Socksy the Chiuahua

4 Examples of Committing a Cardinal Sin in Photography.

One of the cardinal sins of photography and common sense is to take pictures without thought. Most people think this means there is something wrong with the exposure or not paying attention to the composition. In a way, I guess you could put it like that. However, I refer to the unfortunate ability of humans to easily leave their common sense somewhere else to get that “perfect picture”. We see examples of this in today’s media, particularly with animals or accidents being involved. My favorites follow:


  • Let’s get a picture of a wild Alaskan brown bear while it’s trying to eat!  I am not talking about a photographer with a $2000 zoom lens here. Instead, I’m referring to people with point and shoots and the DSLR’s. Want an action shot? Try standing between a hungry bear and his dinner. Your next of kin will always remember that shot.


  • I want a close-up picture of the Buffalo, Elk, or Moose.  For some, this is not enough adrenaline , so they attempt this during the rut. Years ago, I heard of a man who put a packet of the mating musk on his clothing so the deer would go to him. That included the stag with the full head of antlers that wanted the “doe” for himself. It did not end well.  What part of a large animal with horns, can run faster than him, and with nothing between it and himself but open air did he not understand?


  • Barriers are for amateurs. Many photographers forget that the barriers that ruin that perfect picture not only keep you out, but also keep the animal in. A woman jumped the fence and attempted to get her camera between the cage bars of a polar bear enclosure. The polar bear saw things a little differently. What possible sane reason could there be for getting this close to a live polar bear?


  • Do Not Feed the Crocodiles. When I was in middle school science class we learned that when reptiles look at you it’s deciding if it can eat you or not. These people trying to take a picture of a crocodile never learned that lesson. The fact that they wanted to “bait” the large crocodile was icing on the cake. I call this the process of natural selection in action.

To sum it all up, photographers, and humans in general, need to think before doing. While your bravado may result in that contest prize for best shot or news story, it does you little good if you have to attend your own closed casket funeral, assuming they find your body that is. What photo opportunity was ever worth someone’s life?

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