On Being A Responsible Social Photographer

On Being A Responsible Social Photographer

By |2012-04-23T15:18:07+00:00Apr 23rd, 2012|

Taking part in shooting with other photographers has its benefits and detriments – to this, I’m sure most all of us can agree on. The social aspect brings much levity and is a wonderful way to compound on our own individual sense of creativity via collaboration.

However, with it comes responsibility – most notable is being mindful of ones own surroundings. This shot taken on Buntzen Lake, near Vancouver, BC allows me to illustrate my point quite lucidly, I think.

Imagine me standing here for what seemed like 30 minutes, waiting for:

1. The light to hit this structure exactly right and
2. Two other photographers to clear that little pathway as they deliberately chimped each shot they took without any consideration for their surroundings.

Now, picture Nicole Young standing 1 foot to my left, also going for a similar yet different shot of this structure (we had totally difference lenses on and were shooting at different focal lengths). Our tripod legs were sort of crossed over because we both wanted to share this ideal vantage point.

Finally, the stars aligned as the sun lit the scene perfectly and those two other photographers cleared the way (after a teeny bit of verbal provocation). I was the first to start exposing. I saw that I got the shot I wanted and then took one more for insurance.

When the second exposure completed, I picked up my tripod rather hastily and, in the process, slightly bumped one of its legs against Nicole’s tripod. There was no doubt that her exposure was ruined. All it takes is a tiny bump to kill a long exposure. And the worst part was that it was her first (and only) shot. By the time she prepped for another exposure, the light was gone and would not return in the same way for the rest of the day.

I was that photographer. Faux Pas Master. I felt awful for ruining her shot due to my carelessness but Nicole took it in stride the way that she normally does. Still, it was a good lesson on the responsibilities we owe ourselves to take when shooting with our peers. That extra second of thought to look around and be very deliberate with out movement can go a long way.

In terms of processing
I only needed one exposure here (taken with my Lee 10-Stop Big Stopper ND Filter) to get all of the gorgeous detail that this scene had to offer. The light hit the structure perfectly, thereby making the reflections clear and glassy (again, due to the extended exposure time from the ND Filter).

I brought the image into +onOne Software Perfect Effects 3 and selectively applied the Green Enhancer and Golden Hour Enhancer effects to the tree line. I added the tiniest Blue Filter onto the mountain range in the background and on the water to help contrast using color temperature. Finally, I applied a Deep Forest Glowonto the whole image in a very nominal amount. Finishing touches were achieved in Lightroom 4.1RC.

In album Pic Picks Over The Years (1 photo)

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  1. Younes Bounhar April 23, 2012 at 9:33 am - Reply

    I knew that deep down inside you were a nasty guy!! And there you go! Proof :D
    LOL (For those of you not aware, I AM JUST KIDDING).
    That must suck for +Nicole S. Young but I am sure she won't hold you to it (though after seeing this, she is probably muttering something or other in a dark corner)..
    Love the light here, very serene and beautiful scene.

  2. Tamara Pruessner April 23, 2012 at 9:34 am - Reply

    That is a beautiful image!

    And I have seen (and have tried very hard not to be) that photographer… The one that puts their flash on when everyone else is doing a long exposure… sigh Or the one that walks right into frame bc they aren't paying attention. Watching your surroundings is just as important to being a photographer as paying attention to the details.

    I have done those things myself – and felt horrible for ruining someone else's shot. I completely understand.

  3. Baldur McQueen April 23, 2012 at 9:34 am - Reply

    Beautiful shot, and nice write up. I have yet to go out shooting with someone – the thought of it frightens me a little bit. I like being alone whilst taking pictures ;-)

  4. Michael Stuart April 23, 2012 at 9:34 am - Reply

    Great post! It shows you're a good person that you even cared & felt bad. It could have been worse though, the whole tripod could have gone down ;)
    Good lesson though – especially with all the photowalks going on out there now.
    Great shot by the way!

  5. Mike Pugh April 23, 2012 at 9:35 am - Reply

    Beautiful post here, nice!

  6. Manuela Azevedo April 23, 2012 at 9:39 am - Reply


  7. Brian Matiash April 23, 2012 at 9:40 am - Reply

    +Younes Bounhar Not gonna lie – I had a tinge of aggression when I asked the two photographers on the path to clear out. Ask +Nicole S. Young. They just stood there, very deliberately – take a shot, chimp, talk to each other, shoot again, lather, rinse, repeat. At one point, one of them turned around and started shooting us, which I have no problem with except for he was being rather selfish with his aloofness.

    +Tamara Pruessner Oh man, I know exactly what you mean with those photographers who pop their flashes at the worst moments. I remember shooting in Antelope Canyon and had 2 or 3 minutes to get all the shots nailed down only to have most of them ruined by a gaggle of other photo-tourists who swarmed by with flashes ablaze. :) Le Sigh.

    +Michael Stuart Actually, you make a very good point with the tripod not going down because it easily could have. I'll use that as my defense going forward. Thanks for the tip! ;)

  8. Tamara Pruessner April 23, 2012 at 9:43 am - Reply

    Oh MAN!! That is the pits!! I can just imagine the aggravation of the flash – wait, that happened to me recently. UGH. Fortunately, I was able to recreate those images. But if I hadn't… I would have been frustrated to the max.

  9. Allie Flanary April 23, 2012 at 9:50 am - Reply

    These are great thoughts (and admissions). I agree, with the caveat that I find photowalks a little bit different. To wit, with 50 people tromping around PDX in the rain (often with 20 piled into a half block area) I accepted that it was impossible to stay out of people's shots and for them to stay out of mine.

    It became a really fun challenge to work with and I hope that other people approach larger photowalks in the same way (I assume some do and some don't, as with all things)…

  10. Dennis Oder April 23, 2012 at 9:50 am - Reply

    +Brian Matiash waiting to read +Nicole S. Young take on things… "he nailed his shot, then "nailed" my tripod so I couldn't out do him!!" :)

    You not only nailed the shot, but nailed the sentiment!

  11. Brian Matiash April 23, 2012 at 9:58 am - Reply

    +Dennis Oder Thanks, Dennis! And I just swung by Nicole's desk (she is visiting the onOne HQ today) – her response will be dropping any minute now. :)

  12. Nicole S. Young April 23, 2012 at 10:00 am - Reply

    If y'all are wondering the result of +Brian Matiash's, um, blunder, here's a link to a post with my (ruined) photo:


  13. ashok mani April 23, 2012 at 10:01 am - Reply

    beautiful shot +Brian Matiash … awesome reflection

  14. Kate Hailey April 23, 2012 at 10:03 am - Reply

    this is really lovely!

  15. Nicole S. Young April 23, 2012 at 10:03 am - Reply

    And, in all seriousness, I'm happy that Brian got such a beautiful result from this light … I love this composition. And (again in all seriousness) he really should transfer copyright over to me as reimbursement. ;)

  16. Brian Matiash April 23, 2012 at 10:18 am - Reply

    +Kate Hailey Thanks, girl!

  17. John Correa April 23, 2012 at 10:22 am - Reply

    You are a monster!!! :D

  18. Brian Matiash April 23, 2012 at 10:25 am - Reply

    +John Correa Truer words have yet to be spoken. ;)

  19. Brian Matiash April 23, 2012 at 10:25 am - Reply

    +Nicole S. Young It's not ruined – it just needs 3D glasses.

  20. Peter McClelland April 23, 2012 at 10:26 am - Reply

    Brian – Was the stage set for Nicole's unfortunate event when the tripod legs were allowed (by both photographers) to be so close together? Sounds like a collaboration :D

  21. Dennis Oder April 23, 2012 at 10:26 am - Reply

    You know, the more I stare at the picture, the more I think "Who let those idiots build a boat house there and destroy the view!!" :)

  22. Brian Matiash April 23, 2012 at 10:27 am - Reply

    +Peter McClelland You could certainly say that… yes. ;)

    This is why we can't have nice things!

  23. April Taylor April 23, 2012 at 11:01 am - Reply

    I love this.

  24. Melanie Kintz April 23, 2012 at 11:03 am - Reply

    nice shot, but shame on you +Brian Matiash – how are you going to make it up to Nicole for ruining her shot? ;)

  25. Stuart Sipahigil April 23, 2012 at 11:22 am - Reply

    The fix here is easy. +Brian Matiash simply gives his file to +Nicole S. Young, allowing her to claim it as hers. Problem solved.

  26. Joseph Fanvu April 23, 2012 at 11:30 am - Reply

    nice shot, but what a nightmare of a story :)

  27. Damian Vines April 23, 2012 at 11:34 am - Reply

    +Brian Matiash Perhaps shooting a different "caliber" of camera would have got their attention :-)

  28. Michael Ratcliff April 23, 2012 at 11:36 am - Reply

    Way to own up +Brian Matiash+Nicole S. Young I'm thinking you had the upper hand and better shot and he knew it. Jealousy, not your best suit Brian ;) Still a great shot!

  29. Michael Stuart April 23, 2012 at 11:43 am - Reply

    There should be a +ghostbusters rule for that: don't cross "tripod legs" instead of "streams"
    Cross the streams <- YouTube video link

  30. Dennis Oder April 23, 2012 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    +Stuart Sipahigil That may not solve the issue. In some states community property constitutes marriage, thus she ends up with half of everything, not just that image… :)

  31. Brian Matiash April 23, 2012 at 12:59 pm - Reply

    +Damian Vines At the time, I was actually verbalizing my wishes for a rocket launcher to magically appear but then I regretted it because the explosion would probably cause too much disturbance to the calm water.

  32. Michael Russell April 23, 2012 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    Great exposure – but your shot doesn't have that special 3D effect! I have a friend that just moved a few blocks outside the lake – so I will be getting more familiar with Buntzen soon.

    I had someone walk right in front of me in Stanley Park, ignore that I pointed out I was shooting a long exposure, and then accuse me of stealing his composition. Sometimes tough to still be nice in those situations.

  33. Jacob Lucas April 23, 2012 at 3:44 pm - Reply


  34. Chris Lazzery April 24, 2012 at 8:05 am - Reply

    Where is this. I want to shoot this. Now.

  35. Ben Tucker May 7, 2012 at 8:10 am - Reply

    Brilliant shot but such a shame about the tale that goes with it and the tripod bump :/ I almost always tend to shoot with other people around sometimes photographers but normal friends without cameras. I think I’m going to start and make more of an effort to get myself out solo though as recent trips have lead to more patience in composing and waiting for the right light.

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