Hi Lisa, It is probably worth sending out a blog blast to our members with the new PSA Nature Division definition of what constitutes nature. This new definition was adopted at the recent PSA Convention held in West Yellowstone.
The new definition is as follows:
"Nature photography is restricted to the use of the photographic process to depict observations from all branches of natural history, except anthropology and archeology, in such a fashion that a well informed person will be able to identify the subject material and to certify as to its honest presentation. The story telling value of a photograph must be weighed more than the pictorial quality while maintaining a high technical quality. Human elements shall not be present, except where those human elements enhance the nature story. The presence of scientific bands, scientific tags or radio collars on wild animals is permissible. Photographs of artificially produced hybrid plants or animals, mounted specimens, or obviously set arrangements, are ineligible, as is any form of manipulation that alters the truth of the photographic statement. No techniques that add to, relocate, replace, or remove pictorial elements except by cropping are permitted. Techniques that enhance the presentation of the photograph without changing the nature story or the pictorial content are permitted. All adjustments must appear natural.”
This new definition means we have new freedoms to use digital techniques to enhance our nature images. In two recent communications Dan Charbonnet added the following clarifying comments which help to understand the new rules:
“For most people, this means that the various HDR techniques are now allowed and it means blurring the background is now allowed, provided the results look natural.”
“All images must be considered “Digital Realism”, where a photographer may perform any enhancements and modifications that improve the presentation of the image to make it more closely represent the original scene photographed but that does not change the truth of the original nature story. Cropping and horizontal flipping (equivalent to reversing a slide) are acceptable modifications. Removing spots due to dust on your sensors is allowed. Removing rounded slide mount corners on scanned images is allowed. Adding elements to your images, removing pictorial elements from your image other than by cropping, combining separate images or rearranging and/or cloning and/or copying elements in your image are not still acceptable and can lead to disqualification of your image in the competition.
Since HDR techniques and Helicon Focus techniques are techniques that enhance the presentation without changing the pictorial content, they are now considered allowable techniques. Please note that all adjustments must still look natural. Just because a technique is legitimate does not guarantee the image it was used on will get a good score.”
I request that any member who enters a nature image in our competition that does not meet the above definition because of manipulations performed on it please send me an e-mail so that I do not enter it in either the NECCC or PSA nature interclub competitions. Our competitions are open without any restrictions, but we must adhere to these rules when submitting entries into the nature interclub competitions.
I would also appreciate it if you would give your nature entries descriptive names since titles are read before judging the PSA Nature Interclub. Also, try to size your entries to 350 killobytes or less as this is a requirement of the PSA EID Interclub competition and it will save me having to resize the images before I send them out.