Royal Society Photos from the Daily Mail - Stunners among them!

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by Sandy Vongries, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

  2. Wonderful images! The one with the bird and the scorpion looked a bit strange, didn't it?
  3. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    Some birds first catch then toss their prey to align it for consumption. That might be the case here - not familiar with the particular bird.
  4. They don't do much for me. I agree with the assessment that says they're "stunning" but I think that's where it begins and ends. So, for me, they feel like HD idealizations of what nature can look like when digitized and technologically perfected while at the same time they don't give me much of an inkling of what nature can feel like in a living, breathing, down-to-earth way.
  5. I was more reacting to the edges of the branch and the leaves in the photo... perhaps it's just me.

    No, there's definitely something up with that photo. Look at the chest of the bird.
  6. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    You're likely correct - digital world / PP!

    Haven't seen many two dimensional presentations that can do that, ex possibly where subjective experience and image coincide. Just some interesting images.
  7. Aww come on Fred, this is superb work and while I don't doubt some if it has been enhanced it's still honest. Work every bit as good has been done with film and none of the computer add ons. Then or now it takes a lot of skill and knowledge not mention access and patience to get even one such image.

    Rick H.
  8. Rick, I wasn't in any way questioning the work's honesty. And, though I mentioned HD and digital, I have very much the same complaint about a lot of film nature work which I find sterile and more about focus, color rendition, and clarity than about nature, life, growth, or atmosphere. To me, it is superb work on only a technical but not a narrative, emotional, or gut level. I am very impressed by skill, knowledge, patience, and the ability to utilize access well but I respond to photos because of how they hit me. What I think about the dedication and skill it took to make them will often affect my opinion of them but their look and what they express is the primary thing I react to.
  9. Sandy, a photo's two-dimensionality never stopped me from positive responses to all kinds of photos, from Stieglitz's lifelike portraits and studies of Georgia O'Keeffe to Weston's nudes, vegetables, and driftwood to Cunningham's flowers. I don't think it's the two dimensions that are at issue here, at least for me.
  10. I think, its a crop from a larger frame, taken at high ISO. This causes the noise reduction artifacts more visible, since the noise grains are magnified, but I may be wrong.
  11. First of all, many thanks to Sandy for posting these photos. While many of the shots reflect the predictable National Geographic style of conservative, aesthetically pleasing grandiosity, I appreciate a few of the shots surprisingly not for portraying nature, but for their abstract value. I think, the second and the third shots are interesting (the third one can be imagined as a frozen computer keyboard with a fly on top). The sixth shot with the spider shows good work with lines and colors.

    The 10th one of the pitcher plant has potential, although I find the light too harsh and studioish that obscures the fine texture. That could have been the intent, to show contradiction between nature and domestic setting, but as for my aesthetic sense, I can clearly see why Cunningham's work stands out among others in this field. The 12th shot (he he): nature puritans will frown at it (specially the ones who think nature photos should be without any human hand), but I like it for projecting drama and depicting nature in a different way (perhaps in the way that many of us experience nature in our daily lives).

    Finally, the 11th photo has a good sense of story. Its the nature photo that carries a bit of philosophy in it, of nature's inevitable cycle of life and death, of collective survival, of cooperation (the orcas hunt in coordinated groups to maximize their catch).
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  12. I don't know either. I have never witnessed this effect, nor was I able to reproduce it only using LR at least. If this is a post processing effect, I think the photographer went way overboard. The bird looks like it has been composed onto a bokeh background. Noise levels do not fit either. I don't mind if it was a composed picture, but if so it doesn't look well done. This perhaps supports your theory.
  13. OK, I see now what you are hinting at. Possibly, the background was blurred in PS separately then composited below the bird and the branches. The outlines of the bird and the leaf look too smooth. The interior of the leaf is out of focus, while the edges are sharp. The blurred background also has some color banding sometimes seen in gaussian smoothing in PS. I don't mind, its a composite either, but I wonder if Royal Society also has any guidelines against manipulated photos like National Geographic.
  14. Okay, I'm stunned. These pictures are SO good, they could make "Explore" on Flickr. Or maybe not. At least they're not subtle. I mean, with a subtle nature image, you have to look at it for more than ten seconds, and that's like, way out of my attention span.
    Norma Desmond likes this.
  15. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    Golly, Fred, invoking absolute Legends, I'll just have to curl up like a dead bug. Sorry, been to the G. O'Keeffe museum, read Newhall's History and lots more - the legends had good & bad days, and put their pants on one leg at a time. Possibly you just don't like the Daily Mail?
  16. Ok Fred I see what you are saying. I was left with a different impression when I first read your comments.

    Rick H.
    Norma Desmond likes this.
  17. Sandy, it's got nothing to do with the Daily Mail. I've liked some and disliked some of the photography stories you've linked to, depending on the photography, not the paper it's published in. The reason to name legends is that we've all heard of them. I could name friends of mine and local people who are doing interesting nature work, but no one would know what I'm talking about. Sandy, seriously, it's ok if you like these pix and I don't. You gave your opinion and posted the link. If you don't want honest reactions, maybe don't post. If you post, expect some people to like what you post and others not to. It doesn't mean those who disagree with you have some sort of agenda or personal animosity or only revere legends. It just means they have a different response to the photos. It's really quite simple.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
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  19. There's only so much leeway one has in nature photography, like in all more specific genres, and it's one of the most difficult genres requiring lots of resources and commitment in time, travel, etc to do it well on a consistent basis. It's also not a genre that needs or wants to be about photography itself.

    Salgado's Genesis series - even though not strictly nature photography - is among the finest examples. Frans Lanting, while an obvious choice as he's one of the most well known nature photographers, also has some great work.
  20. I once talked to someone who made photographs for National Geographic. He was a professional diver so he was a diver first and only secondarily a photogapher. It's a type of photography that often requires skills that go way beyond photographic skills (and if you're diving with whales great images practically make themselves).
    Robin Smith likes this.

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