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03-23-2012, 09:00 PM   #16
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My experience over the years is that people who make claims about flash have no evidence no matter what they claim. I haven't seen animals get panicked by flash the same way as when people approach them. It certainly didn't affect lions, hyenas etc that I have photographed at night with substantial flashes. Didn't affect their behavior, walking or running. Basically the only thing that gets upset with flashes from my experience is people.

I have a very strict moral code with my wildlife photography, so there are all kinds of strategies I refuse to use. I have almost no photos of nesting birds as i will only take photos of nests from a road or track and remain away from the nest. I also refuse to look for endangered species.

03-23-2012, 09:32 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bob from Aus Quote
I have a very strict moral code with my wildlife photography, so there are all kinds of strategies I refuse to use. I have almost no photos of nesting birds as i will only take photos of nests from a road or track and remain away from the nest. I also refuse to look for endangered species.
Would you feel like elaborating on this? I'm curious, what harm do you think you'll do by walking through an area?
03-24-2012, 02:11 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Philoslothical Quote
Would you feel like elaborating on this?
If you look at bird nesting photos you can often work out how the photo was taken. Sometimes the photographer cuts away twigs and leaves to get their photos. When I nest is photographed by many people the bird may abaondon their nest. There is no way of predicting how sensitive the bird is.

When a bird nests by a track or road, they are accustomed to passers by. By taking photos from a position where the normally see people eg on the track, you shouldn't be disturbing them.

Some of the old bird books have some really nasty photos. The birds have been caught and they have been tied to the perch using fishing line. It's only when you start looking at how photos have been taken that you can see the nasty things some people do.

I have been a naturalist all my life and I pick up a lot of things other people miss when walking through an area. I put limits on myself so I won't harm wildlife. the most vulnerable are nesting birds wile they are on their eggs and the chicks have almost no feathers.

There are other things that don't help. In Australia kookaburras are on the look out for nests and they eat the chicks. It is easy to lead them to the nest. To me it's a case of letting nature do it's own thing provided it's not a feral pest.

So walking through an area is fine provided you avoid putting in danger any vulnerable creatures.

So while there is a range of things we do that might harm wildlife, I find that animals don't have problems with flash guns.
03-24-2012, 09:47 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bob from Aus Quote
My experience over the years is that people who make claims about flash have no evidence no matter what they claim. I haven't seen animals get panicked by flash the same way as when people approach them. It certainly didn't affect lions, hyenas etc that I have photographed at night with substantial flashes. Didn't affect their behavior, walking or running. Basically the only thing that gets upset with flashes from my experience is people.

-------
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I have - sort of - supporting evidence for that: Last summer, I tried to photograph wild birds at the bird table, using a mere 80mm lens with and a radio remote release with camera (K200D) on tripod at close range. The project was successful, though not in the beginnig: The birds were significantly startled by the K200D shutter noise. They obviously just hated that sound and It took ages for them to get used to it - but, finally, they did.

Next step was the use of flash. Much to my surprise the birds took much, much shorter time to get used to the flashes and after a brief period they didn't care at all. (And they just loved being fed with sunflower seeds even though it was high summer!).

03-25-2012, 08:17 AM - 1 Like   #20
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Thanks, Bob. I figured that much of this is what you meant, particularly scaring birds off their nests. I'll admit, I don't often think about the nastier tactics some people have used for their photos, it's stuff that would just never occur to me.

Where I am, it's fairly safe from a conservation standpoint to wander without concern for staying to trails and roads, provided some basic respect is shown for what's out there. I don't crowd or follow birds (or mammals for that matter, with the exception of coyotes), and I give nests a wide berth if I see them. I pay attention to protests by songbirds, if I see signs that they're nesting and upset that I'm there, I'll usually backtrack a little and take a different tack through the area. I avoid places heavily used by our waterfowl, but mainly because it's soggy ground to begin with. To be honest, I worry more about stepping on bugs and amphibians than about scaring birds.

I realize I'm not completely "normal" in the sense that I've spent a lot of time in the bush since I was a small child, and was taught a great appreciation of it. An increasing number of people are completely isolated from that kind of experience, but I think that if some common sense is learned/applied we can still get along with the land well enough to not feel overly limited.
03-25-2012, 01:38 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Philoslothical Quote
but I think that if some common sense is learned/applied we can still get along with the land well enough to not feel overly limited.
Yes it's a matter of putting the animal first. Getting back to the question asked in this thread, it is impossible for most people to separate fact from fiction when it comes to many animal issues. Even people I worked with in zoos with vasts amount of hands on experience held onto a large number of myths.
03-26-2012, 12:43 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Stone G. Quote
I have - sort of - supporting evidence for that: Last summer, I tried to photograph wild birds at the bird table, using a mere 80mm lens with and a radio remote release with camera (K200D) on tripod at close range. The project was successful, though not in the beginnig: The birds were significantly startled by the K200D shutter noise. They obviously just hated that sound and It took ages for them to get used to it - but, finally, they did.

Next step was the use of flash. Much to my surprise the birds took much, much shorter time to get used to the flashes and after a brief period they didn't care at all. (And they just loved being fed with sunflower seeds even though it was high summer!).
I have a bad example to give about bird nests, I was visiting my parents house when we found a nest in the garage. Without even thinking about, I grabbed my dads K-x, zoomed in at 200mm and snapped a picture of the nest. Now I use a K-5 myself, but used a K-x before that, so I had forgotten about the noise the K-x shutter makes, sad to say the loud clunk made alle the chicks jump out of the nest, much to my horror. Felt awful about it for a week. Luckily they were black birds (not that it really makes it better) and not some endangered bird, but never the less it shows where the lack of knowledge can take you. At least now I am wiser so I wont do it again.

That's partly also why I ask questions now.
03-26-2012, 01:40 PM   #23
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From what I've seen the shutter noise is more likely to bother birds, animals and insects more than the flash. I use flash only if I have to, and that's not often, but when I tried to get some shots of a jumping spider a few days ago I only got one chance. No flash, but when the shutter clicked the spider jumped and ran off to hide. I've shot insects plenty times with flash, that's the most common use for it, they usually don't seem to be bothered by the light, but several times I've seen the shutter noise scare them when not using a flash. With macro shots you have to get really close, so they definitely hear the shutter noise. I've seen them flinch lots of times when not using flash so I know it was the noise. Once they get accustomed to it, adding the flash seems to make no difference. I still avoid flash if possible, I like natural light if I can get enough of it.

So far I've only had one chance to shoot baby birds, in a wren's nest, and that was with a point and shoot that made no noise. I had to use flash because it was inside the barn and really dark. They would duck inside the nest, but I'm pretty sure that was because they saw a big ugly human since they would hide before I had a chance to shoot very often. Out of ten tries I might get two shots. The other 8 times they were already hidden before I could get the camera ready and focused. Mama didn't mind me too much, she would sit at the barn door and fuss at me, but she raised them afterward and didn't abandon the nest. Don't try that with Bluebirds though, they will abandon the nest, unless they are very accustomed to you being around. I have a friend here (I'm at my sister's house in Texas) who has bluebirds nesting in his gazebo out back, we sit and talk 6 feet from the nest and she flies in and feeds the babies once we have been there a few minutes. Most Bluebirds will not allow that, this pair is accustomed to him being around and built there even though they knew he sat out there every evening. He had a mockingbird nest last year in a shrub, he could pull the branches back and look in the nest and the adults would put up with it. They fussed, of course, but let him do it. Many other birds though, will leave the nest and not come back if humans disturb it.

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