What Would be Your Response (Or, Why I often shoot "off the beaten track")?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by BradleyK, Sep 28, 2013.

  1. BradleyK

    BradleyK Subscriber

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    I'd like to share a couple of incidents that happened to me last weekend during a very quick trip down the Icefields Parkway between Jasper and Banff National Parks, essentially to gauge whether my response to either was a,ppropriate, reasonable given the circumstances, or out of proportion to the matters at hand:

    Incident 1: While shooting at Athabasca Falls, Jasper National Park (from a vantage point seldom, if ever, used by tourist types), I had an individual repeatedly walk up/climb up to where I was shooting and attempt to check out my composition on what he thought was my LCD. Given that I was shooting with my F6, this proved to be something of a challenge. The said individual was brazen enough after several attempts to ask outright (While I was working on my shots!) to ask if I didn't find it difficult to work without an LCD screen. I responded - in a rather curt manner - that the camera I was using (the aforementioned F6) was "a film camera, you f*****g cretin," and that I was "technically competent enough with my equipment and skilled enough as a photographer that I did not an LCD at any rate!" Later I found myself vacillating between a tinge of regret for my incivility and continued anger at the intrusion when I was working. Did I go overboard?

    Incident 2: The following morning, having travelled the length of the Parkway the previous afternoon, I shot the sunrise at Lake Louise. Not really sure how I was going to "lens the picture," and whether I wanted the image horizontal or square (as I disclosed in a post here some time back, I am a full frame shooter - I don't crop), I brought along two 35mm bodies (E100G in the F6 and E100VS in the F5) and a Blad with Velvia. My bag full o'stuff attracted the attentions of several parties: my cameras, the position I was shooting from (one individual stood directly behind me in an effort to see exactly how I was framing my shot), another was particularly interested in the exact placement of my tripod (easily discerned by the marks left in the frost). I spent perhaps 20-25 minutes shooting the sunrise and the early morning colours before packing up my gear and begin looking for other opportunities. I no sooner began walking away when two of the onlookers moved toward where I had been positioned. Acting quickly, I scuffed the marks with my hiking boots, remarking, quite audibly that "just for s***s and giggles, try to be original." Again, I had that nagging feeling that I had over-reacted, tinged with the anger that some folks couldn't be original if they tried. Thoughts? Comments? Anybody here have similar occasions when out shooting? Are these just the latest manifestations of some latent misanthropic tendencies I have?
     
  2. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Did you really call him a F...en Cretin? Sorry, but you are way out of line. Do you really need to talk to people like that?
     
  3. Prof_Pixel

    Prof_Pixel Member

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    My read is that you did over react. There are lots of really stupid people around; it's not necessary to bring yourself down to their level. Try to take the 'high ground'. You're obviously a good person, or you wouldn't be concerned by how you reacted.
     
  4. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I'm afraid I think you over-reacted.

    IMHO, every "found" shot in public places is fair game.

    And unless the interaction between the other people and you prevented you from doing what you were trying to do, it wasn't worth getting excited about it.

    Although I'll allow you a certain level of grumpiness when shooting at sunrise (I'm definitely not a morning person).

    If the others unreasonably got in the way or were disruptively noisy or rude, or were trying to copy something that you have set up (like a studio shot) I would agree with your response.
     
  5. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    I think you overreacted, and missed an opportunity to let a few people know film is alive, and there's a reason we choose it.
     
  6. BradleyK

    BradleyK Subscriber

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    No argument here, Matt, regarding accessibility and freedom of movement in the public domain. What upsets me, though, Sir, is where of all the places to shoot from, I seem to have this unique ability to attract folks to the spots where I happen to be standing (my recent experiences are by no means unusual for me; perhaps I look like someone who knows what he is doing with a camera? LOL!!).

    What annoys me more, though, is that a lot of folks don't seem to clue in to the idea that I am working, and I do not wish to be disturbed when doing so (apparently a lot of folks don't have the ability to read social cueing?).
     
  7. Pioneer

    Pioneer Member

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    I would think it would be a compliment. Obviously you at least look enough like you know what you are about that others want to try and do the same.

    But I do have to admit, I too prefer solitude when focused on my own work, and have been a bit resentful and unreasonable when someone interrupts my thought process.
     
  8. hdeyong

    hdeyong Member

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    +1 for overreacting. Swearing at somebody because they're curious about how you're doing something is a little much.
    Most people are pretty reasonable, and if you'd told him you were working and would explain things in a few minutes, he probably would have backed off.
    They're using your compositions because for the last 30 years or so, the world has been furiously teaching people that they don't have to think for themselves or make any real effort.
    I'm amazed they were up and about at that time of day.
     
  9. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    when people come up to me and wonder what I'm doing with that antique camera i like to use it as a teaching moment -- they're obviously hoping to learn, and one way you learn is by studying folks better than you.

    So, next time, tell them to come over, see what you're doing, take it as a compliment. Then explain why, give them some pointers. If you're half as good as you seem to think you are you should know that just clicking the shutter from the same spot, even with the same camera/lens/film, doesn't mean they get the same result.
     
  10. JLP

    JLP Subscriber

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    No overreaction here, I would have done exactly as you did perhaps even taking it a step further. To tell someone that film still exist is of course a nice gesture but would not have change this persons persistence to take his or hers tripod legs into the same spot as yours before you could get out of there.
    I have had the same experience as you did, did not take a shot as it was not worth a sheet of film but the over ambitious photographer kept pushing to get me out of there so he could set up his camera.

    It is lack of respect from the other person that made you react as you did and your reaction is fine as far as I am concerned.
     
  11. dances_w_clouds

    dances_w_clouds Subscriber

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    I find that a few minutes out of my busy schedule of shooting really does not make ANY difference. Not that you would have to explain the whole process of developing and printing the film of the shot to them but a bit of courtesy goes a long way in the world. Yes you over reacted for a simple explanation. I do not know you personally but from reading your posts you seem like a nice gentleman so the swearing sounds like you were just having a bad day. As for the sunrise @ Lake Louise it has been done by many many people in the past so what you were doing was just an interest not a competition issue. BTW The best shots I have found were the sunsets looking out across the lake. Hope you had good light the whole trip.
     
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  12. adelorenzo

    adelorenzo Subscriber

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    If that's the way you treat other photographers I'm not even sure why you are asking for my opinion on this, but in any case... I would say not cool at all. If someone is bothering you it is possible to communicate that to them without being a complete dick about it. Or, god forbid, maybe a friendly word or two.
     
  13. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    If people come up to me and start in with the 3rd degree, I just tell them something like "the drug store was out of digital film for my cell phone, so I had to bring this camera instead". (nevermind that I don't own a cell phone, but they don't know that).
     
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  15. MatthewDunn

    MatthewDunn Member

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    Personally, I fail to see the need to abandon basic civility and to become so enraged that you feel the need to curse to a stranger and refer to him as a "cretin." I understand your annoyance and would also likely be annoyed, but I think you could probably have expressed that in a more civil fashion. But, in fairness, I wasn't there and might have reacted differently (perhaps like you did) had I been in your shoes...
     
  16. momus

    momus Member

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    I think you need to lay off the coffee for a while. Talking w/ interested parties is part of the fun (not all people are interested, they're often pi**ed if they're in the shots), and who cares if someone takes photos where you did? As a film shooter, I'm used to being pointedly ignored as the old duff who can't even afford a digital camera (I've seen people actually shake their head and walk away when they see it's a film camera), so anyone who is actually interested is a treat for me.
     
  17. dances_w_clouds

    dances_w_clouds Subscriber

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    For your information it was my father who discovered the "perfect location" for a sunrise shot @ Lake Louise back in 1956 while you were just a glow in your daddies eye. He used a 126 camera. I still have the digital negative. There was film photography before you entered life so take a breath and think before reacting. Thanks Dennis
     
  18. Truzi

    Truzi Subscriber

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    I'd say you overreacted. I'd have been annoyed too, but I think the responses were perhaps a bit too much. I'm not saying, however, that you had to waste a lot of time, put up with it, or be more kind than they were. Saying "I'm sorry, I'm concentrating on this right now" may have allowed some people to back down - if that didn't work, then perhaps I'd be a bit more stern or sarcastic.

    For the LCD comment, you could ask in return, in the same manner the person did, how he could get a good shot looking at a screen instead of at the actual object/area he was photographing. Both questions are stupid, but if he felt his was valid, then reversing the question is just as valid (despite any rationalization on either part).

    I agree that using your tripod impressions would not give others a great shot; if they feel they have to use the exact marks, they are probably not good enough to pull it off. Even if you wanted to brush away the impressions, I think doing so _discretely_ without comment would have been better.


    That said, I am waiting to make a smart-ass comment regarding how many megapixels my film camera has. If a stranger asks, I will explain things nicely. However, a few men I work with do ask that kind of question, and I know them well enough that I can ask in return "what size shoe do you wear?"
     
  19. AgX

    AgX Member

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    I like watching other photographers and sometimes I approach them. As I do with other people who are working. I try not be too intrusive depending on their activity. But seemingly you and me could not get along.
    That's life.
     
  20. rince

    rince Subscriber

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    I think you overreacted. Someone showing an interest in photography and starting to start a conversation is a good thing to me. If he disrupted your work, there is nothing wrong with 'give me a minute till I have that shot taken' and then answer their question and maybe kindle some excitement in that person to bring a camera next time around.

    Also what is the issue with people taken the same photo as you do? You are taking the image for you and not for the purpose of being the only one. When I started out in photography many a few decades ago, I would also try and learn from more experienced photographers and getting the best composition out of the scene is one of those things. I am sure you are a great photographer, so take it as a compliment that others want to take the same image that you just took.

    To me photography is a passion that I love sharing with others and if I can help someone get a better picture and give them some assistance, I am happy to do it, because there were tons of photographers doing the same for me.

    Just my two cents ...
     
  21. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    how are they supposed to know that you are working? what "social cues" are you offering? that you have two cameras? that they're "pro" cameras? that you have a tripod? that you have a "professional look" ? that you swear violently, aggressively and abusively at total strangers?

    it may be that you are the one who can't read social cues.

    as for kicking over your tripod marks, let alone the further aggression towards a stranger ... I was going to words fail me, but in fact it strikes me as the behaviour of a spoilt toddler.

    however, you've taken the opportunity to describe publicly some really unacceptable behaviour, and ask for feedback. Some has been blunt like mine and some has been less direct, but it does seem most people agree you were out of line. it's probably impossible to find a way to apologise to the people towards whom you were so aggressively unpleasant, but lets hope the feedback you've got makes sure you don't find yoursself worrying about your behaviour again.
     
  22. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    BradleyK--you are a boorish snob. How'd that feel to be addressed in a vulgar manner? I think you missed a valuable moment to interact with someone who was obviously seeing you as an experienced photographer and was seeking advise. Given further discourse, possibly could have been swayed to the dark side, or at the very least gotten a lesson in composition. Now his feelings are hurt and he views you as an asshole.
     
  23. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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  24. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    +1 on the really out-of-line response. I've had to deal with all kinds of annoyance when out shooting, especially when hauling large format gear around. I've never had the need to be vulgar and rude. If someone's being a pest and asking too many questions and disrupting what I'm doing, I'll just turn back to what I'm doing and stop engaging them. If I had been as rude as you yesterday at the antique car show when someone asked me if my camera was a film camera, I'd have missed a very interesting conversation with a fellow photography buff and car enthusiast. Yes, when I get the question about "is that a film camera?" or something related, my hackles go up and I get ready for some more stupid questions, but 99% of the time the questions are of genuine interest and curiosity, and are over-and-done-with very quickly. Also, why did you feel the need to be so rude about the folks looking for your tripod holes? Even if they tried to copy your composition, the light has changed, and it's no longer the light you were interested in. The only time I'd find it necessary to get that kind of rude would be if they started getting IN my composition AND wouldn't get out of the way when asked.
     
  25. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    SNIP SNIP

    i find it kind of strange
    that you don't know if you over reacted ?

    calling someone a "f*****g cretin" and then telling folks who were trying
    to figure out what you were photographing "just for s***s and giggles, try to be original."

    i think you need some lessons in tact ?
     
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  26. MartinCrabtree

    MartinCrabtree Member

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    I understand for I have little tolerance for intrusive people myself. Fortunately my size and demeanor scare most away. I don't have to say anything,a look is effective most times. I too have misanthropic tendencies. F**king cretin? Damn.