Ethics in Night Photography in the Real World

Started Jul 26, 2019 | Discussions
swimswithtrout Veteran Member • Posts: 3,777
Ethics in Night Photography in the Real World
1

This is just a "mild" example of what passes for acceptable practices in the FB crowd....

Astrozoid
Astrozoid Contributing Member • Posts: 846
Re: Ethics in Night Photography in the Real World
1

swimswithtrout wrote:

This is just a "mild" example of what passes for acceptable practices in the FB crowd....

My personal philosophy is that anything goes as long as you are honest about it.

So, seemingly, this image passes my honesty test.

But... man, I'm highly skeptical that this scene, and a 1500-foot mountain were lit with LumeCubes on a drone.

Maybe it's real.

Maybe it's a daytime image on an overcast day composited in.  I think that is a more likely explanation than being lit by drones.

Jerry

JayNGu
JayNGu Regular Member • Posts: 186
Re: Ethics in Night Photography in the Real World

Even if it's genuine, the processing or whatever just makes it look so fake to me. Yuk.

I must be old school...I like to see pictures how my eyes see it. e.g no issues with the MW silhouetted against a dark mountain range.

Best Regards,

Jason

 JayNGu's gear list:JayNGu's gear list
Fujifilm X-T30 Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R Fujifilm XF 60mm F2.4 R Macro Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS Fujifilm XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS +1 more
BlackgumNate Contributing Member • Posts: 634
Re: Ethics in Night Photography in the Real World
3

swimswithtrout wrote:

This is just a "mild" example of what passes for acceptable practices in the FB crowd....

Finds beautiful really-dark-site. Checks dates for new moon time at really-dark-site. Makes big plans for really-dark-site. Travels to really-dark-site. Hikes in 7 miles loaded with heavy gear into really-dark-site.

Lights up really-dark-site like a Walmart parking lot for social media.

/end.

W5JCK
W5JCK Veteran Member • Posts: 3,631
Re: Ethics in Night Photography in the Real World
2

swimswithtrout wrote:

This is just a "mild" example of what passes for acceptable practices in the FB crowd....

Like others posting I think it looks fake, at least my brain tells me it isn't authentic. But if he wants to fake his photos or push his PP to an extreme limit and beyond, that is his call. I don't care for it, but I'm not the AP PD.

However, I would be extremely angry if I had also hiked 7 miles into the wilderness lugging tons of equipment to enjoy a night of AP, or even just enjoy a night in the wilderness sans cameras, and then had some jerk light up the night sky all around me. That is the part of this story which infuriates me. The part where a self centered jerk can screw up other people's plans for nice night in the wilderness sans LP by introducing LP therein. (Although I doubt he could have produced the amount of light in the way he claims to have done it.)

-- hide signature --
 W5JCK's gear list:W5JCK's gear list
Sony RX100 III Sony a7 Sony a6000 Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Sony E 50mm F1.8 OSS +11 more
stretchman Senior Member • Posts: 1,120
Re: Ethics in Night Photography in the Real World
3

swimswithtrout wrote:

This is just a "mild" example of what passes for acceptable practices in the FB crowd....

This is so funny. I saw this image on a FB page that I follow. I asked the photographer a couple of questions about the image. He answered every other question about the image but mine. Then he deleted my questions.

He stated that he used some type of L.E.D. lighting for the image. If you look at the large rock on the right side of the image it has quite a bit of shadow under it which tells me the light on top of the rock came from above it, not behind it like from an L.E.D.

He also stated that he "waited until dark and began to set up". Funny thing is a day later he posted an image on FB of the exact same scene at sunset well before it became dark.

My guess is that this is a image blend of images shot both before and after dark.

I'm good with however the photographer wants to create his images, just be honest about the way the image was created.

 stretchman's gear list:stretchman's gear list
Nikon D800E Nikon D850
Alen K Senior Member • Posts: 1,143
Re: Ethics in Night Photography in the Real World

Here's another photo from Abe of the same location but with only the foreground illuminated artificially. Comparing the two might reveal something about his techniques. One thing for sure: Abe sure does like a blue night sky.

https://www.abeblair.com/gallery.html?gallery=American+West&folio=The%20Art#/59

A clearer image of the original image in discussion: https://www.abeblair.com/gallery.html?gallery=American+West&folio=The+Art&vimeoUserID=&vimeoAlbumID=#/0

Looking through Abe's gallery, he does take nice photos.

JayNGu
JayNGu Regular Member • Posts: 186
Re: Ethics in Night Photography in the Real World

Hi, I'm new to this forum as I've only recently started on Astrophotography, but I've been an amateur photographer for quite a few years now. So apologies in advance as I know I have little "astro" cred here!

Having got my disclaimers out of the way, to me (as others have suggested), on my big screen that photo looks like a composite of at least two images, one of the foreground taken in the day and the other of the background. The mountain line looks too sharp to me and is most probably the boundary where the layers are being blended / composited. The foreground looks too bright (even for light painting) and the sky looks too blue and brightened up to get the Milky Way like that naturally...some aggressive levels and curves or something weird going on has been applied to a darker Milky Way shot.

Its all fine as long as the photographer is honest about it as others have suggested. To me it all looks a bit fake, unnatural and more like a painting. It borders on visual art more than photography. I guess its just not to my taste.

Thanks for posting the link to his work...I'm sort of working out what I like and the approach I would like to take for my own photography.

Best Regards,

Jason

 JayNGu's gear list:JayNGu's gear list
Fujifilm X-T30 Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R Fujifilm XF 60mm F2.4 R Macro Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS Fujifilm XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS +1 more
Alen K Senior Member • Posts: 1,143
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.

1llusive
1llusive Veteran Member • Posts: 3,313
Re: Ethics in Night Photography in the Real World

Alen K wrote:

Here's another photo from Abe of the same location but with only the foreground illuminated artificially. Comparing the two might reveal something about his techniques. One thing for sure: Abe sure does like a blue night sky.

https://www.abeblair.com/gallery.html?gallery=American+West&folio=The%20Art#/59

A clearer image of the original image in discussion: https://www.abeblair.com/gallery.html?gallery=American+West&folio=The+Art&vimeoUserID=&vimeoAlbumID=#/0

Looking through Abe's gallery, he does take nice photos.

The landscape is too dark and noisy to be a daytime shot. It is definitely not a noon exposure. It is possible that it is a twilight exposure.

However the light is most intense in the immediate foreground, and falls off the further back you go. This would be consistent with attempts to light the scene. I am very skeptical he got that much light on the mountains with small LEDs, though. No way this whole scene was lit with LEDs on a drone.

The glow around the mountain top indicates it is likely a blend. My money is on twilight foreground with LED assist + sky astro blend. The LED assist from above would explain the higher concentration of light on the top of the rocks, and darkness underneath, as well as the bright reflection from the snow.

 1llusive's gear list:1llusive's gear list
Nikon Z6 II Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 Nikon Z 24-70mm F4 Nikon Z 85mm F1.8 +1 more
Alen K Senior Member • Posts: 1,143
Re: Ethics in Night Photography in the Real World

1llusive wrote:

Alen K wrote:

Here's another photo from Abe of the same location but with only the foreground illuminated artificially. Comparing the two might reveal something about his techniques. One thing for sure: Abe sure does like a blue night sky.

https://www.abeblair.com/gallery.html?gallery=American+West&folio=The%20Art#/59

A clearer image of the original image in discussion: https://www.abeblair.com/gallery.html?gallery=American+West&folio=The+Art&vimeoUserID=&vimeoAlbumID=#/0

Looking through Abe's gallery, he does take nice photos.

The landscape is too dark and noisy to be a daytime shot. It is definitely not a noon exposure. It is possible that it is a twilight exposure.

However the light is most intense in the immediate foreground, and falls off the further back you go. This would be consistent with attempts to light the scene. I am very skeptical he got that much light on the mountains with small LEDs, though. No way this whole scene was lit with LEDs on a drone.

The glow around the mountain top indicates it is likely a blend. My money is on twilight foreground with LED assist + sky astro blend. The LED assist from above would explain the higher concentration of light on the top of the rocks, and darkness underneath, as well as the bright reflection from the snow.

Interesting. To my eyes the lighting is pretty even throughout the scene. And if the LED lights were flown on a drone which was hovering in one place, the shadows would be at different angles for different objects depending on their distance from the drone. If OTOH the drone was not hovering but moving, then there wouldn't be any distinct shadows. Two different opinions. In any case, we'll never know the truth of it.

PS. Here's a daytime shot of the same scene (more or less) for comparison: https://www.abeblair.com/gallery.html?gallery=American+West&folio=The+Art&vimeoUserID=&vimeoAlbumID=#/8

1llusive
1llusive Veteran Member • Posts: 3,313
Re: Ethics in Night Photography in the Real World

Alen K wrote:

1llusive wrote:

Alen K wrote:

Here's another photo from Abe of the same location but with only the foreground illuminated artificially. Comparing the two might reveal something about his techniques. One thing for sure: Abe sure does like a blue night sky.

https://www.abeblair.com/gallery.html?gallery=American+West&folio=The%20Art#/59

A clearer image of the original image in discussion: https://www.abeblair.com/gallery.html?gallery=American+West&folio=The+Art&vimeoUserID=&vimeoAlbumID=#/0

Looking through Abe's gallery, he does take nice photos.

The landscape is too dark and noisy to be a daytime shot. It is definitely not a noon exposure. It is possible that it is a twilight exposure.

However the light is most intense in the immediate foreground, and falls off the further back you go. This would be consistent with attempts to light the scene. I am very skeptical he got that much light on the mountains with small LEDs, though. No way this whole scene was lit with LEDs on a drone.

The glow around the mountain top indicates it is likely a blend. My money is on twilight foreground with LED assist + sky astro blend. The LED assist from above would explain the higher concentration of light on the top of the rocks, and darkness underneath, as well as the bright reflection from the snow.

Interesting. To my eyes the lighting is pretty even throughout the scene. And if the LED lights were flown on a drone which was hovering in one place, the shadows would be at different angles for different objects depending on their distance from the drone. If OTOH the drone was not hovering but moving, then there wouldn't be any distinct shadows. Two different opinions. In any case, we'll never know the truth of it.

PS. Here's a daytime shot of the same scene (more or less) for comparison: https://www.abeblair.com/gallery.html?gallery=American+West&folio=The+Art&vimeoUserID=&vimeoAlbumID=#/8

That link is taking me to the same picture in the OP?

I think if a drone were used to light the scene from above, it would have to be flown pretty high in order to not appear in the image. So with enough altitude, I don't think you'd get a lot of light under that rock.

The mountains in the distance are much darker than the immediate area and the snow in front and center is much brighter than the snow on the far cliffs, hinting at local lighting rather than something global like the sun.

If it was lit during the day, the OP did an awful lot of painting in of exposure reduction to make it appear like a night image lit with LEDs. That would seem unlikely, but possible, I guess.

 1llusive's gear list:1llusive's gear list
Nikon Z6 II Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 Nikon Z 24-70mm F4 Nikon Z 85mm F1.8 +1 more
Alen K Senior Member • Posts: 1,143
Re: Ethics in Night Photography in the Real World

1llusive wrote:

Alen K wrote:

1llusive wrote:

Alen K wrote:

Here's another photo from Abe of the same location but with only the foreground illuminated artificially. Comparing the two might reveal something about his techniques. One thing for sure: Abe sure does like a blue night sky.

https://www.abeblair.com/gallery.html?gallery=American+West&folio=The%20Art#/59

A clearer image of the original image in discussion: https://www.abeblair.com/gallery.html?gallery=American+West&folio=The+Art&vimeoUserID=&vimeoAlbumID=#/0

Looking through Abe's gallery, he does take nice photos.

The landscape is too dark and noisy to be a daytime shot. It is definitely not a noon exposure. It is possible that it is a twilight exposure.

However the light is most intense in the immediate foreground, and falls off the further back you go. This would be consistent with attempts to light the scene. I am very skeptical he got that much light on the mountains with small LEDs, though. No way this whole scene was lit with LEDs on a drone.

The glow around the mountain top indicates it is likely a blend. My money is on twilight foreground with LED assist + sky astro blend. The LED assist from above would explain the higher concentration of light on the top of the rocks, and darkness underneath, as well as the bright reflection from the snow.

Interesting. To my eyes the lighting is pretty even throughout the scene. And if the LED lights were flown on a drone which was hovering in one place, the shadows would be at different angles for different objects depending on their distance from the drone. If OTOH the drone was not hovering but moving, then there wouldn't be any distinct shadows. Two different opinions. In any case, we'll never know the truth of it.

PS. Here's a daytime shot of the same scene (more or less) for comparison: https://www.abeblair.com/gallery.html?gallery=American+West&folio=The+Art&vimeoUserID=&vimeoAlbumID=#/8

That link is taking me to the same picture in the OP?

I think if a drone were used to light the scene from above, it would have to be flown pretty high in order to not appear in the image. So with enough altitude, I don't think you'd get a lot of light under that rock.

The mountains in the distance are much darker than the immediate area and the snow in front and center is much brighter than the snow on the far cliffs, hinting at local lighting rather than something global like the sun.

If it was lit during the day, the OP did an awful lot of painting in of exposure reduction to make it appear like a night image lit with LEDs. That would seem unlikely, but possible, I guess.

I can't seem to get a link that works from one machine to another. Try going to the same picture as the OP and advancing eight times.

I don't know for sure which direction the sun is coming from in that shot but the shadows of the bushes are directly under them. (The time of year is different than the photo in the OP, for sure)

I agree that is seems unlikely a drone was actually used to light the scene in the photo n the OP; any part of it. But what then is the source of the shadows under the bushes and the shadows created by slight overhangs in the rocks? They are pretty obvious. We can even clearly see the creek bed, which means it was illuminated from above. Would general sky glow be enough to illuminate it? But general skyglow wouldn't create vertical shadows.

1llusive
1llusive Veteran Member • Posts: 3,313
Re: Ethics in Night Photography in the Real World

Alen K wrote:

1llusive wrote:

Alen K wrote:

1llusive wrote:

Alen K wrote:

Here's another photo from Abe of the same location but with only the foreground illuminated artificially. Comparing the two might reveal something about his techniques. One thing for sure: Abe sure does like a blue night sky.

https://www.abeblair.com/gallery.html?gallery=American+West&folio=The%20Art#/59

A clearer image of the original image in discussion: https://www.abeblair.com/gallery.html?gallery=American+West&folio=The+Art&vimeoUserID=&vimeoAlbumID=#/0

Looking through Abe's gallery, he does take nice photos.

The landscape is too dark and noisy to be a daytime shot. It is definitely not a noon exposure. It is possible that it is a twilight exposure.

However the light is most intense in the immediate foreground, and falls off the further back you go. This would be consistent with attempts to light the scene. I am very skeptical he got that much light on the mountains with small LEDs, though. No way this whole scene was lit with LEDs on a drone.

The glow around the mountain top indicates it is likely a blend. My money is on twilight foreground with LED assist + sky astro blend. The LED assist from above would explain the higher concentration of light on the top of the rocks, and darkness underneath, as well as the bright reflection from the snow.

Interesting. To my eyes the lighting is pretty even throughout the scene. And if the LED lights were flown on a drone which was hovering in one place, the shadows would be at different angles for different objects depending on their distance from the drone. If OTOH the drone was not hovering but moving, then there wouldn't be any distinct shadows. Two different opinions. In any case, we'll never know the truth of it.

PS. Here's a daytime shot of the same scene (more or less) for comparison: https://www.abeblair.com/gallery.html?gallery=American+West&folio=The+Art&vimeoUserID=&vimeoAlbumID=#/8

That link is taking me to the same picture in the OP?

I think if a drone were used to light the scene from above, it would have to be flown pretty high in order to not appear in the image. So with enough altitude, I don't think you'd get a lot of light under that rock.

The mountains in the distance are much darker than the immediate area and the snow in front and center is much brighter than the snow on the far cliffs, hinting at local lighting rather than something global like the sun.

If it was lit during the day, the OP did an awful lot of painting in of exposure reduction to make it appear like a night image lit with LEDs. That would seem unlikely, but possible, I guess.

I can't seem to get a link that works from one machine to another. Try going to the same picture as the OP and advancing eight times.

I don't know for sure which direction the sun is coming from in that shot but the shadows of the bushes are directly under them. (The time of year is different than the photo in the OP, for sure)

I agree that is seems unlikely a drone was actually used to light the scene in the photo n the OP; any part of it. But what then is the source of the shadows under the bushes and the shadows created by slight overhangs in the rocks? They are pretty obvious. We can even clearly see the creek bed, which means it was illuminated from above. Would general sky glow be enough to illuminate it? But general skyglow wouldn't create vertical shadows.

I was actually saying that local lighting from above (perhaps a drone) looks to have augmented a partially naturally-lit exposure. I can't think of any other reason why that snow in the front center would be so bright compared to the rest. It would be quite the deception to use a daytime image and intentionally darken certain areas to make it look like it was light painted.

That could have been the last hints of the sun, but why didn't it light up the snow in the background?

I think we agree that it certainly wasn't lit from darkness. So I think the truth is somewhere in between.

 1llusive's gear list:1llusive's gear list
Nikon Z6 II Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 Nikon Z 24-70mm F4 Nikon Z 85mm F1.8 +1 more
JayNGu
JayNGu Regular Member • Posts: 186
Re: Ethics in Night Photography in the Real World

If not daylight, it could just be twilight as suggested eleswhere, which could explain the noise when he's lifted the shadows in post. I'm confident it's a composite though. The background of the MW looks really fake with the boundary between the two layers just looking too sharp. It would have looked alot better just to let the foreground go naturally to shadow and emphasise the MW. Though his composition would be off for that.

Interesting to see what people are doing with this stuff.

 JayNGu's gear list:JayNGu's gear list
Fujifilm X-T30 Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R Fujifilm XF 60mm F2.4 R Macro Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS Fujifilm XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS +1 more
a7sastro Contributing Member • Posts: 862
Re: Ethics:how would then a legit photographer defend self?

It's nice all the speculation.

Even the charge about deleted FB posts gives no details. I could easily see multiple anti-blue MW questions along with "how was it done" considered a troll and just removed.

Anyone have indisputable evidence like cloning or incorrectly oriented MW direction?

Otherwise has anyone considered reaching out to contact the gentleman?

Maybe he does have supporting data to authentic his claim, and chose not to adjudicate it on FB where I expect his purpose is to advertise, not defend his personal veracity...

He does state: "I am traditional in my method working to get the image correct in the camera without building one in the computer."

Who knows what he really means?

But I do wonder about the possibility of legit artists that can do amazing stuff that naysayers on a forum thread could just say was impossible.

Sort of makes me think any great photographic feat today requires a "making of the image" video to be filmed along with the image.

like this guy's real capture of ISS transiting Jupiter:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fy_wDEg6dxc

as a result of a previous faked ISS transiting Saturn that was made an APOD but then detracted:

https://asterisk.apod.com/viewtopic.php?t=35581&start=75

 a7sastro's gear list:a7sastro's gear list
Sony a7S Canon EF 100mm f/2.0 USM Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Rokinon 24mm F1.4 Aspherical Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD +9 more
Alen K Senior Member • Posts: 1,143
Re: Ethics:how would then a legit photographer defend self?

True, it is all speculation. Either the photographer did it the way he describes on Facebook or he didn't. (Either way, the original issue in the OP was likely about the practice of light painting, not the bona fides of the photo.)

If he didn't do it the way he describes (everything in the landscape including the mountain peak lit by drones in a single 13-second exposure), this opens the door to almost any manipulation and pre-planning on location and later in Photoshop.

If he did do it the way he describes, certain things need to be explained for it to make sense. For instance, why don't we see evidence of the drone flying in the scene? Is it possible that a drone could be flown and light everything up sufficiently with the light source used (two Lume Cubes at full power) in a 13-second exposure without being visible given the field of view?

Could the Lume Cubes (about 1,500 lumens output or a little over half that if it was the Lume Cube Air model, with a 60 degree beam angle) be flown on the drone in such a way as to account for the production of distinct shadows directly under the bushes and rock outcroppings? It would have been an overhead source but only for whatever was directly under it; 60 degrees is a fairly wide beam.

Then there is the question of whether it is a single shot or a composite. The photographer certainly implies it is a single shot; he even gives the technical details of camera, lens, exposure time and ISO. Again, either it is or isn't. If definitive proof can be found that it is not, then the legitimacy of every aspect of the photo is open to question.

Is it fair to question if an image is legitimate? Unfortunately, there have been many examples of fakery in photography, some of them quite recent. In my opinion if a photographer makes a claim on a public forum that is in any way exceptional (and this one qualifies) then he or she had better be prepared to defend it.

Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads