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Author Topic: Why Antarctica Again?  (Read 29677 times)
Ray
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« Reply #60 on: April 02, 2007, 05:32:47 AM »
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Although I totally empathise with the sentiment, tourism in Antarctica is becoming a very serious issue. Apart from the obvious question about carbon tax offsets (I'm assuming this was covered), the fact is that sooner or later there is going to be a major, irrecoverable ecological disaster resulting from a shipping incident in the Antarctic Peninsula.

The ethics and politics of visiting Antarctica solely for personal pleasure are complex issues. I would say that it is better just to say you went because you wanted to, and could afford to, rather than heading out on the thin ice of justification on wider grounds.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=110176\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I think the issue here, perhaps, is that photos of scenes in a familiar environment have the potential of being exceptionally good. I've visited Nepal 3 times, once about 43 years ago and more recently twice, in 2005 and 2006.

I'm not really satisfied with most of the shots. I feel I should visit the place again. The more often I visit the place, the greater the opportunity of getting truly memorable (artisitc, whatever) shots.

But it's also an arduous undertaking, just as visiting the antartic is an expensive undertaking.

I guess the bottom line is, we do what motivates us.
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Ray
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« Reply #61 on: April 02, 2007, 07:17:58 AM »
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I guess you know by now that I'm a master of digression. I've mentioned Nepal, so I guess it's inevitable that I'm going to inflict upon you another of my Nepalese images.

Here's an image of the upper crust in Nepal having a good time. Is this more interesting than a shot of penguins or not?

[attachment=2224:attachment]
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Mort54
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« Reply #62 on: April 02, 2007, 09:21:31 AM »
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Seriously, anybody who is stupid enough to not realize how special and rare a trip to photograph in Antarctica is (even if it's for second time), is either not telling the truth and therefore being a troll, or is a twisted Republican Bush lover from Texas who simply wants to pretend that Global Warming _IS'T_ wiping out some of the most beautiful and fragile landscape locations on Earth.

Now we're talking  Go Jeff!!
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michael
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« Reply #63 on: April 02, 2007, 09:26:46 AM »
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the fact is that sooner or later there is going to be a major, irrecoverable ecological disaster resulting from a shipping incident in the Antarctic Peninsula.

This sounds to me to be a Casandra-like position based on emotion rather than any rigerous analysis of the facts.

There are no oil tankers in Antarctica. For the most past there are small expedition ships which are ice hardened for their task. The chances of an oil spill are extreemly small, and indeed my research shows none has ever happened. None of these small ships carry enough oil for "an irrecoverable ecological disater" so those are simply scare words based on an emotional appeal, rather than fact.

What the casual observer needs to understand is that Antarctica is a continent as big as the US, and that with the exception of a handful of scientific stations it's totally empty. The small amount of tourist visits are limited to a few small off-laying islands and the Antarctic Penninsula, and even then limits are imposed on landings to only a handful of ecologically insensative sites. Sites of "Special" Scientific Interest" are off-limits, and this is strictly enforced.

When tourists go ashore they wear rubber boots which are first bathed in an anticeptic bath on leaving the ship, and then again on return from shore, so as to ensure no contamination in either direction.

A recent international study has concluded that though it's growing, Antarctic tourism poses no appreciable threat to the Antarctic environment.

On a personal note, I would venture to say that the photography produces by groups like our does more to enhance ecological consciousness among the general population than any negative impact it might theoretically have.

There are far more scary ecological pitfalls and disasters waiting to happen in this words than a few small expedition ships puttering around in one small corner of the AA Penninsula.

Michael
« Last Edit: April 02, 2007, 09:27:49 AM by michael » Logged
CatOne
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« Reply #64 on: April 02, 2007, 10:56:19 AM »
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Although I totally empathise with the sentiment, tourism in Antarctica is becoming a very serious issue. Apart from the obvious question about carbon tax offsets (I'm assuming this was covered), the fact is that sooner or later there is going to be a major, irrecoverable ecological disaster resulting from a shipping incident in the Antarctic Peninsula.

The ethics and politics of visiting Antarctica solely for personal pleasure are complex issues. I would say that it is better just to say you went because you wanted to, and could afford to, rather than heading out on the thin ice of justification on wider grounds.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=110176\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

They had figures posted on the boat for tourism numbers in Antarctica.  Yes, they are going up markedly.

However, this marked jump involved something like 35,000 visitors last year.  A jump from like 22,000 the year before.

So we're talking 35,000 visitors, many of whom sit on their fat cruise ships and never get within a mile of land (the big boats can't touch land).  No real big surprise, but the country with the most visitors was the US, and the country with the smallest percentage of "set foot on continent" was also the US at like 60% (I think 100% of Germans set foot on land... I didn't memorize the numbers).

As for a "major shipping accident," I'm not sure how that could relate to anything -- these are TOURIST boats not shipping boats.  Shipping goes through this thing called the Panama Canal, in case you haven't heard of it.  There's no oil drilling or the like down there... so I'm not sure what major disaster would be in the cards.

And I don't buy that the ships are adding colossal amount of pollutants to the air which would cause global warming... we're talking about 30-50 boats per year.  Ours had about 80 people on it total.

Antarctic trips are also quite carefully managed and scheduled... we saw 2 other ships the entire trip, and one of them was an intentional rendezvous (I think the other ship was out of TP... nearly an emergency ;-)  Even though most spots that we hit have a visitor every single day, everything is coordinated so you never see another boat, to preserve that "pristine, isolated" feel.  And I don't get the sense that it would be allowed to start having hordes of boats hitting places at the same time a la "Disneyland."  In fact, tourism to Antarctica is very carefully managed by all involved at this time.
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David Mantripp
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« Reply #65 on: April 02, 2007, 11:49:43 AM »
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This sounds to me to be a Casandra-like position based on emotion rather than any rigerous analysis of the facts.


The facts are there if you want to look for them.  There has already been at least one very close call. Tourist ships carry a lot of oil - they need too.

The waters around the Peninsula are not particularly well charted, and are quite dangerous. Even research ships run aground sometimes. Whilst well established operators such as Quark are extremely professional and responsible, others are less so.

CatOne, I don't really understand your comments.  The Titanic had a "shipping accident". It wasn't anywhere near (a) any other ship (arguably...) or indeed the Panama canal.  You don't need two ships to have an accident. One ship and a inconsiderate rock or iceberg is quite enough. Any incident to a tourist vessel would be a major incident in the Antarctic. The US Coastguard isn't exactly close by.

I sure hope it won't happen, but my point of view isn't a "Casandra-like position based on emotion".  A pity such topics always degenerate to mudslinging on this site.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2007, 11:53:05 AM by drm » Logged

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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #66 on: April 02, 2007, 12:00:27 PM »
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I guess you know by now that I'm a master of digression. I've mentioned Nepal, so I guess it's inevitable that I'm going to inflict upon you another of my Nepalese images.

Here's an image of the upper crust in Nepal having a good time. Is this more interesting than a shot of penguins or not?

[attachment=2224:attachment]
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=110198\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Nice picture. But could you maybe clone in a few penguins to fill that empty lower right corner?    
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« Reply #67 on: April 02, 2007, 12:01:37 PM »
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(I think the other ship was out of TP... nearly an emergency ;-)  Even though most spots that we hit have a visitor every single day, everything is coordinated so you never see another boat, to preserve that "pristine, isolated" feel.  And I don't get the sense that it would be allowed to start having hordes of boats hitting places at the same time a la "Disneyland."  In fact, tourism to Antarctica is very carefully managed by all involved at this time.
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Actually Bill, that was OUR ship that was out of TP...(and diet Coke I might add), the other ship needed an engine part.


While it's interesting to note that visitors to Antarctica have gone up in the last few years, the awareness of Antarctica and the ecological problems have also gone way up. I think there's a direct correlation. Look how many popular culture media stories as well as movies are going on. Planet Earth just had a show on Arctica/Antarctica lst nite on Discovery...March of the Penguins, Happy Feet and even a new film for this summer-surfing penguin have made Antarctica popular.

When we were down there, a real love and appreciation for the environment developed by all the participants-encouraged by the expedition crew. That plus the photos of the locations and wildlife will go a long way towards increasing people awareness of the issues-and that's what needs to get done.

Next week, The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) it's second of four major papers on the impact of global warming...and it's a pretty dire situation-one scientist said we were on the road to extinction-if we don't work to avoid it.

[a href=\"http://www.ipcc.ch/]http://www.ipcc.ch/[/url]
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Bobtrips
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« Reply #68 on: April 02, 2007, 01:13:31 PM »
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Tourist ships carry a lot of oil - they need too.

There's a fairly substantial difference in the amount of oil carried by a tourist vessel in it's engine fuel tanks and the amount carried by a fully loaded supertanker.

One might characterize the difference as "unfortunate, but localized problem" vs. "disaster".
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howiesmith
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« Reply #69 on: April 02, 2007, 02:59:31 PM »
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There's a fairly substantial difference in the amount of oil carried by a tourist vessel in it's engine fuel tanks and the amount carried by a fully loaded supertanker.

One might characterize the difference as "unfortunate, but localized problem" vs. "disaster".
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=110274\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Bob, I have very mixed feelings about this topic.  Could it be we have become a world of "I"?  What can I do that hurts Antarctica, or whereever,  "I don't have to follow those other people's rules because I am not the problem."

It seems likely to me that all that fuel oil on the tourist ship was once crude oil on a supertanker.  A few years ago, a Chilean navy ship with 400 tourist did run aground at Antarctica and sink.  The oil spill, while certainly less than a supertanker, was considered a disaster for the fragille Antarctic environment.  Who was responsoble.  Not me.  Certainly not you.  Surely not the tourists; they were just along for the ride.  Not the ship's captain; he was just following his charts.  Not the Chilean navy; they were just taking supplies to a research station.  Not the researchers; they were doing good and worthwhile work.  Nope, it just happened.
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Schewe
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« Reply #70 on: April 02, 2007, 03:07:22 PM »
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Nope, it just happened.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=110292\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Well, right there is the root of the problem...too many people fixate on specific events rather the millions of paper cuts kill the environment.

Yes, a fuel oil spill would be bad for Antarctica....but compare that to raising the Earht's temperature of just 1/2 degree and the comparisons would be silly.

We are _ALL_ contributing to the global warming but only a relative few ever visit Antarctic personally-which is the worse problem? Not the few people who go and fall in love with Antarctica but the billions who don't even think about the impact their daily lives have on Earth.

Get real...it ain't a few thousand wealthy visitor's who will destroy Antarctica...it's the billions of people who don't go (and don't care) that will.
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howiesmith
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« Reply #71 on: April 02, 2007, 03:31:51 PM »
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Well, right there is the root of the problem...too many people fixate on specific events rather the millions of paper cuts kill the environment.

Yes, a fuel oil spill would be bad for Antarctica....but compare that to raising the Earht's temperature of just 1/2 degree and the comparisons would be silly.

We are _ALL_ contributing to the global warming but only a relative few ever visit Antarctic personally-which is the worse problem? Not the few people who go and fall in love with Antarctica but the billions who don't even think about the impact their daily lives have on Earth.

Get real...it ain't a few thousand wealthy visitor's who will destroy Antarctica...it's the billions of people who don't go (and don't care) that will.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=110295\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Oh, I agree completely.  If I go to the South Pole, what harm could I do.  I am but one person on this big earth.

But aren't the few thousand Antartic visitors, there but a few days of fun per trip and they go back to work and home, then part of the billions of people at home heating the earth?  I have done no particualr research, but I would suppose that the wealthy few contribute more than their share to heating the earth.

Going to Antarctica to take a few photos does not in anyway make you a "better than anyone else" world citizen.  Nor does clucking your tongue about global warming.

I am also curious about global warming.  The greens don't want to drill for oil on the north slope of Alaska because that oil will heat the earth.  But the oil got there because the Arctic was a jungle.  Didn't global cooling wreck that jungle?
« Last Edit: April 02, 2007, 03:35:04 PM by howiesmith » Logged
Mort54
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« Reply #72 on: April 02, 2007, 04:31:48 PM »
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I am also curious about global warming.  The greens don't want to drill for oil on the north slope of Alaska because that oil will heat the earth.  But the oil got there because the Arctic was a jungle.  Didn't global cooling wreck that jungle?

Aside from the fact that this thread has taken a surreal turn, I offer my own totally off-topic reply (actually more like a rant)  

Global cooling did indeed wreck the jungle that used to exist on the north slope. And there have been countless climate changes thru time. None of these previous changes were man made. What's at issue here, however, in the current global warming crisis, is the pace of change. Global climate change occuring at geological time scales is not horribly disruptive. Given enough time, species can adapt, find new niches, etc. However, what people are calling global warming is a man made catastrophically fast shift in climate (fast in the grand scheme of things) that will change ecosystems faster than the native inhabitants can adjust. Combine that with the fact that most ecosystems are already severly stressed and damaged by 100+ years of intense industrialization and, more recently, urbanization, and you have a real problem on your hands.

We are already at the highest species extinction rate since the end of the dinosaurs, due to mankinds impact on the environment to date. Throw in global warming, and the current disaster becomes a catastrophe. How much longer will we have elephants and tigers and polar bears? The outlook for them and countless other species is looking pretty grim right now, and global warming just makes the whole situation that much worse.

While it's true that climate models disagree on how severe the rate of warming will be, and therefore how severe the impact will be, and while some politicians continue to live in their fantasy world and refuse to acknowledge that global warming is even caused by man (hmmmm, could they perhaps have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo of an oil-dependent economy), the science is now almost irrefutable. Global warming is real, and will have severe impacts on the worlds ecosystems, and on man as well. We just don't yet know how severe that impact will be.

OK, enough ranting. What does all this have to do with photographing antarctica?

Hans.
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jani
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« Reply #73 on: April 02, 2007, 04:47:09 PM »
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But aren't the few thousand Antartic visitors, there but a few days of fun per trip and they go back to work and home, then part of the billions of people at home heating the earth?  I have done no particualr research, but I would suppose that the wealthy few contribute more than their share to heating the earth.
Well, let's see.

Let's fly from London Heathrow airport to Argentina Ushuaia and back again. For one person, that's 4.5 tonnes of CO2 equivalents.

Source: http://www.climatecare.org/calculators/flight/

And according to timeforchange.org, the average yearly emissions for a UK citizen is double that.

A Canadian would add "only" 3.2 tonnes with a direct flight from Toronto.

In addition comes the not insubstantial amounts of CO2 equivalent emissions per person from a boat trip. If we assume that the efficiency of the Antarctic explorer ships are as good as that of passenger transport by ship in the EU, that's about 15 grams per tonne kilometer. Quark's Professor Multanovskiy is 1,753 tonnes, for 50 passengers. So per passenger kilometer, that's 526 grams. According to the itinerary of the workshop, the Multanovskiy traveled from Ushuaia to the Falklands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula. A simple four-edged polygon travel route makes this about 4000 km. So that's another 2 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions per passenger. Add cars, buses, zodiacs etc.

It is estimated that in order not to increase the acceleration of climate change, the average total annual CO2 equivalent emissions per capita must not exceed about 2 tonnes.

So a conservative estimate is that by going to Antartica on this kind of trip, per passenger, the CO2 equivalent emissions are increased by about three times what the average for sustainable living on this planet.

To offset 20,000 tourists who do this every year, an equivalent of nearly a hundred thousand Canadians would have to cut their CO2 emissions by close to 10%.

Whether the increased climate change awareness from trips to the Antarctic will achieve this is anyone's guess. I'm not saying that it doesn't.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2007, 04:48:29 PM by jani » Logged

Jan
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« Reply #74 on: April 02, 2007, 05:27:14 PM »
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Bob, I have very mixed feelings about this topic.  Could it be we have become a world of "I"?  What can I do that hurts Antarctica, or whereever,  "I don't have to follow those other people's rules because I am not the problem."

It seems likely to me that all that fuel oil on the tourist ship was once crude oil on a supertanker.  A few years ago, a Chilean navy ship with 400 tourist did run aground at Antarctica and sink.  The oil spill, while certainly less than a supertanker, was considered a disaster for the fragille Antarctic environment.  Who was responsoble.  Not me.  Certainly not you.  Surely not the tourists; they were just along for the ride.  Not the ship's captain; he was just following his charts.  Not the Chilean navy; they were just taking supplies to a research station.  Not the researchers; they were doing good and worthwhile work.  Nope, it just happened.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=110292\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

My post was an attempt to put things in a bit more realistic perspective.  

Certainly any damage is damage and all damage should be avoided if at all possible.

That said, here's some quick data - only an eight passenger Patagonian cruise ship, but you can scale it up.  Carries 250 gallons of diesel.

Exxon Valdez fuel spill.  11,000,000 gallons.
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michael
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« Reply #75 on: April 02, 2007, 05:56:36 PM »
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Somehow I think that this thread has run its course.

Let's move on.

Michael
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David Mantripp
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« Reply #76 on: April 04, 2007, 02:28:41 AM »
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Somehow I think that this thread has run its course.

Let's move on.

Michael
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Pity. I think it has hardly started.

 Perhaps you could take a [a href=\"http://theonlinephotographer.blogspot.com/2007/03/point-of-procedure.html]leaf out of Mike Johnston's book[/url], and allow topics to develop in various directions.  Honestly Michael, if you really are interested in raising awareness of environmental issues in Antarctica - or indeed, even if you're not - I don't really see what harm a polite conversation can do to this forum.  My interest in the natural world does not stop at photographing it, and from what I can see on this topic's posts, I'm not the only regular, long standing member of this forum (popular with the management or otherwise) who agrees.

Is it really such a problem to let threads continue until they run out of steam, provided, of course, that they remain reasonably courteous ?
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« Reply #77 on: April 04, 2007, 04:08:04 AM »
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I understand why Michael would like this discussion to end.

There is an inherent contradiction in people hauling tons of equipment around the globe in search of a nice picture, and claiming that they want to save nature and natural things.

Obviously pointing out this hypocrisy puts a damper on Michael's efforts to promote his exotic workshops (the latest promotion touts total luxury in the middle of African wildlife: how's that for saving nature!).
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David Mantripp
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« Reply #78 on: April 04, 2007, 05:42:37 AM »
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I understand why Michael would like this discussion to end.

There is an inherent contradiction in people hauling tons of equipment around the globe in search of a nice picture, and claiming that they want to save nature and natural things.

Obviously pointing out this hypocrisy puts a damper on Michael's efforts to promote his exotic workshops (the latest promotion touts total luxury in the middle of African wildlife: how's that for saving nature!).
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I think that is a bit unfair, although I would say it is not an extreme point of view.

There has always been a contradiction between preserving the natural environment and publicising what needs to be saved. Even strong environmentalists such as Galen Rowell or indeed Ansell Adams have encountered it. There is always also the point that we are part of the natural environment, and that change happens, for good or worse. There would be little point in ring-fencing a couple of no-go pristine environments and laying our backyards to waste. The argument that expeditions to Antarctica open people's minds and eyes is also very valid, although I'm less convinced when it is applied to cruise ship carrying over 1000 passengers (they do exist. See [a href=\"http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/picture_gallery/07/in_pictures_when_the_ship_comes_in/html/1.stm]here[/url] for example).

But I also do not think that you can treat photography as some hermetic, isolated activity. If you do, you're a extremely poor photographer, in my opinion. I am not implying that Michael, or anybody else contributing to this thread, is in that category.

However, I was also taken aback a bit by the description of the latest safari tour.  It does seem to verge on the irresponsible.
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michael
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« Reply #79 on: April 04, 2007, 06:29:16 AM »
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I am afraid that this thread is leading toward personal acusations and insults, that is the reason (and the only reason) why I would like to see it wind down. In fact Boghb's ad hominum comments are a clear indication of this.

Absolute bullshit of the first order. There you see, I've done it to.

Also, please note that unlike Mike J, I did not (do not) edit or delete comments which I don't approve of. I have the ability to selectively delete or edit comments or threads, but with the exception of spam never do this (even when they are critical of me as seen above). I simply point out that a discussion is heading in what I see as counterproductive direction.

Michael
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