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The Nature Photographer's Code Of Ethics

  • Humans should appear in nature photographs only when they enhance a picture's narrative.
  • Pictures of cultivated plants, still-life arrangements, domestic animals, or stuffed and mounted animals are not considered examples of nature photography.
  • Photographs manipulated in any way (by computers or airbrushing, for example) are not considered to be true nature photography.
  • Do not disturb wild creatures by playing loud music, littering, driving recklessly, or driving off approved roads. If an animal seems agitated, draw back.
  • Learn about the behavior of your animal subjects before photographing them. Know when not to interfere with animals' life cycles and respect their routines. Do not approach nests or dens too closely. Never remove fledglings from their nests.
  • It is acceptable to remove insects and reptiles from their habitat for photographing, as long as they are returned. Permission to do so from the proper authorities must be granted.
  • It is never acceptable to anesthetize an animal for the purposes of nature photography.
  • Nocturnal creatures should be photographed in the early morning or late afternoon when they are less active. This will make it easier for you to get the shot, but you will not be disrupting them.
  • Cave formations and paintings should never be removed, broken, or tampered with in any way.
  • Avoid trampling on grasslands, marshes, and wildflower patches when photographing plants and flowers. Damage to these plants and flowers affects all species in the ecosystem. Stay on designated trails. Wildflowers should never be picked.

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