I do not think I would enjoy the competing there.

    I was also told that Tulips would not be allowed as they are not wild. You can go to the local botanical gardens and take photos and that would be allowed as long as no hand of man effects can be seen (that one really confused me) but tulips or hybrids at the gardens would not be allowed for competition.

    Isn't a botanical garden nothing but the hand of man?

    Their rules I guess. Thanks for all the responses.
     
  7. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #7
    The "can't show the hand of man" rule is actually quite common for contests and clubs. A bird on a branch is acceptable, a bird on a fence isn't. More murky are the "I placed the branch here" shots, which don't show the hand of man, but are staged, and even murkier are the "I put out food, but it's not in the shot." Many stock agencies also have similar rules and you'll see an uproar when someone breaks them.

    The idea is that a "nature' image should be as "natural" as possible- that is the viewer shouldn't be able to distinguish non-natural images. Take it as a challenge to produce a certain spec image- not as a detriment to what you've already taken.

    The best advice I have is to enter the shots with "hand of man" stuff in other categories and practice finding views, angles and getting close enough that you don't get human artifacts in the images.

    Paul
     
  8. Chappers macrumors 68020

    Chappers

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    #8
    Your definition is obviously your comfort zone - so maybe if you could think of joining them as a challenge - getting you to look at your photography in a different way and maybe improving it.

    If on the other hand you don't like their rules, either don't join or join and try to get involved enough to have the rules changed.
     
  9. iBlue macrumors Core

    iBlue

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    #9
    It will certainly help you branch out (a little pun intended) and to think your subjects through but personally I love the mix of nature and "the hand of man". (such as photos like the one you described with the sunset, barn and cessna.) Or where you can see nature dominating over the hand of man. (example from my balcony, but there are much better examples out there; e.g., natural disasters)

    Anyway, I'd love to see what you come up with and the picture you described.
     
  10. W1MRK thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #10
    Very nice pic you have. The clouds really intensify it. Heres the link to the shot I was talking about. http://www.flickr.com/photos/mkulis/5842457686/in/photostream
    Cessna is in the upper left hand corner.

    Thanks :)
     
  11. iBlue macrumors Core

    iBlue

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    #11
    Weird weather of Britain. :D

    Pretty and a difficult shot you took. The brightness of the sun dominates the photo and darkens the foreground. My favourite time is around twilight and dusk, when the sky is still colourful and light enough to help illuminate your surroundings, helped sometimes by a longer exposure.
     
  12. Chappers, Jun 17, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2011

    Chappers macrumors 68020

    Chappers

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    #12
    I'm not trying to pick an argument but you sound like you want people to agree with you on this issue and convince yourself that the nature group is wrong.

    I stick to my advice in my previous post.

    **Update** I just did a search for "nature" on Flickr and the vast majority of the photos lack the hand of man.
     
  13. davegregory macrumors regular

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    #13
    If the sunset photo is one you want to submit, why not just photoshop out the plane and submit the photo? Assuming photoshop isn't against the rules of the group as well, of course.

    I have to agree with what others have stated as well. If it's not something you're comfortable with, no one says you have to join the group. I think it's an interesting rule though. It will really force you to think and check your framing when you take the shot. I don't think the rule is there to be obtuse or discourage you. I think it's in place so you try harder. Maybe you don't use that 18mm lens, maybe you use a 50, or 70-200. Maybe you go macro and get a close up of a leaf or a bug. There's no right or wrong, it's just different.
     
  14. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

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    #14
    Well he could, but what's he gonna do about all the houses and buildings? :)

    "Nature" photography usually has a pretty specific definition in competitions, landscape is similar where typically you aren't supposed to have any man-made elements, although often those rules are bent to where as long as the man-made portions are not dominating or the main subject, then it's admissible.
     
  15. H2Ockey macrumors regular

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    #15
    I must agree with those that think it seems a bit silly to have such a hard and fast rule, but at the same time it is not that uncommon in groups like that.

    On the same note, it is often enough the "hand of man" that can detract and distract from an otherwise wonderful shot. Powerlines or paved roads in a landscape or ear tags and fences in a wildlife shot. A good shot can still be a good shot, so in my opinion the rule isn't needed if the "hand of man" is detracting from the shot then the photo will fail on its own merit, but if it is present yet does not distract from the beauty of the shot I personally would still want to see the photo.

    BuuUuuT.... their club, their rules, and as I said it isn't uncommon.
     
  16. TuffLuffJimmy macrumors G3

    TuffLuffJimmy

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    Portland, OR
    #16
    You need to brush up on your corn history. Corn is completely man made, so no corn is natural.
     

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