A couple of years ago National Geographic magazine published a series of nudibranch photos shot by a very famous photographer, David Doubilet. The shots were very pretty, but I questioned whether it was worth moving the animal from its natural habitat, possibly harming the critters, to shoot them on the white background of the underwater studio they set up. There were discussions on Wetpixel about whether the practice of moving subjects around underwater is considered “manipulation of the subject” or if it is OK in the interest of getting the shot, resulting in a lot of different opinions.
I for one, have always discouraged it. Most photographers don’t have the skill to pick up and move such delicate animals and many don’t care. I’ve seen photographers throw a nudi or octoups up into the water column to shoot it onto a black background, with no regard to the affect this has on the animal. It also sends a message to those who are just getting into photography that it’s OK and common to do this. I would like to say it is not common, but having dived with a lot of accomplished shooters, and I see this done way too often.
This little guy was shot in it’s natural setting, untouched by human hands. The background was knocked out and shadow was added in Photoshop. I’m happy to see that the National Geographic article did not prompt a bunch of copy-cat images, other than mine, which was only created to make a point.