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Photography Ethics and Sensitive Sites

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#1 Wandering Sagebrush

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Posted 26 December 2021 - 12:55 AM

A nice video regarding photography ethics for sensitive archeological sites.  It’s worth a few minutes to listen and consider the message.





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#2 Wango


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Posted 26 December 2021 - 02:54 PM

I have watched most, if not all of the videos from Dana. Seems to be a great guy, knows his stuff.

Shared some back and forth DM's about the areas in some of his video's last year. 

I do my best to always practice these points. Sadly, too many others don't.

Thanks for posting.


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#3 ski3pin


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Posted 26 December 2021 - 08:29 PM

Well done video with very important points made. His best point was on the subject of who we do not want to find the sites we may post photos of - those who do not walk with respect and the looters. Background photos are key to inadvertently giving information to find a site.


I have always struggled with whether or not to post photos of rock art or archeological sites. There are many many sites we have visited that I will never post photos of, they are just so special or fragile. 


The last two or three years have shown off the chart growth in social media posts about everything outdoors. Everyone wants to do a "how to guide" or become a personality. I have personally noticed two youtube channels visiting places shortly after I've done a blog post on the area - this has not happened with rock art sites. I don't in any way think it is just a coincidence. On the other hand I've been pleased to receive notes of thanks on how well I've obscured a location.


All of the above is why I keep our blog to a personal story style and not a guide on how to find or visit a location. No maps, no coordinates.


It takes so much work to maintain a level of ethics about sensitive sites. Dana's use of false backgrounds in videos was superb and illustrates the point on how much work it is. I know many would prefer I never post anything about anywhere. Yes, I've received rude remarks from people angry that I just showed a photo of their favorite campsite that no one else should ever know about.


The flip side is that many times seeing a posted photo has inspired us to do research and work out how to locate and visit an area. If people are not inspired - and I hope I help in this regard, how do we have any chance to educate people on ethics and values?


What a fine line we walk in regards to these special places. Reexamining ethics is a valuable endeavor in these constantly changing times.


This is an important discussion and, Mr. Sage, thanks for bringing it up and especially for introducing me to Dana. I had not seen his videos.

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#4 AWG_Pics


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Posted 26 December 2021 - 08:57 PM

Our rule of thumb is to only post accurate location information of ruins and petroglyphs where there is previous signage and fencing, such as BLM's Arch Canyon site. Mostly I either don't post location info or at times I post very wrong location info on a fragile site. Part of the challenge is how to do as Ski says, that is educate while sharing the fun of being out and about. So I try to accurately describe plants and geology in locals, but we are very vague on archeological localities.
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#5 pvstoy


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Posted 26 December 2021 - 10:07 PM

And please remember to turn off or strip the GPS information from the image metadata!!!  For any Image you post that shows a site that should be protected!    This includes all cell phones too.


As Ski has mentioned as such in the past, it is the thrill of doing research and using clues to find your discovery.

Edited by pvstoy, 26 December 2021 - 10:08 PM.

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#6 craig333


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Posted 26 December 2021 - 11:00 PM

No arguments with any of that. I just wish someone who goes to all the effort to disguise the background could spend a few minutes editing his own post. He could have gotten his point across much quicker.

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#7 Missing Link

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Posted 27 December 2021 - 03:31 PM

Thank you, Mr. Sage.

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