Ethics in Night Photography in the Real World

Started Jul 26, 2019 | Discussions thread
Alen K Senior Member • Posts: 1,152
Re: Ethics in Night Photography in the Real World

One of the reasons I linked to the other photo is to show what the scene (near enough) looks like when it is light-painted from at or near the photographer's position. The result, predictably, is a flat look, like what you get when you use a camera's built-in flash for a portrait (ugh).

The photo in question, on the other hand, is very different. As pointed out, it has shadows indicating lighting from directly above. Far above, because all the rocks, trees, bushes and stream overhangs are identical in that respect. In other words, the sun around noontime. Now, according to the photographer's description he light-painted using drone-mounted LED lights. The photo is not consistent with that.

Hearing that the photographer censored questions about this instead of answering them does not inspire confidence about the photo's legitimacy.

Re compositing, that is not necessarily evidence per se of fakery. It is typically required in any photo in which the sky needs either a tracked exposure or stacked multiple short exposures, since either will blur the foreground. In that case, a separate non-tracked shot of the forefoground will be required and will have to be composited into the correct place. That's not generally considered cheating so long as everything lines up properly and both sky and foreground were taken at the same camera position at roughly the same time (the latter requirement may well have been broken here). Only when the sky exposure is short enough will such a process not be required.

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