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Author Topic: Stirling Ranges  (Read 17205 times)
Tony Jay
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« Reply #100 on: June 11, 2012, 08:58:11 PM »
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Some just think that assertion and counter-assertion don't make for interesting discussion ;-)

Particularly if some of those assertions are silly!
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Ray
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« Reply #101 on: June 11, 2012, 09:47:31 PM »
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My point about landscape photography (and bird and wildlife photography) is that the average viewer and buyer will consider that image to represent a recognizable reality unless otherwide informed. (Some on this forum strongly disagree with this assertion.)
If the finished image does not represent recognizable reality that again is not a criticism of the postprocessing techniques OR the photographers/artists artistic intent.
It can become an ethical issue if one is passing off landscapes as real places when the finished image bears no recognizable relationship to the original image capture.
There is no ethical issue if one is open and honest about one's approach to postprocessing. I have no ethical concerns, for example, with Alain Briot's approach to landscape image production since he very explicit about how the result was obtained.

On a tack completely unrelated to ethics I feel that Alain's assertion that creating completely manufactured landscapes somehow represent the creation of meaningful photographs (his choice of terminology) to be a highly original oxymoron.
BTW this does not mean that I believe in that most ephemeral of concepts - photorealism (another wonderful oxymoron).
In landscape terms a fantasy is just that - a fantasy. Meaningful it is not since it doesn't represent anything meaningful apart from the fevered imagination of the inventer.


We seem to be confusing two issues here; the creation of a landscape which has been significantly altered in shape and form so that it is no longer recognisable (the issue raised in the other thread "Creating Meaningful Photographs"); and the processing of an image in a manner which enhances the light or shade, and/or removes a certain degree of distracting detail in order to make the image more appealing.

An analogy might be the difference between a woman wearing make-up, and a woman wearing a mask; for example, an old lady wearing the mask of a young lady as opposed to smoothing out her wrinkles with some treatment. In the situation of wearing the mask, the person will likely be unrecognisable, and that seems to be your main objection, Tony.

Of course, it might be the case that you also believe that women in general should not wear make-up, especially if they are having their photo taken, because that would constitute some unethical form of deception, unless they were to wear a sign emblazened on their clothes or T-shirt, "I am wearing make-up". But I doubt you are that unreasonable, Tony.  Grin
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Eastway
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« Reply #102 on: June 12, 2012, 01:00:01 AM »
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Thanks to everyone for a great read - I wish I had been involved a little earlier! Some gems in there, both serious and funny - really enjoyed it!

I think the comments about nature and wildlife photography are valid - people (the general public) do have an expectation that a dog has four legs, not six and that the photo represents reality.

However, I'm not sure if landscape photography is seen quite so simply.

From my perspective, from what I have learnt and seen over the years (my education), landscape photography doesn't fall into the 'straight' genre. Before some readers object, I readily agree that their perspective may be that landscapes should be treated as 'natural'. All I'm saying is that my background has shown landscapes to include interpretative work (which I enjoy), and not be limited to only 'literal' representations (which I also enjoy!).

However, photography is a language. Like English, we can use it to write fiction or non-fiction. Some people just like reading fiction, others can't stand it! I guess interpretative and literal landscape photography is similar in this way.

(PS There was a question with the warm light on the mountains behind matching the cooler light on the foreground - perhaps 'fudging' the colour of the light on the foreground moutain so it's not so green, but a little orange too, will hide the transition a little better. Assuming you're allowed to do this fakery, of course!)
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #103 on: June 12, 2012, 02:51:34 AM »
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We seem to be confusing two issues here...

Ray I am not confusing any issues to do with either thread.
All the issues I raised are pertinent.
However, as I allude to at the beginning of my last post many people are confusing what I am saying.
In reality most of the issues pertaining to both threads that have been raised are two sides of the same coin even if the two threads are based on two different articles: one by Alain, and one by Peter.
To some people what these two advocate are merely a matter of degree, to some one approach is acceptable and the other not, and to some neither is acceptable.

Probably the biggest issue, for me personally, is the fact that some individuals are trying to construct a box around me that fits their preconceptions rather than what I am expressing.

Peter Eastway in his recent post acknowledges that there are differences in artistic intent and approach by the photographer/artist as well as differences in expectation by buyers and viewers.
The only way to deal honestly and ethically with these issues is, well, to be honest and ethical about one's approach to postprocessing.
The ethics of this do not extend to every aspect of photography - in many genres the finished article is obviously not any kind of reality and because of this the image can be evaluated appropriately because everyone knows and understands and expects all sorts of manipulations.

Landscape and nature photography is different - a representation of reality is expected. Now, whether everyone in the universe expects this or only some, perhaps most, is neither here nor there. There is likely a very broad range of views on this among our viewers and buyers (just look at the range of views expressed by photographers on this forum).
Some photographers wish to put their head in the sand on this issue (if I have understood them correctly - I may be wrong, especially considering how many are appearing to consistently misunderstand what I consider plain language - if I have misunderstood anyone please accept my apologies).
All we need to do is tell our viewers and buyers what we are doing to our landscape and nature images and let them make up their own minds about whether our work has any value to them once they are informed.
I will repeat this too - I believe it is fraudulent to pass off landscape and nature images as possesing recognizable reality when that is not true.
Again, this issue is not about techniques but about personal ethics.
Some posts have flippantly and arrogantly made reference to some sort of "reality policing" or similar, but to repeat, this is nothing about any kind of enforcement, but, it is about personal ethics.

Nothing I have written challenges the ethics of either Alain nor Peter.
I do have very different views on their artistic approach though (personal opinion coming):
All of Peter's work that I have seen although having a surreal look is actually an edit of a real image. If one had been present when he shot the image it would still be a recognizable  as the finished product (refer to his article if you like).
Alain's work can be different - he freely admits to editing in and out major aspects of the scene in his images.

In my humble opinion, in the context of nature and landscape photography, the entire charm and allure, power and beauty of the image it is that it does represent recognizable reality. I will not be alone in my view here.
Again, please do not equate this view with some form of misguided photorealism.

So, could I find myself an owner of some of Peter's work? Yes, possibly.
Could I find myself an owner of Alains work? Most assuredly not if I knew the mountain range had been duplicated and the river that is supposed to be in the valley below had been edited out and replaced with something else. No matter how pretty the resulting image, to me, it is truly a meaningless image.

Please do not confuse my personal views of the work of these two individuals, as examples, with aspects of the ethics of how we present landscape and nature photography to our viewers and buyers.

Ray, I trust that nothing that I have said, by way of clarification, could be deemed to be unreasonable.

Regards

Tony Jay
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Dave Millier
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« Reply #104 on: June 12, 2012, 05:29:47 PM »
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Tony

What would your view be of the work of Eddie Ephraums? His landscape work is so totally processed it bears no resemblance to the original capture. Dark, moody, broody, contrasty, grainy, heavily toned and not colour. He doesn't pretend it does as you can buy his books explaining how he does it but I wouldn't consider calling his work "fantasy" as to my eyes it looks great and represents a personal interpretation or impression. Seems valid to me. The acid test as ever is really whether you like the result.

Example:



As far as I am concerned the issue of postprocessing techniques has nothing to do with techniques themselves but rather the ethics of their use.
In landscape, and, in my opinion, wildlife and bird, photography one does need to be open and honest about one's approach.
This should not be construed as a criticism of Peter Eastway since here in Australia Peter is well known for his surreal take on landscape imaging, not least because he edits a well known magazine here called "Better Photoshop Techniques" where explanation of exactly the sort of editing techniques demonstrated in the article "The Making of the Stirling Ranges" take pride of place. (BTW if one needs help learning about layers in Ps this publication is not a bad place to start.)

My point about landscape photography (and bird and wildlife photography) is that the average viewer and buyer will consider that image to represent a recognizable reality unless otherwide informed. (Some on this forum strongly disagree with this assertion.)
If the finished image does not represent recognizable reality that again is not a criticism of the postprocessing techniques OR the photographers/artists artistic intent.
It can become an ethical issue if one is passing off landscapes as real places when the finished image bears no recognizable relationship to the original image capture.
There is no ethical issue if one is open and honest about one's approach to postprocessing. I have no ethical concerns, for example, with Alain Briot's approach to landscape image production since he very explicit about how the result was obtained.

On a tack completely unrelated to ethics I feel that Alain's assertion that creating completely manufactured landscapes somehow represent the creation of meaningful photographs (his choice of terminology) to be a highly original oxymoron.
BTW this does not mean that I believe in that most ephemeral of concepts - photorealism (another wonderful oxymoron).
In landscape terms a fantasy is just that - a fantasy. Meaningful it is not since it doesn't represent anything meaningful apart from the fevered imagination of the inventer.

'Nuff said

Tony Jay
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #105 on: June 12, 2012, 05:55:32 PM »
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Wonderful image - no issue at all.

Tony Jay
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Eastway
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« Reply #106 on: June 12, 2012, 07:02:20 PM »
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And I agree - I love Eddie's work and he was instrumental in the style I have today. Full kudos to Eddie!
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #107 on: June 12, 2012, 07:13:13 PM »
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... What would your view be of the work of Eddie Ephraums? His landscape work is so totally processed it bears no resemblance to the original capture. Dark, moody, broody, contrasty, grainy, heavily toned and not colour...

Beautiful! I love it! No problem at all. Why? Because it is b&w, and as mentioned several times already in the thread, b&w has a built-in a higher degree of abstraction, thus is easier accepted as fine art.

Now, where I would possibly have a problem, and I think this debate in the thread is about it, is in case like this:
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« Reply #108 on: June 12, 2012, 07:23:00 PM »
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Particularly if some of those assertions are silly!

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? :-)
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #109 on: June 12, 2012, 07:25:01 PM »
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Eddie's photo is clearly about the mood and not about what the place may have looked like. That works perfectly for me.
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Isaac
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« Reply #110 on: June 12, 2012, 08:06:39 PM »
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I think the comments about nature and wildlife photography are valid - people (the general public) do have an expectation that a dog has four legs, not six and that the photo represents reality.

Do people (us as-well-as them, the general public) have different expectations about deer than dogs? (Six-Legged Deer, Six-Legged Puppy)

Funny-thing, reality ;-)

Whether it's the text we read, the words we hear on TV and radio, or the photographs and video we see -- trust and, if it matters, verify.
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Ray
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« Reply #111 on: June 12, 2012, 09:27:44 PM »
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What would your view be of the work of Eddie Ephraums? His landscape work is so totally processed it bears no resemblance to the original capture. Dark, moody, broody, contrasty, grainy, heavily toned and not colour. He doesn't pretend it does as you can buy his books explaining how he does it but I wouldn't consider calling his work "fantasy" as to my eyes it looks great and represents a personal interpretation or impression. Seems valid to me. The acid test as ever is really whether you like the result.

Example:


I guess one could say that the acid test is whether one likes the result. I have to honestly report that I don't particularly like the above example from Eddie Ephraums, but I admit that it's sometimes difficult to get a correct impression from a significantly scaled down version of an image, or thumbnail, which may also exhibit altered tonality producing an impression which is quite different from viewing the large print.

If I were to see a large print in a gallery, I might change my mind, but as it is, this image looks grainy and unsharp, with blocked-up shadows. I feel that any inherent beauty in the scene that might make it worthwhile, such as color and texture and tone in the rocks, grass and stream, has been thrown away.

Nevertheless, I don't want to appear too dismissive. I can appreciate that certain people who may be high on drugs a lot of the time, may need something to bring them down. This photo by Eddie Ephraums might serve the purpose.

On the other hand, there is the added danger, when such people are feeling low, that the sight of this image might cause them to feel so depressed they go back on the drugs to get high again.  Grin
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LesPalenik
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« Reply #112 on: June 12, 2012, 10:48:45 PM »
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Couldn't agree more with you, Ray

From the recently posted pictures, I liked best Alain's Moonrise at the Whitesands. I just like pretty, colorful and cheerful images.
Eddie's picture reminds me too much of Greece. Allegorically speaking. Not that there is anything wrong with pictures from Greece (as long as they are in color).

My second choice would be Peter Eastway's hill, followed closely by the kangoroo in Nepal, looking longingly at the prettily dressed barefoot dancer. There is just something about them mountains.


 
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Ray
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« Reply #113 on: June 13, 2012, 12:14:05 AM »
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Couldn't agree more with you, Ray

From the recently posted pictures, I liked best Alain's Moonrise at the Whitesands. I just like pretty, colorful and cheerful images.
Eddie's picture reminds me too much of Greece. Allegorically speaking. Not that there is anything wrong with pictures from Greece (as long as they are in color).

My second choice would be Peter Eastway's hill, followed closely by the kangoroo in Nepal, looking longingly at the prettily dressed barefoot dancer. There is just something about them mountains.


I also prefer Peter Eastway's hill to Edie Ephraums' dark and moody creation, but I'm not too happy with the blank bareness of the hill. I think a few kangaroos might help, or at least one.

As for my kangaroo shot in Nepal on the other thread, the kangaroo isn't really looking at the barefoot dancer, but he is looking rather wistfully at me as though to ask how I came across such a pretty kangaroo girl, and that he wished he had been there first.

One of the side effects of carrying two cameras when trekking, is that one sometimes becomes the centre of attention, as I am in the following shot that I took as I turned a bend on the track and came across three kangaroos and three trekkers.

You can imagine my surprise. The nearest kangaroo is carrying a joey in her pouch. I'm not sure if she's scratching her back because of a flea, or is suffering back problems as a result of the weight of the joey. Whatever, you can see that my appearance around the bend has startled all kangaroos whose attention is suddenly directed at me, including the guy in the red shirt who seems to find me more interesting than a kangaroo.

(Hope no-one thinks I'm hijacking the thread. Just having a bit of fun   Grin  )

For the benefit of those who wish to be pedantic, the creatures in this shot are not actually kangaroos but wallabies.

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AlastairMoore
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« Reply #114 on: June 13, 2012, 03:06:03 AM »
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I also prefer Peter Eastway's hill to Edie Ephraums' dark and moody creation, but I'm not too happy with the blank bareness of the hill. I think a few kangaroos might help, or at least one.

As for my kangaroo shot in Nepal on the other thread, the kangaroo isn't really looking at the barefoot dancer, but he is looking rather wistfully at me as though to ask how I came across such a pretty kangaroo girl, and that he wished he had been there first.

One of the side effects of carrying two cameras when trekking, is that one sometimes becomes the centre of attention, as I am in the following shot that I took as I turned a bend on the track and came across three kangaroos and three trekkers.

You can imagine my surprise. The nearest kangaroo is carrying a joey in her pouch. I'm not sure if she's scratching her back because of a flea, or is suffering back problems as a result of the weight of the joey. Whatever, you can see that my appearance around the bend has startled all kangaroos whose attention is suddenly directed at me, including the guy in the red shirt who seems to find me more interesting than a kangaroo.

(Hope no-one thinks I'm hijacking the thread. Just having a bit of fun   Grin  )

For the benefit of those who wish to be pedantic, the creatures in this shot are not actually kangaroos but wallabies.



I see nothing unusual here.. great capture.
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« Reply #115 on: June 13, 2012, 03:33:21 AM »
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Interesting discussion to come in on after months of not paying attention to this forum. All has been said except this I think: from the perspective of your average joe who has a P&S and likes pretty pictures, the extent of post-processing really doesn't matter to his impression of the image, that is until he learns that things have been moved around (i.e., photoshopped).  Then most, but not all, people have a somewhat more cynical view of the image.  Essentially, their appreciation and admiration of the photograph and photographer have been diluted. 

I should add that more and more people nowadays are not affected at all when they learn the shot has been P-shopped.  But let's get real.  It's only us photogs who can argue about extent of editing an image where all the elements present at time of capture are in their original places.  Nobody else cares how much light Peter painted on that hill.  It's a fine image.  I'm very sure, by the way, that he could have gotten a much better result at another time, in better light, and without all the processing.  Of course, the fact that I'm amazed this image is thought of so highly might lead one to discount my main point above (and I thought I was in synch with the photo-buying public - haha, NOT!). 

Lastly, I think the main reasonable point I'm getting from most of you is, who cares as long as someone likes it, it turns you on, and (importantly) you are upfront about the way you made the image.  I agree with that.  The moody image of Eddie E's for example, I don't like, but not because it is too unreal (I can see I might like other images of his however).  With all these people practicing the art of photography, and all this software, it's no wonder the boundaries are being pushed. But it should also come as no surprise when people push things to the point of ugliness, and a lot of fads get picked up on until you're ready to puke when you see the next image with an overused look.  But it would be worse if things didn't evolve, wouldn't it?  Take the good with the bad I say.

P.S. Peter E. really can explain a procedure well!
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LesPalenik
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« Reply #116 on: June 13, 2012, 03:33:33 AM »
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Ray, you lucked out again to capture such a realistic scene. And you didn't have to move any plants or rocks.
Do those kangoroos live at the plateau or were they just passing by? They even knew how to pose, did you have to direct them or did they naturally assume that dynamic triangle formation?

Good thing, I saw before the other kangaroo picture, otherwise I would have never believed that kangoroos live there. But these guys look like they really like the place. I wonder, how will the global warming affect them. They would be wise to look for some king penguins. Together they would be an unbeatable combination.

 
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Ray
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« Reply #117 on: June 14, 2012, 10:08:38 PM »
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Ray, you lucked out again to capture such a realistic scene. And you didn't have to move any plants or rocks.
Do those kangoroos live at the plateau or were they just passing by? They even knew how to pose, did you have to direct them or did they naturally assume that dynamic triangle formation?

Good thing, I saw before the other kangaroo picture, otherwise I would have never believed that kangoroos live there. But these guys look like they really like the place. I wonder, how will the global warming affect them. They would be wise to look for some king penguins. Together they would be an unbeatable combination.

 

Yes. I was lucky they just happened to be in a fortunate pose. Not many people know there are kangaroos in Nepal. From what I gather, it seems that a fairly wealthy Nepalese farmer, who also owned and ran a hotel for the tourists somewhere in the mountainous regions around Annapurna, sent his son to Australia for an education, many years ago.

On returning from Australia, with his degree in Accountancy, to help run the family hotel, the son entertained his parents with interesting stories and pictures of the kangaroos he'd seen in Australia. His mother, who was in charge of the farming side of the business, became quite fascinated with these hopping marsupials, and made it clear she would love to have a few on her farm.

Now, one of the significant religious festivals in Nepal is the 'Teej' festival which celebrates the advent of the monsoon in July, and also celebrates the reuniting of the Godess Parvati with her husband, Lord Shiva. The occasion is one when Nepalese husbands usually buy their wife an expensive present such as jewelery, a new fridge or a mobile phone etc.

Now it so happens that on the occasion of one of these Teej festivals, several years ago, the husband being a rather unorthodox and imaginative fellow, decided he would surprise his wife with an unusual present, and at great expense and some difficulty, imported a few kangaroos as her 'Teej Festival' present.

Needless to say, his wife was delighted to see these strange creatures hopping around her farm, but of course they bred and multiplied, and a few inevitably escaped into the wider environment where, surprisingly, they felt quite at home and continued to proliferate.

However, one tends to see them more frequently in the higher, more remote regions of Nepal where there are fewer farmers and villages. Most Nepalese farmers are very poor and live at a subsistence level. A kangaroo would be viewed as a great source of food.

I hope this little explanatory note provides some additional meaning to the above photo.  Wink

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LesPalenik
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« Reply #118 on: June 14, 2012, 11:30:09 PM »
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Quite a story, Ray. I can relate well to it, because a very similar situation happened in Canada.

In 1904, Newfoundland imported 4 moose. The difference between the Nepal and Newfoundland was that in case of Newfoundland, the farmers (well, there are not many farmers to start with) were too poor to fund such a project, so the government had to step in. However, it proved to be one of their better investments, since now, the total moose count comes to 120,000 (that's minus hundreds of those ungainly beasts that are killed every year on the roads). If you are resident of this beautiful province, your out-of-pocket expense to fill a large freezer is only $40.00.  As a tourist, when you come to NFL, your license will cost still less than the latest PS camera.

Even without the license, you may be able to shoot a moose and a polar bear on the same day. If you are lucky, perhaps even member of the royal family.

Considering, how large is this province, I think, it could easily accommodate also a few thousands of kangaroos.  That should help their economy, especialy the car collision garages. I must admit, that once the moose grow up, they are not as photogenic as wallabies. But on the other hand, they are some tough birds. Unlike some southern species, a baby moose don't require to be carried in any pouch or rucksack, they start walking within hours of their birth.

Back to the original topic, perhaps, if the Newfoundlanders stopped docking their tails and instead cropped their ears (of course, I mean, on the moose), you would see more fine art prints with moose on nicely lit hills and meadows.



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Ray
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« Reply #119 on: June 15, 2012, 01:20:52 AM »
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.. the total moose count comes to 120,000 (that's minus hundreds of those ungainly beasts that are killed every year on the roads).

That's a sad state of affairs. The kangaroos in Nepal are also very vulnerable to collision with cars on the road. However, where there are roads the kangaroos are also very vulnerable to be killed for food. They've got two strong motivations to get the hell out of the place.

I normally trek in regions where there are no roads, so it is a delight to see the 'smart' kangaroos on the mountain tracks, who know where they are safe, and who are reasonably friendly and not too disturbed by the sight of strange, upright creatures with heavy-looking black things dangling around their neck, and other two-legged creatures with strange, long sticks emanating from their hands.
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